Colorado Springs skyline

The sun rises over downtown Colorado Springs.

Today begins the week leading to the April 4 election. We urge all voters to study the candidates. We hope The Gazette Editorial Board’s endorsements serve as a useful resource in each voter’s quest to vote for a positive future.

Mayor Wayne Williams: Finding someone more qualified than Wayne Williams to lead our city would be difficult at best, given his experience as City Councilman, chairman of Colorado Springs Utilities and former Colorado secretary of state.

More importantly, we advocate Williams as mayor for the same reason the Colorado Springs Police Protective Association and the Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters have endorsed him. He’s a proven leader we can count on to stand shoulder to shoulder with law enforcement and to prioritize public safety in the city’s budget rather than the pet projects that too often consume elected officials.

Public safety is a significant part of the reason Mayor John Suthers supports Wayne Williams as well. As a former district attorney, U.S. attorney, and Colorado attorney general, Suthers ranks among the country’s most qualified law-enforcement experts. As Suthers leaves office, he wants to make sure citizens who put public safety first will continue to lead Colorado Springs.

Like Suthers, Williams has substantial executive experience. As the Colorado secretary of state, Williams was lauded nationally for running an elections system other states could learn from.

In small towns, every citizen knows their leaders personally. In a city the size of Colorado Springs, that’s impossible. But those of us who know Williams know him as a kind, trustworthy, thoughtful man with morals, ethics and sound judgment.

As an accomplished attorney, he could be making much more money outside public service. He is running for the best of reasons: because he sincerely cares about Colorado Springs and wants to make it even better.

In addition to public safety, Williams prioritizes investing in and maintaining infrastructure. He views parks as a crucial element of his city’s high quality of life. And, more than any other candidate, he understands the importance of using water wisely. He insists we maintain enough water in reserve for existing residents before extending the city’s borders.

By almost all considerations — and as verified by nationwide surveys — Colorado Springs epitomizes a city of progress. To maintain our trajectory, take the advice of ground-level law enforcement, Mayor Suthers and an assortment of business and civic leaders who entrust Wayne Williams to run city government’s executive branch.

City Council, at-large

Lynette Crow-Iverson: An entrepreneur and registered nurse who recently sold her successful health care business, Crow-Iverson has volunteered time on a long list of boards and commissions in Colorado Springs. She is leading the effort to renew the Trails, Open Space and Parks program on this year’s ballot, and last year she oversaw the successful campaign to renew the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.

Crow-Iverson understands the importance of supporting law enforcement in its efforts to make our communities safer. As she explains on her campaign website, “We do not want to see Colorado Springs turn into other large cities, such as Denver, where homeless and lawlessness drive out residents and businesses.”

With her entrepreneurial spirit, her selfless willingness to volunteer and her support for public safety, Crow-Iverson will make a superb addition to the Colorado Springs City Council.

David Leinweber: A Colorado native and small-business owner, David Leinweber exemplifies Colorado Springs. He’s an outdoorsman, and he’s put his money where his mouth is when it comes to his passion for Colorado Springs’ parks and wildlife.

In 2015, he founded the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance, a group with a mission to “strengthen the outdoor recreation industry for the Pikes Peak region through leadership and collaboration.”

His “Colorado Springs Fly Fishing Film Tour” raises $20,000 a year to serve disabled veterans.

Leinweber has focused his campaign on finding ways to improve access to mental health treatment, public safety and responsible growth. He correctly sees many of the issues facing our community as stemming from mental health, and he has a multistep plan on how to improve mental health in Colorado Springs. He is a longtime, trusted community leader with a proven record of management and working with local government.

Brian Risley: Like Leinweber and Crow-Iverson, Brian Risley also comes into the council race with a long track record of civic engagement. A Colorado Springs native and professional architect, Risley has served on the Downtown Transit Hub Task Force, the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority Advisory Committee, the Pikes Peak Stormwater Task Force, and the El Paso County Planning Commission. With this much experience, Risley is equipped with abundant expertise unusual in City Council candidates.

Risley’s campaign has focused on making Colorado Springs more affordable and safer. He understands smart growth, emphasizes that development must respect existing neighborhoods and will ensure the city manages its water resources prudently

City Council, District 3

Michelle Talarico: As a mother, grandmother, and longtime community leader in Colorado Springs, Talarico has seen many changes since she graduated from Colorado College in City Council District 3.

Talarico is a strong proponent of law enforcement, the outdoors and small businesses. District 3 is the heart of Colorado Springs and has a long tradition of fantastic City Council members, and Talarico ought to be the next.

Endorsements by former Councilman Richard Skorman and Mayor John Suthers reflect her ability to build bridges, coalitions and relationships.

The public can expect her to quickly become a go-to member of the council eager to serve her constituents, resolving problems for Council District 3 and getting things done for her community.

Vote ‘Yes’ on Issue 1 to Renew TOPS

People choose to live and work in Colorado Springs, in large part, for its natural beauty. That might be less common if voters had not protected it by choosing to invest one penny of every $10 purchase to buy, improve and maintain nature’s beauty by funding the city’s Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program.

It’s an easy process to make sure this program continues. Simply vote “yes” on Issue 1 before the election ends the evening of April 4.

This is not an investment that asks voters to trust politicians, cross their fingers and hope for the best. The Trails, Open Space and Parks program is a proven asset. Voters enacted it in 1997.

Since then, TOPS has constructed more than 53 miles of trails, conserved more than 7,500 acres of open space and built or improved 67 parks.

Residents constantly, and often with good reason, complain about city programs and services — even in well-run cities like the Springs. Yet, in 26 years we have seldom if ever received letters and phone calls from residents complaining about what TOPS delivers for a small investment. The program is a popular and whopping success.

Issue 1 does not — repeat does not — propose a tax increase. It merely continues the tax at its current level for another 20 years past the current expiration date of Dec. 31, 2025.

It will pay for maintenance of the amenities we have and provide funding for acquisition and conservation of new trails and open space. TOPS ensures the conservation of untouched land that would otherwise be developed and altered forever.

Protect our unique community. Keep it beautiful, healthy and fun. Vote “yes” on Issue 1.

Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board

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