Bach tries to rewrite Utilities history

Posted by Pam Zubeck on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Some time back, Mayor Steve Bach proclaimed that he'd never mentioned wanting a sports stadium in the lower downtown area.

Mayor Steve Bach Springs Utilities
  • Bach: A flip-flopper, or just forgetful?

The Gazette rightfully called him out on that, listing five instances where Bach, in fact, said he was interested in a stadium being located downtown. (Incidentally, the reporter who did that, Daniel Chacon, was reassigned last week.)

Now, Bach is saying that his feelings toward Colorado Springs Utilities have been unfairly characterized. During a chat with KVOR's Richard Randall last Thursday afternoon, Bach made the following statement when Randall brought up the Martin Drake Task Force, which has been asked to study the possible decommission of the Drake power plant (which sits in the same neighborhood, if not on the same actual ground, as the potential baseball stadium):

First I want to absolutely clear up a falsehood that’s out there by some in the print media. I am not interested in decommissioning Martin Drake. That is not on my radar screen. OK? And I’m also not even thinking about selling Utilities. That is being trumped up by some folks who cannot win on the business case and have to attack me personally. My interest in Colorado Springs Utilities is simply three things. One, that we continue to provide reliable, high quality utilities at the lowest possible cost, and I’m not sure we are. And secondly, that we use ratepayer money wisely, and I’m not sure we are. And lastly, that we maintain sound business practices, and I’m not sure we are.

Again surprised by Bach's statements, we took a look back. In a June 5 letter to City Council posted on Bach's own website, the decommissioning idea appeared to be on his radar screen:

Thank you for committing as the Board of CSU to push forward with a study of the possibility of moving or decommissioning the Drake Power Plant. ...

May I suggest that the study consider not only the costs of moving or decommissioning Drake, and the possible impacts on electric rates, but also balance the analysis by adding in the tremendous potential for vibrant new economic development Downtown, and the new jobs, new housing, and new tax revenues that would go along with that, as well as the many benefits of a more environmentally friendly power supply.

We also noted that Bach had acknowledged having met with Xcel Energy earlier in the year, and that some big financial players had taken notice.

And then there's the fact that Bach's former boss, developer Steve Schuck, had orchestrated discussion of the idea of selling off Utilities' power division, with Bach in attendance. Schuck hosted a meeting at Penrose Library in September to discuss it. A private meeting, that is, as we reported beforehand and at the time.

Now here's something new: During that meeting, Bach apparently expressed support for the decommissioning idea, and when someone noted that a sale could push electric rates up by 30 percent to 40 percent, the mayor said that was of no consequence. At least that's the story from Steve Durham, who last week was appointed to the Drake task force.

Bach opposed Durham's appointment, saying he had a conflict of interest because he, Durham, had represented the coal industry in 2010. In response, Durham wrote to Bach on Jan. 7, in which he mentions a meeting in which a sale was discussed:

As I noted on both my application and the follow-up questionnaire, I do have a bias toward affordable and reliable energy. I do not have enough information to judge the impact that decommissioning the Drake Plant would have on affordability and reliability, but I hope to learn.

I know from the meeting we attended this fall that you do not share my concern for affordable energy. You said “electric rates don’t matter.” I hope that this difference of opinion will not lead you to work against my appointment to the Drake Task Force.

Comments (61)

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For some reason, I keep being reminded of Richard Nixon.

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Posted by Staci Lynne Holdt on 01/28/2013 at 3:07 PM

Bach needs to step down and let a true strong mayor represent the city. He is a bully and has no interest in helping our community.

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Posted by Sick of Bach on 01/28/2013 at 5:39 PM

Nice work Pam, you must feel like a dog chasing their own tail some days, this thing seems to be on the spin cycle all the time.

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Posted by Timothy O'Hara Casey on 01/28/2013 at 5:41 PM

The 'Spin Cycle' is the one that discharges the dirty water out of the tub.

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Posted by Staci Lynne Holdt on 01/28/2013 at 5:45 PM

There's our "strong mayor" - selling off public assets to private industry and jacking up costs for the rest of us. Kinda reminds me of Michigan's "emergency managers."

Is it too soon to say, "Told ya so"?

