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Let the games begin

On August 10, Republicans will choose, among two, one candidate as the party’s choice for county commissioner. The primary winner will move on to the November ballot.Both candidates – Douglas Bruce and Margaret Radford – squared off at the July 7 Falcon Professional Development League meeting. After a five-minute mini-speech promoting their qualifications and views on eastern El Paso County (both live in Colorado Springs), Bruce and Radford fielded written questions from the audience submitted to FPDL moderator Sam Leffler.Bruce’s first comments garnered a bit of support from rural residents who have felt snubbed after the county adopted the “Code of the West” document a few years ago. Bruce said, if elected, he will move to repeal the document, which, in its simplest form, states that eastern-plain folk are on their own when it comes to issues like snow removal, roads, etc. “Just because the people choose to live on the land, it doesn’t mean they should be treated like dirt,” Bruce said.Jim Day, a former candidate, bounced off the county commissioner ballot because he did not have the required amount of signatures, has endorsed Bruce. Day lives in Rush and was a favorite among many locals, but Bruce outdistanced him and Radford in the caucus, which meant that Radford and Day had to get signatures from potential constituents to be eligible for the August primary.Anyone who reads a newspaper on a regular basis knows Douglas Bruce as the no-tax guy. At the FPDL meeting, Bruce’s basic stance was about the protection of private property rights and tax savings allowing increased spending for law enforcement and roads. “Falcon needs a sheriff substation in the area,” Bruce said. “As the community grows, there needs to be increased patrol out here.”Margaret Radford, who currently serves on the Colorado Springs City Council, maintains that she is running for county commissioner to build a healthy community, support businesses in Falcon and improve the roads, school system and fire protection district. Radford talked about her accomplishments as a City Council member and being a key player in the water negotiations between the Springs’ and Pueblo.FPDL member issues addressed at the meeting:School district:Bruce reminded the audience that he wrote the law requiring a vote of the people. “I support whatever the people decide,” Bruce said. “It’s their vote.”Radford said she hasn’t reviewed the recommendations for the school district but has always been supportive of the school issues.Impact fees for developers:Bruce is against subsidies, and feels that user fees are more appropriate. He said that growth should pay its own way. Radford prefers an excise tax rather than user fees or subsidies.City (Springs) annexation and incorporation:Bruce said the people should have the right to consent to annexation, but as it stands, the city has that power. If the people of Falcon want to incorporate, he would not stand in their way as the county commissioner. Radford said she supports getting the information about incorporating; however, there are two issues: The “upside” is the ability to purchase water, and the “downside” is the potential for local taxes, Radford said.Importing water for higher density population:Radford said water rights are hard to get, so she supports the importing of water. Bruce said it’s a free-market decision.County commissioners March declaration of a “Sanctity of Life” week in March:(Should this be a platform of the county commissioners – is this government’s role?)Bruce said he supports the “motive and intent” but does not think the county commissioners should be spending their time “posturing and taking symbolic positions.” He said county commissioners waste too much time voting on resolutions like this.Radford said the “Sanctity of Life” week was an appropriate platform for the county commissioners. “I totally respect the sanctity of life – it’s definitely an appropriate role.”What will be their level of commitment as county commissioners?Bruce said he will not be the type of commissioner that Falcon has today. He will not be “absent without leave.” Radford stressed that she will be a full-time commissioner, concentrating only on the commissioner’s job.The forum was not without a bit of mudslinging on the part of both candidates. The audience’s comments regarding the digs: “Politics used to be fun.” “Politics is a game.” “You can’t believe anything they say anymore.” “It’s a joke.” “Why would anyone want to run for office in this day and age?” “It’s the norm, from national politics to local politics.”It is what it is, but it is up to the voters to make informed decisions based on truth, which means weeding out the half-truths, the rhetoric and the oppositional bashing that has become a given in any election, from local to national.

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