Wednesday, March 5

Rack rage

A little less than a year ago, the Chronicle was the only Fort Collins publication that endorsed Lisa Poppaw for the District Two council seat. Every other paper supported Matt Fries, who is now running, as a Republican, for state Senate against Bob Bacon. Well, that decision came back to bite us in the ass last night.

Poppaw voted against the best interests of local newspapers to install newspaper "condos" in Old Town because some shops, worked into a frenzy by the Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Business Association, think the bins and racks are eyesores. Poppaw sided with fellow liberals Ben Manvel and Kelly Ohlson (a habit that has led some critics to refer to the councilwoman as Lisa Puppet) and Mayor Doug Hutchinson in ignoring publications' compromise proposal.

I left the council in desperate need of a drink and wondering what would have been the outcome if Fries had won the 2007 election, which eluded him by just 58 votes (roughly equivalent to the number of readers swayed by our paper's endorsement, I'd like to think).

So I called Fries this morning, and asked him for his thoughts on the issue.

"I thought it was reasonable to look at," Fries says of the newspaper-condos ordinance, "but last night if I was on council I would've come down on the side of the newspapers and the vendors who use [outdoor racks]. If consumers or advertisers of newspapers were dissatisfied, I think [publications] would make an adjustment."

Instead, council--spurred by the DDA and DBA--made the decision for the newspapers, and it's one that will definitely impact the distribution of the Chronicle. It might even keep an extra 58 voters from finding our paper next election.

6 comments:

bethany said...

Long live David Roy. Once again, he seems to be the only one with enough guts to actually walk the talk (rather than simply hear himself talk, like certain other council members). Is there any chance this horrific ordinance will fail on second reading? Totally disturbing.

5 Alive said...

Yes, long live David Roy. But while I admire him taking a principled stance, and not supporting either the publisher's ordinance or the city's, that principle stance effectively lead to greater regulation of the First Amendment. He could've supported the publisher's more-reasonable ordinance with Troxell seconding, and we'd be in a very different position right now.

They all last night -- either by vote or inaction -- went against the First Amendment, citizens' access to media, the viability of newspapers in Fort Collins and an open marketplace.

scott said...

If ScottyV were Mayor there may have been a different outcome. Perhaps your paper should have endorsed his run. However, I'm not sure your paper would sway the 12,666 votes needed for him to win. I guess the Coloradoan would have needed to endorsed him too.

Zaffos said...

I'm not entirely convinced that 12,000 people read in this city. If only people voted by drinking wine and martinis...

bethany said...

Point taken. Actually, I'm convinced that's how Bush really won Florida. Except it was Wild Turkey and SoCo.

Zaffos said...

Well, if we counted votes based on SoCo and cheap whiskey consumption, we'd probably end up with the CSU Rise'n Ralph gang in charge of the city. That would be scary as hell...but we'd probably be allowed to keep our bins in Old Town.