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Noted: Battle on term limits continues


Term limits redux (again)

Although El Paso County commissioners acted last week on a term limits ballot question for 2012, Commissioner Darryl Glenn plans to propose a different version at the July 28 meeting. Glenn sent a copy of his new resolution to the Independent but didn't return a call for comment.

Glenn's resolution proposes a 2012 ballot measure that would deny Commissioners Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey a third term, for which they are entitled to run next year under the craftily worded 2010 question that voters approved, extending county officials from two terms to three.

Besides containing the 35-word measure, Glenn's resolution also says "the reduction in the term limit shall apply to any person seeking election to a third term as County Commissioner in the November 2012 general election, thereby preventing them from taking office if they are so elected." It's unclear who would hold those offices should Clark and Hisey indeed be re-elected, and the measure pass. — PZ

Homeless program succeeds

Homeward Pikes Peak's emergency homeless housing program at the Aztec Motel on Platte Avenue has helped 206 formerly homeless people secure jobs since its founding in February 2010, executive director Bob Holmes has announced.

"We have this mindset in the city sometimes that not-for-profits are always just walking around with their hands out," he says, "but we're doing something incredibly cost-effective."

The program provides hotel rooms for homeless people and connects them to basic services, while helping them secure jobs and/or benefits. Once a participant is hired, he or she can live at the Aztec a few more weeks to save up for an apartment deposit. Holmes says the jobs are mostly in construction, home improvement, landscaping, sign-holding and cleaning.

The Aztec program has been funded largely through donations, the largest by far from El Pomar Foundation, but also from United Way, the Daniels Fund, Woodmen Valley Chapel and other local churches. The city of Colorado Springs donated $50,000 to the program; Holmes calls that "a good investment."

"With the 206 jobs," he says, "these individuals are going to be putting about $86,000 back into the city coffers every year if they make $8 an hour." — JAS

GOP leaders battle on

This was not the penitent Sarah Anderson that Republicans had in mind.

During an El Paso County GOP executive committee meeting on July 7, it was decided that Anderson, secretary of the party, would write a public letter signaling her support for the party and, possibly, include an apology to some members. This spring, Anderson had spoken out against state House Majority Leader Amy Stephens; she did it again, and added more controversial opinions, in an Independent cover story ("Anarchy in the GOP," June 23).

But in a statement Monday, she didn't apologize. In fact, she told the Independent, "I have nothing to apologize for." Instead, she chastised party chairman Eli Bremer, calling on him to release details from the executive session, which she called a witch hunt with a predetermined outcome. Bremer has maintained he cannot make public any details of the private session, due to his fiduciary responsibility.

Tuesday, Bremer lashed out at Anderson, releasing e-mails they exchanged in the days following the meeting in which they discussed her proposed letter. She says that Bremer rejected her first draft because it didn't include an apology; in discussing this draft, Bremer wrote: "Your suggestion that the Executive Committee agreed was a good idea was to add a statement that acknowledged people had been hurt. I do not believe it addressed culpability as such, rather acknowledging that there had been some level of pain caused during the preceding events." — CH

DHS building: for sale?

El Paso County commissioners were to hold a closed session Thursday, July 21, to discuss the possibility of selling the Department of Human Services building at 105 N. Spruce St.

The building recently was vacated when DHS moved to the Citizens Service Center at 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, the newly acquired one-stop facility that also will house Public Health, the workforce center and offices of the treasurer, assessor, and clerk and recorder. In justifying that purchase, commissioners said they planned to sell the vacated buildings.

"We have an entity that has proposed terms of sale to the county in the form of a non-binding letter of intent," County Attorney Bill Louis writes in an e-mail. — PZ

Leigh wants duck pond

City Councilor Tim Leigh just loves a fundraising project, apparently. First, it was "sharrows" to help bicyclists be safe on roads. Next, signs touting the city's Olympic presence. Now, it's the dried-up duck pond at Monument Valley Park.

"I'm trying to restore the duck pond because it is one of those very interesting elements in our park system," Leigh says in a mass e-mail. "It will take $150,000 to get it dug-out (10 feet deeper) and re-lined so it no longer leaks. I think I can squeeze half of these funds from the next budget (but I'm not sure) and I need the folks who care about these issues to step up."

Love ducks? Got ideas or money to spare? Leigh can be reached at — JAS

Denver going red?

As the Legislature reapportionment process moves along, Democrats fear they might have lost a significant battle. The Denver Post reported Tuesday that the 11-person Reapportionment Commission voted 6-5 to approve the Republicans' map for Denver. Denver is a stronghold for Democrats, who are one seat shy of a majority in the House, and according to the Post, the GOP map will cost the Democrats at least three more seats.

Reportedly, Denver-area Democratic Rep. Jeanne Labuda said: "The effect is going to be that the Republicans are going to dominate the House for the next 10 years." The 6-5 outcome was attributed in part to the deciding vote of a former Denver-area Republican state legislator, Gayle Berry, who was appointed to the commission by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. — CH

Compiled by Chet Hardin, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.

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