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Posted by kfreed on 01/29/2013 at 5:12 AM

Bach and his corrupt and unethical partners aka his developer buddies need to be stopped now! Our mentally unstable, tyrannical mayor needs to be recalled. Bach was elected because of a very strategic and corrupt campaign orchestrated by Schuck and other developers hoping to get their puppet, Bach, elected. Skorman actually beat Bach but due to the sneaky rules implemented by the people behind the strong mayor initiative, we had to vote again which unfortunately caused us to be stuck with this corrupt, selfish, manipulative mayor and the puppet masters behind his administration. I find it very interesting that Chacon was reassigned after contradicting Bach's lies and noting the number of times Bach mentioned having a stadium in downtown Colorado Springs. Chacon was doing his job and did an excellent job of exposing some of Bach's many lies and manipulations. Bach is going to destroy Colorado Springs and needs to be recalled.

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Posted by Rose on 01/29/2013 at 6:12 AM

Would it be fair to say, regardless of what Mayor Bach does, it will be castigated by the Indy and its readers?

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Posted by siggie on 01/29/2013 at 6:13 AM

Wanted!!!!!! City Council members ,running for office, to oppose drilling & fracking. Vote wisely. please no "YES" people. We need a City Council that will take in concideration of the lesser wage earner, so he or she can pay the bills that come in. Right now we are being billed for water thats used to water our yards attached to our wastewater bill. The CSPU is like any house it needs to be cleaned once in awhile. So you new City Council members really need to check in on these type of issues. No wonder our water rates are higher than they need to be. Corrupt persons not wanted or needed. We need the "fact mame,just the facts"

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Posted by Ekim Tuoraey on 01/29/2013 at 6:37 AM

Rose: gosh, you don't sound like a very happy person. Be that as it may, since you were the one to cast aspersions, please list, for the reading audience, every developer in which you have personal factual knowledge of corruption and unethical behavior.
We know that you wouldn't simply make things up. That would be disingenuous, wouldn't it?

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Posted by siggie on 01/29/2013 at 7:47 AM

This is nothing new...this town has always been run this way. The self-aggrandizing self-satisfied people running this town have never done anything but feather their own nests.

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Posted by TejonTech on 01/29/2013 at 10:47 AM

What is wrong with our Mayor? His word means NOTHING! He is acting like Nixon! How many know what Mayor Bach is doing regarding ambulance transport? How many know potentialy many local jobs will be lost? Shhh this has been very hush..why? Why does it seem he we are not getting the entire picture on all aspects of our city? He was not truthful with the crews at AMR when he asked for their vote! So is this how it is going to be..our city being run by top businessman..while making our city "profitable"
Petition: for Mayor Bach to third ride for a shift with an AMR crew to see the other side.Mayor Bach you are only seeing the side of CSFD. You did ride along with CSFD. Please these men and women deserve a balanced decision..before you and CSFD alone decided their fate. Mayor Bach you went to AMR base and spoke to the crews ..you asked them to vote for you because you said government should not take over what small business is already doing. The crews put their faith in you and now look what you are doing. Will you third ride with them..will you go to their base now and ask them to continue to support you?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilx400fRkiw

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Posted by SILENT DOGOOD on 01/29/2013 at 6:45 PM

Siggie, I am a very unhappy person when I see our elected officials pushing their own destructive and corrupt agendas so they can so that they can benefit. A perfect example of dishonest and unethical behavior is Bach claiming he never indicated that he wanted to build a ballpark downtown when in fact he did no several occasions. Then when this information is published, the reportor who exposed it is suddenly reassigned. Bach has been Schuck's puppet since he was elected. Why would you need private meetings to discuss the fate of Drake power plant? If you have nothing to hide why not invite citizens to join in this very important conversation? Why do we have a mayor who wants to spend more of the rate payers money to fund another study on decommissioning Drake, when a study has already been completed and the it was determined it was not a good option? There is very little transparency in Bach's regime which leads to lack of trust. What is he hiding? I care deeply about Colorado Springs and have been disgusted with Bach and the other council members who seem determined to destroy our city. I have lived here for 35 years, my children were born here, I have a vested interest in our city. The current state of our city, the Mayor, Melcher, and the other members of Bach's entourage is very concerning. Siggie, maybe you choose not to see the red flags but we have plenty to be unhappy about and things are only going to get worse unless we recall this tyranical mayor. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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Posted by Rose on 01/29/2013 at 7:37 PM

Rose, so sad but Mayor Bach is having private meetings on ALL issues in our community!!!! The El Paso County Commisioners ESA board is in the dark regarding city ambulance transport. Mayor Bach will not speak to anyone!!! He has delegated all to other city officials..to talk to the public ..such as the CSFD Chief or CSPD Chief...his "team" and no one else is privey to the information. No news outlets are covering any of these issues..he has the gazette in his back pocket..I know beleive he will do what it takes for his cronies...and himself..they all stand to make alot of money! It is all sham and disgrace!!! I am terrified ...we have NO voice in our city! Yes I beleive and recall is in order!!!!! Try to call his office regarding an issue and he will farm it out! If you do keep us posted!

