This column’s message focuses on the two people who care less about the future of Colorado Springs than probably anyone else who lives here.

You guessed it: Douglas Bruce and Helen Collins.

There’s no reason to think about them separately, because they are the ultimate Destructive Duo. United in purpose, dedicated to tearing apart our local government, and not letting truth or ethics stand in their way.

So guess what? No more trying to play nice. If they want to roll in the mud, the time has come to leap into the muck and take them on.

One week the slumlords are in a Denver courtroom, playing the role of victims, as Bruce tries every imaginable tactic to avoid going back to jail for parole violations, with Collins playing the ever-willing, paranoid soldier/puppet.

The next week we hear ads on local radio, with Collins spending $10,000 of her own money (Bruce’s words, in a news release he wrote to celebrate the occasion) to throw grenades at the city’s ballot issue asking for money to begin fixing more crumbling roads and bridges.

- Advertisement -

Issue 2C’s purpose is to raise a projected $50 million a year for road repair, but Collins insists she knows of a dark plot to divert half the money to a downtown stadium as part of City for Champions, saying, “It is NOT for ROADS. It is for the DOWNTOWN ARENA, to be built WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.” She called it a “bait and switch” that would “wreck our economy and cripple family budgets.” Then she added this: “If I don’t trust City Hall, why should you?”

That, from an elected city official.

Mayor John Suthers, to his credit, responded with the proper indignation: “The claims made in the ad are patently false. As I have said multiple times, the sales tax revenues will go into a separate fund and will be dedicated solely to roads. Approximately half the cost will be for asphalt and the remainder for concrete, curb, gutter and sidewalks. Our roads are in a state of disrepair and our fiscally conservative city council and the majority of our voters readily recognize that fact. … It’s time to move our city forward and this measure aims to do just that.”

When some online commenters began sniping away (with verbiage that seemed suspiciously like Bruce and/or Collins), I posted the actual ballot language — no commentary, just that.

And then it turned personal. Bruce and Collins showed their true selves — as bullies. They “separately” sent me emails, 37 minutes apart. Collins fired first, saying, “Look at the local ballot and how Colorado Springs was able to illegally post narrative under the ballot question. No other issue on the ballot has this narrative. This is the first time in state history this has been allowed.” Then she made reference to a secret Urban Renewal Authority meeting, which she alleged was related to the 2C conspiracy.

They want nothing more than to sabotage, and destroy, the renaissance that so many of us are trying to create.

Never mind that the Destructive Duo went to court challenging that ballot wording — and lost. The mayor also was Colorado’s attorney general from 2005-2015. Case closed.

Bombastic Bruce followed, at his down-and-dirty worst: “That an official admission they will divert the money to the arena is not on the ballot (big surprise) doesn’t prove it won’t happen. That’s the point — they’re lying, just as they lied about their promised maintenance of effort for transit funding to pass the RTA $70 million yearly sales tax (for roads) in 2004 …

“Remember, the City’s 237-word add on to the Charter-limited 30-word ballot title is ILLEGAL. That’s why no other government has done it or is doing it. Your quoting it is gross gullibility. Would it be OK with you if incumbent councilmembers added a last-minute plug for themselves ON THE BALLOT?”

Lying. Suggesting it was related to something 11 years ago. Illegal (uh, the court disagreed). Gross gullibility.

Stop, Mr. Bruce. Please. You’re hurting me. I can’t take it anymore. 

Actually, something about those distasteful emails caused me to snap. So, no more turning the other cheek. No more giving the bullies any leeway.

It’s time for Colorado Springs, not just the business community but everyone who truly cares, to realize Douglas Bruce and Helen Collins aren’t like the rest of us. They want nothing more than to sabotage, and destroy, the renaissance that so many of us are trying to create. We cannot stand by and let them get away with such repulsive behavior and antics.

All of us have to put the Destructive Duo in their place, hold them accountable for their words and actions, and fight back from now on.

