Incumbent Bruce Beckman and newcomer John Watson announced this week they’ll join Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Stahlman in the quest for the two at-large city council seats up for grabs in the November election.
Beckman and his wife, Susan, a former Arapahoe County commissioner and former Littleton City Council member, have lived in Littleton for more than 20 years. He retired from the Littleton Police Department as a division chief in 2011, and soon after announced he was running for city council.
Beckman says if re-elected, he’ll continue to focus on safety, fiscal responsibility, accountability, protection of neighborhood property values and creating a healthy business environment.
“As the economy improves, there will be tremendous pressure from the development and business community,” he said in a press release. “We cannot take development concepts and urban growth patterns from cities back on the eastern coast and automatically think that they are going to be a good fit in Littleton. One size does not fit all. As we change, we cannot forget those who have invested in the community through purchasing homes, sending children to our schools, and owning local businesses. We need a vision that protects what we have, builds on our success and plans for the future of our community.”
He says highlights of his time on council include pushing for a balanced budget, working with the group trying to save the High Line Canal, improving fire service to the Trailmark neighborhood, lobbying for a strategic plan for the city and increasing outreach to the community.
Beckman earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado. He is a graduate of the FBI’s National Academy and the Army War College.
Watson and his wife, Val, have lived in Littleton since 2002. After retiring from a career as a self-employed real-estate developer, he now rehabilitates and rents out houses. He graduated from the Air Force Academy, earned a master’s of business administration from California State University and a juris doctorate from Loyola University.
He’s recently been attending council meetings as a representative of Citizens for Rational Development, a group opposed to high-density development within the city. He said he also enjoys attending meetings of the Sunshine Boys, which describes itself as a government watchdog group.
Watson’s campaign slogan is “Smart. Economic. Growth.” He says he’ll focus on smart and economically sound growth principles.
“I’ve not been pleased with some of the votes of city council, so I decided to run,” he said, referencing the Nevada Place expansion that added 72 one-bedroom apartments to downtown.
He’s adamant that the city should charge impact fees of $10,000 a unit on residential development rather than spending time looking at charging admission to Littleton Museum.
“They don’t tend to pay their way in the long term,” he said.
City Manager Michael Penny said in May that staff is drafting an ordinance to implement impact fees, and only one project under consideration will go through prior to its presumed passage.
Watson also believes developers should be required to include high-speed Internet in all new projects, creating a network that would be a draw for new businesses.
The other council seats up for grabs are Jim Taylor’s in District 1 and Phil Cernanec’s in District 3. Taylor is term-limited, and nobody has announced a run for his seat yet. Cernanec launched his re-election campaign in April.
An election guide is available at the city clerk’s office for anyone still considering a run. For more information, call 303-795-3753 or stop by Littleton Center during business hours.
Three people have officially declared bids for seats on the Littleton Public Schools Board of Education: Dallas Jones, Kelly Perez and Robert Reichert. LPS spokesperson Diane Leiker says all have been active in the district in various capacities.
LPS canceled its last two elections when nobody stepped up to run against the incumbents. This time, Bob Colwell, Renee Howell and Sue Chandler are all finishing their second four-year terms and cannot run again due to term limits.
Littleton’s municipal election is Nov. 5. School board and city council are both nonpartisan, so candidates don’t have to disclose any affiliation with a political party.