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Herald HIGHLANDS RANCH 2.14.13

Highlands Ranch

Douglas County, Colorado • Volume 26, Issue 13

February 14, 2013

A Colorado Community Media Publication

ourhighlandsranchnews.com

DANCING IN THE NEW YEAR

C-470 panel steers to tolls

Committee’s vote narrows focus for road’s expansion By Ryan Boldrey

rboldrey@ourcoloradonews.com

A Lion and Dragon Dance by National Martial Arts Academy students kicks off the Chinese New Year Celebration Feb. 9 at Southridge Recreation Center. Two performances and a cultural fair were presented by the Great Wall Chinese Academy and the Highlands Ranch Cultural Affairs Association.

PHOTOS BY COURTNEY KUHLEN

One of the Great Wall Chinese Academy dancers performs a Lijing Chinese Folk Dance Feb. 9. This year, 2013, is the Year of the Snake in the Chinese zodiac.

A member of the Junior Denver Taiko Group performs Japanese Taiko Feb. 9 during the Chinese New Year Celebration at Southridge Recreation Center.

The Great Wall Chinese Academy and Highlands Ranch Cultural Affairs Association teamed up for the seventh straight year to ring in the Chinese New Year to Northern Douglas County. The Year of the Snake was welcomed in Feb. 9 at Southridge Recreation Center and jam-packed with martial arts demonstrations, traditional dancing and music and a cultural fair highlighted by Chinese delicacies. The celebration drew almost 650 people.

Romanoff takes aim at Coffman’s seat Former state Speaker declares early for 2014 race By Ryan Boldrey

rboldrey@ourcoloradonews.com Andrew Romanoff, former Speaker of the Colorado House, has announced he will run in 2014 against three-term U.S. Congressman Mike Coffman, R-Aurora. “You mean you’re not thinking about the 2014 election already?” joked Romanoff, who served in the state House from 2000-08 and as Speaker from 2005-08. The Democrat, who moved to Aurora at the beginning of the year, said he was declaring early because he hopes to meet as many people in the 6th Congressional District as possible in the next 21 months. “I ran for the state House four times and got elected four times by going out and meeting my neighbors and finding out what issues were important to them,” he said. “I figured if I start early enough I might be able to meet the majority of my threequarter-million neighbors who live in this district.” The likelihood of Romanoff meeting more than 375,000 people in the next 21 months may not be a realistic one, but the

former Speaker said he believes grassroots is still the way to go and “the best conversations are had by going door to door.” The 46-year-old son of a Democratic mother and Republican father was defeated in his most recent political bid by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in the 2010 Democratic primary. He said he plans to focus on ways to improve education, strengthen the economy and reduce the cost of health care if elected Romanoff to Congress. “When I served in the state House I brought Republicans and Democrats together to solve some pretty tough problems. The approval rating is lower than it has ever been in Washington, D.C., and I think Coffman it was Sen. (John) McCain who said it best and that was that (those that approve of Congress is) `down to paid staff and blood relatives,’ and we can do better than that. “Every big problem that this country faces depends on our ability to work across the political aisle. I did that for eight years and I will do that for two more if I’m elected.” The former teacher, who holds degrees from Yale, Harvard and the University of

Denver, already received an endorsement from state Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton. “This will be one the most targeted, highly contested congressional races in the country next year,” Newell said in a written statement on Feb. 8. “I would be proud to call Andrew Romanoff my congressman and will do everything in my power to help him before and after the election.” Coffman, who defeated Aurora Democrat Joe Miklosi by two points in November, issued his own statement last week. “We just had an election, and voters elected me to be their representative, not a full-time candidate,” Coffman said. “Right now, I’m focused on working across the aisle for policies to help Colorado’s working families and small business owners succeed.” In recent weeks Coffman appears to have softened his longtime anti-immigration stance. He introduced the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act - which provides a naturalized citizenship path for immigrants who enlist - on Jan. 29 and has since spoken publically in favor of a citizenship path for the children of illegal immigrants. Coffman, a 21-year military veteran, told Colorado Community Media in January that he intends to focus much of his efforts over the next two years on veterans issues. He also spoke in favor of an assault weapons ban, but wants to see it done at the state level, not the federal level.

Like traffic at the end of rush hour, the future of C-470 appears to be clearing up. On Feb. 7, the C-470 Corridor Coalition Steering Committee — made up of representatives from Douglas, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties as well as the Highlands Ranch Metro District and cities of Littleton, Lone Tree and Centennial — voted 7-0 to toll any new lanes along the 13-mile stretch between Interstate 25 and Kipling Street. The coalition has been studying different options to finance the addition of one or two lanes in each direction since 2011 and began a heavy dose of public outreach last summer. Other options included the implementation of sales or property tax increases within a to-be-determined taxing district as well as tolling all the lanes. “The public was divided on tolling (the new lanes) and sales tax,” said Roger Sherman, chief operating officer with consulting firm CRL Associates, in reference to a recent survey done by Hill Research Consultants. “What’s interesting is when you start to go head to head and weigh each potential funding option separately.” The public opinion poll, which was sent out near the end of 2012 to a random sampling of citizens in areas of impact in Douglas, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, made two things clear — citizens were not in favor of property tax or tolling all lanes. “Our citizens have been very clear that in no way will they support a toll on the existing lanes,” said Douglas County Commissioner Jack Hilbert, chair of the C-470 coalition, before adding that “property tax is a four-letter word in Douglas County.” When it came to the possibility of raising sales tax, steering committee members were not shy about voicing their concerns. There was also a consensus that there was not enough support to pass a sales tax once a district was drawn. “It becomes very difficult to say `let’s tax this group of people and not others,’” said Lone Tree Mayor Jim Gunning. “Lone Tree is really a retail hub. Many people come to shop there. I think we see it as a competitive issue having a retail tax here that we (wouldn’t) have in other locations, just outside the boundary.” Another issue with sales tax, Hilbert said, is that it would take an additional two C-470 continues on Page 9

C-470 CORRIDOR COALITION STEERING COMMITTEE Jack Hilbert, Chair, Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe, Arapahoe County Commissioner Don Rosier, Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Gunning, Lone Tree Mayor Cathy Noon, Centennial Mayor Jim Taylor, Littleton City Councilman Allen Dreher, Highlands Ranch Metro District Board Member

Printed on recycled newsprint. Please recycle this copy.

Highlands Ranch Herald 021413  

Highlands Ranch Herald published by Colorado Community Media

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