It was one year ago this week, last May 17, that we the villagers of Colorado Springs mailed or dropped off our runoff ballots in numbers that can only be described as "many dozens" and elected Steve Bach as our first strong mayor.
And I think I speak for most of us when I say that in 2011, nothing said "We are a city of the future" more clearly than electing a mayor who was born when German U-boats were trying to sink American ships in the North Atlantic.
In his subsequent victory speech to his supporters — at 4 p.m., right after most of them had finished supper — the progressive new mayor said he was looking forward to great innovation during his term, singling out for special attention "new uses for fire" and "protection from wild animals." He then handed out grainy photos of him sitting in a canoe with Lewis and Clark.
I'm just kidding, of course. Mayor Bach is only 69 and has the same natural hair color he had when he was in his 20s — splotchy brownish and burned orange. No, really, despite being born 10 years before Dwight Eisenhower was elected president, Mayor Bach remains dynamic and energetic. Aides say he puts in long, grueling days in his office before heading home and dropping his teeth into a glass of water on the nightstand.
Among the many accomplishments of his first year was the creation of a brand-new city position called Chief of Economic Vitality & Innovation. This job, with an annual salary of greater than $100,000, is believed to have already increased the economic vitality of the economic vitality chief.
Bach, by way of background, has lived most of his life in our village, having purchased his first home here in 1970 on — and I am not making this up — Nevermind Lane. He later moved to a larger home on Mind Your Own %$^&*# Business Street. He now resides on No Comment Way.
At a recent news conference he made a few comments about nothing and then refused to answer any questions, a management style made famous by mime Marcel Marceau.
(Asked about the city's ongoing issues with Memorial Hospital and the long-term ramifications of leasing the city-owned enterprise, Mayor Bach pretended he was climbing a rope. Pressed for an answer, he leaned forward and pumped his arms and legs as if walking into a powerful wind.)
He also got behind a brilliant effort to come up with a new "brand" for our village to replace our long-standing brand, "Turn Signals Are for Sissies." This expensive marketing and public relations campaign led to the actual new brand "Live It Up," which the mayor called "exciting, simple, fresh and upbeat."
(Among the other brand finalists: "Colorado Springs: 450,000 Homes in Three Different Models and Two Colors" and the snappy "Come Pet Some of Our Many Feral Dogs.")
Bach has also bid farewell to nearly all top-level city employees, including the police chief, city clerk, city attorney, head of communications and finance director, after they failed to pass the city's new agility test — you have to sprint across the mayor's office, leap over his desk, drop to your knees and kiss his rump in under six seconds.
Bach also refused to support the village's annual Gay Pride parade and related events, saying, and again I am not kidding: "I don't think we should have a parade for people who are 6-foot-5."
It was unclear why the mayor believes all gay people are 6-foot-5. When asked, he frowned and pretended to be trying to get out of an invisible box.
He has also led a movement to banish the homeless from the downtown area. (Taking a cue from former First Lady Nancy Reagan's hugely successful "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign, Bach unveiled an innovative plan to end homelessness. He calls it "Just Buy a House.")
Oh, and Bach wants to move the Marian House soup kitchen out of the downtown area, too, so visitors to our village, if there are any, won't see any hungry, jobless people.
Examples would include the former city clerk, city attorney, head of communications and finance director.