Where’s Milford?

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Voters of the City Of Cripple Creek,

I have one question for you this week: Where’s Milford?

Where was he on Tuesday, October 15th to listen in on our first day of City Budget Hearings? We have two days of budget talks every year around the same time as he experienced in his 8 years on City Council. The information is publicly posted well in advance and open to the public. Milford did not show up.

We talked about the budgets overseeing the Development Department and the Marketing and Events Department -two of the most focused upon departments at this time. Our broadly discussed biggest challenges are our housing shortage and our need to market differently to boost our tourism economy. The staff presented some great ideas for moving forward but Milford was not there to hear the discussion.

Interesting…

On Wednesday, October 16th, we had our second budget hearing just prior to the regular City Council meeting. Milford walked in 20 minutes into the hearing. We began the evening discussing our Enterprise Fund and the big water project on Bennet Avenue we will need to address this next coming year. It’s the largest project in the foreseeable future and is quite the budgetary challenge for the 2020 budget.

Milford missed much of the discussion and the plan forward to address this significant issue.

If Milford were to be elected, would staff have to waste excessive time bringing Milford up to speed? Would we all have to revisit budget discussions again at his behest and delay forward momentum?

On Thursday, October 17th, The Double Eagle graciously provided the space with The Mountain Jackpot moderating the discussion for a Meet the Candidates event.

Let me be frank and clear about this event: The people wanted a DEBATE. I have been asked by many community members for months if we would do a DEBATE. The press wanted a DEBATE.

I WANTED A DEBATE.

When I asked Milford just a week after we pulled papers for the Mayoral race if he would debate me he said, “Well… you know… I just… you know… the thing is…” It took him almost a full minute to essentially concede through hand gestures and stumbles that he knew I’d win in a debate setting. I am quick on my feet when it comes to articulating issues that I have taken half a decade to deep-dive study. I am trained in public speaking and communications and I believe it is a critical tool when one is not only a public servant, but when one is in the role of the Mayor. You deserve to have confidence that the principle leader of your community can directly answer your questions and is able to facilitate the discussions -especially more difficult discussions.

A Mayor’s job is to run a effective, efficient, and fair city council meetings to conduct the business of the city and do so in the public eye. A Mayor’s job is to be a steward of the community and stand as a Public Relations figure and liaison communicating with the citizens and other organizations the city works with. The Mayor’s job is NOT to be a dictator and “decide” how things go. Not legally or in any other fashion. Here in Cripple Creek (and most of the municipalities in our nation), the whole council votes on issues and the Mayor has no greater powers in the final decision-making process than any other council member. The Mayor is the facilitator often referred to as the “Presiding Officer.” Promises a Mayor makes for forward action are empty but promising one has the skill and ability to get the conversation started and help drive that discussion IS something the Mayor can do. I will move the conversations we must have forward.

I digress…

When presented the opportunity to hold a debate at the Double Eagle, I told folks that I knew Milford wouldn’t debate me. I’d hoped he would be open to a more fair and formal discussion with the public. I asked that ALL the candidates running for municipal office be invited fairly, that a local news outlet moderate the discussion and provide a fair and open forum, and that the event be advertised for everyone evenly.

I asked for fairness in the hopes that perhaps Milford would be willing to have a discussion with the public. I asked for a more gentle approach despite knowing well that what the newspapers wanted to cover was a debate and what the people wanted to see was a debate. I knew good and well that if we had a debate, more of our community would attend. And still, in hopes to accommodate my opponent, I asked for and folks agreed to that more soft and fair approach.

That platform was provided and even still, in all efforts to accommodate him, Milford did not show up.

Tom Litherland attended, Nancy McDonald attended, and I showed up. Many citizens took the time to attend and I want to personally thank each and every one of you who were able to attend! We took questions from the TMJ that were about broad issues facing our city and we addressed audience questions. Each of us answering all the same questions in a fair and open format. The three of us who came out engaged in further discussions after the event with many of you out there and I was very happy to see a lot of faces who don’t always make it down to the Council Meetings! I’ve been saying for years that Council Meetings just don’t work for everyone. We MUST do more. Tonight was the beginning of that and if I am elected to be your Mayor, I WILL do more.

THIS is what our city needs and what you all deserve: open meetings where you can speak with your elected officials. Period. Forums that better accommodate YOU.

Where was Milford?

Does he not have enough confidence in his public speaking? Having watched him for years on council, I know it is not a strength of his. That is troubling for what the role of Mayor demands when the job is done well.

Did Milford not feel he needed to answer your questions?

Does he feel his reputation speaks for itself?

His reputation should speak for itself: He was on City Council for 8 years and our housing issue was not addressed. In that time period, less than 10 single home dwellings were built here in Cripple Creek. I know, I had to report those figures to the Census when I worked in the Development Department. I was a part of presentations about some of those solutions staff hoped to move forward and our former council provided no direction to move on ordinances or formal action. Milford was a part of that council. Milford was on the Economic Development Board -we didn’t manage to forward our economic situation in that time period. We’re in worse shape now than we were and Mr. Ashworth had the ability to engage those conversations and forward solutions to those challenges. Folks, plain and simple, what we have long needed just did not happen.

Recently posted on Milford’s Facebook page (run by other people and not Mr. Ashworth himself) was this quote: “…I will represent all the people all the time.”

I have questions. How are you going to represent all of the people when you won’t take the time to come to a forum where the people have been invited to discuss what they hope to have represented? Are those people who showed up on October 17th not part of “all” the people? Did you not have time for them?

Where was Milford tonight and this week? Is he going to show up when you, the community, need him the most?

I don’t believe he will. I think that was made clear, especially tonight.

No, not all of us elected officials can be at every community event. Most of us would like to. I know that if I had a retirement fund or trust fund to dig into, I’d sure be at everything under the sun. I schedule days off work, have taken on extra part time gigs to make up for those missed working days, look to my family to help me look over my son, and I move around a hectic schedule wherever I can to attend as many meetings and events that I can.

When it comes to important meetings where the community has an opportunity to speak out to me as an elected official, I move mountains to make it happen. I have already made the commitment to be IN THE OFFICE in City Hall no less than once per week when I am elected as your Mayor. I have made the commitment to having Town Hall Meetings and facilitated conversations with the community. I will find ways to engage the broader community come hell or high water so we can get on the right track and tackle our greatest challenges.

This past week, in dealing with some of the more critical aspects of being an elected official, I was there. I showed up, participated in the discussion, and I made darned sure I have as much information as I can to make important decisions and engage better discussions.

Where was Milford? He wasn’t there.

Ballots are in the mail right now. It’s in your hands to vote for your voice and know that you’ll have more opportunities than ever before to be a direct part of the discussions about the future of Cripple Creek. If you have questions of me that will help you better make that decision, please reach out to me at meghan.r.rozell@gmail.com or call me at 303-562-6770. If I cannot answer your call, please leave a message or send me a text. You can reach out on Facebook as well either through messenger or directly on the feed at my campaign page Meghan Rozell for Mayor.

Ask those in our community who do take advantage of the many ways available to reach me how often I respond to them –as promptly as I am able. I have attended personal breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on request, I take and return phone calls, I respond to messages.

I will respond. I will show up.

To all those who helped make the Meet the Candidates event happen and all those who showed up this evening, I want to give you an extra THANK YOU! Tonight was what it’s all about and if you elect me as your Mayor, we’ll have more of these great evenings of civic discussion.


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