As folks know, I am a champion of cleaning up public corruption and the abuse of taxpayer trust. One of the indicators of corruption — either as a manifest reality or a seed about to sprout – is cynical government.
Cynical government comes in many flavors. At times it appears when public officials adopt a cavalier attitude about wasting our money. Other times, it’s the parsing of words to ameliorate government’s complicity in dumb things that raid the taxpayers’ pocketbooks. Sometimes we get hints of true intentions, like when politicians who espouse to be conservative, support liberal causes when they think no one is looking.
I saw an example of the latter last November when I attended a meeting of the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners. It was a Thursday following election day and taxpayers had just approved a series of ballot initiatives giving government more of our hard-earned money. The five commissioners – all purportedly Republican – were literally giddy with excitement over being flush with more cash to spend. They would have made Chucky Schumer proud.
True conservatives do NOT behave this way. But those of Republican-in-Name-Only (RINO) pedigree do.
That brings us to a recent case study. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office was sued by a woman who suffered injuries while in the county jail. The case was recently settled out of court, which seems to be standard fare since the county always appears prone to losing its lawsuits.
Two examples of cynical government pop out from comments by county officials in this article from the Colorado Springs Independent, the only media outlet in the county with the intellectual honesty to engage in genuine journalism: $675,000 to be paid to woman injured in the El Paso County jail.
First, Assistant County Attorney Lisa Kirkman tells the commissioners that the county agreed to the settlement, “to avoid additional attorney fees and a possible high jury award. She said the county spent $250,000 on defense attorneys…”
Translation: the plaintiff had the county dead to rights culpable and the taxpayers were about to get their clock cleaned if it went to trial. Of course, the $250,000 to cover attorneys’ fees IS TAXPAYER MONEY.
I saw Kirkman on one of the local TV stations go through great pains to make sure we all knew that taxpayers only paid that tiny, little, minuscule, barely measurable, smidgen of a quarter million dollars. I suggest Kirkman write the check from her personal bank account if the sum is so paltry.
Then there’s this bit of mind-numbing ‘assurance’ from County Commissioner Mark Waller: “So the $675,000 settlement — that is money paid by the excess insurance carrier, not paid by the citizens of El Paso County.”
Um, not so fast, Mark.
He dodges the fact that $250K is taxpayer money and that the insurance premiums the county pays to cover avoidable errors, like the one that led to the lawsuit, also COME FROM THE TAXPAYERS.
Kirkman and Waller should apologize to the taxpayers for the abuse of the public trust instead of telegraphing to the peasants that they should be happy that benevolent government is saving them so much money through insurance. Perhaps Waller should get a gig doing Geico commercials once his term is over.
Speaking of insurance:
- Was there an increase in taxpayer-funded premiums because of this incident?
- How about from all of Sheriff Bill Elder’s sexual harassment lawsuits?
- How about from Elder’s retaliation lawsuits (retaliation against the victims of sexual harassment for daring to complain about the abuse)?
- Will there be a premium increase from Elder’s workplace discrimination lawsuit?
- How about from the pending class action lawsuit against Elder and the county brought about by the ACLU because Elder doesn’t understand the law, civil rights, the U.S. Constitution and how immigration enforcement works?
By the way, the Sheriff campaigned on his ACLU lawsuit, saw it as a form of bragging rights. In some perverse universe, he seems to think that draining the taxpayers’ pocketbooks of potentially millions of dollars in settlements makes him a conservative. It doesn’t get much more cynical than that.
So no, I wouldn’t expect government officials like the liberal Democrats we have – masquerading as Republicans – to care about abusing the public trust. Nor would I expect them to show the least bit of remorse for tax-and-spend RINO antics.
I used to say that the establishment has lost touch with the base, but the sad reality is, the establishment is a group of liberals merely pretending to be Republican in order to get elected in a staunchly red county. Interlopers, rather than insiders.
You cannot lose touch with something you have never been connected to. That’s reflected in examples like this lawsuit and the parsing of words that followed.
We need to vote out of office every incumbent and replace them with genuine conservatives. While we’re at it, let’s ensure we never again elect an establishment candidate, least of whom the typical political careerist we seem to have plenty of in this county. You know the type, hopping from one political position to the next like Bill Clinton at an Arkansas beauty pageant.
In 2009, citizens revolted against Obama’s tax-and-spend insanity in the form of TEA Parties across the country. Prior to that, a group of men in Boston harbor did something similar in 1773. It’s time for another movement, this time to end the tax-and-spend RINO occupation of El Paso County. Contact me for details: email@example.com.