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Bircham: 'I'm pretty cool now'

Ranger Rich



I'm voting for Ed Bircham for City Council.

Oh sure, people who worked for the office-supply guru claimed in a 2007 trial that he was a big fan of Adolf Hitler. Along with disliking Jews, Ed also didn't particularly care for African-Americans. He wasn't real happy with gays or lesbians, either.

But let me say this: In the 16 years I have known Ed Bircham, I have never once heard him utter a single negative word about Albanians. Or the Portuguese.

So let's lighten up on Ed, who is now 74. I mean, at least he's not a developer. And, I might point out, he came to America from his homeland in England. You spend four months on a wooden ship crossing the Atlantic with no limes or other citrus products, and see if you're not a little grumpy.

Anyway, perhaps it's true that at a Bircham's Office Products staff meeting, queen-worshiping Ed told his employees that Hitler "had it almost right," as four of his employees testified in a work-related court case. And yes, those four also testified that Ed said black people and homosexuals should be killed.

Ed denied saying such things. Although for more than 12 years, Ed regularly placed prominent "Come On Colorado Springs, We Can Do Better" ads in our daily "newspaper."

The Gazette gladly took Ed's cash and ran his intolerant, racist views on gay rights (hates them), school teachers (hates them and said they were more dangerous than the 9/11 terrorists), and the film industry (hates it and said the 9/11 hijackers should have crashed the planes into Hollywood).

Allow me to tell a quick little story: A crowd in Bethlehem is clutching heavy rocks, surrounding an accused adulterer and preparing to stone her to death. Jesus arrives, lifts up his hands and says, "Let ye who has never sinned cast the first stone." Suddenly a rock flies from the crowd and strikes the woman right in the face, causing Jesus to turn and utter these famous words: "You know, Ma, sometimes you really piss me off."

My point is that with the exception of the Virgin Mary — and, here in Colorado Springs, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush — everyone has made mistakes.

True, most of us haven't all been accused of being in the Hitler Fan Club or saying Jews and black people should be eliminated, but nevertheless we've said things we regret.

(Personal footnote as I hold this ice pack against my nose: If your wife asks whether her butt looks gigantic in a particular pair of slacks, a lousy answer is, "Not as gigantic as it looked in that thing you wore last night.")

And so, on a recent Sunday morning, I was searching for some insight into Ed's campaign. (Political observation: Suddenly, "Come On Colorado Springs, We Can Do Better" makes sense.)

I looked up his phone number — you can do this, too — and I actually called Ed at home. He answered and we talked. I'm not kidding.

"There are more than 125 people working for this city who make more than $100,000 a year," the candidate and veteran paper-clip salesman said. "That's more than the governor of Colorado makes."

I asked Ed how much the governor of Colorado makes. He told me: "I don't know." (It's actually $90,000 a year.)

Then I asked what he thought about our current mayor and this — I swear I'm not kidding — is what he said: "I've always supported Mayor Isaac. I've known him for a long time."

Bob Isaac was our mayor from 1979 to 1997. We've had three mayors since. Isaac died in May 2008. Which maybe explains why Ed has spent every morning for nearly three years pacing in front of their favorite coffee shop, impatiently looking down at his watch.

I asked Ed if he thought he could win a seat on our City Council. He said he has name recognition and believes he will. Then he said this: "I may have been controversial in the past. But I'm pretty cool now."

And if you ask Ed, he's certainly cooler than our current president.

That would be Martin Van Buren.

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