Reputation at stake
A safe and beautiful city is priceless. Colorado Springs has benefited from its reputation as a safe and beautiful place to live for almost 140 years. Since our city's founding in 1871, each generation has invested tax dollars to build the city we are proud of today. Each generation has supported first-rate police and fire departments and has created a park system that is the envy of cities nationwide.
Our commonly owned city assets are investments that pay dividends to us every day. We depend on our police and fire departments to respond quickly; we enjoy our green neighborhood parks for family picnics, soccer games and safe playgrounds; we celebrate special events and honor our city's compelling history at our Pioneers Museum and Rock Ledge Ranch historic site; and many rely upon public transit.
If we citizens of today do not vote to maintain our city's 138-year-old investments, we will all lose, big time. We will also lose our reputation as a safe and beautiful city. And once lost, we may never get it back.
Vote YES on 2C, against on 300.
— Melissa Walker
A Councilor's concerns
Thanks to Ralph Routon for his column ("Attacking 2C's misconceptions," Between the Lines, Oct. 15) on the "real" state of our city's budget challenges. I am very concerned for our community since the proposed cuts are real. More importantly, I wonder if we can recover lost services when the economy does improve.
Will it be too costly to reopen recreation centers and pools that have sat idle for months or longer? Will we ever have the money to reseed dead parks? Can we train new police officers and firefighters when it involves paying people to be non-productive for up to nine months until they are trained up and ready for the streets?
Will the U.S. Olympic Committee regret that we fought to keep them here? How will we attract new businesses, which we need to help revive our economy, with closed recreation centers and pools, brown parks, a poor transit system, reduced fire and police?
Thank you for standing up for our community. I know 2C is a tough sell, but it really is the only thing standing between a healthy city and one that will complete Doug Bruce's desire to "destroy Colorado Springs." As Jerry Heimlicher would say, "This isn't scare tactics, but it is scary."
— Bernie Herpin
City Council, District 4
Lifeline for seniors
Both 2C and health care reform are on the political forefront. Here in the Springs we can do something positive by voting yes on 2C.
Some see 2C as only a tax increase, but it is a tax increase with a mission — to preserve those positive things about Colorado Springs that we enjoy most. One of those is the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department and, more specifically, the Colorado Springs Senior Center, which would be gone in one more year if 2C loses.
Most coverage on health care is given to high-priced, high-tech procedures, like mammograms or colonoscopies, which are expensive. But there are low-cost, low-tech measures we all can take to prevent other more costly diseases, especially for the seniors in the city.
Each weekday, 80 to 150 seniors eat well-balanced lunches for a $2 donation at the center. Additionally, there are medical screenings so that patients can monitor their health. The opportunity to meet with other people with similar interests in a safe environment combats the isolation and loneliness that often accompany aging and can accelerate diseases.
Unlike other programs, the Senior Center has an alternate funding source, the Senior Program Endowment, but that will be depleted by the end of 2010 without help from the city's general fund. The Senior Center is an extraordinary resource. We must preserve this treasure.
— Lura Lee Landis-Rule
How to spend less
Colorado Springs doesn't have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem, and until the spending problem is under control, no amount of revenue will be enough. It's disgusting how City Council will use fear every time to obtain revenue. Police and fire will have to go, but fear is a good seller. There are no answers if we keep electing the spenders, but I have suggestions on the revenue issue.
1. Charge sales tax to charities and nonprofits. Colorado Springs is hit hard by its large, faith-based companies who pay nothing. I believe this would produce between $12 million and $15 million annually.
2. Charge sales tax on long-term rental properties (over 30 days), which I think could produce between $20 million and $25 million annually.
With an additional $35 million, the city could go on another spending spree and Chicken Little wouldn't need to go around telling everyone the sky is falling, until next time. If we took the suggestions of Mr. Doug Bruce, we wouldn't be in this mess.
— Jeff Ellegard
We can afford 2C
As a senior citizen on a fixed income, I rely heavily on community resources. I depend on the police and fire departments to keep me safe. I hike in the city parks, I visit the museum and senior center.
I do not at present use the transit system, but I appreciate the fact that many depend on it. It seems little enough to me to pay my share of keeping those resources available.
I disagree with some decisions our City Council has made, but the facts are clear. The population has increased, so demand for services has gone up, but the revenue has decreased.
As a volunteer and board member of several nonprofit organizations in town, I give of my time and talent. How many of those who begrudge $4 a week to keep the amenities they no doubt use, give anything back?
It's time to acknowledge that we are about to lose the very things that make our city livable. Vote yes on 2C.
— Thelma Peck
Turn the Paige
The appointment of Sean Paige to City Council was a jolt. His well-publicized, longtime anti-government ideology is as extreme as they come. It's called Libertarianism, a mistrust of government so radical that it favors shutting down most or all government functions and replacing them with private enterprise and "free market" profiteers. With no government regulation or interference, they think all our needs will be met much more efficiently.
We've been down this road before, in the free-market crashes of 1929 and again in 2008, with devastating results. The failure of the capitalistic, unrestricted free-market system nearly brought the nation down. Then, and now, the government had to bail them out. So much for Libertarianism.
Now comes Paige, who, along with Douglas Bruce, has gone so far as to suggest selling government properties and enterprises. He says we can start with Memorial Hospital and the airport. Imagine it: "Raoul and Judy's Hospital Inc." and "Al Kydah and Sons Airport Corp. Our motto: No pesky government security check-ins."
