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Hazlehurst, C4C, and retail pot in Manitou 

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Naysayers and snipers

I like how John Hazlehurst expresses his attitude toward Colorado Springs citizens by portraying them as ignorant hicks ("C4C: Extreme measures," City Sage, March 12). And the Councilors who dare question the benefits of C4C? "Naysayers" who "snipe" about the project and whose primary motivation is to deal "Steve Bach a devastating blow."

Either you're for this project, or you are to be vilified. I like diversity, but do we really need such bullying coercion redolent of McCarthyism?

He mentions that polls say 70 percent of Colorado Springs citizens are against this project. Mr. Hazlehurst just might entertain the concept that this may be because citizens disagree with having a proposal shoved down their throats that was conceived by rich white folks yet is dependent on citizen money.

Or because this seems to be less about what will benefit our community and more about benefiting those "Big Dogs." There are more interesting and creative projects that would vitalize the downtown area and for much less money. (Michael Hannigan had some great ideas listed in the Indy a few weeks ago.)

On March 4, the Denver Post reported a study by the Brookings Institution that says cities have "come to rely too heavily on borrowing and consumer spending" and "that overdependence on consumer spending shows up in a heavy emphasis on entertainment venues like sports arenas ... Metropolitan areas should focus instead on exporting the goods and services that make them distinct, on boosting infrastructure and developing talent."

Now I sure can't afford drinks at The Famous, but that's OK. I wouldn't want to share space with an elitist clique who isn't embarrassed to compare itself to "masters" and "lords" over us "low-born" "courtiers."

Just look for me at the community space at Bristol Brewery, sharing a beer with Enid.

— Judith Lee

Colorado Springs

Welcome to C4D

John Hazlehurst makes it seem downright traitorous to oppose C4C.

He writes: "C4C supporters believe that killing the projects would send the city into a long downward spiral." Sorry, too late: Growth policies pursued for decades have already seen to that.

The rationale, as usual, is that opposing growth will "cost the city thousands of jobs and a bright future." But more of the same, adding taxpayer financing, won't fix fundamentally flawed policies. (For what's wrong and some of what to do, see, "A broken region," Your Turn, Nov. 11, 2010.)

Further, he writes it's "bizarre or crazy" to oppose the projects. Opponents on Council "should not betray their masters." And he names the "masters." Among them: the Housing and Building Association, the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Regional Business Alliance.

Exactly. These are members of what's known in urban dynamics literature as the "growth machine": entities — naturally organized — by the profit motives they share.

Hazlehurst is correct that many on the "conservative" side reject the deal based on a flawed, anti-tax mentality. But at the core, they're correct: It uses taxes to subsidize C4C.

Many on the liberal side oppose it because they understand that growth has only led to massive infrastructure backlogs. Needed infrastructure to support growth wasn't paid for by those who profited from it. Now, in addition to implicit subsidies that redistribute the costs of growth onto the public, project proponents want to add explicit subsidies by way of "tax-increment financing."

Development interests promote C4C. The primary reason for the "strong mayor" initiative was to strong-arm projects like C4C through for the "masters" who control the mayor and, usually, Council.

That's why C4C should be known as C4D: City for Developers.

— Bob Powell

Colorado Springs

Make it work

Dear Colorado Springs City Council, Mayor Bach and El Paso County commissioners:

Thank you for your leadership and vision on the City for Champions projects. This is a terrific opportunity to build on America's Olympic City brand. Every two years we will have the chance to be mentioned in national and international media for our association with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Olympic Training Center, athletes, and the national governing bodies headquartered here. Soon, we'll have more PR opportunities when we have the site for Olympic qualifying events and Olympic trials in our new stadium and event center. The stadium and event center will also host hundreds of other events that our citizens and tourists will watch and/or participate in.

Over the years with our Olympic City brand, we can expect millions of dollars of free media exposure that will help us promote our city and boost international tourism.

Colorado Springs will become known as the hub of the U.S. Olympic movement and one of the coolest cities in North America. America's Olympic City will become one of the most unique cities in the country and will attract and retain young people to our workforce. And when we attract young people and the creative class, we also attract companies.

Citizens and our elected officials have already "weighed in" on a vision for our city through collaborative activities such as Operation 6035, and Dream City: Vision 2020, along with various other strategic and vision plans. Some of the results told us we needed to build an Olympic Museum, create public spaces for events, and develop a vibrant downtown. We simply couldn't ask for a better scenario to make our goals and dreams a reality.

Please find a way to unite and take advantage of the great opportunity in front of us.

— Bernard Sandoval

Colorado Springs

The kid with the ball

Some of us are still old enough to remember sandlot baseball. We also remember that kid, the one we let play because he had the bat and ball. We also remember that every time he struck out he would stomp his feet, pout and demand a do-over.

Tim Haas, founder of People Against Retail Marijuana in Manitou Springs (PARMMS), reminds me of that kid ("Now, hold on there," News, Feb. 12). Manitou overwhelmingly approved marijuana, not once, but twice. Their city council upheld the will of the people and allowed two retail pot shops. They wisely placed them on the east side of town. This way all the derelicts, potheads, and debasers of children could buy their evil weed and slither back to Colorado Springs, which didn't even bring a mitt to the game.

The great philosopher, Cher, when asked why she had done all the wild things in her life, responded; "Honey, this ain't a practice round." Mr. Haas, the two times Manitou voted were not practice rounds. So please do Manitou a favor, just take your ball, and go home.

— Robert Thew

Colorado Springs

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