I'm so excited! Finally, a job for which I'm qualified! No more deadlines, no more cranky computers and crankier editors, no more young reporters making fun of me behind my back.
The job: City Council, District 2.
Thanks to Joel Miller's unexpected resignation, Council has to fill the vacancy by Dec. 24. It's taking applications until Dec. 8 and interviewing candidates the week of Dec. 15.
Candidates must answer a few mildly intrusive questions that apparently seek to measure ideological fitness. Here they are, with my responses to each. (Note: I've even moved into District 2, thanks to a friend there who is renting me a room in his basement.)
Are you able to devote the time required to be an effective Councilmember? Effectiveness is not measured by time on the clock. I would keep my mouth shut during meetings, thereby contributing to brief, effective and meaningful deliberation. Council would be more effective, not less, if each member spent no more than 10 hours per week on the job. Want me to waste my time on committees and subcommittees? At $6,250 annually? Geezer John says no!
As a member of the Utilities Board, how would you balance varying priorities, including rates, reliability and customer service? I would follow long-standing Council procedure: purse my lips, nod, pretend mastery of all that comes before me, and do whatever Utilities CFO Bill Cherrier says. Having already served on the board from 1991 to 1997, I know what I don't know. I am not remotely qualified to make policy for a four-service municipal utility. Council's most important job is to hire a competent Utilities CEO and let him manage. If you want another expert opinion, hire McKinsey.
How would you propose to address the city's stormwater and other capital infrastructure needs? Clearly, they're all Mayor Steve Bach's fault. If Council could have its own attorney, we could move forward on this and other issues. Absent such a breakthrough, we'll have to continue with our existing policy, wait for the next flood or fire, and get the feds to pay for the repairs. We could ask voters for more money, but couldn't expect them to say yes. Since you've all done an amazing job poisoning the well with anti-government rhetoric, why would anyone want to give the city more money?
Please share your perspective on the issue of recreational marijuana in the City of Colorado Springs. Bob Dylan said it best: Everybody must get stoned! So let Manitou Springs get all the tax revenue; it'll spend wisely.
Please share your perspective on the roles of City Council and the mayor under the Council-Mayor form of government. The people have spoken: The mayor's salary is twice that of all councilmembers together. If the city were a fast-food franchise, the mayor would be store manager; councilors would be order-takers and dishwashers. But like our minimum-wage brethren, we need to be courteous to customers. Me? I'll be Mr. Courtesy, aka the Smiling Geezer!
What are some important issues facing District 2 and how would you propose to address them? District 2, like the other five districts, is an artificial construct with arbitrary boundaries. It's absurd to suggest that some random piece of urban geography has specific, identifiable problems. Cities, neighborhoods, families and individuals — not districts — have problems and opportunities. You're probably confusing Colorado Springs with Panem.
What are your thoughts on how the City Council might encourage job growth in the city? For starters, we should be nice to businesspeople — we all might need jobs someday. (Come to think of it, maybe we shouldn't feud with the mayor so much...) If we cut back on meaningless meetings, we can start our own multifaceted service company: offering childcare, hanging drywall, etc. Maybe we could even give ourselves the city's first retail marijuana license. There's fun to be had, money to be made, careers to build — rock on!
What attributes do you bring that will help Council serve the community? Unlike my predecessor, I have all my hair, a sense of humor and experience in government. I also can stay awake and refrain from farting on the Council dais, except when Don Knight speaks.
Finally, don't think that I'm in Mayor Bach's pocket.
Absolutely not! I'm in his basement.