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.
I hate the idea of any Mayor, especially Mayor Bach, having singular control of Utilities as this is just too much power in one person's hands. Like others, I do NOT trust a person from the development community to do what's best for the city, the danger is too great.
I love the idea of ONE government for all of Colorado Springs and El Paso County, with ONE set of elected officials, one set of laws, one school district (NOT 17), one tax rate, one zoning board, one planning board, one set of needed departments, etc.
We need to STOP paying for all the needless duplication and competing agendas.
Very interesting column. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been pushing the "strong mayor" initiative in Sacramento for the past six years. It keeps getting killed, but it comes back to life.
The forests were safer when the natural fire cycle was allowed to persist. During the past 100+ years, we have suppressed every wild fire possible. This policy allowed fuels to build up to unnatural levels and the resulting uncontrollable wildfires have been the result. The floods are a subsequent result of the large fires.
The only comment I would add is the landscape had been changing long before the Europeans arrived. It is not uncommon for people of European decent to wrongly believe that land they arrived in was unpopulated except for the native savages. It made it easier for Europeans to take the land.
I find the fight the Council has picked with Chris Melcher distressing. The Council is turning what is no doubt a difficult job into an impossible situation by insisting that each side have its own lawyer - as if the Council and Mayor were adverse parties in litigation. Before Chris Melcher was hired, I actually interviewed with the Mayor to be City Attorney. Like Melcher, I had no prior government experience. And I supported the "wrong" party - something the Mayor didn't care about a bit. I had never met the Mayor before then, but it struck me that he was just looking to hire the most qualified lawyer he could find. Given all the infighting, I can't imagine that the City could attract a better lawyer than Melcher if Council somehow managed to fire him. Or if he just gets so fed up with the nonsense that he decides to quit.
HMM How about Able D. Smith who came to this area as a Wheel Wright in 1892 raised his family and started a cattle ranch that feed many in this community. Or maybe John F. Oneal that had a construction crew that helped not only build the only road to the Gold mines but built and maintained the roads many of us use to this day. Its not only the money people that had there hands in building this region but many common folks as well. Those folks should be recognized as well. Go find those folk in the archives. You cant because they didnt have there names in the paper but without them this region sure wouldnt be what it is.
Irving Howbert, at 14, came down to Colorado City from Buckskin Joe's with his father Reverend William Howbert's family and - as stated in the November 29th, 1861 Issue of the Colorado Journal "To spend the winter and make their permanent home in our romantic young city."
Young Irving helped his family homestead, grew to be a man, helped chase maurading Indians from the environs of Colorado City, and served as a Corporal in Company G of the 3d Colorado Cavalry at Sand Creek in 1864 which he carefully, documented and denied all his life was a massacre.
In 1868 he was elected El Paso County Clerk and Recorder - a position into which he was reelected four more times. He met General Palmer in the still standing 1859 Bancroft Park Cabin which was the County Seat, who persuaded him to help buy up $10,000 worth of land east of Monument Creek, which became Colorado Springs in 1871. He signed the legal papers incorporating the City of Colorado Springs.
He rose to prominence in Colorado Springs, helping found the First National Bank of Colorado Springs in 1874. He was one of the most influential men in El Paso County for over 60 years, organizing the city municipal water system, and the first gas company. He built the Colorado Springs Opera House from his silver mine profits. He died in 1934.
He wrote and published the classic book "Indians of The Pikes Peak Region" in 1914, and followed it with the comprehensive "A Lifetime of Memories in the Pikes Peak Region" in 1925. Which his grandson - Irving Howbert III in his late 90s - permitted to be reprinted and indexed both in hard copy and electronically, without payment of royalties, in 2007.
The Colorado City racing Unser Dynasty
Louis and Marie Unser came to Colorado City in 1909 from Switzerland. They first lived above today's 2532 West Colorado Avenue. (Today's Squash Blossom Art Gallery. Then the Borst Meat market.)
Louis was a meat cutter. His boys - Louis Jr, Joe and Jerry a became meat cutters, mechanics, and race car drivers. Starting the 2d oldest US car race - after the Indianapolis 500 - in 1929 they raced up Pikes Peak.
Jerry was the first Unser to race the 500 in 1958. Bobby drove in the 1963 race and won in 1968.
Six Unsers have started the Indy 500, and since 1968, the nine victories by Al, Bobby and Al Jr. have accounted for more than 25 percent of the race's winners.
Before most of them moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Unsers lived in 14 different places in Old Colorado City and the Westside.
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