Loveland's Independent News Source
City Council Elections: Ward II
When Three Is A Crowd
Loveland, August 15, 2017

In early March Loveland downtown small business owner Jacki Marsh reached out to Ward II
Councilwoman Leah Johnson.  Marsh owns and runs a top retail sales generator in downtown,
, an artisan boutique and gallery located at 243 E 4th Street in Loveland.

This time, however, Marsh wasn’t inquiring about downtown issues but instead her interest in the
open seat on Loveland’s City Council being vacated by Councilwoman Joan Shaffer who also represents
Ward II.  The usually affable and friendly Johnson declined to meet Marsh by not providing even the
courtesy of a return email or phone call.

Despite receiving a cold shoulder from Johnson, Marsh was determined to proceed as a candidate to
represent Ward II on Loveland’s City Council.  On August 4, Marsh visited Loveland City Hall to obtain
the necessary information on running for public office.  As has long been the practice in Loveland, the
city clerk’s office notes the name and credentials of potential candidates for immediate distribution to
the city manager and Loveland City Council.  

On the same day, Johnson received an email from
McWhinney lobbyist David Crowder (see document
thumbnail in right column) confirming a meeting to presumably discuss the upcoming city election this
November and a candidate for Ward II.  

“I wanted to reach and see if we can put something on the calendar to touch base are you up for
coffee next week.”

Crowder was recruited from a Lake Elsinore development in California last year to run McWhinney
controlled Centerra Metro Districts last year where he currently draws a salary.  Curiously, Crowder’s
email to Johnson was sent from a McWhinney email account while using his public metro district title.  
In California, Crowder worked for Pacific Ventures where he helped to manage the development of a
1,600 home master planned community while performing
“community relations” for the developer.  
Community relations is often used as a polite euphemism for the developer’s representative who
lobbies members of local government and often meddles in local politics.

In addition to meeting with McWhinney, Councilwoman Leah Johnson was overheard reporting on the
status of her Ward II council candidate recruit with Foundry development lead on downtown and
Brinkman Partner/President, Jay Hardy.  The conversation was overheard at the Coffee Tree this
morning on 4th street by other patrons at the restaurant.

Why So Much Interest in Ward II?

Historically, Ward II draws very little interest from other parts of the city or state for that matter.  
Ward II covers most of Loveland’s historic downtown and stretches across the southern part of the city
west into Mariana Butte Golf Course communities.  Former City Councilman Glenn Rousey obtained the
seat in 2004 in an uncontested election as the only interested candidate.

Councilwoman Joan Shaffer easily defeated local insurance agent Bob Snyder in 2009 when she first
ran for city council on a reform platform to stop special interests by halting big subsidies to McWhinney’
s Centerra development on I-25.  Shaffer lead a successful campaign finance reform years prior to
prevent multiple McWhinney LLC’s from electing council candidates by preventing large corporate

Shaffer received 53.77% of the vote to Snyder’s 46.23% of the 3,273 votes cast.  At the time, Ward II
had just under 9,000 registered voters.  By 2013 Shaffer faced a challenge from Loveland Planning
Commissioner Carol Dowdy who she defeated by garnering 53% of the slightly more than 5,000 votes
cast but still less than 50% of registered voters casting a ballot.

For the past 17 years this particular seat on Loveland’s City Council has never drawn the interest of
more than one and sometimes two candidates until this year.  As of last week, three credible and
competitive candidates have pulled candidate nomination papers from the city clerk generating
considerable buzz on social media making it even higher profile with more interested candidates than
even the mayor’s race.  In the meantime, as the August 28 deadline approaches a number of other
council seats appear to be uncontested and of little interest.

Lessons Learned From 2009

Centerra developer McWhinney faced a tough year in 2009 in Loveland politics.  Candidates who voted
for McWhinney’s 2004 Master Financing Agreement or received their open support lost by large
margins.  Councilors Jan Brown and David Clark along with candidates Teri Volk and Bob Snyder
(Republicans) were defeated by Democrats Mayor Cecil Gutierrez, Joan Shaffer and Cat McEwen.  In
fact, every candidate identified by a 2009 summary in LovelandPolitics
“McWhinney Scale” as red
indicating strong McWhinney support were defeated.  The only two Republicans to be elected that
year, Daryle Klassen and Hugh McKean, were identified closer towards yellow or neutral in the
LovelandPolitics McWhinney scale.

