Mayor’s “October Surprise” to Save Harrison

The October Surprise.  Every political science major (like Mayor Paul) knows the advantage incumbent politicians gain by using their insider power to create an issue that will either help their re-election efforts or hurt the chances of their opponents.  The political dictionary defines October surprise as a “news event late in a political campaign that has the potential to influence the outcome of an election. Because Election Day is typically held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, surprise events that take place in October can have the potential change the minds of prospective voters.”


Mayor Paul learned his political science lessons well and has created an October surprise to help his candidates – specifically the re-election of his designated successor, Karen Harrison in Ward 5 and the election of the head of the state contractors’ lobbying group, Michael Gifford, running to succeed Shakti in Ward 3.  Since the establishment candidates are taking a beating for their support of the current overdevelopment boom, Paul realized he needed something to fight the charges his administration (and his allies) are sacrificing our vanishing open spaces for more multi-family housing.   For months now the City has been negotiating with the owners of the Taylor property (south of the former Green Gables golf course) to purchase a portion of that property for park/open space purposes.  


With the November ballots due to come out beginning October 16, Paul is finally announcing the City’s plan to spend several million dollars (combined with state grants) to buy this property which just happens to border both Ward 3 and Ward 5.  Of course, this plan could have been voted on either earlier in the year or waited for a few weeks.  But no, the Mayor will argue it is just a coincidence the vote is coming just in the nick of time for Harrison to vote for the plan.  This could greatly boost Harrison’s re-election chances.  The mayor’s successor is under pressure for her support of the failed attempt to give away an open space portion of Hutchinson Park (the infamous 2090 S. Wright St. issue).  Harrison’s support of this new plan may allow her to beg forgiveness for her strong support of overdevelopment and the resultant loss of open lands.


In addition to the fortuitous timing of the announcement (October 9) and the Council vote (October 30), the establishment candidates all had advance knowledge of the proposed open space acquisition vote long before any of the independent council members.  A week before the official announcement both Michael Gifford (Ward 3) and Karen Harrison (Ward 5) posted videos on Facebook giving an identical endorsement of the proposal to acquire the Taylor property. But remember, these fortunate accidents are only a coincidence. 


  1. That’s great news that after more than a year of ignoring citizens’ wishes that the majority will finally vote on something good for Lakewood. If Councilor Harrison offered facts (like this) along with her bad coffee and donuts at her ward meetings, her citizens would be A Pauled. At least the attendees of Ward 3 meetings know which candidate represents them and which one represents the developers.

  2. As I read it, none of the money is allocated or appropriated for the purchase yet. Plans are nice, but actions speak louder than words. This seems to me to be an 11th hour plan attempting to save face.

  3. Michael, still stinging from the spanking you got when Karen Harrison was elected last term and you were her opposition?? This “article” spins the facts like a Trump tweet. You should be proud. Unfortunately it does not even resemble the facts. Karen’s constituents have watched her make balanced well thought-out decisions. Unfortunately this type of slanted and fake news gets passed of as fact. Thanks for posting as you just confirmed my vote for Karen four years ago and again in 2017!

  4. Who are you people!? I am a 13 year resident of Lakewood and two of the most decent representatives I have ever met are Dana Gutwein and Karen Harrison of Ward 5. As I watched the League of Women Voters forum for Jeffco, I was struck by how decent all of the candidates are, as opposed to these rants. I formed my choice for my Ward 5 based on watching the discussion. I suggest you all do the same:

  5. I have had Dana and Karen knock on my door more than once and spend time with conversation… no one else has knocked on my door and chatted. If these others can not find time to talk to constituents during the election do you really think they will talk to us after being elected?? My support will be, for now, with Dana and Karen.

  6. All of the candidates do look pretty good on the League of Women Voters forum. However, when you watch their antics in Ward and city council meetings and votes in city council and understand where their donations are coming from, you get a better understanding of their motives. Councilor Harrison has a tendency to keep her constituents in the dark at Ward meetings and misinforms them. Case in point, long time Ward meeting attendees were surprised to hear about a large development issue brought up at a Ward 5 meeting when the rest of City had been focused on the proposed development issue for months. Councilor Gutwein attacked Councilor Johnson’s right to run for re election after the Mayor attempted to block her from running. Neither are examples of supporting a democracy.

    1. Let’s get the facts straight here. The term-limit debate arose because Ramey Johnson was shy of her 2-year term limit by 3 days. The term limits are in place to limit our elected officials to a finite amount of time they can serve, which is 8 years. Because Ramey got elected mid-term, she served 1 year and 362 days of that term. Therefore, she threatened to sue the city to allow her to run for yet another term, due to the 3 day shortage. Which means, if elected, she would then have served as a City Councilor for 9 years, 362 days. I ask you this, if the shoe was on the other foot, and a democrat was in the same position, I wonder what the posts on this site would look like.

  7. I am a democrat and I can do the math – she did not finish a complete half term in accordance with the charter. It was a vicious and politically motivated attack by the mayor.

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