What is happening in Colorado is happening from Denver and north. Where there is a plethora of reasonable people making progress, creating jobs. Will voters in those areas want to have a backwoodsie, small town politician in this important state office?
El Paso County, with it's gun nutty, thumping, limited-vision politicians and housewives create a lot of negative press that reflects poorly on the state as a whole.
Williams can do well locally; can he cut it with the rest of the state to grab the votes?
this is all nice half-time locker room encouragement piece, but if the plan was coherent and compelling instead of poorly sold and unlikely...maybe we could get behind it.
The Gazette, whose owner is a major backer of C4C, published another editorial/propaganda piece yesterday. How much of the $400M price tag to build the stadium etal is Anschutz going to contribute? Of course, he should pay his "fair share", which I estimate to be about 10%, or $40M. Is Anschutz willing to put his money where his mouth is?
That small group of elites that wants C4C, which includes the property owner, the property developer, business leaders, CVB, and the mayor and his allies, should pay for C4C. Instead, they want US, the taxpayers, to pay for it. WE have not been asked if WE want C4C because THEY know what is best for our city and WE don't. And since El Pomar, another believer, wants a stadium, El Pomar should empty its bank account to help build it.
Issuing bonds is an obligation placed on the taxpayers, and cities can and do go bankrupt when unable to raise the money required to make bond payments. The elites hope that building a stadium/museum complex will produce economic recovery, but it is businesses that provide jobs and prosperity, not stadiums and museums.
Our city and state govt has a legitimate role to perform, which includes public safety, roads, storm water, and reducing regulations and taxes to make our city and state business friendly. It does not include wasting tax dollars to build stadiums. Again, let those elites who want C4C pay 100% of the cost of C4C.
No one doubts that an Olympic museum would draw tourists. If proposed on its own it would likely have wide support - with or without RTA funding.
Unfortunately tourists are also not what makes cities thrive - they are what makes them live in the past.
Agree with Dave Gardner. The primary beneficiaries of the downtown stadium and museum components of C4C are the property owner and developer. Is a stadium/museum combo something the citizens want? Or is C4C being foisted on us by the coercive power of local and state govt in collaboration with the primary beneficiaries? Councilman Miller is aware of the financial quicksand that is C4C. http://www.joelmillercoloradospringscityco…. But the mayor and his allies appear to be oblivious of the danger - or perhaps they don't care. COS doesn't need a stadium. COS needs companies to set up business in our city. We need jobs and business travelers to increase airport traffic. Does anyone believe a company will choose to set up business in COS because we have a downtown stadium? Or a sports museum, no matter how unique or highly visible from I-25? Stadiums do not in themselves provide economic prosperity, but are instead a by-product of the prosperity that comes to a city when business is booming. Entrepreneurs build stadiums AFTER their city becomes successful. And, like Oklahoma City, which the Gazette so admires, they do it without govt/taxpayer dollars. And Hazlehurst's comment that COS may be chosen to host the Olympic games in 2024 is laughable, just as laughable as it would be to say that Pueblo, last year's recipient of RTA tax money, will be the Olympic committee's choice. It will be easy to get rid of Bach in the next election, but not easy to rid ourselves of a financial mistake the size of C4C.
Colorado Springs remains a small town that lucked out for 70 or so years as the Cold War fueled one of the longest military expansions in history. It was easy money as it became a company town -- not unlike Pueblo, although in Colorado Springs' case, the company was the federal government.
That expansion has effectively ended despite attempts to keep it going with the "war on terrorism." The town over expanded with little reason for being here. As a nation, we've chosen to send jobs that support families overseas.
Colorado Springs now turns, as it has so many times before, to industries that support minimal incomes -- tourism, hospitality, museums and health care. Same old, same old -- not much vision there.
Yes, this town definitely needs an upgrade to become more PROGRESSIVE or we will become more STAGNANT and new industries will never want to consider coming here to CS!
