After the drubbing the mayor and his special interest allies took in the special July 2 election, it is clear to observers his track record in office and his position on the important issues puts him in serious jeapody of being the first mayor in Lakewood’s 50 year history to not be re-elected.
He barely was elected four years ago on the back of the blue wave that threw out the conservative Jeffco School Board. During his four years as mayor he has done everything in his power to encourage more development and population growth. As a result he now has an unprecedented number of neighborhoods that have been adversely impacted by his policies. Many supporters who hoped he would be a welcome “change” are now disillusioned that he is no better than Bob Murphy (just more likable).
The traditional approach for the establishment is to avoid issues (in which they usually lose) and focus on making the election a popularity contest. In this way they can use their money advantage to buy high-quality PR marketing that can “sell” voters on the idea the establishment candidate is a “good” guy and the opponents are “bad” people. Naturally this is something Paul excels at. The mayor is famous for meeting with people privately one on one. That way he can assure everyone he is on their side without the other side finding out he has crossed them.
Paul’s problem now is his actions over the past four years are speaking the truth and too many people are now recognizing his betrayals. Of course there are still die-hard supporters who tell themselves the problems are not Paul’s fault. It’s all the fault of those other people who won’t allow Paul to be the white knight on a stallion that he knows he really is. The solution to Paul’s problems are two fold – outlaw critiques and confuse the issues.
To avoid any criticism of this track record, Paul’s handlers came up with a unique solution – play the orphan card. Paul’s PR notes his mother died when he was eleven and pictures him as a cute kid (what grandma can vote against an innocent child?). He then throws in the ultimate tear-jerker. He comes up a type-written “note” from mom before her death warning him against the “ugliness” in life. The subtle message is holding Paul
accountable for his policies would be “just mean”. The motto of Paul and his supporters is “put the past behind us and focus on the future”. That way we allow him to keep doing the same things to us again and again. The theory is keep doing the same thing and expect different results next time.
Having escaped accountability Paul is free to sell the voters on his likability by telling them what they want to hear. Recognizing voters don’t want to hear his message of promoting growth he has stolen the themes of his opponents. Instead of his traditional “forward” message he is now claiming he is “protecting and preserving” Lakewood. While his special interests supporters understand the game and will stick with him, he hopes the “save our lakewood” advocates will be confused and think he is with them now.