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The construction at the National Western Center in 2021. Photo: Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's $450 million spending plan is already in trouble.

The opposition from City Council members came a day after the mayor made his pitch in the State of the City address.

  • The city leaders are disputing the entire foundation of the bond package — why it's necessary, where the money will go and whether it would benefit the community.

Why it matters: The rebuke puts in question whether it will make it to the November ballot and signals a difficult road ahead to win voter approval.

  • Hancock's term ends in two years and the spending initiative is a test of his power and a potential capstone of his legacy.

What's new: The Hancock administration on Tuesday released the list of its 80 priority projects and a website that touts its "RISE" spending package.

  • The mayor is focused on the economic impact from the proposed construction of a new arena and other projects, saying it would produce nearly 7,600 jobs, $483 million in wages and $1 billion in economic benefits.

By the numbers: The National Western Center — the home of the annual stock show that is undergoing a $1 billion upgrade — is the top beneficiary, receiving 42% of the total.

  • Another $37 million would go toward the purchase or construction of new shelters for people experiencing homelessness.

The other side: At a hearing Tuesday, the council questioned Hancock's prized item — a new $160 million arena at the center — saying it is not a priority and wouldn't benefit the community. Others argued the parks projects on the list should be funded from existing taxes.

Moreover, Council President Stacie Gilmore said the jobs the construction projects would create are not the jobs that Denver needs, the Denver Business Journal reports. She wants a focus on developing more stable careers, not hourly-wage jobs.

The intrigue: Hancock's allies aren't helping his case.

An organization called Friends of the National Western Stock Show sent mailers chastising council members for their opposition, the Denver Post reports.

  • "That was certainly an interesting way to try to get us to buy into something, by talking smack about us all over town," remarked Councilperson Amanda Sawyer.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story quoted incorrect information reported by the Denver Post about the name of the organization behind the mailers. The organization is named the Friends of the National Western Stock Show.

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Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Police overhaul measure back on ballot as Minneapolis voters head to polls

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Early voting begins in Minneapolis this morning, with a consequential question on the future of the police department back on the ballot.

Driving the news: In an eleventh hour ruling, the Minnesota Supreme Court overruled a Hennepin County judge's decision to strike the police charter amendment from the ballot over concerns that the language was too vague.

Why it matters: Question 2, which proposes replacing the Minneapolis Police Department with a new public safety agency that could include officers "if necessary," could fundamentally change public safety in Minneapolis by removing the minimum officer requirement and giving the City Council more say in police policies.

  • Supporters had argued that the judge's intervention subverted the will of the 20,000-plus voters who signed a petition to get the measure on the ballot.

What they're saying: Both supporters and critics of the proposal applauded the court's ruling.

  • "Voters can rejoice that their voice, their civic engagement, and their votes matter," a statement from the "yes" campaign read.
  • Mayor Jacob Frey, who opposes the measure, said the court made "the right call," saying residents "deserve the opportunity to weigh in this fall and bring this debate to a close so we can move forward with clarity for our residents' safety."

Between the lines: The fight over the measure is expected to attract national attention and major spending on both sides — opponents are launching their first TV ad.

  • That battle could impact turnout and the outcome of other local contests, including the mayor's race and competitive City Council match-ups.
  • Questions on city governance and rent control, as well as the Park Board and Board of Estimate and Taxation races, are also on the ballot.

Zoom out: It's not just Minneapolis. Early voting begins in dozens of municipalities and school districts across the state today.

  • Voters in St. Paul pick a mayor, school board members and face a rent control question of their own.
  • Contests elsewhere cover city government, school boards, tax levies and other local ballot questions.

Be smart: Absentee ballots can be cast in person, often at an early vote center or local election office, or by mail. Click the links for early voting sites across Hennepin and Ramsey counties.

Sep 17, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts to pay $2.5M in abuse settlement

A scout receives a blue Eagle Scout neckerchief during a ceremony. Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images

The Mid-Iowa Council Boy Scouts will pay $2.5 million as part of what's believed to be the largest settlement of child sex abuse claims in U.S. history, its CEO Matt Hill told Axios.

  • Sexual abuse was alleged to have occurred under the Mid-Iowa Council's oversight, Hill said. Most of the claims took place prior to 1980, he added.

The big picture: Tens of thousands of people said they were sexually abused by scout leaders or members over decades in a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America that ended in an $850 million settlement this year.

Context: The BSA filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2020 due to the mounting legal costs associated with multiple sexual abuse lawsuits.

  • The Mid-Iowa Council is among the more than 250 scout councils that'll pay a total of $500 million in cash and properties to compensate victims and help the larger organization financially recover.

Of note: The amount that each local council contributes is based on factors including information in cases filed in the claims process, and how much each could meaningfully contribute while still serving their territory, according to Hill.

  • The Mid-Iowa Council is a legally separate entity from the BSA National Council.

Between the lines: Membership at the Mid-Iowa Council — which provides programs to more than 10,000 kids in 27 counties, including Polk — has dropped about 40% over the last two years. Hill said it's mostly due to the pandemic.

  • National membership has also experienced dramatic declines.
  • No adverse effects to the Mid-Iowa Council's operations are expected because of the settlement, Hill told Jason.
Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Maybe we can ignore inflation expectations

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Just because we expect inflation to show up, doesn't mean it will. That's the message from an important new paper throwing cold water on a central tenet of monetary economics.

Why it matters: The Fed hikes interest rates when — and only when — it thinks inflation is otherwise going to be too high. That means it needs a formula to determine where it thinks inflation is going to be. But now a senior Fed economist is saying that the key ingredient in that formula "rests on extremely shaky foundations."

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