Former Denver mayor Wellington Webb is standing up for Nate Easley, the Denver Public Schools board president who's the target of a recall.
That effort was initiated by failed school board candidate John McBride, who once served under Webb. Now, proponents are working to collect the required 5,363 signatures. But Webb is urging voters not to sign.
Webb recorded a robocall that's being sent to the homes of voters in Easley's district of northeast Denver. According to him, the recording goes something like this: "Hi, this is former mayor Wellington Webb. I hate to disturb you on a day like today, but I believe that in the next few days, you're going to be asked to sign a petition to recall Nate Easley.
"I'm asking you to thoughtfully decline to sign, because Nate Easley has done great job as a neighborhood activist, as someone who grew up going to Denver public schools and as president of the school board. I don't think it's fair. His record is being distorted.
"You have a great day and take care!"
Webb says he recently agreed to help lead the fight against the recall effort. Craig Hughes, former campaign manager for Senator Michael Bennet, is volunteering for the cause as well. He says Easley's list of supporters also includes state Senator Mike Johnston, state Representative Angela Williams and former mayor Federico Peña.
"We're going to fight like the dickens to make sure Nate continues to be a member of the Denver school board," Webb says. "He's making tough decisions for what's in the best interest of our kids. Every generation has to take care of the next generation coming up. That's why I am a Nate Easley fan."
Even if it means opposing McBride, Webb adds. "When I heard about the recall effort... I gave him a big hug and kissed him on the cheek and told him I'm on the other side on this one; we'll have to fight it out," Webb says of McBride.
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As of last week, recall proponents reported that they'd collected "close to a thousand" signatures from voters in northeast Denver. If they hit the threshold of 5,363 by late March, a question about recalling Easley will be placed on an upcoming ballot.
The coalition to oppose the recall is still in the early stages, Hughes says. But he adds that in addition to the robocalls, there's more to come. "What you'll see is a lot more fliers and events and people out there talking," he says.
We left a message for Easley. We'll update this blog post when we hear back.