The official opposition is from three Harrison School District 2 officials. First is Deborah Hendrix, whom Helen defeated in the 2013 council election. Hendrix was promised the seat by the Establishment. She was school board president when a school cafeteria found worms in the soup. She presided over lousy test scores and high dropout rates, the worst of all local school districts. She was endorsed in 2013 by council president Keith King, who now backs Helen. Most campaign cash for Hendrix came from developers. Helen did not seek money from developers looking for City Hall favors, and took none.
Hendrix criticized Helen's friendship with Douglas Bruce. Hendrix was just exposed as owing the IRS $22,000 in back taxes. She admits she owes that money, unlike tax limiter Douglas Bruce, who is innocent and is appealing his revenge-based state tax case. Hendrix also pleaded guilty to child neglect, a scary fact against someone working with children.
Second is Victor Torres, current D-2 president. He says Helen is aloof but has never met her (!) Helen goes to many neighborhood meetings and has not seen Torres. He blames her for council votes based on her “personal beliefs” and not his advice. Yes, Helen's political principles guide her actions. She does not apologize for her beliefs and for keeping her campaign promises. That's why she ran in the first place!
Last is Woody Longmire who was sent to reform school as a teenager after threatening a school official with an ice pick. He says he was a high school dropout. He also faults Helen for knowing people with legal troubles.
This trio came up with a 200-word statement of their recall grounds. Read it here. Notice its strange criticisms. It said Helen was against issue 1B, a $40 million yearly “rain tax,” and also that Helen did not represent her constituents. Of the 17 precincts in District 4, 16 agreed with Helen and voted against issue 1B. The trio says local voters are “hard-pressed” (financially) and yet objects to Helen's steady opposition to higher taxes and utility rates. They say Helen is “out of step with voters” and favors a “fringe agenda,” but most District 4 voters voted as she did in the last election—against higher taxes.
They all criticized Helen for knowing two men who are appealing recent court cases. One is an expert on firearms, the other is strongly pro-freedom. Douglas Bruce is the best-known taxpayer advocate in Colorado, having written the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights adopted by city and state voters. He is a former county commissioner and state legislator. Helen listens to everyone, particularly if they are experts in public policy. She does not turn on her friends when they are attacked by politicians. When summoned to testify in court, she obeyed that order and told the truth. Isn't that integrity what we want in our elected representatives?
The trio said Helen “contributed to gridlock and infighting.” In fact, she authored a bill to cut business fees to aid economic development and create jobs. That ordinance passed city council, but was vetoed by the mayor, who then proposed and took credit for a similar bill.
The trio said Helen opposed improved oversight of Utilities. In fact, Helen reliably voted against higher utility rates, pay raises, and surrendering council supervision to the shadowy special interests who are presumably behind this baseless and secret recall effort.
The trio said Helen fought “a plan to tackle downtown homelessness.” In fact, she rejected a crazy liberal scheme for the city to GIVE a home to anyone who is homeless (!)
Apart from this trio, an even more secretive group started attacking Helen. It calls itself Colorado Springs Government Watch. Its leader is Dede Laugesen, wife of the editorial writer for the Gazette. She faults Helen for “guilt by association” in Dede Laugesen's own words. She condemns Helen for having Helen's photo taken with Douglas Bruce in 2011, before his politically-motivated arrest, yet Dede had Dede's photo taken hugging him in June 2012, after his trial. The Gazette printed both photos; see December 31 Gazette blog at our Media link. What hypocrisy!
This “group” demanded private correspondence from councilman Joel Miller, then Helen Collins, and now from a private citizen running for a council seat. Only public records on public policy are open records, not Christmas cards or other notes or phone calls not using city-owned property. Laugesen is on a fishing expedition using an illegal invasion of privacy. Who will serve in government if exposed to busy bodies rummaging through their private papers without a search warrant?
This “group” says it paid thousands of dollars to petition carriers, but made no disclosure of its donations, expenses, bank account, or campaign committee, as the law requires. THEY are the lawbreakers! If ever disclosed, we predict you will recognize developers, liberals, and other insiders. You may even see money from billionaire Phil Anschutz, who owns the Gazette (where Dede's husband works as the editorial writer), the Broadmoor, and other businesses. They can't stand that District 4 chose an honest, hard-working conservative 20-year Navy veteran instead of a puppet of the Broadmoor crowd for them to control.