LandCo exec was reappointed last July
You have to wonder how James Brodie was reappointed to the Colorado Springs Downtown Business Improvement District board, which oversees downtown marketing and beautification.
Brodie was an executive of LandCo Equity Partners, the development company that worked with the city on the U.S. Olympic Committee retention deal. The agreement fell apart, and LandCo sued the city. Eventually, Brodie faced multiple indictments from the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office on charges that he ripped off investors, for which he hasn't yet been tried. The USOC deal wasn't part of those indictments, though Brodie's business partner, Ray Marshall, faces similar charges in relation to the USOC deal.
Despite the uproar, Brodie has served on the BID since April 2007 (initially filling an unexpired term), and was reappointed by the "new" City Council last July 24 to serve until 2014, Downtown Partnership executive director Ron Butlin explains.
"At that point in time, LandCo was one of the biggest players downtown," Butlin says. "And to have a representative of LandCo on one of the various boards made a lot of sense."
Butlin says that Brodie asked to be reappointed, and Butlin recommended it to Council since Brodie had been "a productive and participative board member." Butlin, noting that Brodie has no direct control over BID finances, says, "I would caution you, people are typically innocent until proven guilty, and I think that it would be really pretty awful to take an allegation and make decisions based on that." Butlin adds that if Brodie is convicted, the board could undergo a process to remove him. — JAS
No worries on water
If you notice city fire hydrants gushing water at a rate of a million gallons a day into city streets, don't think Colorado Springs Utilities officials have lost their minds. The hydrant flushing project, which flushes about a fifth of the city's 13,000 hydrants each year, won't jeopardize the water supply or cause water restrictions, Utilities spokesman Steve Berry says.
"If we really felt it was an onerous situation," he adds, "we wouldn't be doing that this year."
Utilities has ample water for a normal growing season, Berry says. It seemed logical to expect rationing; as of Wednesday, Colorado Springs had a half-inch of moisture so far this year, or 28 percent of normal, the National Weather Service reports.
But Berry says snowpack on Pikes Peak is a little above average, and local storage at 73 percent of capacity, slightly more than the historic capacity of 70 percent. That means no water-use restrictions (Utilities still asks residents to conserve).
As for the hydrant flushing, Berry says the benefits — flushing iron and other sediments from the system, which aren't harmful physically but make the water cloudy, and making sure the hydrants are fully functional — outweigh the dry-weather risk. The 10-week program starts next week in Briargate and Pine Creek. Utilities officials say it's too expensive to capture the water and use it elsewhere, such as on parks. — PZ
Miles heads for Texas
When Mike Miles became superintendent of struggling Harrison School District 2, he promised changes. On that point no one can argue: He succeeded. But now he's ready to take his "change" elsewhere.
Miles was introduced Monday as the sole finalist for superintendent of Dallas Independent School District, which has 157,000 students. Dallas seems eager to close the deal by the end of April, and Miles would take over in July. (For more, go to Between the Lines.)
Miles is wrapping up his sixth year as superintendent in D-2, where many students come from low-income families.
Miles took risks, implementing teacher pay-for-performance, dismissing many long-time teachers, and holding back children who weren't performing at grade level. His tactics alienated many, though the district points to some increases in test scores as proof they worked.
Thad Gemski, executive director of Pikes Peak Education Association (D-2's teachers union) tells the Indy, "I think the general feeling that teachers in Harrison have, and support staff also, is that they really hope for a more collaborative relationship in the future. They wish Mike Miles well in Dallas, but obviously it's been a hard road." — JAS
City must enforce laws
Last year, the Indy ('"Doug Bruce: Groupthinking," News, March 10, 2011) exposed anti-tax crusader Bruce's attempts to duck campaign finance rules. At the time, Bruce was running with his "Reform Team" for the Colorado Springs City Council. Bruce wiggled out of reporting contributions and expenditures to his and his cohorts' campaigns by creating a political committee through which to funnel the money.
Sound familiar? (Bruce is in Denver County Jail for funneling personal money through a nonprofit to avoid paying taxes.)
When the "Groupthinking" story appeared, Colorado Ethics Watch, an elections watchdog group, filed a complaint locally. The city said the state should deal with the complaint, and asked the courts to order the state to handle the issue. But recently, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled the city has to enforce its own laws.
"It is no secret that Colorado Springs' system for regulating money in its municipal elections is badly in need of reform," Ethics Watch director Luis Toro stated in a release. Of course, it's probably a little late to deal with Bruce now. — JAS
Sustain and win
The city is so eager to promote sustainability that it's willing to hand out cash prizes. But you have to do 20 things and get photographed doing them to be eligible for the grand prize of $500, sponsored by SunShare, a local solar power company.
Sponsored by the city's Office of Innovation and Sustainability, the Sustainability Snapshot Contest requires you shop with a reusable bag, ride the bus, pick up poop in a park, rescue a recyclable from the trash, and perform 16 other tasks, then post photos of yourself doing them on the city's Facebook page: facebook.com/CS.OIS.
The contest, which runs through April, is open to U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents 13 and older, except city employees and their families. There are lesser prizes provided by Old Town Bike Shop, Southern Colorado Clean Cities Coalition and Greener Corners. — PZ
Priceless: City saves
The city wants you to know how much money it saved using VISA. And no, this is not a commercial message.
The city actually received a $166,084 rebate for its 2011 VISA spending. Until 2011, the city used purchase orders for expenses. The switch to plastic was made last year, after officials realized they could be earning a cash-back rebate.
The city notes that it audits its VISA bills to ensure money is being spent only as authorized. — JAS
Compiled by J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.