The Gazette keeps coming at Councilman Miller

Posted by Bryce Crawford on Mon, Nov 4, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Councilor Joel Miller: under fire. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Councilor Joel Miller: under fire.
For two months, City Councilor Joel Miller has been getting hammered by Gazette opinion-page editor Wayne Laugesen, and it's starting to get a little ridiculous. 

It began with Miller's expressed reservations about Mayor Steve Bach's City for Champions proposal, and gained steam with a Sept. 12 editorial in which Laugesen called the Councilman's objecting to how the application was created in secret "a temper tantrum." Bizarrely, the writer mocks Miller, one of but nine voices you or I have in the entire machinery of city government, for objecting that he learned about the city proposal from the local press, instead of from city staff.

This exercise continued on to Miller's Facebook page, where the councilor struck back by passive-aggressively citing "people" who want him to label the Gazette as a lapdog of the mayor, and trotted back out the widely spread rumor that former reporter Daniel Chacón was reassigned off the City Hall beat in a fit of pique from Bach. 

Laugesen then decided to incite Miller's fans/followers on the thread — where he also jabs at Miller by saying he "bent over backward convincing the board to endorse him" (which it did, as did the Indy).

After Miller listed a few attributes that he said allow him to be devoid of personal agenda in office, out came this weird charge: "The fact you don't run a business speaks volumes about your agenda," Laugesen wrote. "So does the fact you can live anywhere with an airport. It means you have no need for this community's economy to grow. If it continues to stagnate, everything stays the same for you. And if things get too unpleasant, you simply pack up and move to some other city with an airport. Nothing will change for you." 

The Gazette writer would later explain his fervor by saying he was offended at being called a lapdog — and somewhere in here local businessman Trevor Dierdorff weighed-in with a professional description of City for Champions opponents as a "bunch of haters" — but the entire exchange still left me with the exact thought as Jim Egbert: "Wayne, I'm not sure why you are publicly picking a fight with an elected official."

But the most emphatic salvo from Laugesen was still to come. "City councilman escalates absurd sabotage campaign," the Gazette yelled at Miller, again, last Thursday. It's a wobbly piece full of innuendo and repetitive arguments about Miller failing as a citizen because he doesn't own a small business, but mostly it sounds mad that Miller's still opposed to City for Champions, and acting like it.

In an emailed statement sent in response to a request for comment, the daily's opinion-page editor says all newspaper efforts are for the betterment of the city. 

"The Gazette wants Colorado Springs to grow and prosper, creating a better life for residents of the Pikes Peak region," Laugesen writes. "We will continue to weigh in on issues, advocating for better public policy. Sometimes when organizations or individuals disagree we will comment on that and when they obstruct progress, we will weigh in on that, too.

"As Gazette editorials have stated, this incarnation of City Council consists of extraordinary experience and intelligence. The editorial board believes the council could steer our community in a more positive direction and spend less time on internal bureaucracy and management details that are primarily the responsibility of our city government's executive branch. The Gazette endorsed three of the six new council members, including Councilman Miller, and hopes this council will achieve excellent results for Colorado Springs."

Other ways the Gazette has pushed for "excellent results" from Council: opposing the body's desire for its own attorney; saying it should look at Utilities' budget and leave the city to the mayor (see the comments); and generally wishing Council did better at everything. Even a Nov. 1 editorial took a crack at Council, calling its power struggle with departing City Attorney Chris Melcher "[a waste of] time and energy on internal strife."

Miller declined to comment for this post.

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

the geezerette continues to cater to geezers and developers (including our mayor botch).

report 31 likes, 4 dislikes   
Posted by happyfew on 11/04/2013 at 1:55 PM

And yet the G actually has a vibrant and dynamic on-line forum, with submissions from all over the political spectrum, while you hang out here--alone and anonymous--reduced to name-calling and speculation.

report 4 likes, 21 dislikes   
Posted by thinker on 11/04/2013 at 6:37 PM

The Gazette seems to feel that anyone who questions Mayor Bach's ideas for downtown Colorado Springs is either a fool living in the past or doesn't care about the future of our city. At least that is the way they and the Mayor try to reframe any arguments about his plans.

report 26 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Beth Heinrich on 11/05/2013 at 2:12 AM

Perhaps the Independent should give Daniel Chacón a position.

report 6 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by CSIndyReader on 11/05/2013 at 11:32 AM

Although, I am still pissed at Miller for voted against retail sales of cannabis.

report 5 likes, 1 dislike   
Posted by Lalahartma on 11/05/2013 at 12:36 PM

Laugesen will not stand aside while an influencial person, Councilman Miller, is not on board the City of Champions scheme to fleece the taxpayers of COS, and so he AGAIN attacks Miller in a Gazette editorial. I say Bravo to the Councilman, as well as the other council members, who refused to endorse this assinine effort to obtain $82 million of "free" tax dollars from the state. The state's consultant this week says 3 of the 4 projects (not enough data on the UCCS sports medicine facility - which, BTW, should be paid for 100% by the state) are unlikely to attract tourists in the numbers needed to make these projects self-supporting, let alone profitable.

Yesterday in a front page Gazette article we learn that a state consultant has reduced the amount of sales tax rebate that will be generated from $82M to $31M (receivable over 30 years). This means that COS taxpayers will have to foot $187M to get these projects built. And as we can expect, the building cost will exceed $187M PLUS there will be ongoing taxpayer subsidies needed to fund the stadium shortfalls. And, in the last sentence of Laden's article, I was further stunned to read that all 4 projects - which includes the stadium - are not-for-profit venues. This City of Champions scheme is a disaster for the citizens and taxpayers of COS. Councilman Miller sees this is the reality and so is opposed to squandering scarce public dollars, and so should we be.

report 10 likes, 0 dislikes   
Posted by curious on 11/05/2013 at 1:28 PM
Showing 1-6 of 6

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