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El Paso County Colorado District 49

A typical day’s agenda

The July 26 meeting showcased board misjudgments and misplaced priorities, but also modest reforms I achieved and why I dissent in most 4-to-1 votes. Here are sample items:Near the start, I suggested that county security officers have a Taser gun as a non-lethal alternative to subdue violent people at the courthouse. I reminded the board a deranged person was recently killed at the state capitol and noted that it is traumatic for any officer to kill someone. Psychological counseling ensues, at taxpayer expense. The trauma may last for life.The sheriff spoke in favor of my proposal and offered the needed training. His deputies already have Tasers in their arsenal. Their use has reduced jail fights and on-the-street injuries to deputies. They have saved civilian lives and are even available to deputies assigned to schools. The county administrator accepted my proposal to save lives and reduce lawsuits. The cost for two Tasers was $1,800. (Our appointed administrator can spend $24,999, but an elected commissioner can spend only $100; go figure.)The next item was a 15-minute ceremony to congratulate people donating quilts, followed by a “photo opportunity.” I did not participate. We routinely endure such time-wasting rituals.Next, the clerk-recorder panned a new law cutting most copying charges for public records to 25 cents per page. I noted the city demanded tens of thousands of dollars for paper copies of public records it has on a CD and could copy for a dollar. Also, the clerk-recorder charges about $500 for a CD of the voter rolls. His goal is for private users to bear the cost to maintain records required by law. This cost shift is neither true public service nor open government.During public comment, some constituents complained about an overgrown hedge that blocked the public sidewalk and view of a stop sign in Cimarron Hills. They had asked the property owner to trim it, and he refused. They had been given the bureaucratic runaround, despite attending code violation meetings for over 18 months. I said this was a public safety issue and asked the Department of Transportation director to have it cut pronto. It was cut the next workday. I felt good about solving the problem so quickly.Staff proposed an ordinance to require rabies vaccinations in the unincorporated county. We were told we were the only county without such a program. I noted the policy was for “dogs and pet animals” – does this mean a dog is not a pet animal? The vague wording would require shots for guppies, gerbils, snakes, lizards, pigs, bugs, etc. I said such a law would not provide fair notice to citizens and was overly broad and pointless. My motion to limit its application to “dogs and cats” was approved, but not before Commissioner Clark suggested alternative wording of “dogs and at-risk pets.” I’m not making this up! The vapid, self-serving jargon of social workers and liberal meddlers strikes again! Besides, how would Paul Petowner know if his duck or iguana is “at risk,” and for what? Letting employees use their own judgment in applying vague ordinances dangerously tramples the rule of law.Then the board approved, over my objection, a special deal for a small cable TV firm, so its county fees would be lower than his competitors, in order to help this start-up company. Government should not pick winners and losers; it should treat everyone equally.Then the board approved, over my objection, a mandatory mail ballot election this November. All other commissioners had publicly opposed mandatory mail ballots, but their principles wilted when we were told this method would be cheaper. Never mind that it is less reliable, that you surrender your constitutional right to a secret ballot in favor of trusting government workers not to “peek” at how you voted, that you must pay a poll tax (postage) to vote outside your neighborhood precinct, that tens of thousands of extra ballots in apartment and post office trash cans are available for fraudulent voting, that assurances of signature reviews by untrained workers are not credible, and dozens of other reasons. Why was our precious democratic process of honest elections betrayed by my colleagues? For more cash to spend on excessive welfare handouts, dumb programs, silly ceremonies and employee benefits.For example, on Aug. 2, a secretary who had worked for the board for six years, most recently in our lobby, transferred to the security department, about 30 feet away on the same floor. Nonetheless, the county had a “farewell party” for her during a board meeting recess-free cake, coffee, etc. All to celebrate her desk transfer, 30 feet away! (Be assured, I did not feed at that trough.) Then the board went back to moaning about its budget woes.I am proud to report all four of my collectivist colleagues now oppose my re-election. It shows I’m doing the job I promised to do-trying to reform county government. Of course, those who value blind conformity above all else will share their contempt for these reasoned dissents from the mindless status quo.You can contact me at (719) 520-6412, by e-mail at or by writing me at 27 E. Vermijo Ave. Colo. Springs, CO 80903. Audiotapes of all BOCC meetings, both simulcast and in archives, are available at Comcast cable broadcasts are on Library Channel 17 at 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, repeated later both evenings. Back issues of my monthly reports are at

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