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Let's say you are a member of Congress who makes the unimaginable misstep of calling the U.S. president — the first black president, mind you — a tar baby. Then, let's say that the NAACP invites you to a candidate forum. Wouldn't you show up, to show that you want to be a part of the community you represent, in all its diversity? And maybe to say that you've grown in understanding of racial issues since that unimaginable statement about the president?
At a recent NAACP candidate forum, Doug Lamborn was a no-show.
He didn't even return the call of the person who invited him to attend the forum. This is, in part, why I am supporting Dave Anderson for Congress. He's an independent. He shows up. He cares. He wants to actually make a difference for constituents in Colorado. Join me in supporting Dave Anderson.
— Roger Butts
Let's be inclusive
I find it ironic that former Mayor Lionel Rivera, "a staunch Republican," will head a group called Colorado Juntos Con Romney (Colorado Together With Romney) Coalition Leadership Team. Likewise, it was interesting to hear Susana Martinez, governor of New Mexico, speak at the Republican convention and state in Spanish, "Y, en América, todo es posible." (And, in America, everything is possible.)
There's incongruence here, for the GOP platform calls for "English Only" as the official U.S. language. If Republicans have their way, Rivera and Martinez should be chastised and certainly no government funds would go toward translating their words for the non-Spanish-speaking masses.
Once upon a time (1980) before the party's extremists held sway, their platform said Hispanics and others should not "be barred from education or employment opportunities because English is not their first language." The prosperous countries today are embracing and celebrating diversity of cultures, languages and ethnicities, not demonizing it. Our nation needs to do the same to stay competitive.
Instead the Republicans pretend to value diversity by parading around the few token Hispanics for their convention speeches or marshaling Latino votes their way in Colorado Springs. The party's actions illustrate the sham through opposition to the Dream Act, endorsing racial profiling through the laws in Arizona and Alabama, and supporting voter ID laws that will only hinder poor and minority voters.
I prefer a nation that values inclusion, shows compassion for all and especially looks to extend a helping hand for those less fortunate. Regardless of whether Rivera or Martinez support the Romney-Ryan ticket, nunca tendrán mi apoyo ni el de la mayoría de los Hispanos (they'll never have my support nor that of most Hispanics).
— Elfego Gomez III
How crazy are we?
Spending hundreds of millions on an election that ultimately comes down to a half dozen or so "swing states," and actually just a handful of counties, to decide the direction for our country for the next four years, much of which will be taken up with preparing for the next election, may not be the sanest activity for a country burdened by a faltering economy and a long-term, no-win war in the Middle East.
The primary campaigns allow the major political candidates to be determined by a small number of overly enthusiastic (i.e., rabid) activists who have little in common with the majority of the voters. Why can't we have a series of national primaries to select our candidates so we all get a fair shot at selecting our leaders? And isn't it time we eliminated the Electoral College? If we had direct elections for national office we could get rid of the concentrated advertising directed at the swing states.
So who benefits from our collective insanity? Clearly the media conglomerates make out handsomely. And who is paying the bills? On the Republican side, ask yourself if the major oil, mining, weapons, banking, insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies are spending a fortune because of some philosophical interest or are they, perhaps, expecting some sort of payback? On the Democrat side, look where the trial lawyers and unions are concentrating their attention. Are any of these groups working in the best, long-term interest of our nation? No. Hell no!
It's time we eliminated all campaign contributions over $5 a person. Campaigns should have just enough money to pay for some basic office supplies. Anything beyond that is lining the pockets of those who contribute the least to our society.
This Memorial Health System mess demonstrates that city officials do not fully appreciate the positive financial impact of PERA and its members on our local economy. The vast majority of money earned by Colorado Springs PERA members and the vast majority of the pension distributions paid to local PERA retirees stay here. For decades active PERA members have patronized local businesses, paid their utility bills, been treated at Memorial, and purchased homes from local builders and developers or paid rent to local landlords. They have paid their share of city, county, school and other taxes and fees.
Additionally, each month PERA sends more than $29 million in pension distribution checks to retirees here. That pension revenue stream alone is much larger than the total employer contributions to PERA from local employers each month. Including the multiplier from the money spent by PERA retirees, the pension distributions provide nearly a half-billion-dollar economic boost to our local economy each year. And, they have created 2,200 local jobs with an annual payroll of about $85 million.
There is no doubt these reliable revenues have been especially important during the past few years when the local economy was suffering. And they were paid every month despite PERA facing financial challenges of its own during the same time period. City officials should be acting to help preserve these positive economic impacts. Memorial's pension liabilities should be paid from revenues generated by the sale of Memorial, not by taxpayers and ratepayers.