It starts by passing Issue 2C, another step toward making Colorado Springs a better place for the next generation.

Obviously, because I’m not that gullible, the battle won’t end there. But we have to treat Douglas Bruce and Helen Collins as the enemies they are.

Starting now. 

29 COMMENTS

  1. Having a population heavily weighted toward the ‘tax-thrifty’ presents challenges to being able to “Fund the Future” more progressive and liberal communities are not faced with. When, since 1983 – you have had elected officials and chamber types continually inform the public that low taxes will drive the economy forward – and even in the council election just beyond the present one – you have 13 out of 15 candidates stating to the public that: “We do not need to raise taxes, we can do all that we need to do at the current rate structure” – it leads to make people think all is well when in fact a huge backlog of unmet needs continues to grow.

    Obviously, the public is confused as to who to believe.

    During the last major funding initiative, 1B for Storm Water, the public seemed most clear on two points: 1) they wanted to be given factual information from engineers and funding specialists as opposed to elected officials and 2) the ‘reasons’ they had turned down funding measures in the past is that ‘elected officials had not made the case’ strong enough to swing the vote. Can we make the case better?

    With that in mind, and massive needs to be met beyond what 2C will fund, is it time to see the creation of a truly independent, professional panel of accountants, funding and bond specialists, economists and tax specialists to perform an exhaustive review of both city and county needs – – with no vote-driven elected officials involved – – and to provide this data to the public.

    And with that data, a range of options and funding mechanisms that would be available to fund future needs followed by a three year information campaign dedicated to finding out how best to find out what the public is willing to support?

    Since 2006 elected officials and civic types have failed to gain passage of any funding measures other than to extend PPRTA which was the extension of an existing tax and the “Amy-Terry Sheriff tax increase”

    There are only 700,000 in the region to pay for it all. New job creation in the region appears insufficient to increase revenues so those who are here will be the ones to pay the bills in order to bring sufficient business to the region to boost the economy.

    Is it time to bring on a new team and try a new approach?

  2. While I am no fan of either of these two characters but they are serving useful purpose when they encourage the voting public to distrust government, lawyers and politicians. The question they beg is, what is the City doing with the tax dollars they collect now besides paying Suthers a lush salary at the taxpayer’s expense? CS has a bad tendency to resist developing this city and this region in an attractive and sustainable manner because our bureaucrats and politicians insist they have to have more money. And yet the current sales tax, property tax, inventory tax, excise tax and tax on taxes continues to chug along requiring citizens to work four months out of the year just to pay taxes. Where does it all end?

  3. The main reason I will vote for 2C is to help out on my car repairs. Front end alignments and tires aren’t cheap. The secondary reason I will vote for 2C is simply because this Destructive Duo is against it. I will do everything in my power as a citizen and voter to go against Doug Bruce and Helen Collins.

  4. 2C is not “Funding the Future”. It is paying for the past and the present infrastructure that is already built, and that the whole community utilizes directly or indirectly. It is a start at stopping the hemorrhaging of infrastructure decay that is now, and always will be, an on-going issue because asphalt and concrete have finite lifespans. They do not heal themselves. Waiting 3 years for better funding options (from an un-funded, non-existent committee of ‘experts’) is just adding zeros to a problem which already has a 1/2 a billion dollar price tag.

    2C is pretty simple: we own it, we use, we need to maintain it, together.

      • All government bad and wasteful. That’s the attitude, right? Get a brain and look at the issues from perspectives besides that neanderthal one. There’s good and bad government, good and bad people in government and in business and in churches and sports and…Colorado Springs’ self-loathing has got to stop or it will be the next Trinidad.

  5. Mr. Routon,
    I concur with the description of your mental state: “…caused me to snap.” For the “executive editor” of what is supposedly a respectable publication to not only engage in ad hominem attacks (which is commonplace in Colorado Springs), but to move beyond that to declaring citizens as the enemy is borderline inciting violence on an elected official and it is unbecoming of a one who associates himself with journalistic integrity—editorial page or not.

