Last week, it was brought to our attention by Integrity Matters that District 3 City Council Candidate Michelle Talarico had copied and pasted words directly from other websites in response to two questions from our Springs Taxpayers United candidate survey.
Contact: Integrity Matters
D3 Candidate Caterer Talarico Struggles to Answer Questions in Her Own Words.
D3 Residents Call for Her Withdrawal from the Race. Vow to Recall.
An astute reader noticed that Ms. Talarico’s answers to Springstaxpayers “Road-dieting Question” are identical to a paragraph in Michael Sneider’s article in 2021 (See below):
Question from Springstaxpayers Survey
Do you support “road-dieting” traffic lanes in favor of bike lanes and bus lanes in Colorado Springs? Please explain. (200 words maximum)
Michelle Talarico’s Answer on 3/3/23:
Today, there is planning for more livable cities. While many in cities may want to, and even need to drive, citizens also want breathable air, streets that are safe enough to cross, a city that’s quiet at night, transportation options, and vibrant, lively communities. And a simple, inconvenient fact remains — having a livable city is incompatible with having a car-centric city. Cars simply take up too much space and move too few people in the space they occupy. In addition, they cause all sorts of issues, from traffic violence to poor air quality to increased fatalities. https://springstaxpayersunited.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Talarico-City-Council-Candidate-Survey-Final-003.pdf
Michael Schneider’s original writing on 6/27/21:
Today, there is a renaissance of planning for more livable cities. While many in cities may want to, and even need to drive, citizens also want breathable air, streets that are safe enough to cross, a city that’s quiet at night, transportation options, and vibrant, lively communities. And a simple, inconvenient fact remains — having a livable city is incompatible with having a car-centric city. Cars simply take up too much space and move too few people in the space they occupy. In addition, they cause all sorts of issues, from traffic violence to poor air quality to raising the cost of rent. https://michaelschneider.medium.com/bike-and-bus-lanes-are-good-for-people-that-drive-d7780b1945b9
So, the following concerns about her candidacy have been raised:
• Conflicts-of-interest out the Wazoo ($100k catering contract for Norwood Christmas party, Broadmoor, Classic, contracts).
• She flip flops her answers based upon influence and pressure and her audience at the current moment.
• She struggles filling out a survey no one else struggles with and blames the survey, the questions and/or the people behind it.
• She struggles with written literacy in her native language, English.
• She appears to use the work of others to answer questions she should be able to answer herself. Her LinkedIn shows a degree in English Language and Literature Letters from Colorado College. Perhaps she missed the class on plagiarism, sourcing, use of quotes and attribution of the work of others?
D3 Residents are calling for her withdrawal from the race and vow to recall if she is elected
In an email to Pam Zubeck with Sixty35 Media about the Springs Taxpayers United survey, Talarico wrote, “I did copy parts but because it was well written and I said in my reply I copied and googled as why create the wheel. Happy to retract if better.”
According to our records, nowhere in her email or response to the Springs Taxpayers United survey did Talarico say she had copied and googled her responses.
We contacted Talarico and asked for comments. She reported that she’s been flooded with candidate surveys from multiple organizations. She said she had started our survey, left it for a bit, and then returned to it. She said she meant to switch up the wording, but accidentally sent it back to us before she made the changes. We allowed Talarico to submit new responses —as we would allow any candidate who wanted to update survey responses— to the survey questions about road diets and Front Range Rail.
Second (Amended) Survey Response
Subsequent to the initial report, there has been another apparent copy and paste incident by Talarico. We received this press release yesterday from Integrity Matters. They report that Talarico responded to the Pikes Peak Women candidate survey with more language that appears to be copied from another source —the City of Colorado Springs website. See the press release below.
Contact: Integrity Matters
Can D3 Caterer Candidate Talarico Think on Her Own?
She is the Copy/Paste Candidate of the Season.
