Qualms and Jerry
I'm finding Jerry Heimlicher's campaign rhetoric to be either misinformed or deceptive. If we want to learn from our mistakes, we need city councilors who don't revise history. We did not get into this hole overnight. Heimlicher's desire to stick with policies that got us here amounts to continuing to dig when we're already in a hole.
We've all suffered from the housing bubble bursting. That doesn't mean we should try to reinflate it. Yet that is what Heimlicher promotes when he supports growth-inducing strategies like 1A and continuing to discount utility tap fees.
Heimlicher offers no substantiation for his recent claim that 80 to 90 percent of jobs relocated to Colorado Springs go to local residents. He was asked to provide the basis for this data. He didn't respond, and I still haven't seen a study. Yet he calls false the data cited by his opponent, Dave Gardner. Gardner has cited his source, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, indicating only 20 percent of new jobs go to locals. Heimlicher should back up his claim or stick to the facts.
He states the city can't whip out a credit card, yet he voted to borrow to fund the USOC headquarters fiasco, and he supports what will be the biggest public debt in our city's history, to build a billion-dollar water pipeline.
It could happen
There is a blinding flash high in the daytime sky, and the electricity goes down. Highway traffic rolls to a stop, engines not restarting. Radio and TV dead on both ends. Telephones don't work, cellphones included. Emergency generators won't even run. Computers wiped out. All devices relying on electronics, permanently crashed. Communications nonexistent.
A small foreign power's "satellite" has just detonated in a thermonuclear explosion in space over the western United States. The banking system is shut down. Supermarket shelves empty within two days, warehouses within two weeks. There is no trucking or distribution. Water and gas utilities ended. Refineries, factories, food processing facilities, all inoperable. Americans begin starving by the end of the first week. Millions die of famine over the next few months, as the nation adjusts to an 1880s way of living.
Liberal or conservative, independent or just ignoramus, Americans better demand their government provide for the common defense against all threats, especially the electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat posed by crazed, suicidal, fanatic governments such as in North Korea and Iran. Your literal life and the lives of your family depend on it.
Three such EMP detonations over the U.S., and 90 percent of all Americans would be dead within a year. Call your senators, congressman and the president, and demand they uphold government's first mission: to defend the nation.
TOPS on the line
Issue 1C, Expansion of TOPS Maintenance Responsibilities, on the city election ballot puts the future of the Trails, Open Space and Parks program at a crossroads. Will TOPS continue to perform its voter-mandated mission of providing and maintaining trails and open space, or will it become a program that takes over maintenance for all city parks?
The ballot language appears straightforward, but there's a catch. All city-owned parks, trails and open space, not just TOPS properties, could tap into TOPS funds. If 1C passes, this could foretell the beginning of the end for TOPS as we know it. It could easily become just a maintenance program, abandoning the original TOPS mission.
Passage of 1C would start a siphon of TOPS dollars into the general fund. At the next election you may be asked again to take more TOPS funds for what now are general-fund obligations.
Where would it stop? Five years? Ten? TOPS was created by a citizen initiative in 1997 to prevent this. Don't let it start now. Vote NO on 1C. Our parks system needs and deserves financial assistance, but this is not the way to do it.
President, TOPS Coalition
1A's flaws: forgivable
Forgive me. I am voting for 1A (Jobs Now), and it is flawed. There isn't a plan in place on how to spend $3.5 million a year for 15 years. It's also one of those "blank checks to government and trust us to spend your money well" initiatives. Then there are those darn words "primary jobs" in the initiative. Does that mean jobs whose money is sent elsewhere, or jobs where the money stays here? And don't get me started on the 15-year sunset.
So why am I voting for 1A? Because these are extraordinary times. I recently heard a shelver/archivist job opening at the library had 400 applicants. I wondered what choices the 399 applicants who didn't get the job had. Layoff notices are multiplying, foreclosures piling up, lines growing at soup kitchens and tent cities forming all over the country.
With TOPS, the Rural Transportation Authority and the Public Safety Sales Tax, Council appointed thoughtful committees to form reasonable guidelines. Sunshine laws ensure every decision concerning 1A will be transparent. There will be many watchful eyes.
No hidden agendas here. It's about training a workforce and investing in long-lasting, decent-paying new jobs. Council knows all too well what that means, after the heartbreak of laying off 200 city employees, many of them long-term, who don't have good options for new employment.
Yes, 1A would have been better had Council taken time to craft it. But defining "primary jobs" and revisiting a shorter sunset can be worked out. The growing lack of jobs can't.
