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.