Note to Independent distributors, advertisers and readers: The next time you get harassed with threatening phone calls and letters claiming that the Indy is a pornographic, gay-loving, smut-filled rag, remember that the voice behind those threats is the guy pictured here. Mike McKee, whose now defunct radio broadcast received financial support from local office supply magnate Ed Bircham, has staged boycotts on the NAACP, the Urban League, KRCC, Borders and Barnes & Noble Bookstores as well as the Independent. We hope that one day Mr. McKee works through his obsession with homosexuality, but in the meantime, he could do with some fashion advice. Whoever heard of wearing a sackcloth over jeans and tennis shoes?
For a world-class city, Colorado Springs' leaders sure know how to play small-town politics.
This week, Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace issued a titillating press release announcing that somebody had accessed pornographic Internet sites on the city computer belonging to her political adversary, newly elected Councilman Charles Wingate.
The District 2 councilman, who was elected in April to represent the city's northeast quadrant, denied he had visited the unidentified porn sites and suggested that someone else had accessed his computer in an effort to embarrass him. The porn-surfing report comes on the heels of revelations that Wingate bounced several checks during his campaign for public office -- and still hadn't paid them. After the check-bouncing incident was exposed, Makepeace, along with Council members Jim Null and Judy Noyes, asked Wingate during a secret Council meeting (which authorities prefer to call "executive session") to resign. He refused.
"I have the belief that people elected to public office need to hold themselves to a higher standard, and believe he has not been doing that," Makepeace said this week.
There is, of course, great intrigue surrounding Porngate. If Wingate didn't do it, who did? Did some enemy sneak into his office late at night to get his jollies? Did the sting go awry? And, why do city employees seemingly have nothing better to do than electronically spy on their Council bosses? Would Makepeace have ratted out a more politically sympathetic councilman, Richard Skorman, for example?
Let's look at it another way: Two years ago, former City Councilwoman Joanne Colt resigned in disgrace, the target of a federal Securities and Exchange Commission investigation alleging involvement in an online pump-and-dump stock scheme. The City did not officially weigh in on the resignation, and Makepeace not only attended Colt's resignation press conference, but actually addressed the crowd, praising her colleague's work on Council before Colt took the dais to resign. This week, Makepeace pointed out the resignation was not based on a city government investigation into something Colt did while in office.
Colt, the mayor said, did a good job during her time governing the City of Colorado Springs. She declined to comment, however, when asked whether the SEC's findings indicated that Colt had held herself to a higher standard.
In the latest whispers against Wingate, a conservative, married black man, it is important to remember that porn cruising by Council members is not -- at least yet -- technically a violation of any city policy. And the investigation was inconclusive -- meaning no proof of guilt or innocence was found.
When asked why the City issued a press release about it anyway, Makepeace noted that "there were rumors abounding in the community -- you would have zinged us if we hadn't released it."
If only the City were always so forthcoming.
Peace activists Bill Sulzman, Peter Springer-Froese and Donna Johnson plan to mark the 56th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki today, Aug. 9, by going to Peterson Air Force base and trying to arrest the base's commander, General Ralph "Ed" Eberhart.
According to the Citizens Arrest Warrant, the activists believe that the general, who has authority to launch 550 nuclear armed missiles in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota, should be brought before a Citizens Truth Commission to testify about his involvement and activities.
"We've got enough nuclear missiles in Colorado to put us back to the Stone Age," Sulzman said, arguing that U.S. and international laws prohibit the deployment of weapons of mass destruction. "It's just off the scale of comprehension and yet it's policy. If we wait until after the fact to charge and prosecute nuclear war criminals it will be too late."