What a year it has been. Colorado Gov. Bill Owens pushes for education reform and the Supreme Court anoints George W. Bush President of the United States. But hey, we get four more years of garbled syntax -- the likes of which we haven't seen since Dan Quayle!
Here in Colorado Springs, we had landlord Douglas Bruce trying to be a likeable politician, and failing, then trying to get another self-serving amendment passed, and failing. We had other political maneuvering, including Charlie Duke attempting a comeback and councilwoman Joanne Colt resigning in disgrace, the target of a Federal Trade Commission investigation.
All year we had the Homeless Mall (a.k.a. the Montgomery Center) to contend with. We also had Goose Gossage reminiscing about the old days, longtime Colorado Springs resident and activist Kay Arnold dying with grace and the less dignified loss of the beautiful Red Rock Canyon to hungry developers first courting Manitou Springs and now Colorado Springs.
And on it goes.
"The public participation process is just beginning. Now it's time for us to begin listening to the community to see what it needs from the process."
-- Deb Mitguard, discussing the need to iron out details of the Red Cross's controversial plan to build a mall for homeless services in the Mill Street neighborhood south of downtown
"Why would a candidate in high demand choose to teach in a system with lower pay and without due process rights when all 49 other states guarantee those rights?"
-- Pikes Peak Education Association director Allyn Kratz, on a bill that would eliminate due process for teachers
"You got a good set of cranky Republicans."
-- Independence Institute Executive Director Jon Caldera, congratulating El Paso County on its 13-member ultra-right legislative delegation
"Since I announced my candidacy, ... my wife and I have been the subject of extreme intolerance for our conservative views. On several occasions, we have been vandalized by perpetrators who have left decapitated rabbits and entrails on the front porch of our home."
-- House District 22 Republican candidate Dave Schultheis, in a Jan. 27 fund raising letter. Schultheis went on to win the race to replace longtime Rep. Marcy Morrison in the state House.
"If a parent is not prepared to hurt the child, that parent may not be a good parent. The parent has to be tough enough to give the child the discipline the child needs, and to hurt the child, whether it be emotionally or physically. I certainly never said to bruise the child, and certainly not repeatedly."
-- El Paso County Commissioner Duncan Bremer, detailing his position on child discipline while correcting a quote attributed to him in a November 1999 Denver Post letter to the editor
"I feel a responsibility to my customers not to just shut the doors."
-- Kimball's Twin Peaks owner Kimball Bayles, announcing plans on Feb. 10 to call it quits. He still owns the theater, which is still open.
"If you look at the basic larger components of what we have now, you've got a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen and a clinic. What will we end up with when this is done? A shelter, a soup kitchen and a clinic."
-- Activist Steve Handen, a vocal opponent of the Red Cross's proposed mall for the homeless
"The problem is that the mayor is allowing the [city] manager to develop policy for the city behind closed doors."
-- Colorado Springs attorney Bruce Wright, who teamed up in February with former city attorney Jim Colvin to battle imperialism and secrecy at City Hall
"Screen for thinly traded stocks in the $1 to $2 price range; ... look for one with a ... low ... volume; ... pull together information from optimistic press releases; throw in some bull**** about the company being an Internet wonder, buy a bunch of this garbage stock, tell your idiot subscribers ... how great the stock is; ... dump the shares you bought; ... laugh all the way to the bank."
-- Law student Douglas Colt's recipe for manipulating stock prices posted on an April 1999 Internet message board -- the same month his mother, Joanne Colt, won a seat on the Colorado Springs City Council. Eleven months later, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged both mother and son with fraud, and Joanne Colt resigned her Council seat.
"Those crocodile tears. I don't think it will wash with the voters, even with Moses reading the script."
-- Bill Clinton, after NRA president Charlton Heston suggested that the president was lying when claiming that the big-money, pro-gun group was an impediment to sensible laws and public safety. Clinton's comment also followed NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre's assertion that the president was trying to use gun deaths for political purposes.
"It breaks my heart we let it get away."
-- Denise DeLeo, mourning the loss of Red Rock Canyon near Manitou Springs as open space
"We played the game with a real passion. Today the guys are prima donnas. They are so spoiled."
-- Baseball great Goose Gossage, on the way things used to be
"It may be the beginning of the beginning of the something else, and I forgot the Churchill quote."
-- Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, flubbing a famous Winston Churchill quote, which he was applying to the momentousness of the passage of his education reform bill. The actual quote from Churchill is, This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
"I truthfully felt sorry for the governor. I thought, 'Oh, poor governor. I mean, poor soul, he's sort of losing it.'"
