A term limit is forcing Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera out, so by sometime next year, probably sooner rather than later, his seat will become the most sought-after, woefully under-minimum-wage job in the city.

Already, there is one candidate: Tim Leigh.

For the measly $6,250 Colorado Springs pays its top elected official, candidates have to have already made their money to take on this public service job.

Leigh has built the successful commercial brokerage firm of Hoff and Leigh and is selling the business to his daughter and son-in-law.

Leigh is a progressive and creative thinker, as well as a good marketer who, at times opens his mouth and what comes out requires the obligatory 21st century image rehabilitator: the apology. I do, however appreciate Leigh’s candor and his straightforward approach.

There are some of Colorado Spring’s business and political heavy-hitters who are working with Leigh. Lorne Kramer, former Colorado Springs Police chief and city manager, and Steve Schuck of the Schuck Corp. are backing Leigh.

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Kramer and Schuck’s first responsibility should be to make sure that when Leigh is being interviewed by a reporter, he avoids certain statements. As Leigh says, “I know I need to tone down my big, fat, flappy mouth.”

But what I worry about is that Leigh will become so afraid of speaking his mind, he’ll come across as yet another pre-programmed robot-candidate. Already, his platform sounds more scripted than a TV news anchor and more homogenized than white milk: He is for — can you imagine? — transparent government, jobs, sustainable long-term financing for the city, public safety, quality of life. (Try to find a candidate opposed to any of those.)

That’s not to say Leigh is without original thought.

He is talking about holding monthly meetings with community stakeholders, even reaching out to Colorado Springs’ young people to determine what steps the city can take to keep them in the community and in the Springs work force. Leigh plans to be the advocate and encourager, speaking to community organizations and traveling to promote the Springs.

But what Leigh will have to realize is that the qualities of his personality that made him a successful salesman are not the same as the qualities a civic leader needs. A salesman tries to please everybody; a true leader grasps that popularity is a luxury he cannot afford, that angering some in the pursuit of progress is a price he must pay. But, the largest part of change is realizing your own blind-spots and Leigh knows where his are.

Besides, the city could use a big jolt of straight talk and self-deprecating humor. Our mayor shouldn’t take himself or herself so seriously that all the fun drains away.

Leigh, who often claimed to be the city’s best salesperson, says he wants to be a fresh voice that will bring together people of differing opinions. 2C is an example he uses of bringing the pro and con side together to come up with a solution for the city. Too bad, too little, too late on 2C.

Leigh’s run at the mayor’s office will be called “Imagine the Possibilities.” I am imagining the fun he would create and the difference he would make in city hall. Mr Leigh, just remember to count to 10 before responding to a question.

Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5202.


  1. You had me going until I read that Steve Schuck was backing Leigh. I recall Schuck also tried to buy the school board elections in D-11 a few years back. He succeeded initially, and that turned out to arguably become the most dysfunctional board in the history of Colorado Springs. I think Schuck may be just a little out of touch with the kind of people this city needs in local politics. A real estate broker-type (albeit a successful businessman) with strong ties to the development community just doesn’t seem to be who we need calling the shots at City Hall. If Leigh is successful, I can just hear the cries of city council being in the pockets of the developers… and they would be spot on.

  2. People who inspire the world to be a better place are few and far between. I cannot speak for anyone else but myself so here is my personal example of how Tim has inspired me. As a young entrepreneur I was looking for a mentor and life coach when Tim Leigh crossed my path. I was a stranger and Tim acted like we where old friends. With no reservations, Tim took time out of his busy life and inspired me in a way in which few people have. It’s been almost 10 years ago, but in those few sunny afternoons, Tim fundamentally shaped my strength of character, work ethic, vision, and servant attitude. Few people have touched me and affected my life in such a powerful way. I am a better person since Tim has walked into my life, and this town will be a better place when Tim walks, rather runs, into the Mayor position. Tim Leigh has made a career and a lifestyle out of future thinking and serving others. Serving our city with new inspiration and integrity is what gets Tim up every morning and what this city needs. True, Tim can be a bit candor and to the point, but I would rather a man that speaks from his heart take action with integrity and progress rather than a politician who carefully speaks and tiptoes around political issues and who is careful not to offend. This town needs a new life, direction, inspiration, and a forward thinker. Tim Leigh is that guy.

  3. I’m sure we can all agree that by the time the elections take place we will need some serious leadership, a touch of experience and a demonstrated commitment to our community. This does not describe Tim Leigh. His style and way of doing business works for Tim, but I doubt it would work for the people of Colorado Springs. The job of Mayor is not a job for a self-serving ego-maniac.

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