GUESS WHAT FOLKS? My former comment "RMJ tours that could expand use of the city airport and B&Bs that are friendly to RMJ to bring people here for a vacation." On the evening news they reported that a RMJ tour company is now going to do this in Denver with a tour bus that will take you from Denver to the ski slopes with as much bud as you can smoke along the way!
Why are we not doing this in Colorado Springs? Our reputation needs to be upgraded from the conservative status that we have held for decades and if we are willing to accept this change we will progress into the 21st century!!!
I also suggest expanding recycling by building a glass recycling plant, start Hemp facility to grow and manufacture hemp products and oil, but not sure if anyone is listening.
Spiro Agnew is long gone, but not quite yet forgotten. Those "nattering nabobs of negativism" were opponents American involvement in Vietnam, who ultimately turned out to be correct. Spiro Agnew ultimately resigned the office of Vice President in disgrace after it was revealed he had taken bribes when he was the Governor of Maryland.
Is that really the best analogy for driving home the point of this column? Perhaps!
I've liked a lot about John Hazlehurst's thinking over the years, but it's never been a case of seeing 100% eye to eye. This column makes it official: John is an old-timer. His use of the term "economic stagnation" reveals he isn't as hip as he might like to be. The world has entered a new era; we're seeing the end of ever-expanding economies. There is just no more planet to plunder. So the idea that we are standing still if we aren't building something is just so yesterday.
Someone should have told us that the ransom we paid to keep the USOC in town was just a down payment. If we believe what John is telling us, we are already being threatened with USOC departure if we don't ante up again - and so soon! It feels like a sequel to Goodfellas. And it's pretty hard to have a return on investment at this rate.
Now, I think the Olympic museum is a great idea. But if it's a ransom payment, no thank you. And if a retired widow trying to decide between medicine and heat has to subsidize it with her tax dollars, no thank you. There has to be another way.
And a publicily subsidized stadium for a professional sports team? This is the one time I might be glad to live in a city so tax-averse. Not just no, but hell no! It will never happen if the public has to provide a penny.
C'mon, John, you know this scheme was cooked up by dinosaurs to enrich land speculators and developers. We can do better. We don't need to swallow this lousy deal just because you think a city that's not pouring more concrete is not a successful city. That is yesterday's metric.
I love this city. I want it to be a wonderful place to live. But I'm a naysayer on this, because it was cooked up with yesterday's recipes.
"They welcomed the future — they didn't fight it."
I wish the council and mayor were so forward thinking. If they would just accept that marijuana is now legal and we could use the tax money. Instead the mayor fixes things the only way he know how "build a building".
"Put the mayor in charge of Utilities".... YIKES, no way!!! In that case, maybe Denver isn't a great role model after all. It wouldn't work with our Mayor for sure. Nobody that wins a political popularity contest is likely to have the experience or skill necessary to be in charge of a large, four service Municipal Utility like we have, in the way that Bach likes to be "in charge". The lack of respect or cooperation some perceive between Bach and the Council is an exercise of balance of power and Council's unwillingness to be bullied, in most cases. I say, bravo to that!
There is a natural enemy.
It is common for cities and counties to adequately fund a local economic development organization that works to enhance their local economy. Does our city need to continue funding for a political action committee with no record of significance either in attracting major firms or creating jobs? Or should those funds be escrowed toward a date when a professional economic development organization can be set up? We have questions if you have time for answers. About 13 minutes.
Interesting comment, Mr. K. I've long considered the powers that be in the Springs to be self-serving opportunists in conservative clothing. Consider, for example, the good "limited government" game they talk, while presiding over the most federally dependent city in the nation. They'll gladly cut everybody else's programs ... Just don't touch theirs. This egotism presents a major impediment to good governance because in reality, far too many of the participants are not in it to serve the greater good, but to build their reputations. True collaboration requires a true willingness to press the pause button on our own self-interests long enough to fully and openly listen to, and consider another's views. Is that ever in play in the Springs?
