Columns » Public Eye

Is it Eric or Annie or Bernie?


Soon, we'll have a brand new city councilor to swat around. And, as tempting as it is to send in my own note expressing interest in the $6,250-a-year job, that punching bag is not going to be me.

Or, as veteran radio newscaster Gary Street actually wrote in his own letter of interest: "It may be a better idea to select a candidate who is closer to council and tighter to the current issues than me."

As of Tuesday, Street was one of 21 people all but three of them men who applied to fill the seat left vacant two weeks ago by Richard Skorman. At the time, Skorman said he hoped that the seven men and one woman remaining on Council would pick someone to fill out the term who shares viewpoints similar to his. After all, Skorman was the only liberal guy up there, passionate defender of the environment and the underdog. In supporting gun-control laws, he even tried, without success, to keep guns out of city parks.

Which brings us to the obvious choice: Bernie Herpin. As longtime president of the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition and the local Friends of the National Rifle Association, Herpin worked tirelessly to ensure that all of us can legally walk our weapons in city parks before settling down to a cozy picnic with our pistols.

Yes, Council can't get any closer to replicating Skorman in ideology and character than with Herpin.

But maybe they want a celebrity, as in the hero who smoked out the final two of the Texas Seven. Yes, his bosses may have swatted him off KKTV after 18 years in December, but former anchor Eric Singer a self-described Reagan Republican has dusted himself off and is just itching to help set city policy.

And hey, if another former local TV anchor, Sandra Mann, gets to be on the District 11 school board, then why not Singer for Council?

In his letter of interest, Singer describes himself as, among other things, "a crisis control specialist who has proven himself in potentially explosive situations." That, we presume, would be a reference to the time in 1997 when he smoked two Texas fugitives out of their Colorado Springs hotel room by asking them questions like, "What color have you dyed your hair?" on live television. Seriously, the FBI even gave him a citation for his success in the surrender negotiations.

Those skills could certainly come in handy on the Council dais when it comes to dealing with agitators like Dave Gardner, founder of the smart-growth group Save the Springs, who often berates the elected officials, accusing them of being wined and dined by special interests and perpetuating unwise growth subsidies.

Oh wait Gardner has also submitted his name for consideration. Yes indeed, City Council will surely embrace Gardner in his efforts to become one of them.

Of the three people Skorman mentioned as potential replacements, one finally submitted her name for the job this week. Ann Oatman-Gardner no relation to Dave notes in her letter of interest that she's learned much during her many years of advocacy in Colorado Springs. Presumably, that includes how to keep from grimacing when County Commissioner Douglas Bruce takes the stage. And, did someone mention that she is not related to Dave?

One young fellow will not be among the finalists giving their best pitch to fill out the year of Skorman's remaining term. Robert J. Bentley certainly has the makings of a rising leader in this city in his letter, he proudly notes that he not only is chairman of the College Republicans at UCCS and former intern for Republican Sen. Wayne Allard, but firmly believes that "government should practice fiscal restraint to control outrageous spending."

Unfortunately for the rabidly anti-tax crowd, Bentley had to withdraw his name from consideration. The city charter requires our esteemed leaders to be at least 25 years old; Bentley is only 20.

Which gives him plenty of time to memorize the 85-page national Republican Party Platform and come back swinging in his 2011 bid for mayor.

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