Questions for City Council candidates, 2021: Presenting as my Contract with City District 2 and our city.
1. Why are you running for City Council?
My politics are simple in our increasingly complex city and country: Protect the Innocent, Defend the Defenseless, and Rescue the poor from Wickedness. I am running for City Council in order to help apply those in Colorado Springs. My four main tenets are:
- The 2020s will be the decade about energy for Colorado Springs. The next decade will see us focus on grid security, grid stability, electricity distribution, and diversity of power generation. The key is to make sure citizens have electricity when they turn on their lights. Like all city utility companies, Colorado Springs Utilities is a long-term business that depends on long term project development, growth, and sustainment.
- The past two decades saw Colorado Springs solve a lot of long-term water problems but we must continue to acquire water rights, build and maintain water infrastructure (keep in mind the Western Slope / Homestake water project flows on a pipe that’s 60 years old), and make sure our citizens have water when they turn on their taps. Beginning with General Palmer in the late 1800s to now, Colorado Springs Utilities rides the shoulders of great people up to today. For the sake of our citizens, we must continue to build on that legacy for the future.
- As a twenty-year veteran of the Army with combat tours in Djibouti and Iraq, I know what it means to serve. A huge problem in our city is human trafficking – In mid-November, CSPD broke up a Human trafficking ring at a hotel in our city and there were several arrests. Geographically, our city is close to the north-south and east-west intersection of I-70 and I-25. That means we will face even more serious human trafficking and drug problems in the years ahead. Just like my assertion that the 2020s will be about energy, I also believe the 2020s will demand that we as a city respond to the requirement to protect the Innocent, defend the defenseless, and rescue the poor from wickedness. Our city must support our superb police with whole hearts in these efforts. For me, as someone who knows what it’s like to serve and be shot at, the CSPD men and women are my heroes. I want them to pursue those who traffic in human beings to the ends of El Paso County.
- We are a Home Rule city in Colorado. That means we can resist the State government in Denver when their mandates are bad for the citizens of Colorado Springs. Examples include opening up our city, businesses, and churches in a Scamdemic rigged to never end, associating consequences to Marijuana possession, and resisting environmental dictates that actually hinder our desire for diverse power generation. Future issues might be tighter attempts to force closures of churches by Denver mandate and threats to our 2nd Amendment rights. The governor might take some or all of these to court, but let’s have these public discussions, perhaps city ballots on some issues, all the way to the Colorado Supreme court, if necessary. To protect our citizens’ freedom, our churches, citizens’ businesses from the current shutdowns mandated by the Governor, and our families, it is PAST time for our city to flex its muscles as a home rule city in Colorado.
2. Do you support referring a measure to voters to allow recreational marijuana sales within the city limits? Explain your answer.
- NO! We had to do an intervention with one of our kids for crystal meth. His entry drug was Marijuana. The impact on our family was horrific but the result glorious. Today, he is an amazing young man who overcame much. Keeping Marijuana out of the hands of all our citizens is critical to the health, well-being, and productivity of our citizens. As a city government, we must support parents and families in standing against drug abuse.
- Medical Marijuana has a place, but the concept is abused. It is ironic, but if we put the same constraints on prescribing Medical Marijuana as exist for Hydroxychloroquine, a lot of doctors would lose their licenses. The key is that Marijuana IS NOT harmless.
- Stepping up to a city perspective, the legalization of Marijuana in Colorado was the ‘Third Step.’ I did high school in the 1970s in East Lansing Michigan and Montgomery Alabama. From those years to now, Marijuana became Accessible and Acceptable. In our state, Governor Hickenlooper in Denver took the ‘Third Step’ by legalizing Marijuana, taking away consequences. The number of homeless flowing to Colorado soared. The fantastic people of our city have big hearts and we are a charitable people. This insures that even in the cold, a homeless person in Colorado Springs can find a meal, shelter… and Marijuana. It became acceptable behavior without consequences. Anyone who has raised teenagers knows what a disaster that can be. The Homeless come to Colorado without jobs and without medical insurance, overwhelming our city hospitals. All of these cost taxpayers. These are tough issues, but one certainty is that making Marijuana unacceptable, unavailable, and possession reinforced with consequences, would reduce the number of homeless coming to our city. Yet, this ESPECIALLY reinforces parents and families striving to keep their kids from destroying their lives with drugs.
- As a Home Rule city, we can resist the State government in Denver by associating consequences to Marijuana possession. The Governor might take that to court but let’s have that public discussion, all the way to the Colorado Supreme court, if necessary, and flex our muscles as a home rule city in Colorado.
3. What is your opinion of the zoning change proposal that would allow creation of multiple family units in single-family zoning areas in the city?
- This is similar to the Affordable Housing question, below. Zoning change proposals are often a tool used by collectivists to pay for something they can’t afford. In this instance, a zoning change to create multiple family units in what were single family zoning areas steals value from hard working property owners. This imposes potential wickedness on single families already living there, and does not defend tax paying citizens who purchased homes in that area under the single family zoning rules.
- The desire by some to ‘urbanize’ into a classic big city environment flies in the face of our city’s history and makeup. I love the wider spread of our continuing development, room for my grandkids to spread their wings outside, and the greater freedom we have in our city.
4. Should the city invest directly in affordable housing, considering the city has a shortage of roughly 14,000 units and rents continue to rise? If so, what would city participation look like?
- Define ‘Affordable Housing.’ Along with that definition, describe when housing has ever been affordable. In spite of the appearance of compassion by those who advocate for ‘Affordable Housing,’ they actually plan to use zoning laws and other confiscatory and collectivist techniques to steal property value from hard working citizens. One of the rewards of sweat, hard work, and professional struggle is the privilege of choosing to own a home.
