TOM AND DEB’S PICKS

If print button does not work, copy and paste, then print.



CITY ELECTIONS

APRIL 4, 2017


First, a good news note:

In the last few years several developments have emerged that hold great promise for our city and we wanted you to know because we are beginning to see the fruit --a strong group of City Council candidates, the strongest we have seen since we have been doing these picks.

Here are the developments:

  1. *The purchase of the Colorado Springs Gazette in 2012 by Philip Anschutz’ Clarity Media Group, meaning the editorial voice of the local paper will remain reliably conservative (although individual reporters sometimes get wacky).

  2. *The election of John Suthers as mayor in 2015. He is a social and economic conservative, widely respected and trusted, and he declined a winnable run for the U. S. Senate to lend his reputation and energy to his home town.  Voters trust him too, and that’s why they authorized money to repave local roads, and a five-year project that will enhance the city’s image.

  3. *The emergence of Colorado Springs Forward (CSF) in 2014, a new civic organization formed to help stop the bickering between the mayor and City Council and promote public policy that will produce a strong and sensible future for the city.

  4. *CFS’s hiring of Amy Lathan in 2016 as its executive director. Like Suthers, Amy is a social and economic conservative whom we have admired for years in local government.

And so, with a significant caveat, we recommend the following candidates for election to City Council on April 4, 2017. Each has been examined and endorsed by the Gazette and CSF. Here is our caveat: these candidates will support the mayor’s direction, but this is not to say all are committed social conservatives:

District 1:  Greg Basham

District 2:  David Geislinger

District 3:  Chuck Fowler

District 4:  Deborah Hendrix

District 5:  Lynette Crow-Iverson

District 6:  Andres Pico


Important note: Your election ballot will contain the candidates for ONLY the district you live in.

BALLOT MEASURES

NO on Ballot Issue One.

Ballot Issue One would require a super majority of 60 percent of the voters before any change can be made in how the city utilities can be governed.  In politics 60 percent is a landslide, and no voter decision on this complicated matter would ever get a landslide majority. Therefore we think a simple majority of 50 percent is reasonable.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: A major issue facing City Council is how to run the city’s utilities. Should they be placed under a more professional, and more independent, board of directors to enhance innovation? Should the council continue to act as the utilities board in addition to all of its other duties? Council candidates themselves are divided, for they are part-time and many aren’t comfortable leading this $1 billion enterprise through an era of innovation.

YES on Ballot Issue Two

Tabor (the Taxpayers Bill of Rights) mandates that tax revenue above a certain level be returned to taxpayers unless voters authorize government to spend it elsewhere. This year the local economy is strong, tax receipts will be above projections, and this measure would allow up to $6 million in excess tax revenue to be kept and spent on storm water mitigation.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT. Colorado Springs is one of the few major cities without a storm water mitigation program, since voters revoked the storm water tax in 2009. That decision brought a nasty federal lawsuit again the Springs. It also incurred the enmity of downstream communities such as Pueblo, and nearly wrecked the Southern Delivery System agreement, which provides sufficient water for the Springs’ future growth

YES on Ballot Issue Three

Over the years the city has laid fiber optic cable to synchronize traffic signals, and these cable lines have extra capacity that could be used for private Internet companies to bring faster service to small communities. In 2005 the state legislature prohibited these arrangement unless local voters approve, and since then the voters in more than 100 Colorado cities have allowed their municipalities to use their fiber optic cables in this fashion. This measure would allow Colorado Springs to do the same.