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Initiative 2C, Ask a Mexican, Manitou schools, and more 

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Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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Insider view

For more than 15 years (1987-2003) as a city official, I oversaw the operation and maintenance of Colorado Springs' 1,400 miles of streets. During those years, our taxpayers and voters funded street resurfacing and preventative maintenance programs through multiple methods. Results spoke for themselves and we faithfully completed those repairs.

Now, with so many inaccuracies and misinformation circulating in local media, I feel compelled to help set the record straight on Issue 2C.

We have one of the nation's worst climates in freeze-thaw cycles. Without adequate preventative maintenance, our warm days and cool nights can be devastating to asphalt, and our system is deteriorating at an alarming, unprecedented rate. Unless current funding levels increase, we soon will face a catastrophic situation from which it will take decades and hundreds of millions of tax dollars to recover.

The rate of asphalt distress is rapidly accelerating, and it will cost far more to repair our streets in the future than to maintain them today. Failing to do basic maintenance (think: $20 oil changes) on your new car would be considered irresponsible and could cost you thousands in repair bills. Nobody ignores maintenance on a new car; yet our community has failed to address maintenance of our street system.

Pay me now or pay me far, far more later. It's that simple. No funding scheme is perfect, and a permanent solution is needed to properly maintain our transportation network. Local officials must address how to meet the needs of new infrastructure which our developers will continue to build in years to come.

In short, the ballot item won't fix every problem forever, but it's a good start. Vote YES on 2C — the very fabric of our community depends on it.

— Dave Zelenok

Colorado Springs

Trust matters

About raising taxes to pave our roads, the issue is more than this immediate subject. City government provides services such as roads, sidewalks, water and sewer utilities. Colorado Springs has lots of brand-new curbs and gutters framing pothole roads. This pothole issue is about negligence and poor maintenance of past administrations. This issue has been growing for many years.

Government is only as good as the citizens who make that government possible. We do live in a democracy. A good government operates with full approval of an active, voting citizenry supported with a government that is open, transparent and therefore builds trust and cooperation.

Do you trust the government that you elected? Will they work for you and do the best job possible? If not, go to the polls and get a government that will serve you. Don't complain. Be active, be a part of the solution.

— Nard Claar

Colorado Springs

Different opposition

Initiative 2C should be opposed, not because we should avoid taxes, but because it doesn't tax all the entities that should be taxed. Everyone must pay for the sins of the past, but it's absolutely necessary for taxes/fees also to be levied on new growth.

I'm torn about advocating against 2C. People hit potholes and their homes are flooded through no fault of their own. Many see the civic thing to do is fix it. But leaving out a tax on new growth means we'll be forever digging ourselves into a financial hole.

Colorado Springs has been "conservative" for many decades. Those who promote and profit from growth control the city. Their rationale is that lower corporate taxes with growth subsidies, will bring jobs, increase the tax base, and make the region more financially sound.

What's true but politically incorrect to say: It's a lie.

What's necessary: Pay for needed infrastructure as growth occurs with taxes and fees. That payment must be part of the cost of new residential and commercial properties.

Mr. Strong Mayor says 2C revenue "will be used on road improvement and repairs." Does anyone really believe that there won't be potholes after five years and infrastructure backlogs. Will "road improvement" be for new roads to allow even more growth? It should only be for repairs.

We got a "strong mayor" because, as the 2010 Strong Mayor Project stated: "Colorado Springs' government is clearly broken, And it's costing us dearly."

As I wrote then ("A broken region," Your Turn, Nov. 11, 2010): "The region is broken, not just government. Our fiscal problems are a wake-up call, one not to ignore. The Strong Mayor "solution" won, but it can put us back to sleep, making things worse."

It did.

— Robert Powell

Colorado Springs

Manitou issue

Holllld on a minute, Indy. Are you NOT telling us that over 40 percent (statistics pulled from the Manitou Springs School District 14 website) of the students in Manitou schools are not even taxpayer residents of this school district?! Isn't that an important fact? I look to the Indy to not walk lock-step with a proponent, and disclose this information for all to know. And yet, the Manitou school board and its administration is dunning me for more taxes with Measure 3B, so I can pay for four out of every 10 kids to get a better education than they (and their parents) are willing to pay for themselves?

Choicers also contribute per-head funding from the state income and general fund tax base, as do resident students. Then I pay to subsidize them on top of it ($1,300 in property taxes). If Superintendent Ed Longfield wants to generate extra income from Choicers, he shouldn't be seeking additional subsidy if his business model is a failure.

I wish this were fully explored in a broader forum than the Pikes Peak Bulletin's candidate forum, as it's very important. Longfield not only had a bully pulpit in the Bulletin, and if honest about it, could and should have addressed it, but he (or someone) also sent out teary-eyed children door-to-door to wring their hands on our doorsteps.

This campaign seems to have been more about convenient omission and irresponsible tactics (children campaigners!) than a full exploration of its merits.

I'm not immune to my social contract to contribute to the education of our youth. I just don't like paying more than my fair share, especially in this county's hypocritical culture of "Don't tax me, but give me more than I am paying for."

— Tom Fears

Manitou Springs

Ask an American

My guess is that the Indy's "Ask a Mexican" column is designed to piss people off. Some will occasionally read it because they enjoy raging against this kind of racist garbage. I've caught myself falling into the trap.

Being a white male, I sometimes grow tired of hearing loudmouths rant about how evil I am. But I guess it's easy money for a no-talent, insolent hack.

The presence of this column does fly in the face of any claim the Indy may make about providing intelligent, valuable journalism.

That said, I've already given Mr. Arellano far more consideration than he deserves.

— Scott Freeman

Manitou Springs

Not so bad

Joe Morin ("Indentured servitude," Letters, Oct. 21) divides national debt by number in the workforce and concludes we are indentured servants.

What about our assets, which he ignores? We have highways, airports, national parks, forests, public schools, armed forces, etc.

We have clean air and clean water and safe, abundant food.

We have public education and public health systems.

We have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Using the writer's assumptions and data, but adding our total assets, I conclude we are the richest indentured servants in world history.

— Dale Kemmerer

Colorado Springs

Corrections

• A story in the Oct. 21 Independent, "Off and limping," contained incorrect information. University of Colorado Health has not yet computed a margin sharing amount to be paid to the city but expects there will be a margin share payment for the most recent fiscal year, the first since the lease was executed in October 2012. The share is computed based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. UCH has invested more than $90 million in Memorial during the first three years of the lease.

The Indy regrets the errors.

  • "I've already given Mr. Arellano far more consideration than he deserves."

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