- DMAR endorses Mayor Hancock and City Council candidates.
- DMAR endorses all of the incumbents.
- DMAR endorsed Susan Shepherd, while the Denver Post endorsed Rafael Espinoza.
The Denver Metro Association of Realtors has endorsed Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, all of the incumbent Denver city council members seeking re-election, as well as several candidates in contested races that the Realtor group believes shares its values on such things as the need for construction defect reform and smart, sustainable development.
DMAR grilled about three dozen candidates on issues such as construction defect reform, affordable housing and development before making its recommendations.
The election is May 5.
“We treat this very seriously,” said Jason Peck, who is chairman of DMAR’s Government Affairs Committee.
“A number of candidates told us they weren’t as questioned as thoroughly and as in-depth as we questioned them,” said Peck, who also sits on DMAR’s board and is the head of its Realtor PAC.
The PAC, with the approval of the Colorado Association of Realtors, gave $3,000 to Hancock and $1,000 to each of the City Council candidates it endorsed.
DMAR’s endorsements, in addition to Hancock, include:
- Chris Nevitt, auditor
- Kevin Flynn, District 2.
- Paul Lopez, District 3.
- Kendra Black, District 4.
- Mary Beth Susman, District 5.
- Liz Adams, District 6.
- Jolon Clark, District 7.
- Christopher Herndon, District t8.
- Albus Brooks, District 9,
- Anna Jones, District 10.
- Robin Kniech, At-Large
- Debbie Ortega, At-Large
DMAR did not endorse anyone in the new District 11, as it expects a run-off there A run-off election would be held on June 2.
DMAR’s predecessor association in Denver, the Denver Board of Realtors, did not endorse Hancock four years ago.
“We got the mayor’s race wrong,” in 2011, Peck said.
However, Hancock has been open to meeting with DMAR on issues such as housing, development, transportation and economic development, Peck said.
“Even when he does not agree with us, he takes our position to heart,” Peck said.
And, Hancock has been a champion for construction defect reform, one of the most important, of not the single most important, issue for DMAR, he said.
Most Realtors believe that it is so easy for condo homeowner associations to sue developers for alleged construction defects that it has brought affordable condo construction to a halt in the Denver area.
Two bills are currently before the legislature to address the issue.
“Hancock has spoken in favor of construction defect reform at the Capitol,” Peck noted, adding that a number of Democrats do not share his position.
“While DMAR believes the state should adopt sensible, overarching reforms, it’s important that local jurisdictions, including Denver, continue to be leaders on the issue,” according to Peck.
Condos, he said, historically provided first-time home buyers a “stepping stone” to move up into bigger homes.
“Right now the metro area has a dearth of condo product, but more specifically, affordable units,” Peck said.
“Sensible construction defects reform is an important arrow in the quiver to address the shortage of affordable housing in Denver and surrounding jurisdictions.
Coincidentally, DMAR’s endorsements were mostly the same as the Denver Post’s endorsements on Friday, with two notable exceptions.
The Denver Post endorsed Rafael Espinoza in District 1 over incumbent Susan Shepherd.
And in District 10, the Post endorsed Wayne New. The Post did say it thought Anna Jones, whom DMAR endorsed, also stood out.
This is what the Post had to say about its District 1 endorsement: “In volatile northwest Denver, Rafael Espinoza, an architect from Jefferson Park, boasts an impressive record as an advocate for development that is respectful of the existing community — and he also helped lead a successful campaign against oversized signage and lighting on Sports Authority Field at Mile High. His opponent, incumbent Susan Shepherd, is well-meaning but lacking in consistent leadership, and has been criticized for being tone deaf on constituent concerns. And she displayed bad judgment in supporting the Occupy Denver movement, appearing at a rally, and fighting the homeless camping ban. It’s time for a change in District 1.”
Development, or what many consider over-development, has been a big issue in northwest Denver.
Speaking generally, and not specific to Shepherd or northwest Denver, Peck said development also is a big issue for DMAR.
“DMAR has and will continue to support candidates who are thoughtful when considering future growth and development in Denver,” Peck said.
“We have a great problem in Denver. People around the country are flocking to our city because it’s thriving,” Peck added.
Like it or not, growth is coming, he said.
“Future growth projections are real and we need to plan and support sustainable development that accounts for an increase in population. With that said, DMAR completely understands the need to maintain and protect Denver’s unique and historic neighborhoods,” Peck said.
DMAR, he said, endorsed candidates that “we believe have a strong understanding of the planning process, will collaborate well with city departments, and most importantly, be able to bridge a delicate gap between neighbors and developers.”
He noted that council members and the staff of the Community Planning and Development department make tough decisions each day.
“Their guidance has helped Denver grow into the prosperous city it is today and the even more prosperous future it will have tomorrow,” according to Peck.
However, while it is important to have faith in council members and the planning staff, that is not enough, he said
“It’s imperative that Denver residents become more involved in the planning process,” Peck said.
DMAR has an extensive candidate interview and endorsement process.
Here is the process: Each candidate is asked to fill out a questionnaire, which is used to vet candidates on a variety of issues including property rights, construction defects reform, growth, transportation, landmark preservation and other issues impacting homeowners, home buyers and the real estate industry.
Following the questionnaire, DMAR conducted a 30-minute interview with each candidate.
Then, DMAR’s candidate interview committee (typically five to six members) made a recommendation to the Government Affairs Committee.
The GAC closely reviewed the recommendations by the candidate interview committee and made a recommendation to DMAR’s Board of Directors.
The Colorado Association of Realtors has final approval of DMAR’s board’s endorsement and contribution recommendations.
Peck said he was impressed by the caliber of people seeking election, including many that DMAR did not endorse.
“We had a lot of tough choices,” Peck said. “There were a lot of strong candidates. In a number of cases, we thought, it’s too bad this person isn’t running in another district.
“I really think Denver is going to be in good hands after the election, no matter who wins.”
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.