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Posted by SILENT DOGOOD on 01/29/2013 at 8:11 PM

Ekin it seems you are referring to the sewer rates. It costs a lot more to treat the wastewater than it does to purify it coming from the mountains and other sources. They do not have wastewater or sewer meters so they need to have some type of methodology to calculate the expense. Currently we are in a drought and I would not be surprised if they are watering restrictions or other actions put in place to address this issue. I do not know how we would be able to justfy the amount of water that is needed for fracking if we are in a drought, but I am sure that our not so honest city council or mayor will come up with some creative and destructive way to pursue this dangerous activity. People need to become more informed about the important issues and unite to recall Steve-o . The things he is implementing now will haunt our city for years to come. He seems more concerned about his own agenda and does not seem to care how his questionable decisions and actions will affect Colorado Springs negatively for years to come.

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Posted by Kim on 01/30/2013 at 6:33 AM

Kim, You mentioned mayor bach's "questionable decisions and actions will affect Colorado Springs negatively for years to come." You are so very correct!!!! On many issues he is trying to push through ..seemingly quickly before public awareness...will affect this city for years to come!!! In one case using federal grant's to pay for projects he wants to push through now...which has already been used in one case to staff fire station 21..he may be looking at loopholes to pass his agenda with ambulance transport..and all other projects he wants done ...what happens when grant money and other federal money he is looking into dries up in a few years ..this leaves our city wide open to join other cities in our country that are now broke! I am fearful for our city!

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Posted by SILENT DOGOOD on 01/30/2013 at 6:56 AM

A perfect example "The city is struggling just pay new firefighters to staff all of their stations. It took a two year $2 million grant from the Obama administration to fully staff the new Fire Station 21 without pulling crews from other fire houses.

"I think there's a concern that things have kind of been done behind closed doors, the ESA really feels that this needs to be a transparent process," said El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark. "

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Posted by SILENT DOGOOD on 01/30/2013 at 7:00 AM

Rose: I'm still waiting for you to supply specific examples of developer corruption and unethical behavior. You surely have some, don't you? You surely wouldn't make groundless, despicable accusations unless you could back them, would you?
Here is something for you and all the other Bach critics. Different doesn't mean wrong or evil. He simply and quite obviously has a different vision than those of you that supported Skorman. Okay, that is fine, but why make up a bunch of lies in order to try to demonize someone with a different opinion?
As to "secret" or "private" meetings, perhaps all of you should refresh yourselves on the definition of "representative government". Or are all of you suggesting we should be governed under mob rule?
Now I'm not sold on moving the ball park down town. I don't think the local AAA team has enough support to "revitalize" downtown. However, I do think the power plant will need to be moved in order for Colorado Springs to move into the future. The only question is - is now the right time?
As to the negative references to Nixon, he was actually a very good foreign policy president and arguably only fair when it came to national issues. He inherited the Vietnam War from Johnston. His biggest problem was psychological - he had a paranoid personality which lead to his downfall.

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Posted by siggie on 01/30/2013 at 9:30 AM

Siggie,

Please access the following link: http://citydesk.freedomblogging.com/tag/steve-schuck/. There are several stories attached to the city desk blog. Steve Schuck is one of Bach's biggest supporters and if you have an open mind, maybe you will take the time to reseach what Bach is doing to our city, community, and our children's legacy. I reviewed his campaign contributors and many of them are developers. Why do you think they donate? Could it be that if he scratches their backs, they will scratch his? I don't have time to list all the unethical developers. I have family members who have worked on projects headed by many local developers. There is no concern for the city or the residents or the quality of the product they produce. It is about slapping together these ugly, sprawling developments, making their money, and moving on to the next conquest.

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Posted by Rose on 01/30/2013 at 6:22 PM

Rose: Okay, I reread the link provided. So what? Now you want to make baseless accusations against Steve Schuck? Do you know Steve Schuck? Do you have any idea the number of years he has put into the betterment of Colorado Springs as well as to the improvement of education of our children?
As to campaign contributions - WOW, what a revelation! People donate to campaigns that will likely help them. Who would have thought?
As to your nasty comments re developers, which you added to in your last post. Now they have no concern for the city or quality and yada, yada, yada. Talk about open-minded. You have time to make accusations, but conveniently don't have time to back them up. I can think of a word for that and it isn't very flattering. Wait a minute.... you know someone that knows someone, plus you have a cousin three times removed that may have worked for a developer and said something derogatory about them.