    Here are 5 straightforward reasons to vote NO on 2C:

    https://www.facebook.com/JoelMillerforMayor/posts/528936647271143

    Here are 4 irrefutable FACTS (with links backing them up) to consider regarding a downtown stadium for which Mr. Routon has repeatedly indicated he would love for all of us to pay to build. No accusations. No insinuations. Only facts. Readers decide if there is a context:

    https://www.facebook.com/JoelMillerforMayor/posts/531829853648489

    Here is a history of the 4 existing voter approved taxes and how they at least have some measure of oversight and accountability—unlike 2C’s “blank check” methodology being encouraged by Mr. Routon:

    https://www.facebook.com/JoelMillerforMayor/posts/533731776791630

  6. Ms.Beauchamp

    “We own it, we use, we need to maintain it, together”

    You may have created an excellent ‘tag-line’ for the Fund the Future Campaign!

    The number of critical need infrastructure and capital need items moves far beyond just roads and streets – all things we theoretically ‘own’ and certainly need to maintain and preferably together!

    Do you have an estimate, on a regional basis, what that amount is and how that amount can be funded?

  7. Mr. Routon,

    I concur with the description of your mental state: “…caused me to snap.” For the “executive editor” of what is supposedly a respectable publication to not only engage in ad hominem attacks (which is commonplace in Colorado Springs), but to move beyond libel to declaring citizens as the enemy is borderline inciting violence on an elected official and it is unbecoming of a one who associates himself with journalistic integrity—editorial page or not.

    I have re-activated my Facebook page from the mayoral campaign as a platform to get the word out. The CSBJ is either refusing to allow my comments or it rejected them because of links. On Facebook, find “Joel Miller for Mayor” and the following posts:

    Here are 5 straightforward reasons to vote NO on 2C:

    “Why I oppose the road tax measure: the ‘long of it’…”

    Here are 4 irrefutable FACTS (with links backing them up) to consider regarding a downtown stadium for which Mr. Routon has repeatedly indicated he would love for all of us to pay to build. No accusations. No insinuations. Only facts. Readers decide if there is a context:

    “There has been a lot of consternation about whether the proposed 31% City sales tax increase will build a downtown stadium. There are several documented facts that are important in weighing whether to approve a $250 million tax increase with no citizen oversight:…”

    Here is a history of the 4 existing voter approved taxes and how they at least have some measure of oversight and accountability—unlike 2C’s “blank check” methodology being encouraged by Mr. Routon:

    “VOTE NO ON ISSUE 2C: No oversight; no ordinance directing what is an allowable expense; no transparency on how dollars are spent; history of taxpayer dupes on other “special-purpose” taxes:…”

  8. I am constantly amazed at how many folks seem to disassociate themselves from the social contract of being a beneficiary of a civil society and that includes our dependency on infrastructure. These are some of the same people that insert themselves or support those who insert themselves into local, state and national government with the implicit intention of disrupting government at best and dismantling it at worst to prove their hypothesis that government is ineffective.

    It is also annoying how many have such a limited understanding of how local economies function. The private sector depends on government to build and maintain infrastructure not only to support the existing flow of commerce but to keep our business community competitive in a regional, national and global marketplace. Perhaps these people don’t care if our community can’t attract or even retain companies that we depend on to maintain a sustainable economy for the next generation. They should because Colorado Springs is an aging community with more and more retirees. Just what kind of workforce do they think is going to be the tax base to maintain their golden years?

    The most aggrevating to me is bemoaning of elected officials salaries. In a competitive, capitalist free market, the most talented and intelligent leaders have a given right to pursue professional careers that provide financial compensation. From what I have seen directly, the mayor is earning his salary. We are lucky to have him serve. Government needs more qualified leadership and less stooges.

