One of the important lessons Mayor Adam Paul learned from his mentor, Bob Murphy, is the need to eliminate critics. When Ward 1 Council Member Ramey Johnson ran against Paul for mayor in 2015, she automatically went to the head of the mayor’s hit list. Since Ramey received over 49% of the city wide vote during an election that was ultimately driven by fallout from the school board recall, she remains a threat to Paul’s control.
Observers may recall several months ago Paul and his Council allies tried to get Ramey banned from this year’s ballot by claiming her partial two-year term should be counted as a full four-year term. For months Council debated the issue with the mayor and his allies seeking to impose term limits against Ramey. The establishment finally abandoned this scheme only when it became clear the courts would rule in favor of Ramey if the Council tried to misinterpret the City Charter.
During the “term-limits” debacle the six establishment councilors kept claiming in public that their opposition to Ramey was “not political”. Although no-one actually bought that story at the time, the latest campaign finance disclosure reports finally cleared up any doubts. The cliche “money talks, bull@#* walks” speaks volumes. The second campaign finance disclosure reports filed October 16 revealed four of the six establishment councilors who were claiming “it’s not political” made personal financial donations to Ramey’s campaign opponent. Adam Paul donated $100, Shakti donated $100, Scott Koop donated $200 and Dana Gutwein made an in-kind donation she valued at $500. You may have seen some of Gutwein’s work on her facebook page “NotGoodEnoughForLakewood” where she did a couple of attack pieces on Ramey.
To give the 26-year-old yoga instructor, who moved into the City less than two years ago, a chance against the popular incumbent, the establishment has tapped into the usual flow of special interest money (including $2,500 from the Home Builders Association, $2,500 from the Realtors PAC, $600 from the Apartment Association, $500 from CRL Associates, the developers’ lobbyists, etc.) In the recent filing, Kyra DeGruy listed over $22,000 in donations. This is more than double the amount raised by Ramey Johnson who continues to rely entirely upon individual citizen donations.
There is a new twist in the establishment’s fundraising strategy this year. To avoid reports of the lopsided campaign donation race, Mayor Paul has formed some “independent” committees to raise money that can’t be attributed to his candidates. For the city council races, he had his former room-mate Kaleb Young form a committee called “Lakewood Voter Information Project“. He used this committee to fund mailings supporting Kyra DeGruy. It has been reported that his former room-mate left town nearly ten years ago and now lives in northern Colorado. A google search of Kaleb Young found a funny story of how the young marijuana care giver was arrested and during his confinement his “crop” failed. An imaginative young man, Kaleb sued the local municipality for damages resulting from the police’s failure to water his crops. For more on the attack committees check out our October 11 post.