Richard Skorman doesn't care for developers and homebuilders. He uses the term "developer" as a wedge to accuse opponents of an unhealthy alliance with a special interest.
Skorman, a candidate for City Council District 3, made clear his distaste for developers during his failed 2011 mayoral campaign. His opponent, Steve Bach, won easily.
Skorman's 2011 TV ads and marketing materials blasted developers. A 2011 guest column by Skorman, in The Gazette, criticized Bach for past service as "the president of the Home Builders Association." Apparently, building homes is a bad thing.
Skorman's column explained how developer campaign contributions would lead to "development run wild — to the detriment of our environment, our quality of life and our economy."
Six years later, our local economy has never been more promising.
Monday's debate helped Skorman establish the "developer" case against council opponent Chuck Fowler. An audience member asked "are you funded by a majority of developers or those directly associated with them?"
Then came another question from the audience.
"Are you for expanding recreational marijuana?"
Therein lies the more disturbing special interest allegiance in this campaign. In conjunction with Skorman's plan to expand pot retail all over the Springs, he is boldly pandering to Big Marijuana for campaign cash. They will expect a return on investment.
Skorman recently went on Facebook to ask a pot businessman for assistance with marijuana money.
"Hi K.c. I was wondering if you had an e-mail list of Cannabis business owners I can reach out to raise money. I'm still having a difficult time raising enough. I'm getting mostly smaller checks. Let me know. Thanks, Richard 719-***-****" (number redacted by The Gazette).
Skorman told us the post was netting results.
Colorado Springs needs developers and homebuilders. Without them, we will never get affordable homes needed in the community's core to attract and retain young professionals who desire to live here and start families. Without them, we can't attract desirable primary employers who pay wages that boost the tax base. Without them, we'll have a hard time keeping graduates of our local colleges and people leaving military service. Without the work and investment of developers and homebuilders, our children must look for more affordable cities to call home as they become young adults. We need developers and homebuilders because we need homes.
We don't need streets lined with commercial pot shops selling a recreational drug that is increasing demands and costs in public safety, mental health services, homelessness and neighborhoods full of illegal grow houses. We don't need more grow operations to supply more pot stores. We don't need to poke military officials in the eye, who are grateful our city kept recreational pot at bay.
Homes sustain working, taxpaying families and primary economic growth. Big Marijuana will take money out of our community, leaving behind a drug associated with traffic deaths and an emerging mental health crisis for our youths. Fowler boldly favors homes. Skorman boldly favors recreational pot.
In District 3, reliably liberal Skorman has made the distinction clear.
For pot stores, pick Richard Skorman. For human vitality and economic growth, choose Chuck Fowler.
The Gazette editorial board