A citizen posed the following questions. I have answered in line.
These questions are for all candidates in the Mayoral Race in Colorado Springs 2023. My questions are as follows.
1) Would You support expanding Hours of Operation for Public Transportation?
Public Transportation as implemented in Colorado Springs is a cruel joke. Like much of what is done by the city it is essentially a lie. There are a trivial number of routes, with an unreasonable distance between stops, absurd wait times between buses and limited hours of operations. Routes are moronically hub and spoke rather than grid, so as to limit the ability of people to use the system to get anywhere useful. As a result, no one rides the bus. Virtually all buses are empty or nearly empty, which means the “public transportation system” in the city makes traffic and air pollution worse, without providing a viable alternative by which people of lesser means or those who would prefer not to drive can travel. This is emblematic of many of the problems facing the city. Rather than seeking a win-win solution where people of different interests each get their core needs met, while not necessarily getting their preferred policy, city leaders have engaged in a performative malicious compliance compromise where everyone loses, but they get to pretend they have addressed the problem.
The simple fact of the matter is that public transportation is infeasible in low density cities. The distributed nature of suburbia means that single passenger automobiles or bicycles are the most efficient means of transportation. I would not deprive people who wish to live that lifestyle their choice. However, there needs to be an alternative. Current zoning regulations prevents the establishment of walkable neighborhoods, in service to the developers who own the elected officials in this town. We are locked into a mid 20th century car-centric suburban sprawl development model dependent on private driveways disguised as cul-de-sac public streets which force traffic onto big-box store lined stroads, and eliminate the possibility of alternative transportation. I commuted to work for a decade by bike. We do have some very nice bike trails, however, they are even more sparse than the bus routes, poorly maintained, poorly policed, and frequently designed based on their aesthetic as seen by passing cars rather than on their utility. We also have a plethora of painted bike gutters that are, like the bus system, a worthless pretense.
- Improve public safety so that all citizens are and feel safe in public spaces.
- Eliminate the bus service as it exists. It is unusable and unused. It actively makes things worse.
- Improve bike lanes. Bicycles should be seen as a viable alternative means of personal transportation.
- Alter the building codes to allow for denser, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods for people who choose that lifestyle over car dependent suburbia.
- Implement a useable, timely, self-supporting public transportation system such as trolleys in the neighborhoods where it makes sense.
2) Would You support the sale of Recreational Marijuana in Colorado Springs under the regulation that Customers are at the age of 21 or above?
No. I voted for legalization of marijuana on personal liberty grounds. However, legal weed has substantially degraded the quality of life in Colorado. That is a price I am willing to pay for freedom and ending the failed war on drugs, but the sales pitch that regulating and taxing marijuana would eliminate the black market and societal ills of drug use was a lie. The black market is larger now than under prohibition, and drug related crime has skyrocketed. If you want to get high at home, I don’t really care, but I don’t want the city transformed into Portland. It isn’t some unreasonable burden to travel to Manitou to purchase marijuana.
3) Would You support raising Minimum Wage in Colorado Springs?
If possible, I would eliminate the statutory minimum wage. As an employer, I have always paid substantially higher than minimum wage because I want to attract premium people and that requires paying a premium wage. However, the actual minimum wage is zero. If you do not produce enough value to cover your wages, you will be fired. It doesn’t matter how nice your boss is, eventually, he will go bankrupt if he continues to pay out more than you bring in. The way to obtain a higher wage is to produce more value. If your employer won’t pay what you’re worth, someone else will. Particularly at a time of essentially no unemployment, the argument that it is impossible for good workers to find a better paying job is untenable. Government intervention prevents many goods and service from ever being offered to the public. I have personally abandoned a multi-million-dollar investment in the city because of arbitrary and capricious government regulation that served no purpose but the ego of the regulator. Government imposed minimum wage laws disproportionately adversely impact the poor.
