There are many reasons to vote no on the Senate 11 recall election, but the most important is that if the recall is successful then Bernie Herpin will be our senator in Denver. This is the same extremist that has lead Colorado Springs into an economic disaster we continue to live every day. He was on and off the City Council for almost 10 years. The same 10 years that the Springs has lost jobs and struggled economically.
According to the great reporting that The Gazette has done on this topic, 'Since 2003, the unemployment rate in Colorado Springs has been higher than in any other metropolitan area in Colorado.' The Gazette also printed 'Unemployment statewide was at 7 percent in June, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Colorado Springs' rate was 8.4 percent, compared with 5.4 percent in Boulder, 6.9 percent in Denver and 5.7 percent in Fort Collins. Since 2003, the manufacturing industry in Colorado Springs has cut more than 8,000 jobs, or 40 percent of its workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.'
The reason behind these horrible job numbers are the incompetence of our elected city officials. The chief leader during this local depression has been 70-year-old, career politician Bernie Herpin. He has been the dream candidate of insiders for years, but has shown no creativity, no new ideas and no leadership when we needed it the most. He uses the excuses that it's the national recession's fault.
But that is not really true, our sister cities have regained all of the lost jobs during the recession and are adding more every day. Whereas Colorado Springs has only achieved 75 percent recovery of lost jobs and zero new net jobs created. Even worse, our new jobs are much lower paying.
To quote The Gazette once again, 'Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins are young-professional magnets, they say, is that they have more high-paying professional jobs than Colorado Springs. "When I compare what's available in Denver as opposed to Colorado Springs, it's about a 10-to-1 ratio of professional jobs," said Bev Kratzer, who runs the career center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs."
Bernie Herpin failed us during his tenure running city government and also failed us running the Colorado Springs Utilities.
He was on the board when Utilities made a $200 million bet and lost when they ventured into long-term natural gas leases. He still hasn't answered questions to that mistake. He was also in charge of Utilities when he gave over $100 million to a coal scrubbing startup company with no track record or other customers. All without even getting other lower-priced bids. This not only seems irresponsible to the rate payers it seems possibly unethical. Also he voted to increase water rates by 5 to 10 percent per year for five years to help pay for more government handouts to help a select few.
In a city like ours where results matter, City Councilmen Herpin gets an F on job creation and an F on Utilities oversight. These are the reason why a few months ago he was finally voted out of City Council. He saw none of the national and state-wide changes taking place. He did nothing when the city needed action. He just sat back in his taxpayers paid seat of power and watched as jobs left for dynamic cities.
Herpin is right about one thing, this election is not about guns, it's about his lack of ideas, lack of action and lack of competence. It doesn't matter how you feel about John Morse.
We all have to vote against the recall so Herpin can't do to the state what he has done to the city.
Rolf Jacobson is a 45-year resident of El Paso County and lives in Senate District 11. He is a construction management consultant.