Columns » Public Eye

Locked and loaded


Regular readers of this column may have noted the absence of the Public Eye for the past several weeks. My apologies. As a recently indoctrinated Republican (swear to God!), I've been in the bunker, ducking for cover and just waiting for that assault-weapons ban to relax so I can get me some heavy-duty machinery that could possibly match the strength of the verbal gunfire that has erupted across the city.

Here's some fat to chew:

Item: On Sept. 8, the Gazette publishes a lengthy -- and absurdly self-serving -- op-ed submission written by Eric Christen, the District 11 school board member who apparently believes he is the only person in the city who is even vaguely interested in improving public education (with the possible exception of his benefactor, developer Steve Schuck, who is not mentioned in the op/ed). After 10 months on the board, Christen has determined the solution: Several "underperforming" elementary schools, specifically in predominantly poor neighborhoods, must be closed NOW. "It is time to do what most have known must be done but have not had the guts to do," Christen writes. In his scorched-earth tirade, Christen blasts his fellow board member Sandy Shakes (a former teacher who was elected as a Christen ally but has become a traitor because she, um, votes her conscience). He also pillories longtime board members Mary Wierman and Karen Teja, laying at their feet a "legacy" of failing schools.

Item: Eric Christen's pal on the District 11 school board, Willie Breazell, announces plans to reintroduce a resolution underscoring his idea of what makes for a decent family: specifically, married straight people. Breazell's Ward-'n'-June proposal bombed three months ago, but the school board member seems bent on getting the fourth-largest school district in the state to adopt a coda labeling single parents, unstable married parents and gay people as unfit people.

Item: Douglas Bruce dispenses what we can expect from his promised civil discourse now that he won the Republican nomination for county commissioner. In a Sept. 10 op-ed in the above-mentioned daily newspaper, Bruce attacks Colorado Springs Vice Mayor Richard Skorman for politely wishing that Bruce, the author of a complicated statewide tax-and-spend amendment, would work with elected officials instead of suing them all the time, which would save taxpayers' money. Most recently, the city lost a suit over the wording in a voter-approved extension of the city's open-space program. "In an effort at damage control," Bruce writes, "[Skorman is] blaming the judge, the law, the stars and Satan (that's me) for the council's illegal acts, dirty tricks and what the court called the city's 'systematic disregard of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights' (TABOR), which I proudly authored," Bruce writes. He indignantly goes on: "This City Council chose to break the law, got caught, and now wants to blame the policeman who arrested it." Talk about mixing metaphors! Is Bruce Satan or a cop? Or is he actually a terrorist, as his business cards used to proclaim?

Item: The aforementioned Douglas Bruce wants the biggest office once he is elected to the county commission on Nov. 2. Can this be? This anti-government activist wants to use taxpayer resources to house his anti-government machine? People, as Mr. Bruce has often pointed out, are really stupid.

Item: This week, Bob Holmes, who is wildly inaccurately described by the Gazette as "the city's leading advocate for the homeless," tells the City Council that the "arrogant homeless" should not get any services. By arrogant homeless people, Holmes is referring to those who choose to be homeless and choose not to sign up to enter a system in which they have to carry homeless ID cards and follow mandated rules to get them off the streets. Those people who are not in the system, according to Holmes, should be denied food and services and, in essence, deserve to be run out of town. Sort of reminiscent of the old days, when El Paso County's way of dealing with the undesirables was to give them a bus ticket outta here.

In closing, I'd like to give thanks to my newfound GOP status, to the ever-shrinking Gazette and to President Bush and his decision to relax the assault-weapons ban. Because of them, I am locked, loaded and ready to rumble.

Crazy times beg for drastic measures. And so, as your new Republican representative, I promise to wage war against the likes of Christen, Bruce, Breazell and Holmes in the effort to keep government small and not intrude in people's lives.

God bless America.


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