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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Bits and pieces

I have long advocated that all governments place a suggestion box in their lobbies. Employees and other citizens should be able to propose work reforms and other ideas, anonymously or with a name and address. This true fiscal conservative also supports paying a reward for cost-saving proposals that are implemented – say … 10 percent of the first full year’s savings, up to a reward of $100,000 on $1,000,000 or more yearly savings.I proposed this to my colleagues. Dead silence. I even offered to monitor the box and report on the best ideas. There would be no cost for this open government opportunity. Deafening silence. The county already had a wooden suggestion box built on a stand. It had been stuck in a warehouse. I showed it to my colleagues in a public meeting. Galactic silence. I now have the box in my office for you to see when you visit me. It is a silent reminder that most “leaders” really don’t want to save money, since it reduces their spending power. In fact, they don’t really want to hear from you at all, except at election time. Isn’t that sad?*****************We get monthly reports on accidents and other claims against the county. Your commissioner actually reads them. A few months ago, I saw a claim against the county for $300. Sheriff’s deputies had chased a man who ran into a stranger’s house. The deputies broke down the doors and arrested the man. The homeowner requested payment of his damages; the county refused. I told the staff the homeowner should be paid; I was ignored. I brought it up again recently and the county attorney relented. The homeowner will get his just compensation. That made me feel good.A similar incident occurred before I first arrived. A county snowplow had smashed a parked car. The county again said it was performing governmental business, so it would not pay as a matter of “sovereign immunity.” That’s lawyer talk for a one-finger salute. I pressed the county attorney’s office repeatedly, and they finally relented. Those constituents received about $2,200 for their wrecked vehicleI recently e-mailed my colleagues to suggest we instruct the county’s claim settlers to pay damages that the county caused to innocent parties. Given the millions the county wastes yearly, it can afford to accept personal responsibility when it hurts innocent people, even unintentionally. I’m confident you agree this is only just and moral.************************You may have read about the police department’s seizure of my car. It was done in retaliation for my objecting to the police demand for the names and addresses of all persons attending my town hall meetings. Six days after I voiced that objection at a May city council meeting, my 1985 Honda was tagged while legally parked in front of my house. The sticker was not filled out, but I deduced the CSPD wanted me to move my car. It was hurting no one, immobile because the transmission had failed. It had a large “For Sale” sign posted with my phone number in 3-inch high letters, yet the city called it “abandoned” (in front of my house!)I did not see the sticker for the first two days of the three-day warning because it was placed on the far side of the car, not visible from my house. When I saw the sticker, I called the local police station commander and explained I would need the weekend to get someone to help push it 10 feet into my driveway. He agreed. His sergeant called me the next day and also agreed to the extension. But on the fourth day, my car was towed without further notice while I was at home. The CSPD hadn’t “gotten around” to making their promised phone call until 2 1/2 days after my request, and several hours after it was towed away.The city manager said he would return my car, but only if I paid $120 for two-way towing. I asked him if he would pay ransom to someone who had stolen his car, and he agreed he would not. This inoperable car was for sale for only $500.After 60 days, I had a hearing. The parking enforcement officer admitted she knew on both the tagging and towing days that I lived at the house. She ran the (current) registration, saw my phone number on the sign, and even the “Douglas Bruce for Commissioner” bumper sticker. She did not 1) phone me, 2) mail me a letter, 3) ring my doorbell, or 4) put a notice on my door. She DID ignore my address I wrote on the sticker with a statement “This car is not abandoned,” and the warning by my neighbor during the towing (P.S. Car seizure profits go to the police pension fund!)The hearing officer interrupted her testimony. He ordered the CSPD to return my car because they violated the city law that requires them to make a “genuine effort” to locate the owner before towing a car. So, law enforcement officers broke the law just to get back at me. (“But judge, does the law have to apply to Doug Bruce, too?”)For the past 13 years, I have paid a non-stop price in government revenge because I wrote the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which liberals are attacking this November with ballot issues “C” and “D.” You can read a more detailed and depressing account of some of their vicious, vengeful vendettas at my Web site, titled “What Government Does to Tax Limiters.” Rest assured, I will not give up or give in.Contact me at (719) 520-6412 or e-mail at or send a letter to 27 E. Vermijo Ave. Colo. Spgs. CO 80903. Audiotapes of all BOCC meetings, both simulcast and in archives, are available at Visit my Web site at For liberty,DOUGLAS BRUCEYOUR county commissioner

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