However, having grown up in poverty I also recognize that most people are poor through no fault of their own. People in disadvantaged situations may find their alternatives unfairly constrained. I support a Universal Basic Income to allow everyone to maximize their potential. However, it would need to replace all existing forms of governmental assistance, since I know firsthand that the government do-gooders are the source of most of the problems of the poor. A flat 25% tax on all income regardless of source with no deductions combined with a per-capita stipend of $1000/mo for every American citizen starting prior to birth, would be roughly revenue neutral, and pro-life in every sense of the word. Of course, both of these issues are outside the jurisdiction of the Mayor.
4) Would You support holding a law enforcement accountable for unnecessary violence to include murder such as removing that individual from the Police Dept, Disciplinary action, or Prison Sentences?
Of course. I am in favor of criminal justice. All criminals should be punished according to law. Murderers belong in prison.
5) If Elected, what steps will you take to improve the image of Colorado Springs which is perceived as Racist, Misogynistic, and having hatred toward Homeless and/or working class individuals of lesser income?
As a wealthy, straight, white, Christian Man, I know it is impossible to change the perception of people who are prejudiced against me and falsely attribute all the world’s problems to people like me. There is literally no opinion I can hold, no action I can perform that won’t be described as Racist, Misogynistic, and/or Privileged. You have no idea the difficult circumstance of my youth and I will not rehash them. I have no intention to kowtow toward Haters and Bigots, nor any desire to attract them to live here. People who have perceptions not based in reality, but in prejudice are not worth trying to reach. I will, however, continue to seek justice for all and equality before the law, while reaching out to disadvantaged individuals of whatever their physical characteristics or background.
6) If Elected, Would You consider the passage of an ordinance prohibiting registered sex offenders from living near schools, day care centers, and apartment buildings with a high number of Children living in that apartment building?
Sex offenses are a difficult problem. So much depends on perception, and allegations often boil down to he said/she said. Every woman I know has been the victim of unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault. That makes my blood boil. People who would sexualize and abuse children are evil and deserve execution. But that is the problem. Why do we release child predators at all? If someone is a bona fide threat to society, what good does putting them on a list do? Has any pedophile ever been deterred by a piece of paper? On the other hand, the sex offender registry is problematic for people who have been falsely accused. Every man I know has been falsely accused of sexual impropriety. If for nothing else than for the “yes all men” meme. The problem is particularly acute for black men. Emmett Till was murdered for allegedly cat-calling at a white woman. No woman deserves to be verbally assaulted by a man just for existing, but lynching a teen in retaliation for an unsupported accusation is an injustice that can never be tolerated. “Believe all women” and “boys will be boys” are equally unacceptable.
The only way I know to thread this needle is to take women seriously, give the accused a fair trial, and keep people locked up as long as they are a known threat.
7)If Elected would You support allowing the Homeless to either camp out in am certain area or placing small houses in that area for the Homeless to sleep in provided they keep that site clean and no nuisance behaviors allowed?
Homelessness in Colorado Springs is not a supply problem. There are more shelter beds available than people in need of housing. Law abiding, tax paying citizens should not be afraid to use the public spaces they paid for because of the presence of erratic, unpredictable, potentially violent drug users who refuse help. That being said, we should all be compassionate toward those who are less fortunate and I support a tax credit for people who volunteer at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and the like.
8) If Elected would You support accepting Federal Funding for Road Maintenance, public transportation and programs to help Homeless and lower income individuals with job training, housing and other such needs.
Money that comes with strings is never worth it. Accepting dollars from the Federal government is allowing yourself to be bribed with your own money. Ask a Cherokee the value of a government promise. That being said, I support holding Federal and State authorities to their obligations. The worst maintained roads in town are Federal and State highways. They should be forced to follow through on their commitments and spend the taxes they’ve collected to maintain them to an adequate standard.
9) Colorado Springs has a reputation for having a one party system meaning that only the Republican Party is “elected” to serve as Mayor and City Council. if elected , How would You address that negative reputation?
I’m not sure why you have the word elected in scare quotes. Are you an election denier? The majority of Boulder residents are Democrats, so they elect Democratic politicians. The majority of Colorado Springs residents are Republican, so most of the elected officials here are registered Republicans. That strikes me as a functioning representative democracy. Anyone with a negative opinion of that isn’t worth addressing. My concern is the fact that there is so little turnover. I’m a big fan of term limits and preventing musical chairs where career politicians all just rotate one office over. I also am offended by the grotesque and blatant corruption on exhibit locally. As a registered Republican, I’d like to see Republicans elected, just not these ones, so I’m offering myself as an alternative.
