A scathing indictment against the City of Arvada was published today by Arvada Citizens David Chandler and Russell Weisfeld, accusing the City Council of violating state statute and its own city ordinances in selecting a replacement Councilor to fill the vacancy left by State Representative Rachel Zenzinger. The blog article claims the Council violated Colorado Revised Statutes 24-406-2 (IV) and the Arvada City Charter Section 4.6 "Vacancies". It goes on to challenge the city to prove their compliance with Section 24-406-2 regarding advance notice of Council meeting agendas, and prompt recording of meeting minutes. The central argument made by Chandler and Weisfeld is that it was not proper for the Council to elect a new City Councilor by private ballot.
As someone who lives on the other side of the metro area, I normally do not follow City Council meetings where I do not live. I am not an attorney, and will leave analysis of what happened legally to those who are more qualified than I. What strikes me about Chandler and Weisfeld's accusation, however, is the blatant sexism of a large, otherwise modern, suburb of metropolitan Denver. The gentleman who was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Zenzinger was as "establishment" a choice as one can get — he is the current Chair of the Arvada Chamber of Commerce. The addition of Marks to the City Council makes it an all-white, middle-aged, men's club. I venture to bet the religious and political diversity is not much better. According to City-data.com, Arvada's citizenry is 51.2 percent female. If the Arvada City Council truly represented its citizens, four of the seven Council members would be women.
My grassroots group, Progressive Women of Colorado, is sick and tired of rampant cronyism in local Colorado politics. We are tired of women being treated as if we are invisible. We are tired of old men's clubs like the Arvada City Council passing their sexist baton from one golf buddy to the next. And we are not going to take it anymore. Women readers, and readers of Colorado Pols who care about justice, please call, write, blog, post, and email about this story. Embarrass the Arvada City Council for its election practices from the dark ages, and expose them for their blatant misogyny. Then, head on over to the Progressive Women of Colorado Panel Discussion on "Women in Politics" this Tuesday, from 5:30pm – 7:30pm at the Unity Church at 3021 S. University in Denver to learn how to put a stop to this.
It's time for the women of Arvada — and the women of Colorado to fight back.