It’s been four years since I was personally inducted into the smallest political minority in the history of Manitou Springs. And what a stellar group to be among at the time.

If you haven’t guessed — it was the rogue contingent who escaped to the carriage roof during the “Great Manitou Train Robbery of 2017.”

Satirically speaking, the event has gone down in the annals of Manitou history. But it was also a sad lamentation for the majority aboard whose coach windows were locked tight or who were so immobilized by the civilian “shock and awe” campaign that they sat tight and raised their hands high.

And who pulled off this heist? Let’s just call them the “James Gang”; not to be confused with the poet laureate of the “James Gang” rockers who mysteriously channeled the anthem of this historic Manitou event beforehand.

BTW, if you haven’t listened to “Funk #49” (with lyrics) lately, it’s a true spiritual mystery how Joe Walsh could have foretold the event. As another Manitoid likes to say: possible earwig.

Back to reality for a moment. Much was said behind closed doors during the run-up to the “50-year” public financing deal negotiated by our elected … lawyer(s).

I was present for a few more proper gatherings myself. But after City Council finally voted we heard, “that’s the best we could do” in our negotiations. And another one, “we simply couldn’t risk losing the Cog Railway.”

Right! A poker player holding a royal flush can bet anyway he/she/they choose. But there was no poker game at all for those who folded Manitou’s cards as the dialogue was spun for two or three City Council members who were fooled.

But facts speak for themselves now as our first-year $600,000 city payment is due while budget challenges mount.

When elected representatives selectively reduce taxes for one business that other businesses still pay, we can expect long-term budget impacts and questions of inequity.

After that deal was done, a lawsuit was filed by Manitou’s finest. It wasn’t as complex as made out to be. The lawsuit was not to overturn the contract, but to give the decision over to a referendum of Manitou voters.

What better political “out” for our glorious lawyer leaders? Dang, I feel that earwig crawlin’ back.

What’s coming now is a debate about a deal that’s already cinching our collective financial noose. So it warrants sharing that the Chamber of Commerce sponsored a talking session at the Cliff House early in the “train” discussion.

During questions and answers with the Broadmoor & Sea Island Co. CEO about how much city jack was requested, the figure of $10 million was uttered … once, and for the last time. Credible financial analysis projects that Manitou Springs will now pay somewhere close to $38,000,000 for the honor to host the richest per passenger/mile railroad in the world.

Cost to Colorado Springs? Zero. Bartender!! Bring me another poker partner!

We can look forward to blowback in City Hall for years to come. It would have been so easy then to backstop our politician/neighbors with a referendum. But he/they had other plans.

Now we have a new council majority including the president of the School District 14 Board of Education, also a sitting City Council member.

Thank goodness the motto coming down from Mustang Hill today is one of authentic “communication” with Manitou voters!

Another new councilor is pretty green on the job but appears to be a servant of her constituents … we’ll see. The mayor inherited this issue with a prior understanding it was a treacherous path to buck in 2017.

The rest of current City Council is known to Manitoids by what they have done… or have failed miserably to do when the time was at hand. Keep in mind which one still sits in a position of town trust, and who was all-in on the original “deal.”

Manitou may actually be an important microcosm in showing the bigger issues in public dealings with Wall Street “lawfare” warriors and political/financial kings. But, America was established to impart the power of a Constitutional Republic to protect the majority against a “royalty of the few.”

And everyone knows that City Council representatives are the closest politicos we have who can actually be observed in their duties, and pay them back with accolades, or the boot.

Past scenes of the “Great Manitou Train Robbery” production aren’t new, but they are still fresh in our minds. Hopefully, we can see more clearly now who was who, and what outcome may better serve all concerned, including the Royalty. Which reminds me of another mysterious poetic channeling from the amazing artistic mastery of the “James Gang.”

YouTube it up … “Walk Away/James Gang/Lyrics.” That darn Joe Walsh was a true Manitou prophet.

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