Scampered over to City Hall yesterday afternoon to attend the Mayor’s hastily announced press conference.
Like everyone else in the room, I was curious to hear what he had to say. Would he surprise us? Would he depart from his usual script?
He was as confident, as knowledgeable, as well prepared, and as smooth as ever. Neither his face, nor his words, nor his body language revealed a thing. If he was angry about the results of Tuesday’s election, or dismayed at the unexpected passage of 300, he didn’t show it.
The mayor said that the voters had merely balanced their needs against those of the city, and had decided that they could spend their money more wisely than could city government. The vote, he implied, reflected the desire of Colorado Springs residents to shrink government, and thereby de-fund museums, parks, and public transit-and even trim public safety.
Asked whether the city would immediately discontinue the stormwater enterprise, as apparently mandated by 300, the mayor gave no definitive answer. Calling the wording of the initiative “ambiguous,” he said that council would have to receive the advice of the city attorney, and then decide upon a course of action.
It was, in some sense, a surreal performance.
2C would have been a long shot in the best of times, but 300??!! It was just another Douglas Bruce decepticon, a malevolent shape-shifter opposed by every responsible business/civic organization in the Pikes Peak Region-and it passed overwhelmingly.
Not because of the recession, but because the voters wanted to send a message to the city leadership-and that means you, Mayor. Look at the ruinous misadventures of the past couple of years, and reflect upon them. It’s not time for business as usual, but time for confession, contrition, and making amends.
Next time you have a press conference, bring your colleagues along and admit error. In case acts of contrition are unfamiliar to you, here’s a good start.
From the Book of Common Prayer:
“We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts.
We have left undone those things which we ought to have done;
And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”
And by the way, when you receive the city attorney’s advice about the meaning of 300, do it in open session. That’d be change we could believe in.