Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content GUEST COLUMN: Address the real issue at hand, stop being offended by Bloomberg

Michael Merrifield Published: July 18, 2014

Michael Bloomberg's quote in the Rolling Stone interview has made quite a splash in the Colorado Springs media.

His tasteless comment about "No Roads" indicated he is not well-traveled, not well informed, or not very effective at using sarcasm.

This comment should not shake our pride in this beautiful community in which we live. We are fortunate to call Colorado Springs home.

Not only do we have roads by which to see our breathtaking views, but also an extensive trails system, open spaces to explore, and neighborhood parks.

I will always own up to my missteps in public life and expect Bloomberg to do the same. But The Gazette's ludicrous attempt to put Bloomberg's foot in my mouth is reprehensible. Taking a former mayor's comments as an opportunity to link us in our attitudes and lifestyle is comical.

A New York multimillionaire has the same life view as a former teacher, local small-business owner, mountain biker, cancer survivor and advocate for our great city - come on!

Ironically, The Gazette decided to attack me for not supporting education reforms - like the reforms Bloomberg supports and spends millions across the nation to get mandated.

Of course, that glaring difference escaped the editorial board.

And I still believe profiteers should not use public education as a means to their own financial benefit.

I also believe our kids are being severely overtested ,and some politicians are working to divert our taxpayer dollars from public schools to private and religious schools, and to standardized test publishers.

In the last few months of talking to voters at their doors, I have found they couldn't agree with me more.

Parents certainly want the best education for their kids - we all want what is best for our kids, and despite any different perspectives we have, an outstanding education system is our common goal.

Republicans seem so busy being offended by Bloomberg they cannot address the real issue at hand.

It may be easier for them to throw loud and proud tantrums in the media about an insulting comment from Big Bad Bloomberg than to admit the truth that our new gun safety laws preventing criminals and dangerously mentally ill individuals from getting guns is good public policy and is working well in Colorado.

Not only does polling show a majority of voters support common-sense steps to increase gun safety, the laws have proven effective in CBI denials of purchases by criminals.

Despite Bernie Herpin's votes to repeal background checks and magazine limits to reduce the number of rounds fired before reloading, gun safety laws have stayed in effect.

And although no one law will solve all of Colorado's problems, the laws passed are steps in the right direction.

The Gazette-labeled "moderate," Sen. Herpin, said during testimony in front of victim families that "It was maybe a good thing James Holmes [Aurora theater killer] had a 100-round magazine, because it jammed."

I am sure Herpin, who does not support background checks before gun purchases, is not considered "moderate" and is certainly not "popular" among victims, and their families and friends of victims or the people of Colorado who do not wish for mass murderers to have 100-round clips.

However, I digress, I do not want to make this all about tasteless comments lest we miss the larger issues of what's best for Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.

By just taking the time to go to voters' doors and listen to what they say, I can tell you voters feel safety for our families, a world-class education for every kid regardless of ZIP code, a thriving economic environment for local businesses, and keeping our great city and state a spectacular place to work and play is what is best for them.

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Michael Merrifield, candidate for Senate District 11, is a longtime resident of Colorado Springs. He is a retired public school teacher, former small-business owner, former City Council member, former representative, family man, outdoor enthusiast, and he has worked hard to preserve the qualities that make Colorado Springs a beautiful place to live.

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