    Thanks Ralph for this article and pointing out that just because this destructive duo says something doesn’t make it so.

    • Thank YOU, Andrew, for this comment which is the most intelligent of those I’ve read.

      Joel, your lame argument is just one reason you’re NOT in the Mayor’s seat. I think Mayor Suthers must surely know that if a stadium results from the FRACTION OF A PENNY tax increase that’s limited to 5 years he’ll be out and joining you on the sidelines.

      And agreed Richard: “We own it, we use, we need to maintain it, together.” It’s what responsible citizenship is about. I think the approach the Mayor is taking is very smart indeed: fraction of a penny, 40% will come from tourists (who, let’s be honest) will STOP coming here if the city is in shambles), time limited. Maybe with better roads, at least for starters, new businesses won’t turn their noses on COS and head north.

      I hate it that this battle gets billed as conservative versus liberal. When what we should be focusing on is being progressive and not stuck in the dark ages over the condition of our streets. It’s a no-brainer, people.

      • Thank you Ms. Masse – but I cannot take credit for that comment as it was penned by Ms. Beauchamp – who did say it well. The main issue from this point might be how the massive backlog of infrastructure needs, other than streets, will be funded and the level of planning and communication with the public to take place in the future to make it happen.

        • Thank you Richard and Meredith.
          This tax is a start and only a start at addressing the backlog that has developed, not from mismanagement, but from the shortage of funds required to address the naturally accelerating costs of the problem. For all those who would like a different style of funding to address the long term problem, great! There is more than enough room at the table to creatively tackle this, but in the mean time, buy yourselves enough time to figure it out. The price tag only goes up exponentially by waiting.

      • Ms. Masse,

        Unfortunately, there are projected to be enough “fractions of pennies” to add up to $250 million over five years with zero accountability as every other voter-approved tax has. The 2C tax increase represents a 31% increase in City sales tax rate collected for the City’s general fund.

        Your failure to refute any of my factual points with anything other than the term “lame argument” indicates you haven’t read any of them and should provide confidence to those who are wanting to learn the facts that I have provided them.

        The 40% figure for tourists is completely arbitrary and grossly overstated. Tourists do not buy cars, large appliances, TVs, building materials and capital equipment for their businesses–citizens do.

        I completely agree that this should not be touted as a liberal/conservative issue. It’s an issue if accountable governance and transparency of government. Liberals and conservatives alike should seek and demand it.

  9. Ralph, my personal experiences with Doug Bruce are absurdly beyond my personal understanding. He is certainly a unique piece of work!!! Happy to share my experiences with you personally

  10. Stick to sports, Ralphie. Your liberal rants on politics are simply irrational nonsense.

    Facts are simple: don’t reward mismanagement of our money with more of our money, hold the elected morons responsible for that mismanagement, and live within OUR means.

  11. P.S. The “let’s not take it anymore” rant is actually about liberals being continually denied their efforts to take more money from our wallets unbridled and Califonicate Colorado. City Council is not fiscally conservative; they are fiscally incompetent.

    VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING.

    • If you truly feel that you want to “VOTE NO ON EVERYTHING”, I think the most effective way you can achieve your goals is to move.

      If you are not willing to be part of the solution (and the community), please don’t be part of the problem.

      I’m anonymizing my comment because, instead of a rational discussion, I, like many, fear personal attacks from people like you.

  12. It’s sad to see ignorance like “tannim’s” exposed as he calls someone he characterizes as liberal to be “irrational” and others “morons.”

    One might observe that Colorado Springs has been “conservative” for many decades. So why is it pothole paradise with massive infrastructure backlogs, instead of being a “conservative” Mecca? According to “tannim”, it’s just not “conservative” enough; now that’s irrational.

    To the contrary, it’s because promoting “free market” growth that doesn’t come close to paying for itself digs a financial hole. While near-term costs are covered, as people move into new development in later years, the cost of the extra burden on infrastructure is even greater. So, the mentality goes, we need even more growth to pay for that. Call that either addiction to growth or a Ponzi scheme.

