John Bailey Says Candi CdeBaca Has Turned Her Back on Denver's Black Community | Westword

John Bailey Says Candi CdeBaca Has Turned Her Back on Denver's Black Community

John Bailey is going after Candi CdeBaca after she declined an invitation to two community forums he will be hosting in the coming weeks.
Candi CdeBaca and Darrell Watson at general election D9 city council debate earlier this year.
Candi CdeBaca and Darrell Watson at general election D9 city council debate earlier this year. Benjamin Neufeld
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Longtime political consultant John Bailey has accused Denver City Council District 9 representative Candi CdeBaca of ignoring the Black community — a significant part of her district — and chides her for being a "no show" for two upcoming runoff candidate forums he's hosting with Black leaders and organizations on April 22 and May 13.

In an email titled "YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME FOR US - WE WON'T SUPPORT OR VOTE FOR YOU," Bailey, founder of the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative, blasted incumbent CdeBaca for not being able to "find the time to meet with our Black community collaboration of leaders and concerned citizens."

Bailey says that when CdeBaca was asked to appear at the candidate forums — scheduled for 10 a.m. on two Saturdays at New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Boulevard — she declined. And that's part of a pattern, he adds.

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The invite flier to the black community forum
John Bailey
"For the second time in this Denver Municipal Election cycle Denver City Council Candidate Candi CdeBaca will be a 'no show' for these critical Black Community opportunities to hear from the candidates seeking office that want Black Community support," Bailey said in his email.

The earlier forum took place at New Hope Baptist on February 18. The event included CdeBaca challengers Darrell Watson and Kwon Atlas; Atlas did not make it into the runoff election.

Bailey went on to endorse Watson, "due to the fact that the Councilwoman can't find the time to meet with our Black Community collaboration of leaders and concerned citizens."

But CdeBaca fires back at Bailey, saying he "reached out to me after dates were scheduled with only a week's notice in the middle of a runoff." She adds that there was "no effort to collaborate on a time that works, no courtesy of a request for dates that work."

Bailey says he sent out the invite for the forums on April 5 — after the election, but still with plenty of notice. He notes that every other runoff candidate, including mayoral candidates Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough, will be present at the events, and adds that they all got the invitation at the same time as CdeBaca.

As prominent leader in the Black community, Bailey has hosted numerous events aimed at bettering the lives of Denver residents, including a well-attended discussion on youth violence that took place at New Hope Church on March 28.

In addition to founding the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative, Bailey is also chair of the Colorado Black Round Table. Another point of contention between Bailey and CdeBaca was Denver's Referred Question 2O, which advocated for the development of the Park Hill Golf Course. Bailey was in favor, while CdeBaca was not.

CdeBaca specifically cites Bailey's affection for the Park Hill Golf Course developers as a reason why he's displeased with her. "John is probably hostile over 'No on 2O' winning, I assume," she says. "Let's be real: John picked his candidate a long time ago with positions on 2O and so many other things."

According to Bailey, it was ultimately the Holleran Group — one of the hopeful co-developers of the Park Hill Golf Course, along with Westside Investment Partners — that prompted his interest in the project.

"The reason that I got involved [with their campaign] is that many of those young guys who were part of that group, they played basketball for me," he says. "I'll continue to support them, and I think it's a shame that other Black leadership didn't see what a significant number of Black folks in the community saw, which was opportunity and community benefits."

CdeBaca believes that Bailey sent the forum invite late on purpose, knowing she wouldn't be able to attend, which would give him an excuse to criticize her.

"In a runoff, you don't just plan forums the week before," she says. "People gave us tentative dates for things in case of a runoff before the runoff because they knew calendars would be inundated. It's the perfect example of how one man can bully one candidate to achieve a narrative he'd been trying to create all along.

"I don't need to respond to his bullying," she adds. "If John wants to send out emails endorsing candidates simply because their opponents were unable to attend his particular forum, he has that right."

CdeBaca says she "will be at several other forums likely answering the same exact questions."

But Watson doesn't think a scheduling conflict excuses her absence. "She should be at this event," her opponent says.
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