3rd Instance of Copying Others’ Words And Passing Them Off As Her Own
Talarico Should Stick to Baking Cookies for Developers
March 14th, 2023, Colorado Springs, CO – District 3 residents are outraged by this repeated behavior of lifting the words of others to answer candidate survey questions. Residents want to hear her thoughts not the copy/paste version of someone else. District 3 is one of the most powerful districts in Colorado Springs. Residents deserve to hear answers to questions in Caterer Candidate Talarico’s own words. This is the 3rd instance of this disturbing behavior. Ms. Pam Zubeck is the only journalist in Colorado Springs who has written on this. The public will not know unless the press does their job.
Talarico reports on her LinkedIn that she is an English major from Colorado College which makes these repeated offenses even more egregious. She should know better, but judging from her response to Ms. Zubeck’s piece, she does not care. When asked about one of the previous instances, Zubeck wrote, “So we asked her. Via email, she writes, “I did copy parts but because it was well written and I said in my reply I copied and googled as why create the wheel. Happy to retract if better.” In addition to that being an illiterate response, it is not factual. She did not note in her answer to the survey that she copied and Googled that answer. She used no quotes and no attributions. She passed it off as her own thought. Kids get flunked and/or kicked out of school for this behavior. Some people get sued for it.
We have repeatedly notified the Gazette as if a newspaper is not concerned about this, then who is? They have yet to write on this as votes continue to be cast without D3 residents understanding this important information. The public has a right to know, and it’s the media’s duty to report it.
Below are Michelle Talarico’s answer to a question from the Pikes Peak Women Survey. See also attached pdf. Warning: The other answers, which appear to be her own thoughts, are painful to read. For goodness sake, it is her native tongue. This is not the work one expects of a college graduate much less Colorado College. Note that the question was not “What current budget priorities do you agree with?”. By her stating “I have 6” without saying that they are actually preexisting ideas she agrees with, she is copying the “ideas” word-for-word from the 2023 budget which she did not write nor does she attribute and passes them off as her own thoughts and words. The bullet points below can be found here.
Question 1: What are your top five priorities for the city budget?
The truth is that I believe all the priorities identified in the city strategic plan and budget are priorities, but I have 6.
• $926,000 of increased funding for 15 new sworn Police positions that will be added towards the end of 2023, as well as vehicles for positions added during 2022.
• $1.63 million of increased funding for 32 new sworn Fire positions for 2 new fire stations scheduled to become operational in early 2024 (Fire Station 24 in the Northeast part of the city and the inclusion of the existing fire station in Colorado Centre as Fire Station 25 in the Southeast part of the city) and related one-time and ongoing operating costs
• Continued funding of $928,000 for the 11 new positions that were added as part of the Keep It Clean COS campaign that was initiated last spring. In 2022, the City expended one-time funding of $2 million for new equipment to combat litter and clean up streets and medians and will continue funding the positions on an on-going basis to help keep our city beautiful.
• $3.1 million for increased staffing across several city departments to address expanding demand for services, including additional staff for Parks, Recreation and Cultural services to provide 2 positions for Garden of the Gods park and 4 Rangers for urban park and trail safety, and for Public Works to provide 12 positions to address State mandated utility locates and address increased service demands related to city growth
• $1.57 million continued funding for the City’s Americans with Disabilities Act operating and capital programs, including a new Language Access Coordinator Not enough but it’s a start
• $500,000 of continued funding to support shelter bed operations for the homeless population (actually I think this is not enough)
We hope the press will inform the voters so they understand this pattern of behavior. Joe Biden justifiably lost a primary over similar behavior. Elected officials are supposed to be held to a higher standard. This is an F-grade in all District 3 and city-wide schools over which she would have influence, and it should also be an F for any candidacy. Most voters would agree, but they will not be able to know if it is hid under a rug. Talarico should stick to baking cookies for developers. She excels in this profession and, in fact, her signature tagline to her own emails is: “Founder/Visionary”. Yes, she calls herself “Visionary”. Wonder if she Googled that?