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Spicing up the election

April's here, and it's time for one of the drearier municipal elections in recent memory. No loony initiatives from Doug Bruce -- he's too busy trying to ban the Independent from county buildings -- and only two contested Council races.

Sure, we've got some earnest little referred measures out there, but I must confess my absolute indifference to almost all of 'em. So leave the earnest discussions to the grownups; I'd like to endorse some imaginary initiatives and fake referenda.

Issue #1: A proposal to raise Council pay from its present level of $6,250 annually to $625,000. Enthusiastically endorse! This is a simple bookkeeping entry, just move the comma two spaces to the right and lose the period. It'll have no effect on the city's budget -- all those numbers are really big and confusing anyway. And it will enable the real leaders of our city to serve us without financial sacrifice. I'll bet that developers Steve Schuck, Dave Jenkins and Jeff Smith would be willing to run. Finally, Council would be the actual developers. We'd simply cut out the underpaid middlemen whom we've elected in the past.

Issue #2: A proposal to sell all city property to the highest bidders at a public auction, including parks, roads, reservoirs, golf courses, hospitals -- even City Hall. Enthusiastically endorse! Let the market rule! Imagine buying Wood Avenue, and making all those snooty rich liberals pay a $10 toll to get to their houses. And how 'bout buying the mountain reservoirs, and auctioning off the H2O? Why sell it for pennies to householders in Colorado Springs when you could make the big bucks piping it to Vegas? And Memorial Hospital ... I see lofts, not unreimbursed care to the indigent.

Issue #3: A proposal to outlaw the so-called local Democratic Party and to create a permanent Council-appointed body: The Colorado Springs UnRepublican Activities Committee. It would have the power to subpoena, arrest, detain indefinitely and deport to North Korea anyone found guilty of UnRepublican activities. These would include, but not be limited to, displaying offensive bumper stickers, planting trees, going to rock concerts, viewing nude bodies (your own included) and driving any vehicle other than a late-model SUV. Enthusiastically endorse!

Well, that's enough. But that's a sample of what we could have, if it weren't for a pusillanimous pussyfooters of positivism on City Council.

A little more seriously, let's talk about the election -- not next week's, but the one come November. There will be three seats on the School District 11 Board of Education up for grabs. If any one of them is captured by an ally of the present board's radical minority, our largest public school district may literally implode. You can expect that any employee who can leave will leave. And that means, of course, the best teachers and administrators, who can easily find jobs elsewhere. The radical minority -- who refer contemptuously to "so-called public schools" -- are ready to dismantle and privatize District 11.

These guys, and their supporters, are not "reformers"; they're wet-behind-the-ears radicals. Their ideas aren't derived from practical experience, but from half-baked theorizing by equally inexperienced right-wing pundits. If they take over, what do you think that'll do to our local economy, or for that matter to our property values in D-11?

Also coming to your ballot this November is the statewide vote to approve the TABOR fix that Gov. Bill Owens, moderate Republicans and the Democatic-controlled Legislature have agreed to. Statesmanlike, bipartisan, thoughtful -- sure, you can call it all of those things. But the plain fact is that Owens and substantial legislative majorities can see the train wreck coming, and they are doing their best to prevent it. If it fails at the polls, Coloradans will finally see just what TABOR means to state government.

We'll see draconian cuts -- and it'll go way beyond firing a few bureaucrats. Sadly, most of our El Paso County legislators voted against the fix, even though many of them privately think that TABOR is nonsense. Why? Because they, and their fellow GOPsters, have been force-feeding voters with taxophobic nonsense for 20 years, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.

But if we refuse to fix TABOR, and elect another couple of wing-nuts to the D-11 Board of Education, we'll know what we are: not a "World-Class City" but "The World's Largest Open-Air Lunatic Asylum."

-- johnhazlehurst@earthlink.net

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