Our form of representative government lends itself to abuse by an individual such as Mr. Bruce. If not for the awareness of the populace and local governments, he very well could get away with his intimidation style of politics.
On Sept. 10, I attended a town hall meeting conducted by Bruce. Rather than present a forward, positive image for himself and the direction he would lead our county, he browbeat and verbally bludgeoned those that did not agree with him or directly opposed his points of view. He further portrayed himself a victim of a conspiracy perpetrated by the other county commissioners and the City Council. From an elected official described as a local legend, this was very disturbing.
When he ran for office, Mr. Bruce claimed he would bring "respect and civility" to government if elected. His display during his town hall meeting would suggest anything but, by most anyone's standards.
For the first hour and half, Bruce failed miserably to meet the thresholds of respect and civility, by their simplest definitions. With his words and actions, he confirmed the opposite of his campaign promise. His condescension toward County Commissioner Sallie Clark, District Judge David Parrish, the Colorado Springs City Council, the Colorado Springs Police Department and all city employees was reprehensible. One by one he picked them off, like cans on a fence line, blasting away with degrading and bitter personal attacks.
He claimed that Judge Parrish "was an embarrassment" for his "constant closing and blinking of his eyes, and hand trembling." He accused the city police, specifically the Stetson Hills division commander, of running a Nazi-style police state. He accused City Attorney Patricia Kelly of being incompetent and lacking integrity.
Commissioner Bruce has employed many bullying tactics in pushing his agenda within our local government system. If you disagree with him, you become the target of ridicule or belittlement. When this fails, he then will revert to the costly option afforded him in our representative government, the petition.
While reviewing recent newspaper articles and letters to the editor, and attending Mr. Bruce's town hall meeting, one word has come to mind: irony.
It is very ironic that Mr. Bruce, who stands for smaller government, fewer taxes and expenditures, has wasted several thousands of taxpayers' dollars to be told "No" time and time again by the City Council and the courts. Commissioner Bruce continues to sue the local government, to waste more of your tax dollars to prove he is right and everyone else is wrong.
Another irony is that the self-proclaimed "Mr. Petitioner" must require each person who signs his petitions to provide their name and address, and the date. But he, himself, is unwilling to abide by a simple procedure to use a public facility (i.e., the Police Department's community room), which requests an individual sign in with their name and organization, and the date and time. He claims that when the Police Department asks for this information, it is an infringement upon our constitutional rights, while when similar information is asked to be provided on a petition, it is not unconstitutional. You figure it out.
His stated and recorded mantra of respect and civility in government has been shown to be a total fraud perpetrated upon the voting public in El Paso County.
I believe Mr. Bruce would be better suited for medieval times, a time when women and peasants were to succumb to the lord of the castle, regardless of their ability to lead or govern, a time when the lord's word and ideology would become law without question or reproach.
But these are not medieval times, and "King Bruce the Bickerer" must be revealed for what he really is, a hypocrite.
Jerry Brunson is a Colorado Springs resident who is concerned about the tenor of local politics.