10) How would You react if there is evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a Police Officer had shot a suspect and was definitely not acting in self defense or has brutally assaulted a suspect and was definitely not acting in self defense?
Googling you, I see that you were involved in a dispute over excessive force by police that was dismissed because of “qualified immunity”. Qualified immunity is an abomination, and I would prohibit its use by ANY city employee. Having a paycheck drawn on the public treasury does not make you a superior person or grant you any special rights. I believe in equality of all people under the law. I am personally aware of two different City Engineers who endangered public safety and cost the city millions of dollars due to their gross incompetence. Rather than losing their professional engineering license as is legally required, or indeed facing any adverse consequences, they were protected by the city via qualified immunity, and continue to harm the public.
Police officers are even more problematic. People who are authorized to violently assault or even kill under color of law must be held to the strictest standards to ensure they don’t become a worse class of criminals. Of course, no one who volunteers to protect the people should ever be subject to vindictive retaliation by criminals. Police officers deserve the respect and support of the city they risk their lives for. The correct tool for that is professional indemnity. The city should vigorously defend any police officer accused of misconduct and should prosecute false filers. There should be a penalty for false accusations against any innocent person, including Law Enforcement Officers. Lawfare and assault by lawyer are real violations of the public trust, and those of any political persuasion who use fascistic tactics including threats of violence, cancel culture, or frivolous legal procedures deserve no respect.
That being said, the presumption of innocence is a bedrock of our society. Police need to treat suspects with the respect and dignity due an innocent civilian. Excessive physical force is never acceptable. Naturally, an officer accused of abuse is also assumed innocent until proven guilty, and any accusation that fails to dispel reasonable doubt should be dismissed. However, if ANY person, including a cop is found guilty by a jury of his peers, of course he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
11) Would You consider closely Monitoring the Police Department if reports of Brutality were to increase?
Public safety is my number one priority. I intend to increase police presence, community engagement, and closely monitor misbehavior as my primary focus. The people aren’t safe without effective policing. Officers who are mistrusted can’t police effectively. We need the entire community to be involved. There should not need to be reports of brutality to hold public servants to the highest standard.
12) Are You in favor of terminating the contract between American Medical Response and the City of Colorado Springs and hiring paramedics to be employed directly by the Colorado Springs Fire Department?
When I was in my twenties, I was for a short time an EMT. I can tell you from personal experience that the working conditions for city firefighters is VASTLY superior to those employed by AMR. However, I find this question perplexing, especially considering the previous questions about police. Why would you think the mere fact that firefighters are on the city payroll makes them better that privately employed paramedics? Having spent a long time in the contracting world, I can assure you most of the people would continue exactly as they were before, and only the name on the paycheck would change. I don’t think being public employees magically makes cops infallible, nor do I think making EMTs public employees would alter their character in any meaningful sense. I advocate for public safety however that is best accomplished. If that means direct hires, fine. If it means subcontracting out, also fine.
13) Would You officially welcome the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals to Colorado Springs and would You encourage members of the LGBT community to live in Colorado Springs?
The city exists to provide certain services in a more convenient and efficient manner than you could provide them for yourself. Those services are public safety, public works, and public parks. The mayor has no business encouraging or discouraging any group of people or particular businesses to relocate to or avoid the city. Of course, any legal resident of the United States is welcome to live, work, play, and worship here in any lawful manner. I will ensure that they are treated with respect, dignity, and equality. I will ensure that they are protected from criminal harm as I will for all people.
14) under what circumstances would You be willing to reach across the aisle?
I am always willing to reach across the aisle. I am not ever willing to compromise my principles.
15) If a Reporter were to publish a story that is unfavorable to You and raise questions from constituents would you demand that disciplinary action is taken against that reporter by His or Her Employer?
