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Littleton 4/4/13 PostaL Patron Arapahoe County, Colorado Prsrt - std ECrWss Us PostagE Paid LittLEton, Co PErmit #70 Eddm April 4, 2013 A Colorado Community Media Publication Citizens to elect mayor? Possibly A moo-ving displAy Brinkman wants residents, not council, to choose official By Jennifer Smith Luke Travis,4, left, and Ty Nekuda, 3, feed a hungry cow at Littleton Museum’s Dairy Days March 30. Steve Anderson, shown holding the harness, explained what and how cows eat, and kids got the chance to sample ice cream and cheese made from cow’s milk. Photo by Jennifer Smith service drives Columbine valley leader Christy was once Littleton’s city manager By Jennifer Smith Columbine Valley Mayor Gale Christy is a study in what folks in this area call “that small-town feel.” Christy fell in love with Colorado while earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado. When Littleton needed a new city manager in 1972, he jumped at the opportunity. He got the job, and he and his wife, Kay, raised their three daughters in the city. He held that position until 1987, and from there went to work for one of Denver’s oldest bond houses. “But I preferred working for the public,” he said. So it was off to Littleton Public Schools in 1990, where he was the director of planning and facilities for more than eight years. “It allowed me to stay in Littleton, which is what I really wanted to do,” he said. By 2001, he was retired and active in the community. So active, in fact, he filed a petition to run for Littleton City Council. But Kay had a hip replaced, and the couple needed to downsize to a single-story home. “The only one we could find was in Columbine Valley,” he said. So they decided on a Saturday to sell their house. On Sunday, local real-estate agent Larry Borger found a buyer. On Mon- Columbine Valley Mayor Gale Christy, pictured here at Littleton Golf and Tennis Club, plays both sports twice a week. Photo by Jennifer Smith day, Tim and Cathy Weaver signed the papers, proving it really is a small world — the Weavers both worked for the city and still do. Christy served on Columbine Valley’s planning commission for three years, then was elected to town council. For the last three years, he’s been mayor. “Columbine Valley is a really nice little town,” he said. “It has a hometown atmosphere, which I enjoy.” The town itself is actually a byproduct of Columbine Country Club. The developers bought the land bordered by the South Platte River, Bowles Avenue, Platte Canyon Road and nearly to Mineral Avenue. They built the club and the golf course, then built Christy continues on Page 27 Mayor Debbie Brinkman made a push to let the public vote directly for the mayor during Littleton City Council’s March 26 study session. “The last three mayoral choices that I’ve been part of, I have found them to be a very unpleasant experience,” she said. “A lot goes on behind the scenes. … It’s not as objective as it should be. It can be a popularity thing. I would like to raise it above that level.” In 2009, council re-elect- Brinkman ed Doug Clark as mayor, despite councilors Phil Cernanec, Bruce Stahlman and Brinkman voting for Brinkman. In 2011, Brinkman edged Cernanec by one council vote to become Littleton’s next mayor. The vote was 4-3 for Brinkman, with Jim Taylor, Cernanec and Bruce Beckman voting against her. It’s customary for those who voted for the losing candidate to formally change their votes so it’s officially recorded as unanimous. The city’s charter requires that councilors elect the mayor, which it actually calls the “council president.” A change would require a vote of the people, and it was in that context that the subject came up. Council bounced around several possible measures to place on the November ballot, which would need to be finalized by Sept. 6. On the list of possibilities are posting legal notices (electronically versus in print), tax increases, adding a lodging tax, extra taxes on retail marijuana and “administrative clean-up items.” But the longest discussion surrounded Brinkman’s proposition. Taylor offered her the most support, saying it would increase dialogue and give the people a choice. Councilors Peggy Cole and Jerry Valdes were staunchly opposed. “The behind-the-scenes stuff is a problem with people,” said Cole. “I don’t think it’s what we’ve got, it’s how some people have dealt with what we have.” Valdes thinks the change would give a disproportionate amount of power to the council president. “If people’s feelings get hurt, then let’s just give everybody a ribbon for winning and call it a day,” said Valdes. Mayor continues on Page 27

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