February 16, 2014 Updated: February 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm
Welcome to our first report card edition of The Gazette's editorial section.
As a media business in service to the public, our responsibilities include critiquing government and trying to hold politicians and other public servants to high standards. The quality of our lives is mostly determined by relationships with family, friends, colleagues and countless businesses that cater to our needs. But good local governance can be an essential element to growing and maintaining communities that facilitate relationships and optimize free trade.
In the United States we are fortunate. Even the most dysfunctional governments are good by world standards. And in Colorado Springs, we are served almost entirely by men and women who want nothing more than to improve this community.
The Gazette's editorial board has graded Mayor Steve Bach's performance, overall and by category. We have also graded the City Council, overall and by category, and each council member individually.
As readers will see, grades given to city politicians are not mere reflections of whether they agree with our board on a variety of policy matters. Grades are based more on whether they produce tangible and helpful results and our faith in their ability to focus and work to create a better future. Some council members have been downgraded for fretting over minutia and process at a time when our community needs vision, leadership and inspiration. Contrarians seldom achieve constructive ends.
We entertain no illusion that all or most readers will agree with our assessments of the council and/or the mayor. We're not in the business of parroting popular sentiment. We try to express honest insights based in due diligence. We look forward to publishing opposing views and encourage readers to grade politicians with the report card form provided at the bottom of the opposing page.
The City Council has chosen to review the city charter in a quest to clear up language that's causing gridlock among the executive and legislative branches of government. We hope the council moves quickly and makes positive recommendations. Colorado Springs is on the verge of a constructive economic and cultural renaissance, so we urge local leadership to think big and to proceed with optimism and passion for their community.
Note: Colorado Springs typically has mail-in ballots. We are working in a similar fashion, publishing a sample report card on page A23 in Sunday's print edition of The Gazette that you can buy today. You can clip and return the report card to us with your grades of the mayor and City Council.