When Andrew Romanoff said no to PAC money, he earned a bonus

How much do voters care where campaign money comes from? Peak Campaign, working for, just polled 400 active voters in Colorado, asking them this question: "During election years, special-interest groups such as unions, trial lawyers, banks, oil companies, environmentalists and developers use political action committees, sometimes called PACs, to contribute to campaigns. If you had the choice between two otherwise equally qualified candidates, one who took campaign contributions from PACs and one who raised money only from individual contributions, would you be more likely to vote for the candidate who only accepts money from individuals, or would you be more likely to vote for the candidate who accepts PAC contributions, or does it not matter to you in how you vote?"

The results show that 58 percent of all respondents would be more likely to vote for the candidate who did not take PAC money, and 3 percent would be more likely to vote for the candidate who did.

For unaffiliated and women voters, the results are even more skewed: Women are 61 percent to 1 percent in favor of a candidate who does not take PAC money, and unaffiliateds are 66 to 2 percent. As for unaffiliated women? They polled 68 percent in favor of the candidate who does not take PAC money — with precisely none preferring the candidate who does.

This exercise is not entirely hypothetical. Democrat Andrew Romanoff, who's announced he's running for incumbent Republican Mike Coffman's seat in the 6th Congressional District, isn't taking any PAC money. (Romanoff, who lived in Washington Park when he was in the Colorado House, now lives in Aurora.)

"Confirming my own door-to-door experience, the poll shows that people do care where a candidate gets money, and a great majority would prefer that a candidate get money from people rather than special interests," says Ken Gordon, founder of "This finding has particular significance for this coming election cycle in Colorado because of Andrew Romanoff's decision to forgo special interest PAC money.  People who care about democracy from all over the country will be watching Colorado's 6th.

Laying an egg: Stapleton isn't chicken about chickens. The majority of the ever-growing community allows the backyard birds, in fact, just like the rest of the city of Denver.

But at least one part of Stapleton — one governed by its own homeowners' association — recently gave the bird to one of the development's most outspoken chicken lovers, Caroline Vierow, who runs a Facebook page called Clucs, or Chicken Lovers United Communityof Stapleton.

In early February, the Stapleton Neighborhood #7 HOA, which governs about 100 residences built by KB Homes, rejected a request by Vierow and her husband, Dane, to build a fence and a chicken coop in their back yard. The association said that a coop would "detract from the harmony of the Association" and went on to explain that "the Board feels that, while chickens are allowed by the City and County of Denver under certain criteria...they do indeed attract predators, have a potential for the nuisance of smell, and do not fit into the overall feeling of the community of Stapleton #7. In addition, the Board feels that allowing a chicken coop could negatively affect the marketability of neighboring homeowners."

The Vierows were surprised. "Stapleton prides itself on being very sustainable and green," Caroline says. "There are a lot of people here who have chickens. The master community association doesn't prohibit chickens; they're fine with them. That's why we were so taken aback when the HOA came back with this."

The association added that the Vierows' back yard was also small, and pointed out that Forest City, Stapleton's master planner, is currently marketing a new housing development — the first part of Stapleton that will be north of I-25 — more suited for fowl neighbors. Conservatory Green Plaza, as it is called, will "flow with the area's natural prairie; homes will have even faster technology; and there will be opportunities for urban agriculture in community gardens, the public landscape, or your own backyard."

And although the HOA didn't go so far as to suggest that the Vierows take their chickens — they currently have two chicks, which are living indoors — across the road, Caroline says it might make sense: "We have a garden out front, and our neighbors complain about that, too. I think I'm in the wrong part of Stapleton."

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