More than 50 residents occupied the available seats although only four of the nine candidates, Laurett Barrentine, Matthew Crabtree, Bryan Oliver and James Jordan, attended the Oct. 4 candidate forum sponsored by the Englewood Citizens for Open Government.
Long-time Englewood resident Barb Silverman said she was upset that all the candidates didn’t attend the forum because she is interested in community affairs and this was an opportunity to hear where candidates stood on the issues.
“It would have been better to hear from everyone,” she said.” The four candidates who were there shared their views and opinions. Maybe the others didn’t care to do that.”
Although five of the nine chairs set up for the candidates remained empty, the forum went on as planned. Each candidate had two minutes to present an opening statement, then Littleton resident John Watson, who moderated the forum, began asking questions.
A number of questions had been prepared in advanced by members of Englewood Citizens for Open Government and were sent to candidates ahead of time. Each of the prepared questions was asked to a single candidate, moving from candidate to candidate as they were seated.
The prepared questions were on a number of current issues such as property rights, bringing new businesses to the city and dealing with the budget.
Crabtree drew applause and a few laugh when, in response to a question about the definition of a balanced budget, his answer was, “That’s simple. Just don’t spend more than the revenues you receive.”
When asked the biggest question facing Englewood in the next 10 years, Barrentine’s answer was “money.” She elaborated by saying the current moratoriums have a strangle hold on existing businesses and discourages new businesses from locating in Englewood which means revenues are not growing.
Candidate Jordan said he didn’t favor cutting programs to balance the budget. He said instead, the city should raise funds to pay for the programs and he said that can be done without raising taxes.
One question for Oliver was if the city should approach local businesses first when awarding contracts for city projects.
“The city should check with local businesses to see if they qualify to do the project and, if they do, then the work should be done by Englewood companies,” he said.
All the candidates agreed all city financial information, including an on-line budget, should be available on line and there should be a balanced budget. There was also agreement the city council meetings should be televised on Channel 8.
While he didn’t attend the event, candidate Joe Jefferson, who is unopposed as he seeks re-election, did sent a letter to the organizers. In the letter read at the start of the forum, Jefferson stated his position on several issues and stating he was sorry he couldn’t attend the event but he had previous commitments he could not change.