Ironically, it was then Councilman Cecil Gutierrez and Joan Shaffer leading the movement to reform
Loveland’s City Council by halting secret meetings conducted with the developer and votes past
midnight where no public was present to comment or witness their local government’s actions.
Today, Ward II candidate Jacki Marsh has been raising the very same concerns in public during council
meetings where both Gutierrez and Shaffer have ignored her calls for an audit of McWhinney.  
Specifically, Marsh protested a unanimous council vote on April 4, of this year to allow McWhinney’s
Centerra to exceed previous debt limits by authorizing $188 million of public debt, compounding
interest and pushing repayment out until 2050.  Marsh earned particular ire from the powerful
developer when she stated, “Would you give an alcoholic a bottle of tequila?  We need a metro district

Two Partisan McWhinney Candidates

Four days following Marsh’s visit to city hall on August 4, two partisan candidates, one Democrat and
the other Republican, entered Loveland’s city hall to declare they will be running for Ward II in
opposition to Jacki Marsh.  Both candidates leave little doubt they were recruited by McWhinney
surrogates focusing on Ward II to prevent Marsh from gaining public office.

Democrat Candidate Kathi Wright, who is Executive Director of the
Boys & Girls’ Club in Loveland, was
recruited by her friend Councilwoman Leah Johnson days after Johnson’s secret meetings with
McWhinney lobbyist David Crowder.  For her part, Wright makes no bones about being approached by
Johnson to run and even getting a garage full of campaign signs saying, “The Wright Choice” for city
council.  For more than thirteen years Kathi Wright has been the director of the Boys & Girls Club
which Troy McWhinney recently made an unexpected "
generous contribution."

The Republican candidate (wife and business partner of the failed
2009 McWhinney candidate Bob
) Gail Snyder, was introduced by former Loveland City Councilman and friend of Troy
McWhinney State House Representative Hugh McKean.  Snyder is also very open about McKean
recruiting her to run for Ward II and is seen on McKean’s Facebook page being introduced as his choice
to run in Loveland’s Ward II City Council race.

Curiously, McKean’s special interest in Ward II is new as he represented Ward III on Loveland’s City
Council and hasn’t taken such a special interest in the ward where he lives or Wards I and IV as a
member of the state legislature.  In 2015, when McKean was elected to the state legislature, he
embraced Troy McWhinney who attended his victory party and contributed generously to his
campaign.  Also in attendance in the “Rear of the Steer” party that November evening were Bob and
Gail Snyder.

McWhinney’s Divide and Conquer Loveland’s Partisan Split

Following their 2009 losses the McWhinney brothers who operate their development company in
Loveland each began developing stronger partisan ties on either side of the political divide.  Troy
McWhinney, a Republican, who hosted a fundraiser in his home for Governor Romney during his
presidential run in 2008 began reaching out to local Republican candidates and office holders
describing himself as a “lifelong” conservative Republican.

Brother and Denver resident Chad McWhinney
began working with famed heiress Pat Stryker while
forming other partisan alliances on a statewide scale.  Chad, reportedly a self-described “progressive”
with certain audiences heavily backed Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s previous gubernatorial
campaigns among other high-profile Democrats.

Jacki Marsh, recognizing she didn’t want to compete against two partisan candidates each with high
profile recruiters decided three women in the race was too many.  Marsh announced in a gathering at
Generations in Loveland among many supporters this week she will not submit her signed candidate
petition to represent Ward II on Loveland's City Council by the August 28, deadline.
Click on picture to see diagram of McWhinney influence
into both political parties in Loveland's Ward II
candidate selection
Ward II City Council candidate
Democrat Kathi Wright
Ward II City Council candidate
Republican Gail Snyder