-- Veteran TV interviewer Barbara Walters, after Colorado Gov. Bill Owens criticized her for her softball conversation with John and Patsy Ramsey, who are suspects in their daughter JonBenet's Christmas 1997 murder.
"Media frenzies, like the O.J., JonBenet, Monica and Columbine stories, crowd other items out of the news, giving citizens an unbalanced diet of information."
-- Rocky Mountain Media Watch director Paul Klite, warning people to brace themselves, or just turn off their television sets, in the wake of the first anniversary of the April 19, 1999 Columbine High School killings. Klite, an outspoken critic of media pack journalism, died of cancer two months later.
"If He wants me in office, there's not a train big enough to stop me."
-- Former state Sen. Charlie Duke, who left office two years ago at the Lord's bequest, and returned to town this year to challenge state Rep. Lynn Hefley, claiming God wanted him to re-enter politics. After accusing Hefley and her husband, Congressman Joel Hefley, of conspiring with the Clintons, the mafia and an alleged Jewish international banking conspiracy to manipulate the stock market, Duke lost his bid.
"What was he going to say in front of the media that he didn't want to say to me?"
-- Colorado Springs activist and 1999 mayoral candidate Sallie Clark, after City Manager Jim Mullen kicked her out of a media briefing at City Hall
"Once again, I feel that I am holding the bag on this bastard child of a project."
-- Colorado Springs Comprehensive Planning Manager Ira Joseph, in an e-mail grousing about a Woodmen/Academy developers fee proposal that later had top city managers standing accused of attempting to secretly manipulate numbers to get developers to pay for the project.
"Ron may, but Doug will."
Anti-government activist Douglas Bruce's campaign slogan in his bid to upset state Rep. Ron May's ascension to the state Senate. Bruce didn't.
"It's not inaccurate to say [discrimination] happens in this city -- it happens in a lot of large organizations."
-- City Manager Jim Mullen, after keeping secret for more than a year the results of a study showing racism, sexism, ageism, classism and anti-gay sentiments are significant among the city's 2,000-plus employees.
"JOAs are becoming the death-knell for a newspaper."
-- Tim Redmond, editor of the weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian, after the Denver Post and the Denver Rocky Mountain News -- the last dueling major dailies in the United States -- announced their intention to seek a joint operating agreement to combine their business and advertising departments. Redmond believes such agreements result in a decline in the quality of journalism.
"A lot of people don't realize, there's more birdseed shipped out of Colorado than any place in the country."
-- Colorado Springs businessman Ron Perry, whose seed-mix recipes are for the birds
"I don't think anyone was happy having him decide whether we were competent jurors or not."
-- Colorado Springs resident Matt Burton, after lawyer and Senate hopeful Douglas Bruce disrupted court to hand out flyers to a jury pool telling them to follow their consciences, not the law. The jurors were subsequently dismissed.
"Our constitutional democracy has slowly but surely been overthrown in a sugar-coated, Disney-crusted coup."
-- Jello Biafra, the lead singer of the now-defunct punk band the Dead Kennedys and Green Party presidential nominee
"Most politicians hold their fingers to the wind, and if we win we'll be showing them a lot of wind."
-- Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Shut out of the presidential debates, Nader won just 2 percent of the vote in November.
"It's not that we're not religious; we just have a lot of kids from a lot of different backgrounds."
-- Widefield School District 3 spokesman James Drew, after the State Board of Education approved a measure that allows districts to post the motto In God We Trust. Widefield, like all other local school districts, reported it had no plans to do so.
"They were caught in the act and I am standing on principle. I want justice for my mother."
-- Shamira Nicolas, who filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Colorado For Family Values Chairman Will Perkins, along with six lawyers, bilked her mother, Mary Pile, of her estate
"Ron May is the Antichrist and Doug Bruce is the devil, but I would rather have the devil than the Antichrist."
-- Mark Johnson, president of the Colorado Springs area labor council AFL/CIO, on the tough choice between Republicans running for the state Senate
"There's a Serbian saying, 'It's hard to come from a small nation and be a big lion.'"
-- Rastko Maglic, a founding member of the now-defunct Tesla Society that was devoted to honoring the work of Nikola Tesla, inventer of the radio and the father of alternative energy, whose work in Colorado Springs a century ago is largely ignored here
"I came to work one morning to find the trees there already cut down and stacked. It's very disheartening."
-- Christine Dowdell, co-owner of La Creperie restaurant, after city workers cut down 34 trees as part of a plan to fix up downtown
"This Robocop dude threw [Morgan McClinton] down on the floor and kicked him in the head. Then he said, 'You're in my custody. I have a right to shoot you and you can't do nothing about it.'"
