CO GOP Leader: Foreclosure Victims “Want a Homeless Life”

(At the rate Colorado Springs is going, the “homeless” will be closer to the majority. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

NOTE: We will be discussing this story on the AM760 morning show from 7-10am on Monday. Tune in on your radio dial or on the web at www.am760.net.

After their anti-tax zealotry left their city in the budgetary lurch, Colorado Springs Republicans have slashed their community’s social services to the bone. We’re talking big cuts to police, firefighters, park maintenance, public transportation – even turning off the city’s streetlights (except, of course, in the wealthy areas!).

If this wasn’t bad enough, the city council this week doubled down on its conservative extremism, officially opposing a congressional jobs bill that would provide roughly $43 million to the city in much-needed aid. Their rationale? They don’t want to add to the federal deficit – a seemingly principled position, until you realize the same city council has had nothing to say about a far bigger deficit culprit: the profligate defense spending that underwrites about a third of Colorado Springs.

You see, for both Springs’ Republicans and the Republican Party nationally, federal deficit spending on huge defense contractors as AOK. But deficit spending on jobs for the unemployed or basic safety-net services for the very poor in a city that has experienced a big jump in homelessness? Well, Republicans are against that because, according to the Springs’ Republican mayor, Lionel Rivera, poor people want to be poor.

That last part sounds like I’m extrapolating the mayor’s comments, but unfortunately it’s exactly what he said. Check this out from the Denver Post’s Susan Greene today, quoting The Springs’ mayor:

Thumbing his nose at federal assistance seems to abdicate his responsibilities to the Judd Hesses of his community and others who are down and out, living in tent colonies, arguably not because they want to.

“Some people want a homeless life,” counters (Mayor) Rivera, a financial adviser. “Some people, they really do.”

So there you have it: According to the conservative leader of one of the most conservative cities in America, those thrown out of their homes in this Great Recession actually want to be homeless, so we shouldn’t spend money or – gasp! – dare to raise taxes on the super-rich to generate revenue for programs to help the homeless get back on their feet.

I’d say that’s about as frank an admission about the Republican Party’s callous attitude these days as any. Give the Springs’ conservative leadership credit – at least their honest in their heartlessness and their extremism.  

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28 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    about their support for bloated Cold War programs that keep their town awash in federal money.  Are there any bigger hypocrites than Colorado Springs Republicans railing against the hated federal government while their town is built on massive defense spending.

    I would like to know who is going to protect the children from domestic abuse when all the social workers are let go.  it is not exactly Pro-Life to love war and hate the children who have the misfortune to be born in their ratty town.  If Denver is Sanctuary City then Colorado Springs is Welfare City.

    • Froward69 says:

      Reality has a Liberal Bias. should Ft Carson Peterson and the AFA close, Colorado springs would become a ghost town.

      Never mind the federal deficit those three rack up.

      Republicans have an alternate reality.

  2. redstateblues says:

    In addition to choosing to be homeless, I’m sure all those small business owners and their employees just chose to go out of business. They probably chose for their 401(k)s to disappear too.

  3. Robert Jordan says:

    Expect Obamavilles to keep sprouting up all across the country.  I think Thatcher said it best “the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples’ money.”  The productive class is tapped out.  Government workers and people who depend on transfer payments ought to start condisering some lifestyle modifications.    

    • sxp151 says:

      and then leave.

      But here you’ve crammed eight stupid things into one stupid post. What an awesome record-breaking achievement! Welcome back; I look forward to seeing how you can possibly outdo this.

    • parsingreality says:

      Are you an ideologue or merely stupid?  

      The economy is turning around, even here in SW Florida.  Unemployment is creeping downward, homes are selling again. Thanks to Obama’s leadership and the Democratic congress, not so much to the Republicans.

      So how do you think it’s intellectually honest to call homeless encampments “Obamavilles?”  In 1933, no one was stupid enough to call them “Rooseveltvilles,” were they?  

      And speaking of socialism, howz that military thingy working out for you and your ilk, anyway?  There is NO institution in America more socialized than the military.  Food, housing, medical care, job security, all part of your employment.  And then to compound the philosophical felony there’s Right Wing Town, CO Springs, essentially living off of the government tit with all of the taxpayer monies that flow into the city.

      What fucking hypocritical morons.  You, included.  

    • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

      The problems in Colorado Springs have been well documented for years as an example of what happens when you push an endless policy of lower taxes and lower spending — eventually you really do run out of money (surprise!) which is what is happening here. None of this has much to do with who is President — this is almost entirely a long-term local phenomenon that has spanned several different Presidential administrations.  

  4. Majority Moderate says:

    The City of Colorado Springs has historically not funded “social” programs.  What little there are within El Paso County are funded by the County government.

    And yes, streetlights have been turned off in all parts of town, but some of the wealthier neighborhoods (and the Broadmoor hotel) have opted to pay for some of them out of their own pocket.