Why stop there? Sell the rest of the government as well, including the military. Competing private armies and navies can protect us, such as: "Darkwater Military Contractors, mercenaries welcome." "American Foreign Legion, now hiring." "See the World with A-1 Navy Inc."
Sell the government highway systems. Have lots of private toll roads competing with each other and parallel highways eating up the environment, along with many private water companies and competing sewage corporations running their pipes under the streets. Let the market run free!
Paige and Bruce need to put away their Ayn Rand fantasy novels and turn some pages in good history books.
— Larimore Nicholl
In reading about Ted Haggard ("The resurrection of Pastor Ted," cover story, Oct. 1), I cannot help but wonder if indeed he has truly had enough time to heal. I was appalled by the revelations he shared openly and without discretion of the things he experienced and the things he had done, again.
It is quite clear in the Scriptures that "filthiness, foolish talking nor jesting" should not be part of a Christian's life. It brings dishonor to God. These things were handled in private among believers, and the overseers properly did it.
For Ted Haggard to feel banished from New Life's community is appropriate; thousands of people grieved for him, prayed for him and were drastically affected because of his downfall. Yes, we all sin, but a man of that caliber was responsible for many. Let us remember that this man had the ear of the president.
As for being banished from Colorado, I do not believe that anyone has that authority to require that of him. That borders on spiritual abuse. If, indeed, he has been repentant, the Lord bless him.
— David Anderson
Did Doug Bruce really say "capitalism is better than socialism"? Where has he been for the past 80 years? Without socialism, capitalism would have died in the 1930s. And without socialism and communism, it would have died again this year. Isn't one of you supposed to be watching him?
The truth is they all have their issues. They all have their good and bad points. To some extent socialism and communism are designed to save people from the dangers of capitalism, and that's come in quite handy these past few months, hasn't it? Ask anyone collecting unemployment because of the last administration's capitalistic overload.
A healthy and stable economy requires the right mix of all three economic systems: capitalism, socialism and communism. If you outlaw socialism, only outlaws will have unemployment insurance.
— Steve Suhre
Medicare and doughnuts
Wake up, seniors! Do you really think the insurance industry cares about your interests? They are counting on your being gullible enough to think the government should pay 14 percent more for the "Advantage A" coverage that wealthier seniors could well afford. That's $11 billion every year paid by the taxpayers so that those, who can afford it, have the Cadillac version of Medicare.
In the meantime, we (including seniors) are fighting for real reform to preserve Medicare and to close the doughnut hole for your benefit. The insurance industry only wants one thing: excessive profits at your expense. If you are going to be indignant, get outraged that they think you are easily duped.
— Lowell Duncan
Waste of money
The 11th-hour threat by insurance companies to increase rates, in response to the Senate Finance Committee's effort at making insurance affordable, demonstrates why a public option is necessary. Providing a viable, affordable alternative can force private insurers to reduce their administrative costs. However, unless this choice is also extended to the 90 percent already insured, the public option will not have maximum effect on the monopoly private insurance currently enjoys.
There are two aspects of the cost of health care: paying for the care (doctors, hospitals, etc.) and cost of the delivery system of payment (health insurance).
According to the debate in the Senate Finance Committee, anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the cost of insurance goes for administrative costs of private insurance companies. Elsewhere in the world, these costs are as low as 4 percent!
— Cara Koch
No other option
Health care reform is alive and well, despite the millions that insurance companies have poured into thwarting it. Our cause has strength, and Colorado shares the hopes of other Americans after the Senate Finance Committee vote on Oct. 13. Now that all five health care reform bills have moved beyond committee in the House and Senate, America has never been closer to achieving the dream of guaranteed, quality health care.
Congress is fully aware that the price of inaction is unacceptable. However, the actual content of the bill is equally important. A public option is mandatory to help control costs and keep insurance companies honest. The so-called "trigger" or "pool" or "co-op" cannot replace the equivalent of Medicare for all.
Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet must lead the way by encouraging their peers to focus on the bottom line. Any old health care bill won't do.
Congress must now pass comprehensive reform legislation, send it to President Obama's desk, and finally — finally! — guarantee medical care for every American. It's far past time to fix what's broken.
— Deb Stover
No fear, just fight
The health care reform vote of the Senate Finance Committee was a rejection to the continuation of greed at the expense of American lives. It was a statement that we won't buy into fear tactics. It's about time our representatives took their gloves off!
— Anne Hegler
Sliding under health care and Afghanistan, Congress is hiding some onerous legislation. House Resolution 836 and Senate Bill 1058 reduce beer taxes back to 1991 levels. The bills are sponsored by the Beer Institute and Brewers Association.
Recent estimates place the costs of alcohol at $9 in treatment, crime and domestic violence for every $1 collected in taxes. Colorado's alcohol taxes are among the nation's lowest and none goes to education, rehab or treatment; 85 percent goes for old-age benefits, and 15 percent into the general fund.
Under-age drinkers account for more than 20 percent of beer sales, and beer parties are often the gateway to binge drinking. Colorado, and especially Colorado Springs, have been singled out for heavy consumption and binge drinking.
Since increased taxes have been shown to decrease consumption, a tax increase is called for. But with the influence of Coors and Budweiser in this state, legislators have been lobbied. SB 1058 was sponsored by Sen. Mark Udall and HR 836 has 231 co-sponsors including Reps. Diana DeGette, Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn, Betsy Markey, Ed Perlmutter and John Salazar. Their rationale is that in tough times, Joe Sixpack needs a break. They don't mention both Coors and Bud have recently announced price increases.
Urge your representatives to vote against HR 836 and SB 1058.
— John Burrington