The future is upon us 

Well, it'll all be over in a few days, and we'll have a new crop of petty elected officials to make fun of.

I finally voted a few days ago, despite being slightly baffled by the number and variety of candidates -- 27 of them! -- running for mayor or Council. I suppose that it speaks to the strength of our democracy and selflessness that so many of us are spending good money to get a job that pays $6,250 per annum.

Or maybe these candidacies are further evidence that Colorado Springs is the world's largest open-air lunatic asylum ... anyway, for what it's worth, here's where my votes went.

Three of my four votes for At-Large Council members were for candidates whom I know and respect.

First vote: Richard Skorman. If any vote was a no-brainer, it was this one. I've known Richard for 20 years, eaten at his restaurant hundreds of times, shopped at his bookstore/kids' store, and worked with him on open space issues for a decade. No Richard, no TOPS. And since I believe that the passage of the TOPS tax was the single best thing to happen to the community in the last 30 years, it was a privilege to vote once more for Richard.

Second and third votes: Larry Small and Randy Purvis. I served on Council with both of these estimable gentlemen. If all Republicans were like Larry and Randy -- thoughtful, analytical, responsible, and respectful of those whose views differ from their own -- the Democratic Party would simply wither away and disappear.

Fourth vote: Now, it gets a little harder. After some thought, I found myself forced to choose between Mark Entrekin and Tom Gallagher. Mark, a Dem in a city overflowing with GOPsters, seemed like an attractive choice. On the other hand Tom, a fellow West Sider has been a fierce advocate for our neighborhood. Hmmm ... let's come back to this one.

Council District 3: There are at least four worthy candidates. Art Van Sant is a decent enough guy, as is Jerry Heimlicher. I admire Linda Rinehart's tenacity and energy, but in the end my vote went to Lauren Arnest. We need at least one person on Council who has both the will and the intellectual firepower to go up against the received wisdom of the power structure. Lauren is that person.

Mayor. A really tough choice.

Maybe I should vote for Jim Null. A dozen years ago, considering a Council run of my own, my spouse pointed out that voters would not take kindly to the fact that I was a college dropout. Solution: Go back to school. And who was the brilliant, even inspirational, professor whose class at UCCS I so enjoyed? Jim Null. And who's the most experienced, and most knowledgeable candidate? Jim. How can I not vote for him?

And what about Lionel Rivera? He's a smart, competent, no-nonsense Councilman. And it'd be good to have a Hispanic mayor. And besides, when I was running for Council in 1991, Lionel, who was managing incumbent Mayor Bob Isaac's campaign, passed the word to Bob's supporters that it was OK to vote for me. I squeaked in; politically, I owe Lionel big time. How can I not vote for Lionel?

Sallie Clark. Over the years, I've worked with Sallie on a score of neighborhood issues. I share her love for this community, and her concern for its neighborhoods. Accessible, unpretentious, politically adept and fiercely independent, I know that Sallie would make a fine mayor.

And finally, Dr. Ted Eastburn. He's an exemplary human being, a man who understands city government and the dozens of interlocking issues that drive city policy better than any other candidate. He's capable of working harder and more effectively than any other candidate. Our families have been friends for years. I danced at Ted's wedding; how can I not vote for Ted?

And renewing TOPS? Yes, yes and yes. I only hope that a weak economy, wartime uncertainty, and the Gazette's recent absurd editorial screeds in opposition do not combine to defeat this crucial ballot issue.

Anyway, back to the At-large and mayoral races. It wasn't easy, but I cast my vote. I'm sure that I made the right choice. Once I'd voted, it seemed so obvious; how could have I failed to see that there was only one correct path, one pair of votes that would clearly benefit our wonderful city? I voted, as I know a majority of our citizens will, for ...

Editor's note: When it comes to predicting his new best friend the mayor, the Outsider is no dummy.


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