Little known about committee that backs newcomers for council

Group supports Elrod and Schlachter, shares connections with anti-Sunshine faction

Posted 10/14/17

A new campaign committee has thrown its support behind at-large city council candidates Karina Elrod and Kyle Schlachter, but who's behind it is a mystery.

The committee, called Littleton Citizens Committed to the Community, operates a website, …

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Little known about committee that backs newcomers for council

Group supports Elrod and Schlachter, shares connections with anti-Sunshine faction

Posted

A new campaign committee has thrown its support behind at-large city council candidates Karina Elrod and Kyle Schlachter, but who's behind it is a mystery.

The committee, called Littleton Citizens Committed to the Community, operates a website, littletoncitizens.com, which links to Schlachter and Elrod's campaign websites. The site lists no contact information or other links.

The committee's registered agent — a point of contact — is Jessica Williams, a financial analyst who grew up in Highlands Ranch, but moved to Littleton last year from Washington, D.C.

“I'm not in charge,” Williams said. “There are a lot of different people in charge, and I don't even know who they all are, because I choose not to ask.”

Williams declined to identify other members of the group.

Williams is married to Mike Williams, who challenged Susan Beckman in the House District 38 Republican primary last year. Beckman, who is the wife of Littleton Mayor Bruce Beckman, won the primary and the general election.

Jessica Williams is also the registered agent for Littleton, Awake!, a community activist group started in the summer of 2016 after the controversial firing of Michael Penny as city manager.

Williams characterized Awake as a counter to Sunshine, another local activist group that is often characterized as being opposed to development efforts in the city and has been associated with Penny's firing.

Awake kicked off its activities with a letter of no confidence in the four members of city council who voted to fire Penny, two of whom — Peggy Cole and Doug Clark, who is running against Schlachter and Elrod for an at-large seat — are regular Sunshine meeting attendees.

The group then threw its weight behind supporting controversial urban renewal efforts, culminating in a city council vote last December that saw all but one of the city's urban renewal districts disbanded.

“We wanted to make sure there's another faction that's being heard instead of the same old (message) from the vocal people of the past,” Williams said of Awake. “We don't have to be bullied by the 10 people in the community who always get their way.

"They want it to be the way it was in the 1950s. You're making me want to move back south to Highlands Ranch.”

Williams said she has never been to a Sunshine meeting, but suspects she wouldn't like it.

Clark said Littleton, Awake! doesn't loom large on his radar.

"I went to their website right after they were formed, but I haven't been there since," Clark said. "I occasionally get info from them but it's not much. I don't really read their stuff."

Several other regular attendees of Sunshine meetings were contacted but declined to comment on Awake or the new committee.

Williams said her involvement in the new groups is minimal and mostly involves posting on social media. She said that Littleton, Awake! had decided to wind down its activities as it had largely run its course, and members saw supporting Schlachter and Elrod as a natural next step in their efforts to reform city government — thus the new campaign committee.

Awake's most recent blog post was on June 16, and their most recent Facebook post was on Sept. 25, to announce a candidate meet-and-greet event with council candidates Elrod, Schlachter, and Patrick Driscoll.

Schlachter and Elrod both said they know nothing about the new committee, and both say they are not members of Awake.

“Littleton Awake looks like a group of people (I don't know who is all involved), much like Sunshine, who want to discuss a variety of issues impacting Littleton,” Schlachter wrote in an email. “I have no idea what impact they have or will have going forward.”

Schlachter added that he wrote a blog post for Awake's website last year in support of LIFT, the city's urban renewal authority.

Elrod said that while she knows Williams from the Littleton Leadership Academy, she does not know much about Awake or the Littleton Citizens committee.

“I follow Awake on Facebook, as a way of keeping a pulse on the community, issues and accolades the City Of Littleton is recognized for,” Elrod said in an email. “As an online and social media forum I'm glad they are sharing my upcoming events and meet and greet opportunities.”

The other person known to be involved with the Littleton Citizens committee is attorney Katie Kennedy, who is listed as the group's designated filing agent. Kennedy's company, Strategic Compliance LLC, provides campaign finance compliance services, and is listed as the registered agent for dozens of political groups statewide. Kennedy was previously the registered agent of Littleton Strong, which opposed Issue 300, a 2015 measure that mandated that urban renewal activities had to go before a popular vote. Issue 300, which passed by a wide margin, was championed by Sunshine-affiliated activist Carol Brzeczek, who is also challenging Elrod, Schlacter and Clark for an at-large council seat.

Kennedy did not respond to requests for comment.

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