To the Editor:
As a native of Colorado, I am very disappointed in the lack of support we have in our community. It is amazing how many people here can complain all they want to, but do not want to help by paying a little extra in taxes. How cheap can we be, Colorado Springs? Amazing how no one wanted to help upgrade our transit system.
Another gripe is about the funding for District 11. Everyone is so concerned with our children's education; yet, again, no one wants to help provide the funds that are needed. As for the zoo ballot issue, I can't believe how many people lack appreciation for our zoo. It is so unique because of its location, and it is such a nice touch to our city.
My next complaint is about the fire and police ballot that got shot down. I don't think a lot of people understood what it was for. It wasn't to really create a union; it was to let the officers ask for a raise. It wouldn't mean they would get one necessarily, but at least they could ask. Currently, our police officers and firefighters are the lowest paid in the state, which would probably be rated one of the lowest in the country. A few years back, there were over 1,200 new applicants; now, there are usually around 300 because of the low pay. What will happen when we start losing some firefighters, and we can't replace them because of the pay? Wake up people and smell your houses burning down ... we need to think ahead.
I don't know who's to blame for these ballot issue being shot down, but I will say I am disappointed in you, Colorado Springs. Since so many of you opposed the issues at hand, I have a few things to say to you. First of all, take a bus and see how our transit system works. Don't get a pet (you probably wouldn't feed it or appreciate it), keep your kids at home and teach them yourselves, buy an alarm system and protect yourselves, and last but not least, fill up a bunch of buckets with water -- you'll need it.
-- Beth Kalter
49th in school funding
To the Editor:
I recently read that Colorado ranks 49th in funding support for our public schools. Forthy-ninth! I wanted to thank Cara DeGette, and her expos on the recent District 11 bond issue, for doing a bang-up job of helping to keep us in that position.
-- Tomi-Ann Roberts
Welcome to Colorado, Steve
To the Editor:
After reading Steven Saint's explanation of why Colorado will never become California (Your Turn, Nov. 4), I have a question: Why did you move here?
I'm sorry you don't like the way we drive, "jockeying for position," but the massive influx of people relocating to our city have choked the roadways, making driving across town a stressful undertaking. And I also apologize for the lack of reimbursement for your recycling. It must be a horrible inconvenience to make that extra effort to save the planet you inhabit and not receive anything monetary in return.
And speaking of inconveniences, please forgive us for the fact that Taco Bell wouldn't take your Visa, that you couldn't buy a '94 Merlot at Safeway, that you haven't found a restaurant open for breakfast and that you were hounded to read a paper. Colorado (oh, I'm sorry, you must speak Spanish to say that -- Colorado is Spanish for "red colored") doesn't seem to be sophisticated enough for you, and you must be having a terrible time adjusting to your new rustic surroundings. So, as a native, I bid you welcome to our state and will do everything possible to make your stay as comfortable as possible.
That is, unless, you are taking part in the "Californication" that residents here worry about most: irresponsible building, profiting from turning open space into landscaped neighborhoods full of pastel-colored tract homes as far as the eye can see, pollution, destruction of natural animal habitats, congestion, raising rents and eliminating affordable housing, and basic devastation of the natural beauty and peace of a place so rich in nature, diversity and history.
So if you decide to stay, Steven, I hope you can adjust. If not, give me a call and I'll help you pack -- using recycled boxes and newspapers, of course.
-- Eugene Calaveras
Hate crime against panhandlers
To the Editor:
The City Council outlawing panhandling is simply a hate crime, a sin of indifference against the less fortunate. Those men and women who have stood on street corners in Colorado Springs begging for money are reminders of the truth about how it is for so many in our society who, through no fault of their own nor because of laziness but because of unfortunate circumstance, find themselves in dire straits.
It is the ultimate insensitivity of our city that would penalize the less fortunate so that a few selfish people can feel more comfortable. I have gotten off Highway 25 at the Cimarron exit a couple times a day for years with my window down. I have never been bothered or harassed by the people in need that some complain about, because they do not want their comfort disturbed.
The suggestion has been given that people donate money to the local shelter, and that's a good idea if the people would really do it. But it is more important to connect up with people and help them directly -- and giving to a panhandler is a way for people to help directly. I am greatly disappointed by the local television stations' superficial and shallow approach to this story. They seem more interested in backing the conservatives' viewpoint than being sensitive to the truth and to the people involved.
"There but for the grace of God, go I."
-- Mike Terry
Friends of the Crags
To the Editor:
As campground host at the Crags, I want to thank your readers for voting the Crags one of the best campgrounds in the Pikes Peak region (Best Of, Oct. 21).
Actually, most of the credit should go to the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company and the Pike Ranger District of the United States Forest Service.
RMRC is the concessionaire for the Pike Ranger District and the South Platte Ranger District. Its regional manager is John Mayns. The RMRC area manager for the Pike Ranger District, which includes the Crags, is Lee Masters.
The district ranger at the USFS is Bill Nelson, and his recreation director is Frank Landis.
They are all committed environmentalists. They love the Pike National Forest as much as your readers do.
Finally, if any of your readers are interested in starting a "Friends of the Crags" club, much like the Friends of Barr Trail, they can write to me in care of: RMRC, P.O. Box 636, Woodland Park, CO 80866. This year, many campers and hikers have expressed an interest in such a group.
It would be nice to do routine trail maintenance. The Crags trail is kind of an orphan, although it is heavily used. The campground itself is under RMRC's management under the special-use permit issued by the USFS.
-- John Sakowicz