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IQ: Who runs this town? 

How many times have you had high hopes that a certain City Council or mayoral candidate will finally make a meaningful difference this time around, only to watch that person, once elected, slide into one-size-fits-all, non-entity mystery status, drifting serenely in the business-as-usual current? Since it's obviously not City Council who wield the real decision-making power in Colorado Springs politics, who does?

click to enlarge Joe Schumacher
  • Joe Schumacher

Joe Schumacher
Respiratory therapist
Manitou Springs

Who's the real power behind the throne in Colorado Springs? The developers. There's a reason why developers pour money into city council campaigns, and no-strings benevolence isn't that reason. Any time you accept money from someone, as Council has from developers, you have a tacit agreement to work with them. That's why nothing is done about sprawl. We're way past the point where bigger is better, but developers still call the shots.

Name an important issue Council won't address. If this city wants to be big so badly, it absolutely has to get a decent bus system. Anyone without a car in this town is sunk. A whole lot of the working-class people I know couldn't get to their jobs without the bus, and our bus system is almost useless.

If you could, who would you appoint mayor? Probably Sallie Clark, but with reservations. I liked her plans at first, but she seems to be going back on some of them lately. Ted Eastburn and Richard Skorman would be pretty good, too, but I have a better gut feeling about Clark.

click to enlarge Steve Buettner
  • Steve Buettner

Steve Buettner
Finance manager
Green Mountain Falls

Who holds the real power in Colorado Springs? The development community and the foundations because they pump money into campaigns. Money doesn't buy politicians, but it sure gets you an "in."

What's an important issue Council won't address? Just once, I'd like a politician to say we need a tax increase because development hasn't paid for itself. If development was pulling its weight, we wouldn't need a tax increase to fix the infrastructure debacle.

If you could, who would you appoint mayor? Someone who would be totally independent and wouldn't read from a script. Offhand, I can't think of one.

click to enlarge Tom Sassaman
  • Tom Sassaman

Tom Sassaman
College student
Downtown

Who wields the real power in Colorado Springs? The developers, no contest. They're like a presidential speech writer. They make lousy ideas sound sweet.

Name an important issue Council won't address. Growth limitation. I can't go to the mountains anymore without it being as crowded as downtown. When I came here 21 years ago, this was paradise city. Academy Boulevard was the eastern boundary. It was a lot better then.

If you could, who would you appoint mayor? I'd get Bob Isaac back. I've met him, and I like him. We could use more blue collar guys like him in office.

If you had to run for office, which would it be? Probably mayor. You have more perceived than real power, but you can sort of control the council agenda from that position.

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