What jerks Bach’s chain? Let’s count the ways

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If I were Mayor Steve Bach, I’d be mad, mad, mad! And here’s who I’d be mad at:

I’m mad at the media! I have a contentious meeting with a few community leaders who volunteered their time to work on a stormwater task force. After the meeting, all hell breaks loose. It appears that I’ve been rude and unmannerly, that I totally blew them off, and that they’re all deeply hurt or offended. WTF? I thought everything went fine. And of course the whole thing goes viral, and guess what? Pam Zubeck of the Independent goes after me, and then Daniel Chacon of The Gazette, and that’s why…

I’m still mad at the media! It’s all personality, all the time. I’m the blue meanie of Colorado Springs politics. If I ask questions, if I disagree with Scott Hente or Jan Martin, they’re on my case. I guess I should take classes with Miss Manners or some damn thing. Look, the voters elected me to be a strong mayor, not a 98-pound weakling (and if you don’t recognize that reference, you’re a little younger than I am). I have to represent the city’s interests, as best I can, and if I have to be a tough guy sometimes, I’ll do it. And by the way, don’t expect me to call you back if I know from experience that you’re going to exaggerate, misquote, take what I say out of context, or just plain make stuff up. And speaking of that…

I’m mad at Utilities! I send a letter asking them some pointed questions, and they send back this condescending response, all but saying I should shut up and not bother the grownups. What do they think I am, chopped liver? Don’t give me the runaround. I’m not stupid. They think they can just pat me on the head and tell me to run along and mind my own business. That’s exactly what I’m doing — paying attention to the best interests of the citizens of Colorado Springs. I’m not a go-along-to-get-along guy, and speaking of getting along…

I’m mad at Sallie Clark, Amy Lathen and Terry Maketa! They were smart, I’ve gotta hand it to them, persuading the voters to back Maketa’s jail tax. I know, I know — the Sheriff’s Office was woefully underfunded, blah blah blah, but why should Colorado Springs residents pay for law enforcement in unincorporated El Paso County? And what about the PPRTA tax? We pay most of the tax, but when I pointed out that we’re underrepresented on that board, everybody accused me of being against regionalism, whatever that is. And speaking of regionalism…

I’m mad at all the well-meaning do-gooders who want me to sign on for a big tax increase. Now they want a regional stormwater sales tax on the November ballot — give me a break! I’m not supporting anything until I’m 100 percent convinced that we have crucial needs that can’t otherwise be funded. How many times do I have to say it: I think we can find efficiencies in city and CSU operations, and I think a growing economy will help. I wasn’t elected to be Mr. Tax Increase, remember? And speaking of memory…

I’m still mad at Utilities! I know a $100 million boondoggle when I see it, and the Neumann deal is absolutely unbelievable. Pouring all that dough into a cost-plus contract with a company that only has one customer — and that customer is you? And dumping so much money in that damn downtown power plant that it’ll be there long after I’m dead — probably long after our kids are dead.

So is the mayor unnecessarily abrasive? Does he see only enemies where others might see allies? Is he violating the first law of politics, “Never piss off anyone by accident?” Probably, but it’s not easy to turn around a supertanker, especially one that’s running out of fuel. Bach looks at Utilities and sees a self-satisfied, self-governing, publicly financed organization accountable only to itself. He looks at the county and sees a parasite sucking money out of city taxpayers. He looks at the state and sees a transportation funding structure that has shortchanged Colorado Springs for decades. He thinks it’s his job to fix everything.

So you’d be mad too, if you were at the helm of the supertanker.

Especially if it didn’t have power steering.

4 Responses to What jerks Bach’s chain? Let’s count the ways

  1. Well John

    He is at the helm of a huge supertanker. One that has been low on fuel for years.

    Back in ’87, we off-loaded part of the diesel fuel to propel the tanker when the county dropped the mill levy from close to 28 mills down to 13 or 11 in return for voters approving a replacement sales and use tax. This is kind of like ‘betting on the come’ and the come never got here. The idea was that super low taxes would bring in so many new companies, homebuilders would be hard pressed to keep up with demand and we would all be in the land of milk and honey from the huge increase in sales tax revenues.

    Since that time, each and every Board of County Commissioners continually, repeatedly, and as often as possible – in every conceivable venue: tell us how much service the people of El Paso County receives for less than half, or one fourth of what other counties get in revenue.

    True. We get a lot. But, we are not being the whole story. We are able to pay the mortgage but we cannot afford to replace the roof when it needs it and we do not have enough money to send the kids to college or get their teeth fixed.

    Now 80% of those on council – – and the mayor are in office as they ran on ‘low-tax/notax’ platforms. And guess what, we do not have the money to meet the long term backlog of needs that have been building up! People everywhere from Austin to Ottuma recognize this is an area in decline and are not moving here.

    All this ‘excess revenue’ that could be used if we cut expenses. I think there is somewhere between 25 and 35 million a year to be had if that were the case but there is nothing being done on a joint basis to do the research needed to make it happen.

    So yes, he may have cause to be mad. But then, as the captain of the ship – he has the demeanor and tact of a rancid head of cabbage. And a PR staff that should have been fired three days after reporting for duty.

    At some point – I would think we as a community may have to realize we have been living on the cheap for years – it has not brought the boom but it has developed into a bust.

    So now, what do we do? Go broke or find the savings that has been talked about or maybe do a combo thing:

    Get the savings research underway (more than just talk) and work with the public to see if we might be willing to pay that little extra it takes to save the magnificent area we all enjoy – – and are seeing deteriorate?

    As far as the Mayor being mad, quitting is always an option.

    Rick Wehner
    January 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

  2. Public Office: It comes with a chain.
    And – – people to jerk it.

    You choose to jerk other’s chains – – and yet have a record of achievement, they leave your chain alone and call you:

    Mayor Bob.

    Rick Wehner
    January 17, 2013 at 1:49 pm

  3. John, do you even know Mayor Bach or are you just throwing around names of big shots around town like you did with one of your other blogs? Pining for the respect like Hybl gets? Wanting to be recognized for contributions like Perry Sanders is making? Not going to happen. The push on CSBJ readers to drink the Strong Mayor kool aid is getting old. We ain’t buyin it.

    Frank Kennedy
    January 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

  4. We need jobs, period. Jobs, jobs, more jobs. Decent jobs, jobs.

    January 19, 2013 at 11:03 am