Webb, a tall, thin kid from Northeast Denver, always played above expectations. In his two toughest elections against Norm Early for mayor (1991) and Mary DeGroot for re-election (1995), he came from behind and beat the odds. One of his best assets was a great smile with an even public temperament. Webb puts people at ease, even while he’s promoting his loyal Democratic agenda and progressive politics.
Denver has been gifted with a long run of progressive, but pragmatic mayors, who, starting with Federico Peña in 1983, have used Denver’s landlocked but considerable assets to overcome white flight, old infrastructure and weak economies that have damaged so many core cities.
Webb inherited a new airport that he finished and opened. He managed the planning of Lowry and Stapleton, and most importantly, he vigorously promoted the Central Platte redevelopment with residential, commercial, recreation and just relaxing open space. These are major legacy projects.
Webb’s 12-year term from the early 1990s to the early 2000s was among Denver’s most productive. I said in the article “that disputes surrounding Webb’s administration have faded over the years.”
“The reason Denver isn’t a Cleveland or St. Louis or Detroit — a city that absolutely struggles — is we had a series of mayors who exceeded expectations and moved the city along,” Ciruli said. “Webb definitely pushed this city along to where it is today — one of the fastest-growing, strongest economies in the country. I put him in that pantheon of really great mayors this city has had.”