What we’d like to hear from mayoral candidates

Filed under: Opinion,Print |

On March 1, the city’s mayoral candidates will gather before an audience of businessmen and women for the “Mayoral Candidate Forum for Business Leaders.”

Here’s what we’d like to hear from the candidates.

Your plans to help repeal or suspend the city’s TABOR amendment

In April 1991, Colorado Springs voters enacted Amendment 3, which along with a similar state amendment came to be known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

It imposed a limit on the growth of city government. The growth of city spending was tied to population and local growth, defined as the annual increase in assessed value of the city.

Limiting government growth might sound good but when tax revenue levels drop in poor economic times, the city is restricted by TABOR’s “ratchet” effect, which caps growth to a certain percentage.

The city will never be able to grow and thrive with city and state TABOR restraints in place.

We need a mayor who will lead the charge to drop TABOR.

Your plan to revitalize downtown

Colorado Springs has the foundation of a great downtown, but there’s little progress toward building upward. Downtown needs to become the city’s true hub of commerce, entertainment and progress again.

The list of things downtown needs is long, but we’re not talking more flower planters decorative streetlights.

We need to redevelop downtown’s southwest quadrant near America the Beautiful Park. We need a convention center. We need rail lines between downtown and UCCS. We need to help downtown take the leap east across Nevada Avenue with trendy shops and restaurants.

Your plan to change the city’s image

Last year, when the city cut police and fire services, stopped watering and mowing parks and turned off streetlights and hauled away public trash cans, that nation laughed.

And it wasn’t the first time we’ve been embarrassed.

In 1992, Colorado Springs led the charge toward a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution to ban laws protecting homosexuals from discrimination.

Colorado was dubbed the “hate state” and Colorado Springs bore the brunt of that criticism. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the amendment four years later, but the city has found a reputation of intolerance hard to shake, thanks to some ultra-conservative groups that have become unofficial voices of the city.

We need a mayor who will be a strong, vocal leader, someone will speak loudly about the city’s virtues and about its steps toward becoming a progressive, 21st century, world-class city.

Candidates, are you willing to take these reins?