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Michael Hancock stars in No on 300 ad (VIDEO)

Today, Keep Denver Competitive, the organization fighting against the Denver Paid Sick Leave Initiative is releasing an ad, on view below, starring one of the measure's highest-profile detractors: Mayor Michael Hancock.

Does that make Hancock the face of No on 300? Not exactly, says campaign spokesman George Merritt.

"I think the face of this campaign is the guy or gal who owns the shop or new business around the corner," notes Merritt, corresponding via e-mail. "There is no debate that we should be helping small business create jobs, and the united opposition among local business is the reason the Mayor, Council members, hundreds of businesses and groups like the Hispanic Chamber, the Black Chamber and the Women's Chamber have lined against 300.

"I think the campaign's significance is the reason the Mayor made the ad," he continues.

The initiative's backers dispute the idea that 300's timing is bad. Back in May, Erin Bennett, Colorado director of 9to5, the National Association of Working Women, told us, "The economy is actually one of the reasons why it's the right time to be doing this. We know working families have been especially hurt by the economy. To worry about losing a day's pay or not being able to make a month's rent just because you're sick is something working families can't afford."

Since then, the pro-300 forces have released a video tying in to the movie Contagion and issued campaign literature featuring a photo of a cantaloupe -- an apparent reference to the listeria deaths linked to Colorado melons, although supporters deny trying to make this allusion.

Merritt, however, decries what he calls "over-the-top tactics... And with an unemployment rate hovering just under 9 percent this year, I think it's hardhearted to ignore local shops and restaurants that say they can't afford this initiative, which would be the most severe of any in the country."

Here's the Hancock ad:

More from our Politics archive: "Paid sick days initiative detractors & supporters share why they're on opposite side of issue."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts