"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bill Elder for El Paso County Sheriff

Amid another lively primary season in El Paso County, it comes as no surprise that dirty campaign tactics are being employed once again. This time, it’s Mike Angley who is running a smear campaign against Sheriff Bill Elder.  He is fairly new to politics, so he hooked up with some unsavory veteran campaign operatives who make their living lying and smearing any good, conservative Republican candidate they can find for their own personal enrichment.  Angley became a willing participant and their latest victim.
It is apparently acceptable to Mike Angley to leverage false accusations from disgruntled former employees for his own political gain. Angley was more than willing to pull out a grain of truth and surround it with an array of untruths to purposefully misrepresent the record and character of his opponent. While Mike Angley claims professional superiority over Sheriff Elder, he has never arrested a single person or been inside our county jail.  When you run for office, you can choose to simply attack your opponent with lies and half-truths or you can lay out your vision for the office you seek.  Sadly, Mr.  Angley has chosen the former.
Having been around politics for nearly thirty years, one thing I know to be true – that you never get a second chance in politics to get your reputation back.  The reputation you earn at your first rodeo is the reputation you keep with you forever - and those who deceive, lie and smear, live mired in that slop the rest of their political lives.  This is a sad fact that many newcomers to politics (and old hands alike) learn - but usually after it is too late.  Conversely, those who serve with honor, integrity and conviction are revered throughout their career.
As Angley sends out hit pieces on his opponent, Sheriff Bill Elder’s office has had its hands full with addressing real criminal activity that threatens to destroy El Paso County.
El Paso County has had a fearless, aggressive leader in Bill Elder when it comes to combating illegal marijuana grow operations in the eastern portion of the county and the associated crime. He has been an outspoken, national voice on the destructive effects of legalized marijuana on communities.
Our sheriff has stood strong on combating illegal immigration.  He is standing up to the American Civil Liberties Union as they try to bully him into not cooperating with federal law enforcement officials.  When the ACLU sued, Bill Elder stood strong.
On defending our Second Amendment rights, Bill Elder stands tall.  He supports concealed carry laws and understands that armed, law-abiding citizens help and not hinder law enforcement.  Elder also supports allowing teachers who choose to carry concealed to do so.  When it comes to firearms, Elder knows that he works for us - and not the other way around.
Sheriff Elder has worked tirelessly to restore confidence and high morale to the sheriff’s office and has been very successful in doing so.  In the largest Sheriff's office in the state with around 800 employees, the overwhelming majority of deputies are happy in their workplace and thriving professionally. This is the direct result of Sheriff Elder’s hard work to bring honor, integrity and strength to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.  Can Mike Angley find one disgruntled employee and exploit him for his own political gain?  Yes, he can.

Bill Elder has been a fiscal conservative as well.  Despite the rising pressure that marijuana legalization and other increases in crime have put on the Sheriff’s office, Elder has not asked for a tax increase.  Period. He understands that government must do more with less and that politicians can’t keep coming to the tax trough every time they have difficult problems to solve.

Elder is a sheriff and not a politician.  He doesn’t attack his opponent – he just continues to keep El Paso County safe.  He is deeply invested in our community because it is where he has spent 50 years of his life, and where he has practiced local law enforcement for almost 30 years. He truly is a hometown Sheriff.
As I consider the values we share as a community and the aspects of El Paso County that we appreciate so much, I can find only one person in the Sheriff's race that embodies those values. That person is Bill Elder.
It is for these reasons, and countless others, that it is my honor to wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorse Sheriff Bill Elder for a second term as our hometown Sheriff. I am excited to cast my ballot for him and I hope you do the same.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Open Letter to America's School Boards

With regard to the upcoming walkouts planned for Wednesday, I want to appeal to you that the appropriate thing to do is to allow the walkouts but to record either an unexcused absence or tardy to those students who participate.  If the school wants to not “sanction” the event, then they must record either an unexcused absence or tardy because, by not doing so, the district is providing tacit approval for the action.

The First Amendment protects freedom of speech and of religion among other rights.  It is important to note that any claim made under the First Amendment on the grounds of free speech must also be applied equally to freedom of religion.  In other words, if there is no unexcused absence or tardy recorded for students who walk out in protest of school violence or the somewhat veiled gun control issue, there can clearly not be an unexcused absence or tardy recorded the next time a student organizes a prayer walk-out – at least if the First Amendment is going to be held up in its entirety.

This is a very dangerous precedent that will be set if there is no penalty for simply walking out of class to make a political statement.  Again, in an effort to preserve the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, if schools just give students a free pass to protest on Wednesday, I  would encourage students to organize such a prayer walk-out to see if the schools really are defenders of the First Amendment’s religious protections as well.  I would prefer that school time be used for learning and not protesting political ideas.  If students want to protest, they can do it – penalty free- on lunch hour or after school.

The Colorado Springs Gazette article from March 11, 2018 entitled Widespread walkouts expected as Colorado Springs-area students observe Florida shootings, says, “Cheyenne Mountain D-12 Superintendent Walt Cooper said he's met with student organizers about logistics.  He's quick to point out that the district isn't sponsoring or endorsing any facet of the event. "But I do feel it is incumbent upon us to support our kids and their efforts, if they truly feel so strongly about something," Cooper said. No students will face consequences for participation or declining participation, he added.”

So Cooper makes the argument that while he’s met with organizers about logistics and assured them that no students will face consequences for participating or declining participation the district isn’t sponsoring or endorsing any facet of the event.  Really?  I don’t think that passes the Constitutional test – especially when compared to a similar religious freedom test.  Imagine when, in a few weeks, Christian students “feel so strongly about something” like prayer that they organize a walkout during class time for a 15 minute prayer.  Will Superintendent Cooper meet with student organizers about logistics?  Will he ensure that they will face no consequences for participation or declining participation?  In order to uphold the Constitution, he must treat both situations equally and ensure that Christian students who want to pray are treated as equally as students who want to protest.

Before deciding that no consequences will be handed down for the Wednesday protests, I hope school districts understand that there are other students who will expect the same treatment when their version of free speech and freedom of religion is exercised.  Are districts ready to handle both the logistics and the legal challenges which will ensue?

If students want to walk out, just let them know that they’ll have a tardy or unexcused absence noted for the time.  This, it seems to me, is the best way to ensure that schools are used for education and not political or religious statements in the future – and a way to consistently uphold the free speech and religious protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Stop the El Paso County Needle Exchange Program

Attend the El Paso County Board of Health Meeting on Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 7:30 am and sign up to speak in opposition to the needle exchange program.  It is imperative that people attend and speak out against this proposal.  It is an early morning meeting.

El Paso County Board of Health
Citizen Service Center
1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road
Assessor's Training Room on the main floor
December 4th, 7:30 am

We already have a serious enough drug abuse problem in El Paso County.  Handing out needles to drug users will increase drug use and make our streets even more unsafe.  In Pueblo, where they already have a needle exchange program, there has been no significant, positive public health improvement yet the city is awash in discarded needles as reported by the Pueblo Chieftain.  Increased drug use also means increased crime - as users try to find new ways to finance their habit.  This is why El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder strongly opposes this needle exchange.

Please also email the following members of the El Paso County Board of Health and politely ask them to vote no on any needle exchange program which comes before them:

Doris Ralston, ralstond@comcast.net

Dr. James Terbush, jimterbush@elpasoco.com

Dr. Robert Bux, robertbux@elpasoco.com

Richard Skorman, rskorman@springsgov.com

You can also call the Health Department at (719)578-3199.