-- Deon Gooden, who watched as his 16-year-old friend was roughed up by Colorado Springs police during a no-knock raid. Police found four grams of marijuana in the house
"The tumor has been removed from the body."
-- A jubilent El Paso County Commissioner Ed Jones, after dentist Tom Huffman beat incumbent commissioner Betty Beedy in the Republican primary
"If people call me after Nov. 8, then it better be with paying legal work."
-- Colorado Senate Minority Leader Mike Feeley, a lawyer by trade, who was term limited from running again. Two months later, Feeley was credited as the master mind of the Democratic takeover of the state Senate.
"It is my intent to turn the Colorado Actors' Theater into a full regional theater; which means that everyone not only gets paid, but they get paid a living wage."
-- Gregory Wagrowski, artistic director of the Colorado Actors' Theater, on his goals
"In this culture, do you really think some kid is going to be corrupted by some really wordy political cartoon with some 17th-century engravings in it? If that's all you've got to worry about, then you do not live in the same society I live in."
-- Political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow, a.k.a. Dan Perkins, on the controversy caused by one of his cartoons, which used sexual imagery to make a point that you have to use sex to get people to listen to a discussion about campaign finance reform
"Thanks to goddess for bread, for friends, for joy and sorrow, for the comfort of quietness."
-- Colorado Springs resident Kay Arnold, reading a prayer that she planned for her memorial service. Arnold passed away at the Pikes Peak Hospice on Sept. 27 at age 78.
"We're not trying to put a fence around Colorado."
-- Nature photographer John Fielder, co-sponsor of the anti-sprawl Amendment 24, while addressing the Colorado Springs City Council
"But you would if you could, wouldn't you?"
-- Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, in a snippy retort to Fielder. The following month, Colorado voters rejected the proposal with the help of a $6 million campaign funded primarily by developers, a special-interest bloc that also heavily funded the mayor in her 1999 reelection bid.
"Gaining your one vote is not worth experiencing your confrontational, argumentative attitude. ... Argue with yourself."
-- Douglas Bruce, in an e-mail to firefighter Jeff Jacobucci. The firefighter wanted to know details of Bruce's Amendment 21, which would have crippled special districts across the state. Voters overwhelmingly defeated the measure the following month.
"She is the only person in the state of Colorado actively working to get Douglas Bruce a date since 1992. For that, she deserves at least 200 votes."
-- Jeff Wright, stumping for his wife Colette Wright's Libertarian Party candidacy against Republican Richard Decker in House District 19. Wright, a longtime supporter of Bruce, co-wrote Amendment 21. His wife lost the race.
"Plain and simple, it is hate."
-- SAFE Colorado president Arnie Grossman, who was accosted at Centennial Hall for being Jewish after a debate over why voters should pass Amendment 22, designed to close the gun show loophole. The measure passed by a landslide the following month.
"I am living proof that the power of God's love can transform hearts and lives."
-- Focus on the Family manager of homosexuality and gender John Paulk, in a letter inviting people to attend a conference on preventing homosexuality in today's youth. Paulk, who is the ministry's poster boy for the ex-gay movement -- which claims gays can be cured -- was removed from the Focus-sponsored program after he was identified socializing in a gay bar in Washington, D.C.
"George W. Bush is not president of the United States. Al W. Gore is not president of the United States. What do you say we just leave it that way?"
-- David Letterman, the night after the election
"This is not New Age nonsense we're talking about but real solutions."
-- Kenny Ausubel, founder of the Bioneers, a group of environmental innovators.
"What kind of savages are you people??? And what kind of savages do you employ???"
-- Colorado Springs resident Claudia Verburg, in an angry e-mail to the Colorado Springs City Council after city workers destroyed a huge chunk of her xeriscaped garden while building a sidewalk. The city subsequently promised to pay for the damage.
"I can't get away from the feeling that this is some sort of a national conservative agenda to dismantle and destroy public schools with the concept that private industry can do a better job of teaching."
-- Jerome Page, president of the Urban League of the Pikes Peak Region, after Colorado Springs developer Steve Schuck and Economic Development Corporation CEO Rocky Scott invited community leaders to a lunch to talk about Milwaukee's school voucher program
"Few of us would choose to live in the kind of places that, more and more, are affordable these days to people with the income of entry-level teachers, police officers and firefighters."
-- Chad Wright, of the city's Community Services department, after the latest Colorado Division of Housing study was released showing that, for the eighth year in a row, Colorado Springs has an alarming lack of affordable housing