There is a time to distrust local government and a time to trust. Now is the time to trust. I'm willing to invest $15 a year if it means thousands of new long-lasting, decent-paying jobs. The 399 people who didn't make the library's cut may appreciate it, too.
1A's flaws: unforgivable
The "1A Jobs" ballot question has an interesting approach: Collect $50 million over the next 16 years. Don't use that tax revenue to hire police officers or firefighters. Don't use it for those who depend on public transit to get to work. Don't use it to keep our parks green, our youth programs affordable, plow our roads or fill our potholes. Don't extend this tax to keep our community from crumbling. Don't use it to maintain our quality of life.
Don't worry that in this job market, employees of relocating businesses will follow the jobs, whether companies pay relocation expenses or not. That's fine with the developers who conceived 1A and have raised $150,000 to promote it. They will be delighted to build new subdivisions for new residents.
Developers see a lot to be gained from growth-chasing economic development activities. They should step up and fund the advertising, junkets and incentives. The rest of us have had enough.
City Council candidate Dave Gardner has been saying we are very ready to invest in our community, rather than gamble that growth suddenly will provide a return on investment that it hasn't provided in a long, long while.
The rest of us, in addition to the $50 million tab, will get stuck with the cost of constructing the Southern Delivery System pipeline to water those new subdivisions. What about the cost of capacity additions to our network of roads, expanding City Hall, equipping police stations, building schools, buying snowplows, building libraries and the next power plant? Now then ... 1A sounds like a heck of a deal? Let's decline it!
Wash his mouth
Rich Tosches' column ("Age takes its toll," Ranger Rich, March 26) described a situation both funny and familiar to those of us over 37. I think, though, that Tosches may be losing his inhibitions along with his cell phone. Gratuitous profanity is a mark of journalistic laziness, or possibly lack of vocabulary skills. Clean it up, Rich you're not an adolescent anymore.
I find I must rebut myself for my previous letter ("Ruin and ridicule," March 26). We have since learned some AIG employees who are to receive bonuses have agreed to give the money, or at least some of it, back. I congratulate them for Doing the Right Thing, and I hope they can remedy the problems they caused. At any rate, the death threats they received were inexcusable and, clearly, the work of unethical people.
Shannon C. Davis
My friend and I visited Caf Banzai last week, thanks to Matthew Schniper's recent article ("Kim's chi," Appetite, March 12). The "stark simplicity" of this restaurant was far from off-putting for me. I much prefer establishments that bank on customers appreciating the food, the friendliness and the value that they offer.
Our meals were perfect: salads with homemade ginger dressing, miso soup, appetizers of calamari and unique spring rolls, and entres featuring tofu and chicken that were very tasty and left us completely satisfied. The prices on all of these were extremely reasonable.
I only wish I'd discovered this restaurant earlier; I will be leaving the Springs next week. I hope others will discover this wonderful restaurant and Kwi Kim and his family will enjoy much-deserved success. Thanks for helping us have a very nice evening!
I urge your readers to watch the final episode of ER on Thursday, April 2 (7-10 p.m., NBC, Channels 5/30), with a segment about alcohol poisoning. My family suffered an unimaginable tragedy this past Christmas. My beautiful, talented, 17-year-old niece, Shelby Allen, died of alcohol poisoning at a slumber party in Redding, Calif. She and two girlfriends were celebrating the end of school for Christmas break, and after the grownups went to bed they secretly raided the home's liquor cabinet for some vodka.
Shelby drank eight ounces in a very short period of time and passed out. When the other girls and the hosting family found her in the morning, she was dead. Apparently the other girls feared getting in trouble, so they didn't get help that might have saved her life.
Shelby's uncle, John Wells, is executive producer of ER. Shelby's mother wrote a note about the show, saying: "The story isn't specifically about Shelby, but the educational message it sends to young people was inspired by Shelby. It will be about teenage girls at a slumber party playing a drinking game. I have no doubt that lives will be saved due to this episode because we have already heard about a young woman in Sacramento who was taken to a hospital by her friends because they had heard of Shelby's Rules."
That was referring to the Shelby Lyn Allen Alcohol Poisoning Education Foundation's message (shelbysrules.com) to get immediate medical care for anyone exhibiting signs of alcohol poisoning, including vomiting and loss of consciousness. This is such a senseless waste of a lovely young girl's life. My family is heartbroken. The only glimmer of healing comes from the hope that kids could learn to get help.