I am astonished by the bias displayed in the local media. I have called out blatantly unethical behavior of sitting elected officials, and they have absolutely refused to publish it. Neither the putatively conservative Gazette, nor the ostensibly liberal Independent have any desire to do the actual work of reporting real corruption, even if the evidence is handed to them on a silver platter. I imagine that if I were elected, they would freak out since the cabal would have been broken, and their cronies exposed, so I expect a never-ending series of lies to be published about me. Expecting this, I will govern in a transparent manner, so that anyone who cares can discover the truth, but I would never interfere with a free press printing truth.
16) Would You support an African American Mayoral Candidate who is a liberal democrat?
I would support a conservative Republican of any race, and oppose a liberal Democrat of any race. I have principles not prejudices.
17) Would You support an African American City Council who are Liberal Democrats?
18) Would You support hiring more African Americans to serve on the Colorado Springs Police Department?
The last time I checked, the racial balance of the CSPD was very close to the racial balance of the city. I support hiring more people to serve on the Colorado Springs Police Department. Some of those will be Black, some White, some Hispanic and some Asian. I believe in hiring the most qualified person for the job. That having been said, it is imperative that minority communities see that they are not being subjected to policing but are participants in it. Community outreach is critical. Unfortunately, we have a problem with a two-tiered justice system in this community. It isn’t a race-based thing, but clearly those with ties to the ruling caste are held to a different standard that the rest of us. As mayor, I will do everything in my power to engage with the powerless to bring them up to true equality before the law.
19) If it has been proven that a Police Officer is a member of the Ku Klux Klan
and has participated in racist postings on social media would You support terminating that individual police officer?
Any government employee that is a member of a terrorist group should consider themselves terminated immediately upon my taking office. I will also vigorously prosecute them for any crimes committed while a member of said terror group.
20) How do You feel about a Rent Control Ordinance to prevent rents from increasing higher than a tenant’s income?
This is a terrible idea. Price controls have a several thousand-year, unbroken history of catastrophic failure. The law of supply and demand is a fact like the law of gravity. You don’t have to like it for it to be true. The only way for prices to go down is for supply to go up or demand to go down. Either we need to make Colorado Springs a less desirable place, or we need to build more houses.
I am very concerned about housing affordability. I have six children who are young adults or approaching that milestone. If the median house price in Colorado Springs is half a million dollars, the down payment is $100,000. How is a young person supposed to save that much money? It’s impossible. I’ve always believed that a good rule of thumb is that you can afford a house if it’s three times your annual income or less. Colorado Springs has a median income of approximately $70,000, which means the median house price should be around $200,000.
The current housing market is unsustainable. I don’t want to become Aspen, where all the houses are owned by out of state millionaires. I don’t want to become San Francisco, which has become so gentrified that only white, progressive tech bros can afford to live there any longer. The only plausible solution is more medium income densified housing. Some neighborhoods will need to be developed that support this lifestyle. That means the NIMBYs, the developers, and the regulators are all going to have to give a little to get their actual concerns met. European style, dense, walkable communities with minimal governmental requirements can solve the problem and be a desirable place to live, if people can get over their obsession with dictating other people’s life choices.
21) Special interest groups in Colorado Springs such as Numerous developers, the United States Olympic Committee, Realtors, Land Lords, and Churches have over ridden the Voices of the constituents. Are You willing to ignore these special interest groups and allow the constituents to influence local ordinances?
I agree that the USOC and certain developers have a corrupt relationship with the political class in this town. I have often said that John Suthers’ “City of Champions” aka “Olympic City, USA” is the result of Denver envy and an Ozymandias complex. While I have always felt blessed to live amongst Olympic athletes, the USOC is undeniably corrupt. The city asked the citizens if we wanted to build the USOC a $53M headquarters. We said no. The city did it anyway. I believe the USOC should have saved themselves $50M by building their own headquarters and not colluding with a serial child rapist.
I view the city as the servant of the people, but Realtors, landlords and Christians are constituents. I’m not sure why you are singling out a particular religion or profession for opprobrium. If the people vote based on their perceived best interest, I’m not sure how that indicates special interest capture. If anyone doesn’t like the demographics of this city, they are free to participate in the “Big Sort” and move, which will help relieve housing pressure.
