John Hazlehurst

John Hazlehurst

Should I join the throng of political hopefuls vying to be appointed to the District 3 seat on city council? After all, I actually served on council in the distant past — first elected to an at-large seat in 1991, re-elected in 1995, resigned to run for mayor in 1997, got thrashed and began my so-called journalism career. Here are some pros and cons.

Pro: At 81, I’d represent the surging supergeezer population. I’ve got a new hearing aid, can read small print and stay awake and alert until early afternoon. To sweeten the pot, I promise to make a deal with Bill Murray — we’ll agree to speak at alternate meetings, sparing fellow councilors from having to listen to both of us. I also know how to be collaborative, sustainable, thoughtful, kind and every other politically desirable buzzword... except when it seems imperative to be mean and crusty!

Con: Are you out of your mind? Following Richard Skorman’s recent announcement that he would resign at the end of the year, council has two competent women and six middle-aged-to-old white guys. It needs youth and diversity, not your dithering voice from the past!

Pro: I’d be willing to quit journalism to serve the city of my birth, having figured out that council’s $6,250 stipend plus a meager expense allowance would make up for some of my lost income. And sorry, I’m not going to respond to the extensive questionnaire that council put online. No disrespect, but I already know it all. 

Con: You’ll ruin your cred for shutting up Murray if you don’t do the paperwork. Even a semi-senile journalist like you can put together a couple of thousand words of mock-thoughtful, pretend-informed bureaucratese. They won’t read it — they just want to eliminate candidates who don’t understand the importance and power of the incumbent 8. Suck up, or be discarded!

Pro: OK, I may be a geezer, but I bring a lot to the table. I can tell jokes, I know the words to songs that were popular in the ’40s and ’50s, and I love our city. I’ll push for a $200 million bond issue to rebuild the historic Chief Theater on its original site and sponsor an ordinance to hold council meetings in Downtown/Old Colorado City bars on First Fridays. Worst-case scenario: I croak out on the dais after casting the deciding vote on the budget. That’d entitle me to a state funeral and a day of mourning — a city holiday with a Downtown parade and a hearse drawn by eight black horses. And don’t forget the marching bands and the afterparty at The Mining Exchange. Even in death, I’ll all be about fun.

Con: Love the First Friday proposal, but why not go all the way? Convert City Hall into a bar/restaurant, and put the councilors to work! Get Johnny Nolan to run the place, and give him the power to hire/fire the help. In a few weeks, you’d have a city council of well-paid bartenders and servers — soon to be a national model for municipal government. Unfortunately, you’d be the first one to get fired. And forget the state funeral — they won’t even pay to remove your corpse from the building.

Pro: As one who cares for three big dogs, I’d represent the dog-loving population of our dog-positive city. I’d have to bring our new puppy to work — he’s a 4-month-old male Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a notably fierce, intelligent and protective breed. He’s not completely housebroken, so there may be occasional accidents. Don’t worry, though — as a former investment banker, small-town politician and journalist, I know how to find and clean up crap.

Con: You’re offering council dog turds? That’s not a winning strategy. Leave the mutts at home, and present yourself

as a big-hearted dog lover.

Pro: I know it’s a long shot, but life is a long shot. Why not go for it?

Con: Can’t you rejoin the reality-based community? Being on council is a full-time, unpaid job. You hate going to interminable meetings, listening to people ramble on about stuff they don’t understand and plowing through bureaucratic drivel. Besides, today’s councilors have relatively little power. Why don’t you run for mayor in 2023? You won’t win, unless you can get the geezers and dog-lovers on your side. Better still, write your column until they fire you and then (to misquote Dylan Thomas) “Go gently into that good night/Yawn, yawn at the dying of the light.” 

John Hazlehurst, whose great-grandfather came to Colorado in 1859, is a Colorado Springs native. He has worked as a reporter/columnist for the Indy since 1997 and the Business Journal since 2006.