Mike Coffman sworn in as Aurora’s new mayor as discord marks first meeting

Mike Coffman, who represented Colorado’s 6th Congressional District in Washington, D.C., for a decade, took the helm of the city in which he has lived most of his life — becoming the mayor of Aurora on Monday night.

Coffman was one of four new members to take their seats at the head of government for Colorado’s third-largest city — and its most diverse. He was joined by Juan Marcano and Alison Coombs , who bested incumbent council members in last month’s election, while newcomer Curtis Gardner garnered the most votes in the at-large contest.

Incumbents council members Angela Lawson and Francoise Bergan, re-elected last month, returned to their seats on the council.

After swearing-in ceremonies for the new members of council, Monday’s meeting got underway with a familiar sense of the discord and friction that has marked council meetings of late. During public comment, speaker after speaker excoriated Aurora’s leaders for how the city has handled the death of Elijah McClain, a young African-American man who died in August after a stop by police that turned violent.

Lillian House, a member of Party for Socialism and Liberation in Denver, told the council that community members would continue showing up at council meetings until their concerns are met.

“We are going to keep fighting until there are consequences for those cops,” she said.

Other speakers called for a federal investigation into McClain’s death. One woman told the newly seated council that “we’re here in Aurora and we need things to change, and hopefully with the new council members, things will change.”

Coffman takes charge of a City Council that will be decidedly more liberal than the one that stepped down Monday night. Marcano and Coombs were given particularly boisterous rounds of applause by many audience members in the packed chambers.

“The people love you, Juan,” one man shouted after Marcano was sworn in.

Coffman squeaked out a victory last month to take Aurora’s top elected post, beating his closest competitor in the race by a mere 214 votes out of nearly 75,000 cast. He also defeated five other challengers in the high-dollar race.

In a short victory speech given nine days after polls had closed — due to prolonged counting of ballots in the race — Coffman said he would maintain control of City Council meetings that, of late, have often descended into chaos. In early November, audience members at the meeting chanted obscenities at then-Mayor Bob LeGare and held demonstrations outside city hall.

On the west steps of the Aurora municipal complex, Coffman said last month: “I will have a much larger gavel.”

As a somewhat comical rejoinder to Coffman’s gavel comment, members of Abolish ICE Denver brought a 5-foot-long “People’s Gavel” into the Aurora municipal building Monday night. Coffman even posed with the oversized gavel for photos.

A giant gavel has arrived at city hall. We’ll see how this gets incorporated into the night. Coffman said he would wield a large gavel at council mtgs, which have lately been disrupted by protesters. BACKGROUND: https://t.co/b3QgJ1yQF9

Source:: The Denver Post – Politics


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