Opinion: Founder steps aside during campaign


John Weiss has been synonymous with the Colorado Springs Indy for 27 years, since the paper’s inception. For so many people, to refer to one is to think of the other.

John, founder and chairman of the Indy, was instrumental in developing an economic impact study of legal recreational marijuana sales inside Colorado Springs city limits. As John continues to pursue the possibility of legalization, he’s agreed to step aside from news decisions.

So what does that mean for the Indy? To readers, probably not a lot. We will still cover local news, still write the stories other media ignore, still hold the powerful to account.

We’ll also continue to disclose any conflicts of interest that could arise between the paper’s employees and our marijuana coverage.

For us, it means John is stepping away from all daily news, editorial and endorsement operations for the duration of the campaign. He won’t sit on the editorial board, won’t weigh in on stories, won’t answer emails regarding news coverage.

He still owns the paper, of course. He’ll still be involved in the business side of our operations, those “exciting” things all owners pore over — like health insurance, building improvements, taxes and payroll.

The Indy is disclosing his involvement because we believe in transparency and honesty.

Like all citizens, John has the ability to be involved in local civic debates. But just as the paper has done in the past, whenever he has become directly involved in a civic initiative — for example, the 1997 campaign to protect and fund our Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) — measure, he has completely stepped away from all issues related to our news and opinion operations.

His role in any effort to use RMJ tax revenue to mitigate pending budget cuts is his alone — not the Indy’s. We’re not going to window-dress our owner’s opinion and put it in the paper as our own.
We will continue to report on all sides of this issue. And every other issue.

That’s our commitment to our readers. We’ll provide the same in-depth coverage on the recreational marijuana campaign as we do any ballot initiative, any question before City Council or the Board of County Commissioners.

This is a decision put forward by John and endorsed and enforced by our editorial leadership.
John’s put 27 years of blood, sweat and cheers growing the Indy into one of the best news sources in our state and his company into the largest locally owned media company in Colorado.

He’s passionate about the paper’s and our city’s future and understands that stepping away now is the best thing for the Indy.