The city government was "quarrelsome and ineffective" so what was the solution? Throw out the charter and go with a "strongarm" mayor! The current federal government is likewise quarrelsome and ineffective only more so. Should we throw out the Constitution and vote for a dictator instead of a president?
The local powers-that-be call themselves conservatives. True conservatives do not throw out the product of years of thought and toil, only to replace it with some new whizbang idea. That is what the dreaded progressives are supposed to do--just rush into things because they are new, not because they are better than the tried and true.
I do not know how to characterize local Republicans, but they are not conservative, at least not by the dictionary definition.
Individuals who run for public office because they care and want or can make a difference aren't valued in this City. Abuse from media and inability to positively accomplish things is too great in COS. Stupid, lazy, weak, and unethical thankfully get voted out or disappointingly, re-elected.
Did you actually expect that the changes to the city charter that enabled a "strong mayor" would be perfect from the get go?
If you remember, the strong mayor concept was hastily born from the necessity of creating a "check" to the power of an out-of-touch city council. Unfortunately the opportunity was seized by the old boy power brokers in this city to place one of their own in the position.
That does not mean this will continue in perpetuity, as his support of million dollar taxpayer-funded initiatives that pay back his benefactors are sure to be used against him in the next election - if he decides to run again.
As for me - I will likely vote for the taxi driver.
I'm on board with most of this EXCEPT for 2 things:
Having the mayor (especially this clown, but in reality ANY single politician) in charge of utilities. It must be overseen by a committee that will represent ALL parts of the community.
The "City and County of Colorado Springs" is unworkable for a number of reasons. Would the "County of Colorado Springs" be limited to only the current boundaries of the city, with El Paso County being the rest of the current county? If so, you limit growth (not necessarily a bad thing) since one county cannot simply annex part of another county.
If the "County of Colorado Springs" were to be all of what is currently El Paso County, it wouldn't be hard to foresee that the more rural parts of the county would be short-changed and neglected due to more attention being paid to the bigger city (much like how Bach has screwed over the county by pulling out of the ESA).
Like our mayor, Hazlehurst is long on "ideas" but short on how to carry them out.
It's simple... have the mayor actually respect the decisions made by council and not thumb his nose at them.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, cities and counties are entirely separate political entities. The county in which a city is located has no governmental jurisdiction inside the city limits. On the other hand, the city has no political influence in the surrounding county.
I generally agree with you, John, beginning with your grade of 'F' for our form of government. I do not agree with giving the mayor control over utilities, especially if the mayor is the one who is in office right now. I am optimistic that if Bach runs again, his opponents will have accumulated enough ammo from his first term to annihilate him, unless the Gazette resorts to the lies for which they've become famous when pushing their own political agenda.
"Competent, cooperative, community-oriented and focused on the future — isn't that what we need to build a great city? Yes, but the kind of people who can do it may not be electable here."
Great observation. These people do exist here, but they have a difficult/nearly impossible time getting elected. The Gazette doesn't help get these people elected. Then if they DO get elected - and by a majority, like Councilor Joel Miller - they risk being crucified by the petty blowhards of the daily's editorial staff simply for doing exactly the kind of due diligence on projects and policies their constituents elected them to do. The Gazette actually used to commend local politicians for doing this, but not anymore.
The incestuous relationship between the cronies at HBA, Board of Realtors, Chamber, the local GOP, and the Gazette also doesn't help (who was it that bought us the strong mayor form of government with an $800k campaign infusion anyway?)
Colorado Springs is still the laughing stock of the state. We are the butt of jokes regarding our leadership, those we elect to lead, and our backroom small town politics. It's no wonder we have not rebounded economically the way other Front Range cities have. Just pick up the Gazette & read the editorial page, the letters from "knowledgeable" citizens and "leaders" (as they slice one another's throats), and the infighting & turf wars at all levels of local government.
Why in the world would any reputable, progressive-thinking business want to relocate to this city and subject their management and staff to this toxic environment? Answer: they obviously don't, as they're going elsewhere.
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