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Posted by siggie on 01/31/2013 at 7:52 AM

Sigfried, you need to take a chill pill. I was not referring to a cousin or distant relative, I was referring to close family relatives who have worked closely with developers and experienced their dishonest behavior and their willingness to lie and cheat to avoid adhering to required codes and other dishonest behavior in order to earn bigger profits on their projects. Schuck may have done some commendable things regarding education but he was also involved in the secret meeting with Bach regarding Drake power plant and Colorado Springs Utilities. Why are they having a secret meeting to discuss Drake Power Plant? Why don't they involve the community in this very important discussion? Where is the transparency? What are they trying to hide? Bach is a non voting member of the Utilities board (Thank God!) why is he having a meeting with Steve Schuck regarding the sale or decommision of Drake? Isn't this a conversation that should take place with the Utlities Board and citizens of Colorado Springs? Why would Schuck care? He appears to be joining forces with Bach to try to get rid of Drake in order to have a ballpark, convention center, or some other establishment. By the way, Mayor Bach deserves to be castigated by the readers of the Indy, citizen of Colorado Springs, and anyone else who cares about our city. He needs to be recalled before he destroys our city. He has been a disappointment to many of the citizens which can be verified by the numerous blogs in the Indy and Gazette. Sigfried, the last time I checked, this is the USA and I am entitled to my opinion. You are also entitled to your opinion, even though you are wrong. Have a nice evening!

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Posted by Rose on 01/31/2013 at 7:24 PM

as per king Bach's own words. " I’m also not even thinking about selling Utilities. That is being trumped up by some folks who cannot win on the business case and have to attack me personally "Are we really trusting this guy to run our city? "I said no such thing". "Not on my radar" "Media bias" And Ricard Nixon - "I am not a crook"

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Posted by Native on 02/02/2013 at 8:58 PM

Siggie,

After reading the blogs and the statements that he said regarding Drake and other issues and then deniying he said them, do you still think that people do not like Bach because of a difference of opinion or priorities? These are examples of lack of integrity and dishonesty. Why would we want someone who is that dishonest making important decisions for CSU and the citizens of Colorado Springs who will be paying for his wreckless and selfish decisions and actions for generations?

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Posted by Rose on 02/03/2013 at 9:10 AM

Well Rose, that seems to be your perspective. I could make a pretty convincing case as to why Obama is a horrendous president based on my perception of his words and deeds. However, he was voted in by a majority of the people who voted and I have to accept that. I try not to make my criticisms of Obama personal because I think he is probably an okay guy and a true believer. I just happen to abhor his view of where the US should go.

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Posted by siggie on 02/03/2013 at 10:23 AM

I am not talking about Obama, I am talking about Bach and Colorado Springs. Your response explains alot about your political affiliation and I would not be surprised if you have close ties to Bach based on defensiveness and your enthusiastic support of him. Per your prior blogs you stated different does not mean evil which I am aware and have never cared about Bach being different. Secretive, sneaky, angry, and self indulgent are some of the concerning behaviors and attitudes that he has displayed which are very alarming qualities for a strong (aka bully) mayor. When you are a public servant, the needs of the people need to come before your own selfish and destructive agenda. Bach lost the first election and due to a ridiculous rule most likely put in place by his associates, there was another election and the more ethical candidate lost. We are starting to hear rumblings about possibly pursuing a recall of Bach which would not be a bad thing. The only problem is there are candidates running for city council like Keith King, Ed Bircham, and Angela Dougan that if elected would continue to push the same destructive agenda that Bach has and remind my of Doug Bruce. By the way I purposely left out the "unethical" word since that seems to ruffle your feathers.

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Posted by Rose on 02/03/2013 at 10:55 AM

Rose: please inform me as to everything you think you know about my political affiliation.
No ties to Bach, don't know the man. Every single one of your comments blatantly displays your bias but, alas, no facts.
The reason I mentioned Obama is because each and every negative you attribute to Bach can easily be applied to Obama (corrupt, selfish, manipulative, puppet, secretive, sneaky, angry, self-indulgent, selfish, destructive) and yet, no doubt, you would vehemently deny those accusations and likely call the accuser *racist* for uttering them.
You certainly are entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to point out how ridiculously prejudiced and one one-sided they are.

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Posted by siggie on 02/04/2013 at 5:37 AM
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