The Spot newsletter: Democrats running for governor get real feisty, scooter-mania in Denver, roads smarter than humans and much more

Welcome back to The Spot, where The Denver Post’s politics team captures what’s happening this week — from the Colorado legislature to Denver city hall, with a stop through the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

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Things are getting feisty in the Democratic battle for a chance to become Colorado’s next governor thanks to an attack ad from a pro-Cary Kennedy group that seems to be irking everyone — including Kennedy herself. The Democrats in the Colorado attorney general’s race primary are also clashing, so we took a deep dive into that contest and into the two candidates’ positions on the issues.

In Denver, the 2019 mayoral race is already well underway, the airport is about to get larger and the nation’s first legal marijuana spa has hit a wall. Also, be careful to not get run over by a scooter!

If you haven’t gotten your fill of chaos yet, people are lining up to be Aurora’s next mayor and Colorado’s roads might soon be smarter than we humans are.

Fresh news: A new law aims to help immigrants who aided the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan and refugees by giving them access to in-state tuition rates as soon as they arrive in Colorado.

Gov. John Hickenlooper pauses to get his face in a selfie after the ceremonial signing Wednesday, May 30, 2018, of Senate Bill 87.
A new Colorado governor’s race attack ad by a pro-Cary Kennedy group targets fellow Democrats on education. And they’re not happy about it. You know who else isn’t happy about the ad? Gov. John Hickenlooper says he’s “really … disappointed” by the spot.

Most interesting quote from this:

“Most polls I’d seen, it looked like Cary Kennedy was going to win anyway,” Hickenlooper said. “Why jeopardize her victory by turning this into a a mudfest? I was disappointed.” #copolitics #cogov

— Jesse Aaron Paul (@JesseAPaul) May 30, 2018

As Colorado cuts back spending, costs for the state’s college and university students have soared. Gov. Hickenlooper signed a bunch of bills this week — including ones seeking to improve Colorado immigrant driver’s license program and aiming to boost consumer protections. Why Colorado’s environmental battles aren’t the focus of the nation’s top Democratic donor — Tom Steyer — in the 2018 election The “street fighter” vs. the law professor: The pair of Democrats running for Colorado attorney general are aligned on the issues — but not on how to solve them. Five things to know about Phil Weiser, a Democratic candidate for Colorado attorney general.
Phil Weiser, left, and state Rep. Joe Salazar. The pair are facing off in the June 26 Democratic primary for a chance to become Colorado’s next attorney general.
A Denver business hoped to open the nation’s first legal marijuana spa, but it’s come up short — by about 20 feet, to be more exact — prompting a denial of one of the city’s new social pot use licenses. Jefferson County is shaping up as the next flashpoint in the regulation of popular home renting services like Airbnb and Homeaway. Reporter John Aguilar breaks down this developing story. Gentrification concerns and troubles with Denver’s homebuyer assistance program are spurring new discussions about affordable housing in the city. A baker’s dozen worth of candidates want to fill the seat once occupied by Steve Hogan, the recently deceased Aurora mayor. “Data is the new asphalt:” That’s the conclusion from the head of CDOT’s futuristic RoadX program, as the transportation agency looks to team up with a Kansas City startup that plans to test its “smart pavement.” Among other things, it aims to help folks who have mistakenly driven off the road to get help quickly. Guess where this smart pavement test is going to occur? On U.S. 285 over Red Hill Pass in Park County, the place where a Highlands Ranch woman drove off the highway four years ago and was found nearly a week later. Nifty electric scooters have shown up across downtown Denver. They’re available for rent by the minute, but not everyone is zipping around with a smile.

Hey #Denver, I have a PSA: @DenverPolice says yes, you can get a DUI on one of those Lime scooters … so don’t drink and scoot! #9NEWS #journalism

— Allison Sylte (@AllisonSylte) May 29, 2018

Four Denver mayoral hopefuls have lined up a year before the election, including a disability rights activist, a couple of citizen candidates and, because it’s Denver, a marijuana industry consultant. Denver’s airport just kicked off three years of intensive expansion, and the first $1.5 billion project will add gates to all three concourses. You might have to plan more time to walk from the train station…
A rendering shows a new gate area planned for the west end of Concourse B at Denver International Airport.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Colorado’s Masterpiece Cakeshop case won’t be the justices’ last word on LGBT rights. One year after taking sanctuary at Colorado church, Rosa Sabido is no closer to becoming a legal resident. Vice President Mike Pence was in Vail over the weekend — but you probably wouldn’t have known. Because our politics reporter in D.C. is covering it, read about the Colorado kids in the National Spelling Bee. “The first women’s health clinic in Colorado to provide abortion services is at risk of losing nearly 20 percent of its overall funding” under a Trump administration proposal.
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., steps off the Senate subway as he arrives for a vote on Gina Haspel to be CIA director, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, May 17, 2018 in Washington. Gardner voted for Haspel’s confirmation (which was successful last week) while Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, did not. Bennet said: “I voted no because I am concerned about the President’s stated position on torture. The use of so-called interrogation techniques harmed our nation’s standing in the world, and it is critical that we move past that dark period of the agency’s history.”
In deep blue Denver, Republicans seemingly are an endangered species, leading to a shortage of GOP-affiliated election judges. — Denverite U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, like the rest of us, has problems with his children screaming in the background as he … tries to speak to the U.S. secretary of state. — The Durango Herald Is the EPA working to settle its stormwater lawsuit against Colorado Springs behind the backs of other stakeholders in the legal challenge? — The Colorado Springs Independent A disaster has been declared in many Western Slope and southern Colorado counties because of drought conditions. — The Grand Junction Sentinel The Pueblo City Council has signed off on $1.5 million for new police cars. — The Pueblo Chieftain A look at the potential outcomes of the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on it any day now… — Colorado Public Radio Denver’s black-owned Whittier Cafe was targeted with a racial slur on a wooden bench outside the popular coffee shop. — Westword A look at a diplomat who quit the Trump administration — and why. — The New Yorker

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P.P.S. Here is your reward (I’m too proud not to share) for making it to the end of this newsletter.

This was the most productive thing my family has ever done.

Staff writers John Frank, Jon Murray, Mark K. Matthews and John Aguilar contributed to this newsletter.

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