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Reaction to Mayor Steve Bach's decision not to seek re-election

December 15, 2014 Updated: December 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm
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photo - Mayor-elect Steve Bach, with his wife Suzi, receives a kiss from his daughter Alison Rank after his acceptance speech Tuesday.  Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE
Mayor-elect Steve Bach, with his wife Suzi, receives a kiss from his daughter Alison Rank after his acceptance speech Tuesday. Photo by CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE 

Mayor Steve Bach announced Monday that he will not run for a second term in April's election. Here is some of the reaction: 

Council president Keith King:

King said he respects Bach’s decision not to seek re-election.

“I understand that these offices are time demanding and takes a lot of effort,” King said. “The first person who takes on job as mayor after a major form of governance change finds there is rarely black and white answers to anything.”
King said the Bach’s decision not to run helps candidates (El Paso County Commissioner Amy) Lathen and (outgoing Colorado Attorney General John) Suthers. 

“I think (Bach) would have taken votes away from them,” King said. “It gives them a better chance to win then with him in the race.”

Council member Jill Gaebler:

“The mayor has great vision and he has a lot of things he is trying to move forward in the city that have not not completely gotten accomplished,” she said. “I am surprised that he is not running.”

However, with Bach out, it could affect council’s upcoming discussions about seeking a declaratory judgment on budget issues where council and the mayor have clashed over budget responsibilities. Now, council may want to put those efforts on hold until a new mayor is elected, Gaebler said.

“It is more hopeful now that this council will have an opportunity to work with a new mayor instead of divisively trying to take something to the court,” she said.

Council member Jan Martin:

With Bach not in the 2015 race, the mayoral candidates can focus on issues instead of trying to go tit-for- tat with Bach, she said.

“I think we have some great candidates and think the city will be just fine,” she said.  “The mayor has a accomplished some things, but the lack of cooperation has been evident from the very beginning. We have good candidates running for mayor all who are vey collaborative and the future look bright.”

Amy Lathen, El Paso County commissioner and candidate for mayor:

“It has been an honor to serve alongside Mayor Bach during this first term of our strong mayor form of government. Under his leadership, many important initiatives have been launched, including City for Champions, and I appreciate his dedication and efforts in moving our city forward.”

Joel Miller, candidate for mayor and former city councilman:

“The political aristocracy that runs this town wants to put it its money behind one person, and it’s my opinion that Steve Bach lost out to John Suthers.”

John Suthers, candidate for mayor and Colorado Attorney General:

“I want to thank Mayor Bach for stepping forward and taking on the very challenging task of serving as the city’s first strong mayor. Steve was motivated by his love for the city, which was evidenced by the passion he showed in pursuing his agenda. He was, by direction of the citizens, a change agent and that is a difficult role to play. He has put into place many of the systems and procedures that will make it easier for the next mayor. We should all be grateful for that.”

“I would like to sit down and ask his advice. He did a lot of good things. His lack of experience in the back and forth of politics made it difficult for him, but his knowledge of the city will make him a great resource for the next mayor.” 

“I believe he has the city thinking differently. I don’t know anyone I’ve talked to that doesn’t believe the city doesn’t have significant infrastructure problems. Educating the city on budget and infrastructure needs is something he’s done that needed to be done. He created an environment at City Hall that made people look at it as less of bureaucracy and much more responsive. I give him credit for that.”

Mary Lou Makepeace, candidate for mayor and former Colorado Springs mayor:

"I thank Mayor Bach for his service and for taking on a new role as the city's first strong mayor. Now that he has made his announcement, we can begin to focus on the issues that matter to the voters for the upcoming election."

Richard Skorman, former mayoral candidate, City Council member and currently co-owner of Poor Richards/Little Richards/Ricos:

"Steve's legacy won't be his collaboration with other elected officials or his willingness to compromise and trust. His opposition to 1B (Stormwater) may have been the reason it lost by 3 percentage points --  which could negatively impact our Region for decades to come. But Steve was a great community leader during the Waldo fire and he initiated some really innovative programs like having community service officers sent out on non-emergency calls and providing health care at fire stations. And whether you are skeptical of the success of a downtown arena, "City for Champions" was a gutsy project to propose ... . I'll miss his ability to initiate change. I won't miss the conflict that follows him."

Steve Schuck, longtime developer, friend and Bach supporter: 

“I am more disappointed than surprised. I just think he is an extraordinarily strong and principled leader that is the right person at the right time for our community. It’s discouraging to think that people of his quality aren’t able to remain in public office because of the incredible personal toll it takes on them. If you are a career politician, most of that abuse would be considered part of the job description, but for a true public servant, as Steve is, it is a price he obviously couldn’t continue to pay.”

“The job itself is not too intimidating form him to handle, but the peripheral environment – the incessant focus by the council on its pursuit of power and not good policy, the inability of the private sector to play its proper role in expanding the economy and creating jobs and the constant inefficiencies he encountered at the bureaucratic level were so grating on him personally, I think he got worn out on a personal level.” 

“He was blazing the trail as the first strong mayor, so he had to make that trail. It takes much more than it does for anyone else who comes after him. I believe it was the collective and cumulative drain on his energy” that prompted Bach not to seek re-election.

“He found himself in conflict continually and his style caused him to fight all of those battles by himself, so he never felt any relief by offloading those to others. He found himself working harder than would otherwise be the case. The calls on his time to do all of the ceremonial roles are draining. He was scheduled all day every day. That takes its toll unless you see it as a job and that is not what motivated him.” 

“It is a sad day for Colorado Springs. That isn’t to say others might not be able to do the job, but Steve was a unique talent who has been a tremendous positive and constructive force for the community who wasn’t willing to compromise.”

“Without any question, his biggest accomplishment was to put the city back on a positive course.  (When Bach became mayor,) the city was bleeding in so many ways and suffered from such inept and, in some cases, destructive management, that the bleeding had to be stopped and the direction had to be changed. He got rid of some very counterproductive people in City Hall. He built a platform for the city for the future.”

“The most important thing on the city’s agenda is to rebuild the economy, which is anemic at best. While that isn’t the mayor’s job, it is the mayor’s job to create an environment for the private sector to succeed and prosper. Within that, there is nothing larger than Colorado Springs Utilities – that is where the money is – it’s budget is four times larger than the city’s. That has to be changed. I don’t think the City Council is qualified to run a highly technical, billion-dollar business. The time has come to dig into that whole situation.”

 

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