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The best news this week is the discovery that ordinary duct tape -- yes, that silver miracle of science -- is an excellent cure for warts. Just wrap that finger up nice and tight, and within a few weeks your troubles will be gone.

If only scientists could find such an easy and inexpensive cure for politics.

Last Thursday, Independent reporter Terje Langeland broke an important story, the result of an assignment to explore -- through court documents, police reports and extensive interviews -- the past histories of Senate District 11 hopefuls Democrat Tony Marino and Republican Ed Jones. If your copy somehow got stolen off the stands, you can still review the story online at www.csindy.com.

Both Jones and Marino want to represent the citizens of the new central Colorado Springs district, and this crucial race is predicted to determine which political party will control Colorado's state Senate.

Bottom line, Langeland discovered a few minor, negative tidbits about Marino. As for Jones, the reporter uncovered a pattern of extremely disturbing information. It turns out Jones -- who has been propped up as the Republican poster child of personal responsibility -- has not been so responsible after all.

In addition, Jones' close and longtime ties to a seedy bar and its owner were explored. Turns out that Jones was present at least four times when undercover police officers bought cocaine inside the small bar, which has subsequently been shut down.

It should be noted that Jones' former regular hangout was also liberally littered with posters featuring Carlo's favorite word, "fuck." Numerous photographs of women were also prominently displayed, describing them as "cunts" if Carlo liked them, or the apparently more derogatory spelling "kunts," if he did not.

Before the story broke, Jones' campaign manager and spokesman Bob Gardner attempted to spin the "facts" about Jones' hangout.

"I'm told the DA [Jeanne Smith] has been there, a deputy DA or two have been there, [City Manager] Lorne Kramer may have been in there; it wasn't a place that people didn't go," said Gardner, adding the disclaimer that he, personally, had never been to Leonard's bar.

"All I'm saying is it was a place where citizens, and citizens of some prominence and notoriety, sometimes went. It wasn't the case where Ed Jones was the only person who went there," Gardner said.

This week, Kramer, the former police chief, was incredulous: "Bob Gardner said that? I have never stepped foot into Leonard's bar, ever. I wouldn't even know where it was except for the [police] investigation that was conducted there and quite frankly, I know it's on Platte [Avenue], but I'm not sure where on Platte it is."

For the record, Kramer continued, "There are no bars in town that I hang out in."

Republican District Attorney Smith, meanwhile, confirmed that she once went to Carlo's bar, probably 14 or 15 years ago. The person she was with, whom Smith declined to identify, wanted to stop in for a drink. Her stay was brief. "I didn't like it and I left," she said.

So what's really going on here? Is politics always this ugly?

As a matter of fact, it's not. Notably, during this race Tony Marino has chosen to stick to the issues, and has not attacked Ed Jones for his questionable personal "choices" over the years.

Meanwhile, a secret Republican operative group based in Golden, Colo. has, over the past few weeks, mailed out a plethora of expensive glossy fliers attacking Marino for everything from being a "liar" to a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

And who is pulling the puppet strings to get Ed Jones elected to the state Senate? Well, gee, we're glad you asked.

The two most powerful men in town -- El Pomar Foundation Chairman Bill Hybl and millionaire Colorado Springs developer Steve Schuck -- want Ed Jones elected, and are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it happen.

Last Thursday, the day the Independent article hit the newsstands, Hybl and Schuck sponsored a fund-raiser at Schuck's home that was expected to raise $50,000 in one day for Ed Jones and for House District 18 hopeful Dan Stuart.

Altogether, Schuck and Hybl expect these races will cost $500,000. Indeed, they are working frantically behind the scenes. Their goal is simple: They want Republican majority control of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the governor's office, for one reason -- to be able to grease the wheels of approval for their pet projects.

In the end, it truly matters little whether Ed Jones has been an upstanding pillar of personal responsibility or not. After all, he's got an "R" after his name.

And that's all that really matters.

Do we sound cynical? Maybe it's on account of all those warts.

-- degette@csindy.com

  • Cara DeGette on warts and all

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