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Re: “Let's combine our city, county

It is good to see my old friend and constructive critic Addy Hansen still involved and she continues to bring her fresh "why not?" attitude to the issues. I raised the possibility of combining city and county governments as a newbie "why not?" Commissioner in early 2001 and I doubt that I was the first person to do so. I was immediately bombarded with reasons that it could not be done, mostly from bureaucrats and mostly wrong or exaggerated. The real underlying reasons were turf protection, job protection, and yes, elected office protection. I could not get traction beyond some unenthusiastic and minimally productive discussions. county bureaucrats blamed the city. City probably blamed the county. What's new? There will be obstacles and there will be blood, but I do not know of an obstacle that could not be overcome through joint legal efforts, possible legislative action, and perhaps a ballot issue, all of which city and county have been willing to do for less noble reasons. The courage and conviction necessary from local leaders could be the greatest obstacle. A critical first step would be for the voters to start looking at political candidates as a job applicant, less who or what they say they are, more what they have to show for their life. Elect proven leaders and successful managers who are willing to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, despite consequences to their reelection. Given the choice between a retiree from a successful military, business, or professional career who, after possibly traveling the world and/or the country, has chosen El Paso County as home and a smooth talking, no resume, recently saved long-term resident, who do you really want to hold your wallet? A good start would be to eliminate the archaic caucus system that has produced such notables as Charlie Duke, Doug Bruce, Betty Beedy, Charles Wingate, and our current District Attorney, all of whom courted the sincere but misguided religious right and far right that dominates the Republican caucus system, all of whom were less qualified than opponents eliminated in the caucus process, and all of whom were embarrassments (Rich Tosches and some of your readers might include me in this last category). Truly qualified and motivated leaders, elected and citizen volunteers, could design a regional government, get the legalities worked out, and present it to the voters. I would suggest three, yes, only three, full-time "Commissioners" or whatever you want to call them, elected from three districts stretching east to west across the entire county proportioned on population. Thus, each represents and answers to city and rural citizens. Making the positions non-partisan could be argued to result in better representation and would certainly save tax dollars currently spent on primaries. City(ies) and county could start the transition now by combining several departments, fleets, streets, park/rec, emergency services, administration, finance, legal, human resources, to name a few. Statutory offices, such as the County Sheriff, Clerk, Treasurer, Assessor, would take some legal/legislative action, but I believe are doable. I am now an outsider, don't live there, but still love the area and its people. No taste for it personally, but still follow the unique, entertaining, and sadly flawed arena of El Paso County politics. It is a wonderful region that is suffering from the lack of foresight and courage from many elected leaders past and present. Find the right people, encourage them to bring their life success to public office, and support them through the painful processes needed to resuscitate the region and you will attain the bright future that the Pikes Peak Region, its people, and future generations deserve. Tom Huffman, aka Dr. Evil

Posted by gonbutnotforgettin on 06/05/2008 at 1:52 PM

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