Anarchy: wave of the future? 

A dear friend recently told me about getting her car registered so she could legally drive the streets of Colorado Springs.

Actually, the story was about how she tried and failed to renew the sticker on her car. She showed up at the El Paso County Motor Vehicle Department and joined a half-dozen or so people standing dumbly, in front of a locked door.

You see, it was a Friday, and this group was among the hundreds, if not thousands, of residents who had not read a newspaper story or seen a TV broadcast informing them that, because of budget shortfalls, our elected county leaders had decided to close the motor-vehicle office (as well as curb other constituent services) every Friday through December, and then the entire week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Nor had these poor schmoes thought to look up on the county's motor-vehicle Web site to check and make sure the office would be open. Why should they? The office is supposed to be open during regular business hours.

The next week, on a day the motor-vehicle office was actually open, my friend returned. She spent three full hours inside. Eventually, she gave up, so she could make it to an important appointment. When she departed, at least a dozen more numbers were still before hers.

Now my friend is driving around Colorado Springs, illegally. She is almost hoping an officer pulls her over, so she can tell him or her exactly about her efforts to register her vehicle.

I relate this anecdote because it is easier to grasp than a PowerPoint presentation on the complexities of the so-called Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and what Colorado's 1992 tax-and-spend limitation law has really accomplished: more headaches and fewer essential services for taxpayers.

Ditto for the people's vote to eliminate the city's half-cent sales tax during the mid-1990s anyone remember that? Indeed, our aversion to taxes has caught up with us, and caught up fierce.

A few weeks back, my esteemed colleague, Ralph Routon, talked in these pages about the challenges the city and county governments are facing with what has become the annual slashing of the budgets. He captured City Councilman Randy Purvis in a particularly sagacious moment.

"We are a train wreck, and we are about a nano-second from hitting the wall, to put it frankly," Purvis said. "We have revenue sources that are inadequate and expenses that are inadequate."

Forget about that so-called government belt-tightening. It's been done so much that the circulation is being cut off.

To use yet another clich, in 2008 those government Band-Aids of the past seem so very quaint. Remember a couple years ago, when the city decided not to clean bathrooms in the parks very often? Or not mow the park grass as much? Remember that ridiculous experiment, when the city decided to get citizens to plant and tend all its flower beds only to realize that there are, perhaps, just one or two green thumbs among us?

The tourniquets aren't even holding it in anymore. Now offices are being closed, and government employee furloughs were handed out for the holidays.

Well, this year I have a challenge one that I hope catches on among the masses for our elected officials and bureaucrats.

Let's not just talk about eliminating duplicated services the sheriff's office and police department, dual parks and planning, and dual public-relations departments come to mind. (Especially the city and county public-relations departments no offense, but are they really necessary?)

Should we become the combined city and county of Colorado Springs? Let's put it on the table. Do we need to raise taxes? Let's put it on the table.

And here's an equally radical proposal: Let's support our elected officials while they make some pretty drastic decisions. And if we don't trust them, let's throw out the scoundrels and replace them with leaders whom we do trust.

Or, we could try another tack: Let's just close up shop completely and give ourselves the gift of freedom, where we'll drive around illegally, with long-ago expired license tags. We won't have to worry about getting pulled over 'cause there won't be any cops, either.


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