This thing doesn't really add up...it just sort of smells of the way this city has been run.
Our city is much better serviced and will be a nicer town to visit and spend money in if it is totally pristine with fixed streets, watered trees, clean side walks, than if we raise a ton of money to spread around in inflated contracts to Bach's buddies, the old developer crowd whose narcissism and greed have spoiled our city, for projects that are of little interest.
The ball park is just fine where it is. Who cares about the unneeded museums they want to destroy that whole neighborhood to put in.
The plan of the big fish in a little pond (Bach and Bortelin) is the dream of people who are so out of touch their whole lives are a fantasy.
A tax is a tax is a tax. Doesn't matter who collects it or what it covers.
As a nation we need to re-assess where our tax dollars are going, as it is evident that the Feds are taking more than their fair share.
To be clear, I never provided a number of $250 per LED streetlight because that is not the number and corrected that figure was not mine when I was called. Not sure where it came from and I had left the city by the time the SST made their presentation to council. I believe the team did a good job overall and made some good recommendations, including that funding sustainability in Colorado Springs is important.
I believe LEDs (or a "white light" solution) are the right solution for Colorado Springs in the long run, but I never provided that figure (although the article implies that). LEDs should be considered as a short, medium and long-term solution and a closer inspection of the cost of implementation of a city-wide "white light" solution should occur because this is a $4 M annual bill paid by the City's general fund. LEDs are brighter, safer and use less energy, and conservation is at the core of conservative principles. So I agree with the committee's recommendation to take a strong look at LEDs, but the figures need INDEPENDENT REVIEW by professionals who do streetlights for a living, not city or utilities staff who have a vested interest in an outcome. The figures quoted by Rob Helt are accurate, but historical, and in some cases reference decorative lights (like those in the downtown), and are inflated by ARRA's Buy America provision and the limited purchase size of the LED orders. These figures would definitely be lower for community-wide solution (25,000 vs 600) vs a pilot and not constrained by federal grant requirements. However, since the Streetlight program is run by the Utilities (but the city pays the bill), the fox is guarding the hen-house in terms of streetlights, which is why our office pushed the LED issue--to start a community conversation about the fact there are options on how we light our community and how to reduce our energy use.
IMO, at least one position for "sustainability" should be funded by our City's general fund to support the enacting of sustainability goals that should be adopted by our mayor and/or council and put into department head performance plans--that means at least one person to support, monitor, track, partner and enact. Real support from leadership in our community for the first time in any meaningful way would make a huge difference to the reputation and perception of our community. We did it from the ground up and our sustainability efforts as an office created meaningful paybacks to the general fund and created a true connection point to our government for many. It was also the first time anyone bothered to monitor and track the city's utility usage. In some cases, municipal government and our utilities are the ONLY entities in our region that have the ability to enact important policy changes to land-use, infrastructure, water policy, etc that impact all of us, our gorgeous environment and our pocket books. And before anyone starts blathering about politics or UN Agenda 21, or any other ignorance-based "sustainability" bashing that I'm NOT talking about, let's be clear: Green is green. It does have paybacks in many cases if done properly, supports our amazing natural environment and its our responsibility to be good stewards for our citizens and our children. It does have a role in our government, and supports our schools (that have goals), our military (that has goals) and our citizens (many of whom have goals). I was proud to be a leader of this team before I left, proud to grow it from nothing as a grass-roots effort, proud to work with so many great people who care (in gov't and out), and I believe we have a responsibility to be leaders on this front, regardless of politics, mayors or councils.
I hope this article does create some meaningful discourse in our community about the role of sustainability in local government and our utilities, and particularly starts up a conversation on LEDs and the role for at least one staff member to support a community of 200 sq miles and 450 K people. Otherwise, its throwing good money after bad and mortgaging our future. Oh, and I would love to see the City restore dedicated bike staff to the roster and vocally focus on meaningful bike planning again since it lost its talented staff. Its important to so many young professionals, is an important part of our fitness culture and is important to connected, multi-modal living. Overall, well written article and I agree with most of the teams recommendations on sustainability--but let's step it up. It matters. Okay, rant over.
One question I never saw answered here - Exactly how are the homeless expected to end up in Fort Lyon?
Most people don't know where Fort Lyon is even located.
Maybe COLO SPGS can move some of its homeless cases there....and get them out of our local Carnegie Library in the downtown area.
Each time I browse thise article I see something new. First, Mr. Ginsburgs might have the best intentions at heart. Only he is not the Homeless. He is a suit one of the elite. Even he unless he has walked in the shoes of the homeless do not know their needs.
Unless this Designed around the individual needs of each homeless person it is doomed to fail. Why teach an economic graduate how to budget? Yes I had an accountant in my home many years ago back in Maine, who felt entitled, and that the poor the homelerss where just idiots one christmas eve. 10 years back he called the hotline I run out of my apartment. He had found the American Lie, devalued him and his his wife, he was homeless.
There is no mention if his super shelter allow for families, or Domestice Violence targets. But for insurance and safety reasons one does not want to house children in the same units as recoverying addicts. Not all homeless are addicts.
Instead of being red tape jockeies, who degrade those they get paid to help, those designing the program can make it designed around the needs of the users. It is not the services providers which should desing this but the users should have imput. It should NOT be a one thought fits all. Homeless certified accountants should not be tought budgets, they should be teaching them.
I see this as a ware house at best and a prison at worst. I looks like a collage campus in the up close shot, but the Denver Post had the prison feel of the wire gate in iys photo. How great of shame will be connected with this shelter? How inhumane will its clients feel, and be treated?
