September flood, election results mark year

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The past year Jefferson and Adams were among Colorado counties marked by intensive flooding in September.

We are always alert for forest fires near our Golden office and brush fires in the area surrounding our Westminster office — and of course, the occasional blizzard and windstorm — so the heavy rains provided a slightly different type of coverage as roads were closed, and families and pets were relocated. About 17 inches of rain was recorded during several days in mid-September with an estimate of about $1 billion of damage across the state.

Our regional cities have completed most of the repair work, and the portions of Highway 72 washed out near Golden have been replaced. The silver lining from the rain clouds amounts to more economic activity as part of repair and clean-up efforts.

Once again we survived one of Mother Nature’s mean streaks.

Looking ahead an unfolding trend in the region that will be with us for a while involves representation. For weeks we saw people holding signs on street corners, some in support of recalling local state Sen. Evie Hudak and some in support of the senator. Letters from readers reflected passionate opinions on both sides of the issue for weeks. The potential recall vote unraveled when Hudak resigned and fellow Democrat, Arvada’s Renee Zenzinger was selected to fill her post. Zenzinger has a reputation for sweating the details, listening to others and showing vision. She will find herself at the Statehouse in the throes of perhaps more controversial issues — such as gun control legislation, which could be credited as the undoing of Hudak’s term. Time will tell if recall efforts to remove officials undercut desired strong turnouts in general elections where elected officials are efficiently voted in or out at that time.

Representation on the county levels will see changes as well this year. Adams County will have an election and increase its board of commissioners from three to five. At the same time, petitions are being distributed in Jefferson County for a ballot question which would increase its board from three to five.

We have witnessed times when the three rep board does leave a two-to-one lock — where the two most like-minded commissioners call all the shots. This can be good and bad. And we accept the idea that having five board members reduces the power of each person, which can be good. So we’ll be watching.

And we have our eyes trained on the Jeffco School board, which has three new board members with pronounced more conservative leanings. In tandem with this change, the longtime steady leadership of Superintendent Cindy Stevenson will end this summer with her retirement. The obvious forecast indicates a major sea change for the state’s biggest school district.

From our view, the flood follow-up is wrapping up, but changes in representation will underpin many of our stories this year. We’ll be watching this along with many other topics.

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