When I was growing up, one of my favorite Saturday morning cartoons was the Road Runner. As one may recall, it involved Wyle E. Coyote who constantly chased a road runner, presumably to make a meal of it. Coyote would prepare elaborate schemes to catch the bird, all of which came to the same inevitable conclusion: he either burned to a crisp, became disassembled or, my personal favorite, ran off a cliff and for a moment was running in place in thin air before falling to the canyon floor. After every disaster, the Road Runner appeared smiling and said: “Beep, beep!”
One must wonder if the current city administration has become our own Wyle E Coyote.
About 12 days ago, Bach announced that Mark Earle, the city airport director, had “resigned.” What was particularly telling was Bach’s quote of Earle’s reason for leaving in the Gazette article: “ ‘Why don’t you hire someone more in line with your philosophy.’ ” I have known Earle through the years and seen many of his presentations to City Council. I can easily hear him saying this. However, it was probably not said with respect for Bach’s leadership. What is more frightening is the thought that Bach will be taking over the negotiations with the airlines. What, if anything, does Bach know about running an airport? If he is confused about why passenger traffic is declining at Colorado Springs Airport, perhaps he should log on to Travelocity or any other airfare booking website and check the price differential between a flight from Denver or Colorado Springs. It is a bad sign when one’s administration cannot retain highly qualified and respected people. Further, that the news was released late on a Friday afternoon indicates that the Bach administration was intentionally trying to bury the story.
The disasters keep coming for the Bach Administration. Last evening I checked the city election results! I cannot remember any election in which the Housing and Building Association (HBA) got shellacked like it did in this election. Sure, perhaps there may be one corollary. In 1991, following years of bickering on City Council, including one incident in which a council member dropped the “F” bomb on an open microphone, the citizens cleaned house. Of the three incumbents running for re-election that year, only one won. The major combatants were turned out in favor of new blood. (For trivial buffs, that campaign also featured the first television commercial in a city election.) This year, however, the outcome is much more sweeping. Particularly telling are the losses suffered by Tim Leigh and Angela Dougan, Bach’s leading supporters on Council. The HBA and Steve Schuck (Bach’s biggest supporter in 2011) were out in front in January with quick endorsements of their slate of candidates, including Leigh and Dougan. Leigh and Dougan did not lose close elections; they were soundly beaten. Given their close and very public ties to the Bach Administration, this can only be seen as an indirect rejection of such.
Now Bach goes forward with his best allies on Council beaten. This is a warning sign for any of the newly elected Council members or the three remaining incumbents of the dangers of alignment with the mayor’s office. It is also a sign of a weakened mayor.