    The city is in a big financial hole and another “tax the public” question, 2C, is now on the ballot. But the city’s dire financial straits should be no surprise: you can’t sell a product (new development) at a loss and make it up in volume. But Council keeps trying, because without impact fees, those who profit from growth can fund true-believer Council candidates who approve even more growth. : http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/taxes2C.shtml

    By the way, I am somewhat torn about advocating a “No” vote in the current Colorado Springs initiative, “2C”. People are actually hitting potholes and their homes are being flooded through no fault of their own. The civic (yes, liberal) thing to do is fix it.

    Initiative, “2C”, should be opposed, not because we should avoid taxes, but because it doesn’t tax at all the entities that should be taxed. While we all have to pay for the sins of the past, going forward it’s absolutely necessary to pay for needed infrastructure as growth occurs and have that payment be made as part of the cost of new residential and commercial properties in order that growth not degrade traffic levels of service, ability to handle drainage, supply water, etc.

    If we don’t do that, we’ll be forever digging ourselves into a financial hole. Those who believe in market forces should agree: http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/c…/stormwatertax.shtml
    And a sales tax is the worst kind of tax because it puts “resistance” in the exchange of goods “circuit” of buying and selling. It burdens economic activity.

    We got a “strong mayor” in 2010 (and we recently got another one, Suthers) supposedly because, as the Strong Mayor Project stated: “Colorado Springs’ government is clearly broken, And it’s costing us dearly.”

    As I wrote then: “The region is broken, not just government. Our fiscal problems are a wake up call, one not to ignore. The Strong Mayor “solution” won, but it can put us back to sleep, making things worse.” It did. The region’s policies are structurally unsound.” See “A Broken Region” http://www.exponentialimprovement.com/cms/brokenregion.shtml

  13. I’ve lived in Colorado Springs since 1987 and I’m shocked the city isn’t in a worst state than it is. Our city government is not wasteful, our city government does not have their priorities skewed, our city is not spending money on something besides roads we don’t need. Certainly bad leadership can be blamed for the state we’re in, unfettered development into the hinterlands means a lot more roads than infill projects. The design of these neighborhoods takes a great toll on the primary roads leading into them, there are issues to be sure that can be worked on as we move forward. But that does nothing for the current state of the roads. There simply is not enough money, no matter how you look at it (the budget is online for all to see, please find the waste if you can). If you want good roads just let the Mayor and Council know you’re willing to shut down a third of the lanes on current roads, or divert money from fire and police, or shut down parks, because there simply isn’t enough money to do it all. I hate taxes as much as the next guy, but I do want a city with good roads, quality fire and police, great parks, and flood control and there are no fairies or wizards to do that for free.

  14. Ralph forgot to mention the old white conservatives that run this town. Call out Dave Jenkins, Nor’wood etc. A council member or ANYONE does nothing unless they go through that crowd. Call them out. I dare him. He won’t. Bruce et al…? Is this news? They don’t control anything.

    If Ralph wants to report on who really runs Colorado Springs, I’ll listen. This?

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  15. You cannot seriously believe these two individuals bear that much? What about 15-20 years ago. Their fault too? Cmon!
    Nor’wood, Dave Jenkins and fred veitch. Common ground. Be realistic.
    Something new in town? Now, Chris Jenkins sits on boards? Is this a joke? Must be bc they stand to make millions off anything built here. Conflict of interest? All you need to do is to go to First Pres on Sunday and see which white males run this town.
    Doug Bruce and Helen are the reason no one votes? No way.

    If you believe that provide #s. Add provide how long Jenkins had been around.This has become personal? If you think those two are the reason…well, again give me numbers bc this has been happening Looooong before these two were here.

  16. Just turned in my YES vote for 2C and the left over money for trails. Excited to back my support of Colorado Springs future with this vote.

Comments are closed.