April 29 2005, 11:19 AM
If the amount of money raised in support of or against a legislative initiative is indicative of its final success, then the Denver Justice Center will be approved May 3 by a large margin. The campaign to build the new jail has received 11 times the amount of contributions raised by opponents of the plan. The opposition has received only $56,000. in three months. Most of it has been in "in-kind services." Citizens for a Safe Denver, which backs the jail, has received $647,000.
The opposition claims much of the funds supporting the jail come from construction companies, who have a special interest in seeing the project prevail. Bill Vandenberg, a leader of the opposition campaign, called the disproportionate funding the work of special interests. Many of the proponent campaign's largest contributions have come from construction-related companies, including infusions this month from contractor M.A. Mortensen Co. ($25,000), builder Corporex LLC ($25,000) and architect HOK Inc. ($17,500).Citizens for Safe Denver respond:
"Over half of our donors have actually given $500 or less, whereas our opponents have been almost solely funded by two (nonprofits) who believe no one belongs in jail."The difference means we will be seeing tv ads this weekend for the jail but not against. My prediction: voters will approve the new justice center bill by a wide margin and Mayor Hickenlooper's stock will soar even higher.