John Martin, Mayor Steve Bach's minister of propaganda, I mean senior communications specialist, has released a list of gifts and free lunches accepted last year by His Hairness. I mean His Highness.
From the actual news release: "As part of his ongoing effort to be open and transparent, Mayor Steve Bach has released his 2013 Gifts and Honoraria Report."
Yup. Open and transparent. I think I speak for the group here when I say that's the No. 1 phrase that comes to mind when we think about our mayor. (No. 2 is "can unhinge his jaw to swallow medium-sized rodents.")
This wave of openness and transparency follows requests for gifts and honoraria information by Independent senior reporter Pam Zubeck, who makes requests for such things the way a hyena makes requests of a limping wildebeest.
From her November 2013 story ("Present, but unaccounted for," News): "If someone is buying Mayor Steve Bach fancy meals or paying for his rounds of golf, it might be nice to know. But Colorado Springs residents have been denied that knowledge because of a giant loophole: The city's ethics code doesn't explain how such gifts and honoraria (or speaking fees) are to be reported."
Like you, I was shocked. Specifically by the part about our village having an "ethics code." Some of our village's politicians were so surprised to find out there was an ethics code they became curious and briefly stuck their heads out of the developers' pockets to have a look around.
Bach took office in June 2011 and filed a report 10 months later listing just five gifts: tickets from the Broadmoor to a golf tournament and a few dinners.
From the November Indy story: "But he hasn't filed one since, and neither has any other elected city official, because City Clerk Sarah Johnson simply hasn't required it." Johnson, as you might imagine, was hired by Bach.
Now, with the news media's teeth marks on his rump, the mayor is suddenly open and transparent.
Here are some actual listings from the Jan. 10 report authorized by Kim Jong-un, I mean Mayor Bach:
• On March 14, 2013, Bach accepted a $15 lunch at a meeting of the local Housing & Building Association. Insiders said the builders wanted to know when they could start bulldozing those stupid rock formations in the Garden of the Gods to make room for apartment buildings. (Under the plan, the kissing camels will be separated and become just friends.)
• Seven days later, he was the guest speaker at a Charis Bible College luncheon — a $15 free meal — at which a visibly frustrated Bach repeatedly tried to turn his glass of water into wine.
• On May 22, he accepted a $10 breakfast and spoke to the Association of General Contractors. (They wanted to build a huge shed in the Garden of the Gods to host our gigantic weekly Gun-and-Knife-Nut Show.)
• On May 31, Bach accepted a free breakfast to dine with City Council members Keith King and Joel Miller. Sources say other diners asked waiters to dim the restaurant lights because there were already three bright bulbs in the middle of the room.
• On Aug. 1, Bach accepted a $50 lunch at the Broadmoor — $50 at the Broadmoor gets you part of a dinner roll and five peas — paid for by the Regional Business Alliance, during his rousing and dynamic State of the City Address. (Some 487 guests dozed off during the speech and awoke an hour later with blue cheese crumbles and butter patties stuck to their faces.)
All told, the city reports that Bach accepted $1,384 in gifts in 2013. So I guess for now, that's about it for our mayor's new open and transparent policy.
I sincerely hope he isn't mad at me for occasionally making fun of him. Although I'm looking out my window right now and see thousands of orange highway cones and dozens of massive concrete barriers blocking my driveway.
What the heck is the Chris Christie Construction Company?
Rich Tosches (firstname.lastname@example.org) also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.