In a video posted today, the Independence Institute's Jon Caldara, Gazette editorial page editor Wayne Laugesen and ex-City Councilor (not to mention ex-Gazette editorial page editor) Sean Paige all get together on Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara to discuss Colorado Springs' recent woes and to agree with each other on the cause of those woes. (The show airs at 8:30 each Friday night on Colorado Public Television.)
And while everybody agrees that a down economy and a dependence on sales tax hurt Colorado Springs, the trio also agrees on what definitely did not: TABOR.
Caldara plays the part of baffled Capitol-dweller, Paige the scoffing outsider-turned-insider-turned-election-loser, and Laugesen the defender of the city against — and I'm not making up this trite, played-out crap — "the mainstream leftist media."
Of course, they drag the discussion out for a half hour, so here's a quick summary:
• Even though he does it mostly tongue-in-cheek, over ("fiscal crisis") and over ("the city ran out of money") and over ("things get bad and panic strikes"), Caldara pimps the city's past financial situation as some kind of disaster porn. (Damn you, infotainers!)
• Paige shows off some excellent rationalizing in defending the cuts the city was forced to make. Here he starts out referencing those "leftist" journalists "reporting" the "facts."
So they wanted to turn it into a morality play. ... And they took a couple of things that we did do: We did sell some police helicopters, we did stop watering the parks for a summer, we did turn off some street lights — that one got a lot of attention. And if we’d done it for environmental reasons, saving energy, we would’ve been on the cover of Governing magazine, but you do it for fiscal reasons and you get attacked.
Of course, then Laugesen jumps in with one of his favorite "Our View" topics, the joy of seeing the stars minus the streetlights.
• Finally, of course, we're reminded that a greener thumb would look good with the rest of our fingers. Sure, I pay taxes so that I don't have to do this crap, but Paige thinks the idea of citizens taking over for Parks & Rec is pretty swell.
There was also some talk of about using volunteers to mow some of the parks, and that got a lot of publicity. But, you know, actually we'd already had a park adoption program in the city, where people get hands on and involved in maintaining their parks, and I think it's actually great. I mean, there are liability issues with going out and actually having them mow, but in terms of the sense of ownership ...
Yeah, so, like, other than those issues, and liabilities and stuff, it was a magical time.