Denver Direct: “Why are You Being So Mean to Me?”

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

“Why are You Being So Mean to Me?”

Carla Madison asked as we accidentally happened to leave the Denver Democrats Spaghetti dinner at the same time last Saturday night.

“I’m not being mean, I’m just trying to expose the truth.” I said. “I think we need to sit down and have a talk.” I added as we walked toward the parking lot.

“Well, let’s do it now.” replied Madison, candidate for Denver City Council District 8 and the subject of a number of postings on this blog.

So it was that we stood in the parking lot for the next half hour discussing her campaign and issues. No video camera, not even a notepad, the following is my best recollection of our conversation.

CM: Why are you writing all that stuff about me?
DD: I’m just using your own emails to demonstrate the facts.
CM: I guess I’ll have to be more careful about what I put in emails.

DD: What is the current paid membership of the City Park West Neighborhood Association?
CM: 20.
DD: Really?
CM: Well, probably 15.
DD: Rasheed says they have over 400 paying members in Greater Park Hill Community, Inc.
CM: (laugh) And you believe that?

DD: What about the fiscal mess the Association is in?
CM: Nobody really cares. (Madison did agree that an independent audit would be a good idea, but CPWNA could not afford it. Ok if somebody else pays.)

DD: You repeatedly violated the by-laws of the Association with loans to and from yourself and your husband.
CM: We were just putting in seed money. Maybe we should get rid of the by-laws.

DD: What about the fact that your husband Paul stormed out of meetings whenever he was asked to document his expenses?
CM: Oh that Paul.

DD: Why do you think the membership of CPWNA is so low?
CM: I’ve tried but you just can’t get people to come out unless there is a burning issue.
DD: I think its because of the autocratic way you run the meetings and the lack of outreach.
CM: I’ve been told that people are tired of the constant complaints to the NPO (neighborhood police officer) about Coleman Manor and the blacks.

DD: Why do you claim you started the CPWNA Festival when we know it started before you ever showed up?
CM: It was just a little street fair and I turned it into a Festival of the Arts.

DD: Why do you claim that you implemented the overlay when we know that only the City can do that.
CM: The City waived the $50,000 application fee when I asked them to, and I did most of the work to get approval.

DD: What about the over 400 people in the overlay district who never responded and still had their zoning changed by the overlay?
CM: They had their chance. We did two mailings.

DD: Yes, but they weren’t even sent by registered mail.
CM: That’s not a City requirement.

DD: Every R-4 lot owner who was overlaid lost about $150,000 of value in the transaction.
CM: That’s what people are willing to pay to preserve their neighborhoods.

DD: How did you get the power to go around changing people’s zoning without their permission?
CM: That’s just the way it is. They could have spoken up. They were notified.

It was getting cold and my back was killing me. I thanked Madison for the interview and we went our separate ways.

My opinion: Madison is a one-trick pony. If you like zoning overlays, you’ll love Madison. She even thinks scrape-offs are causing inflation. Her position on other issues is a mash-up of other candidates’ statements. (See the interview at Colorado Confidential in which she recites Rasheed’s position on youth almost verbatim.) She doesn’t communicate her ideas well in public. Despite her claims, she has very little experience in governing or leadership.

She claims she is “smarter than she seems”. I think she’s a nice lady in over her head.

Oh darn, I forgot to ask her about that giant gargoyle in her front yard.