Bruce Wayne, your comment is insane.
It has recently come to the attention of New York City officials that $350,000 may be missing from the public funds (which has been used to defend John Morse's & Angela Giron's rogue Colorado legislative actions to permit LGBT civil unions, Colorado State Sales of "Medical" Marijuana, and restrict US Constitutional 2nd Amendment gun rights, during a prolonged absence of several months by Mayor Bloomberg in Colorado (His Colorado expenses have been borne by the City, it appears), during which he has continued to receive his salary (while on a detour & frolick).
I also love that excepting one or two of them they also 'reply all' to any emails from constituents. These have been my exchanges with two of them of which all other members have had the ability to read and the foresight to not get involved... https://www.facebook.com/notes/lorena-drap…
Perhaps the reason is that there are no longer any news reporters in this city. Those types of people need records to dig up facts and put stories together. It is much easier to simply disguise opinion as "news" and save all the trouble.
Add to this the fact that the Gazette is becoming just another generic content aggregator and the local television stations have nothing but 18 year old interns and newsreaders working for them and there you have it - no more fourth estate.
TT water rates double after you've used 15,000 gallons in a month. That's a HUGE amount of water. If you're using more than 15,0000 gallons a month you've got a big wasteful problem, pal. I average 3,000 gallons a month. Seriously is there anything you don't find fault with? Get a hobby dude.
The most frivolous rip off in this city is punishing people for using water...by doubling their rates after a certain point. And even if you qualify to use more than allotted, you still pay double the rate, you just don't go to jail if you are granted the permit, but are out on work release to fund city projects.
This is a money grab against the citizens, just like paying for open records...we already pay for records through our taxes. Bach is accumulating money to do projects and sign contracts to help his buddies.
Colorado Springs Utilities are already charging us higher rates to pay for water to be brought in so we can continue uncontrolled growth at the city's far eastern edge, while the space between downtown and powers is street after street of abandoned strip malls and out of code houses. Better policy would be to restore what we have and live within our means...as it is we are looking for every way possible to fund a developer elite.
I not only think but, know based on everyone that I have talked to and that's both sides. Is that these recalls are demanded because both have failed to do what the people have asked them to you! That's support OUR RIGHTS, not take them away or Infringe them! They have forgotten it's "WE THE PEOPLE" not I the Government!
I thought this was an excellent article that gave me insight into the development of Black Forest. I live in the area near 83 and Shoup and love it here. Your interactive map is incredible. Thanks for your hard work!
I don't have any sympathy for the two people who died. WHY? Because the argued with the authorities about leaving. WHY? Because they were too busy stocking up their ammo and arsenal. WHY? Because they made the choice to stay and "doomsday" through it. When they refused to follow orders to leave, they put first responders' lives at risk. No they were/are not unfortunate souls. They made the wrong choice and suffered the consequences. Their choices could have killed many other innocent people.
goldshlager - I take it as a compliment!
Stacy in Woodland Park - I read your posts in the "other" paper and this one. You have to be one of the nastiest, most sarcastic and negative individuals I have come across in a long while. And I'm trying to be kind.
The history of Black Forest as written here is accurate. Not to disrespect the two who died in the fire, the real "tragedy" is that it had to be as disastrous as it was. Simple mitigation could have prevented many of the losses suffered. Any firefighter who risked their life trying to save a home with pine branches hanging over the roof and firewood stacked under the deck will tell you the same "screed."
"You just couldn't get a new gas tap. The gas moratorium completely stifled construction in the city limits," Lowderman says. Completely? Really?
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I guess. Sort of.
People could've built new homes in the city with propane or electric heat. Why didn't they?
Why not electric heat? We had a home from the early 1970's with electric heat. Wasn't cheap to heat, but later on we had an electric heat pump system that cost way less to heat.
Remember too that propane is TRIPLE the cost of natural gas for heating. Electric heating is actually a tad cheaper than propane, and electricity rates in COLO SPGS are ~20% cheaper than either Pueblo or Denver electric utility rates. Heat pumps keep getting better too.
I'd prefer to believe that people flocked to BF for reasons other than the heating utility. It's pretty, roomy, quiet, cooler in summer. Throw in a bit of white flight, tax avoidance, snobbery and it became a real land rush.
On the greater issue of fires. Many homes in BF were/are built of combustible materials, have little or no defensible space and poor fire mitigation properties. All of these can be remedied by revising building codes to reflect the realities of living in a wooded area.
The real shame is that our building codes allow us to construct the worst possible dwellings for the locale.
Any attempt to strengthen building codes will incur tremendous opposition from developers, builders and trade groups - especially roofers who make a windfall after every major hail storm but who'll fight to the death to keep allowing the use of cheap shingles when stronger, hail-resistant shingles are available and only add $1-2k more to the cost of roofing/re-roofing.
A friend lost his home to the BF fire; he'll rebuild it but says that this time he'll have a brick home with a metal roof, essentially a fire proof dwelling. Old saying: too late wise.
Right, it wasn't the fact that nobody has logged that area since the 1800's, or the four feet of pine needles, no it was all the houses that caused the fire and thus the damage (you see, if there weren't so many houses, there wouldn't be so much damage). Looks like the Independent has, once again, twisted a tragedy where people died, into some screed to bolster some lame anti-sprawl or anti-developer argument. Why don't you guys just actually go stand on the headstones of those two unfortunate souls with a megaphone?
Good for them...we need a new vision and new energy...the over 70 crowd has simply failed to produce for Colorado Springs, other than for themselves. It is time to put them out to pasture and let the younger set take a shot at it.
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