    Also, two members of the Colorado Springs City Council (both republicans) supported the jobs bill but they were obviously very much in the minority.  One of those two is a retired military officer so he obviously understands the impact of federal dollars in the local community.  

    • parsingreality says:

      Yes, it’s all too easy to grab that broad brush.

    • They’re public street lamps, paid for out of the public coffers.  If the Broadmoor and the wealthy neighborhoods don’t like the condition of their public street lighting, then perhaps they can spend some of their hard-earned cash advocating for enough of a tax increase to make the lights stay on for everyone.

      Paying for your own street lights is like paying the fire department to take better care of your house over your neighbors.

  5. cdsmith says:

    As someone who is, on this issue anyway, VERY progressive, and spent a lot of my earlier life working directly in services to the homeless in Colorado Springs, it is true that some of the homeless population prefer to remain homeless.  (It’s also true that a much larger number are mentally ill, and think they prefer to remain homeless).

    But citing that in response to the rise in homelessness due to the current economy is at best misguided.  We aren’t seeing new waves of homelessness because more people are recognizing the benefits of that lifestyle!

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      My wife managed the Food Bank in Gilpin County in 2008-2009 and she helped some desperate and destitute people.  They would pick up the dog poop in your yard with their bare hands if there was a chance they could make a little money.

      It is the rich mans myth that poor people choose to live in poverty.  Coloraod Springs which is the benefiary of massive government spending for fighting out dated threats is the classic rich mans town where the poor are treated as mean as possible in the hope that they will simply go away.  This is the same strategy that Republicans have for dealing with illegal immigrants and then these self-righteous and ultra pious folks claim to be the ultimate Christians.  Me thinks they are in for a rude surprise on their Judgment Day.

      • cdsmith says:

        I didn’t say there aren’t a lot of people living in poverty and desperate to get out.  But I am saying that, if you told my friend (name withheld), who I’ve known for 10 years, that somewhere deep down inside he really wants an apartment or a house, he’d give you a strange look.  I can tell you with certainty that he’d never be happy if he couldn’t decide to drop everything and head to Kansas City at 30 minutes notice just for the hell of it.

        Then again, he’d likely pick up the dog poop in your yard for some cash, too.  He just wouldn’t think it was that unusual, and he certainly wouldn’t save up the cash to pay rent.

        Again, this isn’t the cause of the levels of homelessness we’re seeing now.  It’s just the kernel of truth that’s being used to dissemble about today’s problems.

        • Republican 36 says:

          I’ve volunteered at homeless shelters here in Denver and I found three kinds of individuals: (1) the mentally ill who will come in for a meal but don’t want to be housed at night; (2) a few individuals who prefer being on the street (life style choice); and (3) the marginal fmailies who in good times can find work at least part of the time but are in and out of the shelters even though they don’t want to be there. The level of homelessness we are seeing now has nothing to do with wanting to be in the “homeless life style.” Its because of the economic circumstances in our society and for any public official to say these people like their circumstances or imply they do, is cruel and just plain wrong.

  6. H-Dog says:

    Not quite. Conspicuously absent from Sirota’s account was the history of the “tent cities” in C.S., which have now vanished, thanks to to the concerted efforts of local agencies, and of the city of Colorado Springs, which has so far kicked in $100,000 to house these folks in in a nearby motel. The notion that this city is a rich man’s enclave, disdainful of the poor is absolutely inaccurate. It’s supported only by an out-of-context remark from the current mayor.

    True, the city’s economy is utterly dependent upon military spending.  That’s an accident of history-you can’t blame current leaders for doing their best to hold on to the city’s economic base.  Did you blame Pueblo for clinging to the steel mills when it was clear that the domestic steel industry was vanishing?

    Ours is a conservative city – but so what? The problem of homelessness-or, more specifically, of feral, homeless men-is a national one. It’s interesting that Colorado Springs and Boulder both passed anti-camping ordinances as part of their responses to the problem.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      You have a fair point – a lot of people in Boulder want the problem to disappear too.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      At least the politicians in Pueblo acknowledged that the steel mill was their bread and butter and didn’t try to deny it.

      I would be interested in knowing what both cities did after passing anti-camping ordinances.  I suspect Boulder tried to help in some other way but Colorado Springs just denied the problem and the went on their merry way.  The most disturbing aspect of Republicans is that when they don’t want to deal with a problem they simply deny that it exists.  This “the homeless like their lives position” is typical.  If they acknowledge that the poor need help then they are obligated by their Christian standards to help but if they deny there is a problem then they can step over Lazurus lying at the door and dine without guilt.

  7. marklane1351 says:

    Colorado Springs Mayor Rivera says that some people want a homeless life.  I must congratulate Mayor Rivera.  He is maintaining his Reaganesque credentials.  When Ronald Reagan was president he said homelessness was a matter of choice.

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