wait a minute Richard, today on Facebook under one of Chacon's posts you just said the following "Richard D. Wehner Lisa - you have leadership skills and I would say ethics and integrity not to be questioned yet swimming in a sea of those who do not. To have a region with the assets of the Pikes Peak region falling behind areas with far less assets is a great cause of concern. We have had almost 50 years of good city leadership and as many of poor leadership at the county - for which we are all now paying. Have you noticed the number of companies who have chosen to leave the region? Have you met with any local bankers or out of area venture capital fund groups and ask why they are not investing capital in El Paso but do in Boulder and Longmont?"
This proud housewife has good relationships with all county commissioners as well as all my council colleagues. The friction I may cause is calling certain Council members out on their inconsistencies or how their voting and principles seems to vary depending whom is doing the asking. Kind of like your above statements. I have advocated and worked towards a regional cooperative relationship unlike some members of Council and certainly the Mayor whom seems to work with no one unless they agree with him. Sallie Clark, Amy Lathen, Peggy Littleton, Dennis Hisey, and Darryl Glenn have never denied answering an email, returning a phone call, or agreeing to a meeting to discuss any issue. The last meeting between the two entities were cancelled by Council disappointingly. The only communication the Mayor has with Council is once monthly at his "Mayor Counsel" meetings when media is present. I believe despite a year and a half of taking shots at CSU up until last week, Steve Bach has refused every meeting with Jerry Forte and even then only Chris Melcher was present and did most of the talking. Regional cooperation is being hampered but not by the County. Want some improvements and change, let the ladies start handling things. only then youll see results.
A year in public office and Im still trying to figure out what the priorities are for this City. We keep hearing the dire financial status of the City but the City has to be doing better now with the millions of dollars in appropriation requests that have come forward. Money was put in the reserve fund, then the money was taken out.
In April, I was contacted by a constituent regarding a dilapidated home next door to his residence. He says him and his neighbors have been seeking assistance from the City for years. After looking into this particular home, I found out that there are dozens of homes declared dangerous to the public. Unfortunately, many of them are still standing, still a hazard, and hopefully not in your neighborhood. At the site, I was able to meet the owner, code enforcement staff, and a neighbor to discuss the situation and come to an achievable resolution. The direction shown from Code enforcement staff and Regional have been superb and I'm very thankful to them for their incredible customer service. Code enforcement in this City is so poorly understaffed and financially under supported. Last year, Council proposed an additional code enforcement officer to assist in matters like homeless camp clean ups, identifying areas that threatened public safety, aesthetic pride for our community, assistance to the military, etc. The Mayor vetoed that and Council overrode that veto. Eventually, City admin came forward with a sign ordinance that needed a code enforcement officer and so planning has the extra position. This same thing happened with the maintenance of tennis courts being screamed about that is until the pools needed funding, then it was ok to spend. Isnt it ironic that the very minimum budget changes Council fought for and received criticized for has been now used by City administration for their proposals and supported by those same critics? There are individuals on staff, in the media, and in elected office that feed the sickness in this community. They try so hard to divide the two branches of government, cause contention, and damage our City's reputation. The truth is both the Mayor and the Council have made sound business decisions, compromised on issues, have had good foresight, and listened to input delivered by the citizens.
This morning I read the following www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2012/06/0… and had citizens call asking the same questions 1)where is this money coming from, 2)why is this being demolished now, and 3)what's the intended purpose, if any, for this land? 4)should the City be in the demolition business? As a taxpayer, what do you think?
In the 2012 budget, there were 30 something positions eliminated. However, there were 90 something positions that were not filled but money was appropriated for (just in case). That's how the City's budgeting has worked, every dept has a cushion. A common complaint I hear often is that the City always seems to find money when Citizens keep hearing there is none. $700,000 to the YMCA, $180,000 for 10 downtown security cameras, newly created departments, big salaries, lots of new hires, special sponsored events, new programs, settled lawsuits, etc. A million dollars here, a million dollars there. All those millions of dollars do certainly add up. The above mentioned demolition is an estimated several hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be directed towards at least a dozen other items. Is this a priority right now when resources are so thin? People want to know. Perhaps when this City administration implements zero based budgeting like promised, taxpayers can see all monies being spent and understand what the real priorities are.
The City of Colorado Springs does not value transit. For being the second largest City in the state, our transit system is pathetic and now we will be losing the only regional transportation connection to Denver we have. The proposal to end Frex is coming and it may be supported. If so, it is a huge step backwards for our community. But you all have been hearing that it "isnt fair to subsidize transit for just a handful of our citizens, its not sustainable, the State should be paying for it, and if we get rid of Frex we can support more local transit." I think we should be supporting more local transit anyway and interregional connections. There are so many individuals dependent on transit that with transportation options, they could seek out jobs and have less dependency on the city and state for assistance. Im NOT advocating for reckless or unfair spending. I've just heard from too many constituents that think COS should be working with CDOT, County, State, and specific other communities to have interregional transportation that everyone is paying for. In this case, COS may need to carry the torch just a short time more so that COS can be the fighters for regional transportation. If we want this city to be vibrant, it needs to offer multi modal transportation. If we want Colorado Springs to be considered a player up at the state level and receive its share of dollars and employers, then we need to show strength in our City.
With such a poor transit system, COS will not see the young professionals moving here or staying here. It will not attract large employers because their employees will not be able to get to and from work. Unemployment numbers will continue to grow as people who were working in Denver but spending their money in Springs, are forced to move closer to their jobs. I have heard many executives in this town say they cannot recruit innovating thinkers to move to the Springs because of the city's reputation in not supporting itself. I've heard aging baby boomers express fear in losing their ability to drive and not having any other options to get themselves to a doctor or bank.
Stormwater care has become the poster child for budget priorities and not surprisingly. The lack of financial support, the back log of mandated projects, and the years of deferred maintenance make it alarmingly clear that the money we all pay for services will mostly be funneled to bridges, and curbs, and streets. Not the sexy stuff like transit, parks, community centers, museums, historic preservation, waterways, downtown, community building events, and supporting our military.
Government is a lot like everyday life. How many of you know someone that always complains about not having money but then you see their new phone, or hear about their night out, etc? Efficiencies found arent necessarily new found savings. It doesnt have to mean money was being wasted or spent carelessly. It simply means new priorities have been identified. I ask my constituents what their priorities are and here are some of their answers: less government, public salaries more in line with the private sector, public safety, good roads, great parks, historic preservation, transportation, quality of life services, community participation, a vibrant downtown, a better City reputation, more cultural and art opportunities, and accessible and stronger leadership. Now those are priorities worth supporting.
Written like a true smart alek! I'm sitting stuck at DIA hemming and hawing as my plane gets delayed again. Nothing is more frustrating being 90 minutes from home and hanging out in Denver for 5 hrs. My honey of 18 years old just was telling me he checked out your book from the library and really enjoyed it. A fly fishing book as smartly written as your column. Got any copies you could dust off and autograph? Dear Dr. CZ......
It's not a strong mayor form of government it's a Council- Mayor form of govt.
Rick, your "housewives" comment is a hell of a chauvinistic remark. Im a housewife and have more formal education than the majority of City and County people in leadership. Lets not underestimate that housewives are superb multi-taskers and know how to get things done especially under chaos conditions. I also think houswives know how to check their egos in order to get peace amongst the troops, another quality i dont see much in City and County leaders. If additional guidance or understanding is needed by an elected official all it takes is the humility to ask others that are knowledgeable or specialized and to be allowed access to additional resources to make good decisions. Can I emphasize the importance of being allowed to access additional resources. Even the greatest CEOs need outside help now and then.
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