2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Douglas Bruce confronts council woman with her ‘jackass’ comment

Published: April 9, 2014, 7:46 pm, by Monica Mendoza

It all started with a late-night tweet.

Gazette Video Editor John Schroyer tweeted his favorite quote from a gathering of friends the night of March 28: “You shut your mouth when you’re talking to me.”

Colorado Springs City Council member Jill Gaebler responded on Twitter: “Sounds like that jackass Doug Bruce.”

Bruce, a long-time political activist, former county commissioner and former state lawmaker, was not happy. He brought a screen shot of the Gaebler’s Twitter page with the tweet to City Council on Tuesday and confronted Gaebler in front of a crowded room during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“She said that about somebody who comes to city government and criticizes the government,” Bruce said. “It was laughable in that she said she takes time to be kind.”

Gaebler describes herself in her Twitter bio as: “wife, mom, runner, councilwoman, book geek. Taking the time to be kind.”

But Gaebler made no apology – not to Bruce and not after the meeting.

“There are a couple of things I could say considering this individual’s personal history of being a tax cheat, a convicted felon, the first legislator to be censured by state legislature, and he kicked a journalist and yet somehow thinks he has moral authority to question my use of a pejorative on his character.”

Gaebler said she had never sent out an unkind tweet about any other person.

“And now I’ve made an exception,” she said.

Bruce said he was not expecting an apology. He said he wanted to let the rest of the Council know that he thought it was inappropriate for a public official to make personal attacks on citizens who question them.

“I’m not going to burst into tears,” Bruce said. “Keith King should take her aside and ask her to take (the tweet) off a public website.”