- Because this issue strums the heart strings of emotion, this is a difficult question. There are 400 to 500 hard-core homeless in the city that are difficult to help, yet they are used by affordable housing advocates as mainstream reasons for affordable housing. Families who lose jobs and homes should be the focus. The return on investment to help families in temporary difficulty brings protection and a return to productive life. Focus should be on protecting the innocent, defending the defenseless, and rescuing the poor from wickedness – not stealing property value from citizens with supposedly affordable housing.
- We have ministries and groups in Colorado Springs who can step out and help people get back on their feet – Life Network, Springs Mission, and Churches around the City. Key is understanding that people who worked hard to own homes are not heartless, but they absolutely DO NOT want an overreaching city government to steal value from their property in the name of ‘Affordable Housing.’
- The other difficult part of this question brings to the fore increased water and power usage in a large city with a complex utilities grid. Urbanization into Affordable Housing would take from the utilities grid of Colorado Springs with little or no return on investment. Weighing this carefully must be City Council’s task but must be done in a manner that does not steal from citizens’ property values or the utilities grid already paid for by citizens.
5. Explain your position on incentives the city has given to lure business and industry here.
- We must provide business incentives, because that brings jobs, profit, innovation, and imagination to our city. That said, it is critical we open up, leaving masks and social distancing to individual choices. Out of 650,000 local and small businesses in the state of Colorado pre-Covid, 40% have now closed their doors permanently. Another third are in serious financial difficulty. Covid has no more impact on the population of the United States than the Hong Kong flu of 1968 and there was no quarantine back then. What we are doing now, requiring masks and restricting restaurants and small businesses, is ludicrous.
- Opening up would be a huge incentive for businesses to come to Colorado Springs.
- As I mentioned above, we must resist the Scamdemic mandates coming from Denver and protect our churches and businesses. The Governor might take that to court, but let’s have that public discussion, all the way to the Colorado Supreme court, if necessary, and flex our muscles as a home rule city in Colorado.
6. Should the City Council further empower the Law Enforcement Transparency and Accountability Commission to review actual specific cases of use of force and make recommendations for action against officers involved?
- This is a mixed bag question. On one hand, most incidents could be cleared up by requiring law enforcement to keep their body Cam sensors on when they are on duty. On the other hand, using civilians on an accountability commission who have mostly never been shot at, do not understand rules of engagement for deadly force, and are ignorant of what it’s like to have to change your under ware after being shot at, is foolish. They make the jobs of our superb CSPD officers harder and are perhaps causing situations where CSPD officers delay or even halt interdiction, fearing for their careers and reputations. We need to put accountability procedures in place that are run by informed individuals, utilizing body Cam sensors, and that reward the 99% of excellent officers protecting our citizens.
7. Should the city amend the Park Land Development Ordinance as proposed to reduce the amount of acreage developers are required to set aside for parks? Explain your answer.
- I like parks. The one close to my house is superb and used by families of all ages. Rather than amending anything, City Council should have a discussion with developers about the rules for set aside acres as a ratio to the number of homes in a development. The last thing I want is for my grandkids to have to play in the street.
8. How equipped are you to oversee Colorado Springs Utilities? What qualifies you for that obligation?
- 20 years in the Army and building data centers along the axis of the Euphrates River, in Asia, and along the front range give me experiences in logistics, power generation, and electrical resilience. I continue those efforts as a Microsoft Digital Architect serving DOD customers. I mention all that to emphasize that I know I will have a lot more to learn because our city has one of the most complex water and power infrastructures in the nation. A core component of that complexity embraces the four critical military bases our city serves.
9. What do you see as City Council’s greatest power and how would you use that power?
- Utilities Authority and property zoning authority give council wide latitude for making decisions that impact Colorado Springs citizens for good or bad.
- An example is the decision to close the Drake power plant. We cannot close it today and still have a stable power grid. The question is, “Can we close it on the scheduled date in two years and have a stable power grid?” All possibilities for power generation are on the table as electrification increases to include even cars, but electricity must be generated somewhere. Council must use its utilities authority to ensure the integrity of our power grid, sustain it, and provide power as cheaply as possible to citizens. The lesson we might learn the hard way, in closing Drake too early, is that power our city generates is a lot cheaper than power we must purchase from other municipalities so our citizens can turn on their lights. I would work with council to use this authority to protect citizen electrical access as cheaply as possible. The Drake situation is more a result of the Governor’s environmental mandates than the desire of the people. Here again, if we decide to delay the Drake closing to ensure Colorado Springs retains a stable power grid, the Governor might take that to court but let’s have that public discussion, all the way to the Colorado Supreme court, if necessary, and flex our muscles as a home rule city in Colorado.
- As for zoning authority, Council must carefully use this decision-making power to protect citizen property values and house purchasing decisions. Zoning authority can either steal from citizens or protect them. I am 100% for developing our city responsibly and protecting citizens and their property values.
10. Do you support referring a measure to voters to increase the pay of Council? If so, what salary would you recommend?
- Personally, I want to retain the classic model of elected officials serving their people while still working in their professions. That keeps them connected to the day-to-day realities citizens face. Yet, City Council is a complex and full-time job. A living wage would widen the slate of candidates our citizens can choose from, on the ballot. This will be an important discussion as our city government begins to flex its muscles as a home rule city to guarantee the freedom of our citizens to thrive in their churches, businesses, and families.