I was the only one who showed up at the appointed 10 a.m. time today, but the idea from El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn to host a regular media session once a month is a good one. Glenn represents District 1, which covers the northern portion of the county.
Glenn opened the discussion to any topic, and we covered a lot of ground in a half-hour. Here are some highlights:
Election issues: Glenn feels the city should seriously consider contracting with the county Clerk and Recorder's Office to redraw boundaries for Council districts. While the city code requires new boundaries be in place 150 days before the April 2013 city election, Glenn thinks a draft should be provided a lot sooner.
"I think it's only fair," he says. "If you wait for 150 days before, it's not fair for people who have never run for office." Making sure you live within a district with an open seat and planning a campaign can take time.
"We should give people as much information as possible."
Mail ballot: "I'm a fan of giving voters all options. There are a lot of people who want to go to the polls, vote early or by mail. We should provide all options to people. If it comes down to cost versus credibility, credibility wins out every time."
Oil and gas: Required bonds for road repairs might need to be increased. The bonds recently posted by Ultra Resources of Houston for this purpose ranged from about $10,000 to $18,000. "The staff knows they're in a new area and they're not saying that's where it's going to stay. In my district, roads are No. 1."
Glenn hasn't been on a tour to one of Ultra's well sites in the county, although Ultra already has been taking city Oil and Gas Committee members to the Olive Oyl well site southeast of Colorado Springs.
Glenn says he's open to hear an argument should Ultra want to lease county property as a well site, leading to the county receiving royalty payments if a well is productive. This could be possible if a preferred drilling site is in a county park, for instance.
"That's a huge public issue," Glenn says. "You want to survey the public sentiment. Some people would want to completely preserve" public property. But royalty payments might be a funding source to improve a county park. "If the owners," he says, meaning taxpayers, "don't want to do it, it's not going to happen."