22) Are You in favor of term limits in Congress and the Senate?
Career politicians are leeches. I am in favor of term LIMIT. One single term at any level of government is sufficient to accomplish what you are able to do. Jumping between offices is no better than spending an eternity in the same office, and if you can’t get up to speed and get your work done in a single term, you’re not the kind of person who will ever develop into a real leader. Of course, it is reasonable to expect people who are seeking high office to have some experience. I’m not sure the Presidency is the right place for even very high achievers with no government experience at all.
23) Would You consider forcing nightclubs to close if violence is more frequent and the owner refuses to address the increase in violence at the nightclub they own.
It is very interesting that you asked this question just before the Club Q shooting. Based on the obvious political leanings you have, would you support shutting down gay bars because they are the site of targeted violence? I fail to see how crimes are the fault of anyone but the criminal. That said, I am not a big fan of nightclubs at all. When I was a young adult, the mother of a friend once gave me the very sage advice that nothing good happens after midnight, and intoxicants never made anyone wiser. However, people are free to do things of which I don’t approve. “Look what you made me do” is never an excuse for violence. No offensive language or action ever justifies violent retaliation. You are responsible for maintaining control over your actions regardless of how someone else may provoke you. That holds for nightclub owners as well. Of course, it is against the law to serve a visibly intoxicated person, and I would support prosecution of bars that break the law. Likewise, public intoxication and fighting are illegal and both should be enforced vigorously. If that means patrons of problematic venues are frequently arrested, it might make sense to go elsewhere for your entertainment. The economics of reduced clientele should induce owners to ensure their establishments are not the kind that attract undue police attention. Of course, enforcement should be based on client behavior, not demographics.
24) Would You support an ordinance in support of tenant rights.
There are plenty of existing landlord/tenant laws. I’m not sure what particularly you think is prone to abuse. I can’t answer a nonspecific question because it’s really easy to build a strawman and craft the narrative to support the policy position you want. For example, the unconstitutional COVID eviction moratorium caused great suffering to many small landlords, who rather than being monocle wearing Mr. Monopoly are mostly middle-class people who have worked hard and long to save for retirement. Do you support retirees being forced to give up their livelihood so entitled layabouts can take an extended vacation?
25) Would You support more Unionized Employers in Colorado Springs.
I believe that unions were instrumental in protecting workers’ rights during the industrial revolution. However, union membership has been in steady decline for half a century in those industries where employees have the right to choose. If employees don’t feel that unions are providing value, who am I to force it upon them?
I think the real problem is the decline of the middle class. Historically, there were nobles and peasants. The accident of your birth determined the possibilities of your life. With the rise of capitalism, aka the private ownership of the means of production, small artisans and merchants were able to rise economically based on effort. These bourgeoisie were the middle class. America was founded by what Thomas Jefferson called the “Yeoman Farmer”, which hearkens back to this class of free men who owned their own tools.
Unfortunately, we are no longer a middle-class capitalistic society. We are now primarily a corporate feudalistic society. Rather than lords and peasants, we have corporations and employees. The government as of old is not the friend of the have nots, it is the enforcer for the overclass. Corruption funnels privileges and vast sums of tax dollars to favored major donors. Small businesses are forced to shut down or are regulated into submission at the behest of those who have captured the regulatory apparatus. Seek not a gilded cage, seek freedom. Be your own boss, start your own business. It is better in every way. An ironclad employment contract is not security, it is a prison. When times are good, your boss siphons off the excess value you create as profits. When times are bad, you’ll be let go. No matter how good your union contract, a bankrupt company pays no benefits. The word entrepreneur means risk-taker, but when you are an employee, you take all the risk, and your employer takes all the reward.
The only reason I am able to run for office is because I am self-employed. You have fewer rights as an employee because you have less freedom. As mayor I will not be owned by major donors like the current crop of corruptocrats are. I won’t spend your tax dollars enriching my friends, and I won’t try to crush the upstart competition at their bidding.