OWN sets forum for candidates Feb. 24

       The Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) has scheduled a candidate forum leading up to the April 5 city election.
       Open to the public, the event will be Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. in the gym at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St.
       All the candidates for mayor, at-large and District 3 have been invited - both by e-mail and by formal letters - according to OWN President Welling Clark. One of four geographical council districts in the city, District 3 covers the southwest Colorado Springs area that includes the older Westside.
       “We're getting a good response so far from the candidates, and I just got the invitations out,” Clark said.
       The purpose of the forum is for Westsiders and others to meet the candidates and “for the candidates to get to know the people and the issues in our area,” he said. He noted that candidates from other parts of the city don't necessarily have a clear understanding, for example, of the Westside's mixed-use neighborhoods and infill concerns.
       Although plans are still being finalized, the idea is to have a separate time block for each candidate grouping - District 3, mayor and at-large.
       Candidate numbers could be an issue. As of Jan. 26, a total of 12 had announced for mayor and 14 were seeking the five available at-large council seats. Lisa Czelatdko and Michael Merrifield are still the only two candidates in District 3.
       Feb. 9 is the deadline for candidates to submit their petitions to the City Clerk's Office.
       Clark noted that any candidates who may file between now and then will also be invited to participate in the forum.
       Citizens attending will get to submit questions of the candidates; OWN is still deciding whether people “can ask them questions right there and let them stumble through it, or give the candidates the questions in advance so they can offer a succint answer,” Clark said.
       He expects to have such details “hammered out in about two weeks,” he said.

Westside Pioneer article