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Here's a chance for Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach and Chief of Staff Steve Cox to kill two birds with one stone: Outsource the information technology department and get rid of those pesky city employees; keep the money for infrastructure; pay an outsourcing organization three times what it would cost in-house for a design/build of a new IT network architecture, with a 60-month time frame for delivery of a working system, which will make the system obsolete by then. Then Bach and Cox can boast they saved the city money, again, by going to the "private" sector.
The other benefit would be that those "deleted" emails ("Ain't no sunshine," cover story, July 2) might be easier to find by the Indy, etc., when a Colorado Open Records Act request is filed, because the organization running the IT department won't care to whom they give information, and will not run afoul of the law.
— Gary Casimir
I conducted a recent non-scientific poll in Colorado Springs concerning compensation for leaders of nonprofit organizations. Citizens were asked the following question: If you donate to a nonprofit group, would you want almost 50 percent of the total revenue coming into the group to be used as salary for the president of the group?
Every respondent said no and/or absolutely not. One stated, "That's outrageous!"
If local citizens consider it outrageous, then why aren't we hearing from the board of directors of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) about the outsized, almost-50-percent-of-income salary taken by Mikey Weinstein to be president of the group?
In 2012, according to guidestar.org and as reported by the Air Force Times, Weinstein's compensation was $273,355. This totals a little less than 50 percent of the money coming into the MRFF from donations and grants.
When comparing income to compensation at other nonprofits, it is almost obscene.
So what does Mikey do for this huge amount of money? MRFF filings say he works 80 hours a week for this income. Interestingly, he also votes on his own compensation, which is contrary to "accepted best practices" in the nonprofit community.
The story reports, "Charity Navigator recommends that a board be make up of five independent voting members, who are not paid employees or family members." MRFF appears to have only few board members, and Mikey is one of them. He is a paid member of the board and certainly is not independent, plus he sets his own salary.
Considering the income-versus-compensation ratio, I ask, if you were donating to any supposed nonprofit group, would you want their president taking almost 50 percent of the income for his or her salary?
— Helen Sabin
There are many examples of how we as a community have both kept our historic buildings and found productive uses for them, thus keeping them alive. In that spirit I want to build a climbing wall on the inside of the historic smokestack at Gold Hill Mesa.
I have looked at the building plan and I see no problem with a quiet, small business developing there.
From a restoration perspective, I propose sealing the rough bottom with a few cubic yards of concrete. Construct a secure door at the entrance, and fence off the dangerous parts of the property. A secure climbing route would be bolted to the "easy face."
The hard part would be cleaning the inside of the smokestack, as the residue would most likely be toxic. Cleaning team members would need to wear protective gear as well as climbing gear. An industrial-grade sealant would be painted on the climbing surfaces.
Here is my dream of how the facility will operate: There will be a maximum of three people in the smokestack at one time, but when climbing, there will at least two. Each climber will sign a release. No free-climbing, zero tolerance for alcohol or other drugs at the facility. When climbers reach the top, they may open a hatch and behold an amazing panoramic view of our community.
We need to both preserve and utilize the unique artifacts of the Pikes Peak region. My best example of that is Red Rock Canyon Open Space — now we have a park that is totally unique to the world, while 25 years ago we had a great unknown, locked away from us.
— Aaron Mendell
Would it be possible to offer the departed Ranger Rich's column to Larimore Nicholl? I feel totally lost unless I read Mr. Nicholl's thoughts about every subject under the sun, on a weekly basis.
— Doug Roman
Regarding Ms. Brazill's July 2 letter ("Cheapening religion"): I love it when Freethinkers and liberals get their undies in knots by some perceived threat to their "freedom" and immediately catastrophize, exaggerate, and twist the facts to suit the agenda. This time, it looks like a bunch of mean, old, religious white guys will deprive all of us women of birth control to keep us barefoot and pregnant, or deprive us of our livelihoods if we don't agree with them.
Firstly, if one reads the Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby, it only applies to the day-after and week-after and ever-after(?) products. Secondly, I totally support freedom of choice and absolutely want every female of child-bearing age to be on birth control, and in no way see the threat that has Ms. Brazill in convulsions. Thirdly, there is the concept of personal responsibility, for which the woman in question ensures that she gets what she needs, whether from insurance, Amazon, Planned Parenthood, a regional health department, or any number of women's health care facilities.
Of course, no one can stand over her and make sure she uses it. Barring a true emergency or dire event, which is another issue entirely, if someone needs the day-after or week-after products regularly, it seems to me there is a learning-curve problem rather than an insurance-coverage problem.
And seriously, the suggestion that one is going to be fired for practicing birth control is laughable. I am going into convulsions myself, trying to imagine a scenario in which this information would come out. Maybe during the annual performance appraisal: "Excuse me for a moment, boss, I forgot to take my birth control pill ..." Now, really.
I am encouraged, though, that Ms. Brazill is defending religion to make her case. Any port in an imaginary storm?
— Geraldine Russell
Last week's Slice of Life caption should have read that Colorado Springs City Council recently decided to allow two goats per household, not two goats per resident. We regret the error.