Which Colorado Springs mayor should history hold responsible for the tradition of annual “State of the City” speeches? “De mortuis nihil nisi bonum” — of the dead speak only good, so let’s leave it alone.
Suffice it to say that our dreary ritual, pretentiously borrowed from the president’s constitutionally mandated State of the Union speech, ought to be on everybody’s “do not attend” list.
Here’s what will happen Aug. 1 at The Broadmoor.
Hundreds of folks from the business/political/nonprofit/media communities will show up at Broadmoor Hall and spend a few worthwhile minutes busily networking. Then they’ll sit down, suffer through a video or two, listen while event sponsors are identified, elected officials and miscellaneous big shots are introduced, eat mediocre food, engage in desultory conversation with their tablemates, and finally … the big event!
What will the Mayor say? Let me summarize.
“It’s a time of revival, recovery, and dynamic change. Mountain Shadows is rebuilding and the brave folks of the Black Forest have begun the healing process. We’re moving ahead with stormwater mitigation, restoring the burn scar and putting the city on a sound fiscal basis.
“The economy continues to improve, the military sector remains vibrant, and we are positioning ourselves for future prosperity. Next year, we should be breaking ground for an Olympic museum, a downtown stadium, a world-class sports medicine facility at UCCS and a sparkling new Air Force Academy visitors center. This great leap forward comes from a dynamic partnership between city and state government and leaders in business, education, military, nonprofits and the Olympic community.
“Your city government, once directionless and floundering, is now able to move quickly and decisively. The media loves to exaggerate issues that my administration may have with City Council, and I don’t blame them — that’s their job. But in the real world, we’re working together to forge a bright new future for our beautiful city, and I want to thank every one of you for your part in this exciting transformation.”
We seldom say exactly what we’re thinking. If Mayor Bach has an arrière-pensée or two as he recites his speech, maybe they’d sound like this:
“Thank God for Phil Anschutz! He’s on board with everything we’re doing. But Council had better wake up, smell the roses, and close that damned road through The Broadmoor golf course. Pretty funny, actually — Keith King rakes in the bucks from The Broadmoor, and now The Broadmoor’s fighting the people who voted for him. It’s all good — Bartolin and Anschutz know it’s up to King, so he’s in a nice little trap!
“And what is this ‘strong Council’ stuff King keeps spouting? The voters wanted a strong mayor and a cooperative Council. And now I have to deal with retired colonels, Senate-President-who-never-was King, a couple of liberal holdovers and Jill Gaebler. I thought things couldn’t get any worse when we had Scott Hente, Brandy Williams and Lisa Czelatdko — how wrong I was.
“But let me tell you something, these Regional Tourism Act projects would have gone nowhere if Council had been involved. We did it just right — got together a handful of smart, powerful people who know how to get things done, and put the deal together. If we’d bothered with some drawn-out public process, we would have gotten nowhere. I know, I know, you want young people, diversity, public involvement and buy-in. That’s fine, but this is a real estate deal, folks! I’ve done hundreds of them, so just shut up and let me do my job.
“Of course, I’ve got to pretend to listen to everybody, so we’ll put together an advisory committee to give us advice to ignore. We’ll make sure that there’s a sensible majority on the committee — no kooks, no naysayers, no ex-politicians.
“And let me tell you, I’m proud of myself. Bob Isaac couldn’t have pulled this off, and as for Makepeace or Rivera — forget it! When you work with Dick Celeste, Pam Shockley, Bill Hybl, Scott Blackmun, Steve Bartolin and Phil Anschutz, you’re playing in the bigs. Power, money, talent, smarts — that’s what it takes. I may be 70 years old, but I can still kick butt. Too bad I’m not 40 — Anschutz would be begging me to take over AEG and put together an NFL franchise in Los Angeles.
“In conclusion, we’re doing this deal. Want to try to stop me? As President Bush once said, bring it on! You may not like it, but I’m the man.”