— Greg Johnson
This has not been a good year for tennis at Memorial Park. In past years there was a summer tennis program for inner-city kids. This year, there was no youth tennis. Unfortunately, the tennis courts are dilapidated, with cracks and potholes. The nets need to be replaced because of wear and tear. But what disturbs me most is the unavailability of bathroom facilities. Most of us tennis aficionados play tennis every morning. It has been a hot summer. That means we have to drink liquids to avoid dehydration. Get where I am going with this? What does a tennis player do when he has to go use the bathroom? Shame on Memorial Park tennis.
— Macsutton Zamore
Republican candidates are constantly contradicting themselves. Did their goal of making Obama a one-term president cause them to no longer think straight? Socialism is their new bogey word, but President Obama is a pragmatist and many of his plans are the same as the GOP's used to be.
Their base went too far to the right, and the only chance for them to win is to demonize a popular president who, at any other time, would've been able to easily work with them to get the country moving forward faster. Instead, they've encouraged people to get angry at President Obama for not creating jobs when their fundamental principle is to have the government not give anybody a job. Actually, the Obama administration has created over 4.5 million jobs, mostly in the private sector: tinyurl.com/indy-white2.
They're still complaining about the bailout that saved GM plants and a million jobs. They're still trashing Obamacare, which is identical to Romneycare. Romney stated it was only good for Massachusetts, not the rest of the U.S. But in 2006, he said it should be a national health care act: tinyurl.com/indy-white.
Currently the unions of working men and women in this country are under attack. Anti-union legislation has been passed or proposed at both federal and state levels. A highly respected voice from the past speaks with relevance to what is happening.
On Sept. 17, 1952, Republican presidential candidate Dwight D. Eisenhower told the American Federation of Labor: "I have no use for those — regardless of their political party — who hold some foolish dream of spinning the clock back to the days when unorganized labor was a huddled, almost helpless mass. ... Only a handful of unreconstructed reactionaries harbor the ugly thought of breaking unions. Only a fool would deprive working men and women of the right to join the union of their choice" (source: The Eisenhower Library, Abilene, Kan.).
On Dec. 5, 1955, President Eisenhower addressed the AFL/CIO. His opening line was, "You of organized labor and those who have gone before you in the union movement have helped to make a unique contribution to the general welfare of the Republic — the development of the American philosophy of labor." In the body of this address he discussed the history and principles of this philosophy, and three times he included collective bargaining as part of the negotiating process, making no exceptions regarding the right to collective bargaining.
Unlike leaders and members of his party today, President Eisenhower was not anti-union. He endorsed union membership for American workers, and he valued the role and contribution of organized labor in our society.
— Andy Kort
I write to share my strongest feelings regarding the necessity of the Manitou Springs Public Library (MSPL) merging with Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD). I am a long-time resident of Manitou with strong ties and a feeling of pride in the town I choose to make my permanent home. This feeling of social and civic pride includes our iconic Carnegie Library.
As a sign of the times, Manitou Springs' public finances are highly volatile. This has a direct implication on our library's financial viability. When even tougher decisions must be made regarding cuts to services, will our library be considered an "essential service"? Rather than wait for the answer that could decimate our library services, we now have an opportunity to provide a dedicated and sustainable funding source on Nov. 6. Not only would we be provided with a stable and permanent funding fixture, but we also get the extensive resources the PPLD has to offer! To read the details of this Manitou Springs ballot initiative, please go to friendsofmanitouspringslibrary.org/?p=116.
The MSPL Carnegie building has lasted for 100 years (note: Manitou Springs will continue to own the building and park and lease it to PPLD). Please help keep our library sustainable for the next 100 years. Manitou residents, please vote YES on the library merger ballot measure.
— Rob Danin
Eye on Utilities
Years ago, Utilities' reporting structure was shifted from the city manager to the mayor (pre-strong mayor). The CEO of Utilities reports to City Council. Three independent groups have studied the structure and reached the same conclusion — Utilities needs to be governed by an independent board.
The city has for decades used Utilities to pay for shortfalls — streetlights, Prospect Lake, park watering. Lately the city has brought up more ideas: move Drake, have Utilities help pay for stormwater, give parks free water.
There has been discussion about selling electric generation to another company. Other cities have done this to use the purchase money for roads, parks and more city services. If this were to come to pass, citizens wouldn't be able to afford their electricity, but would have beautifully maintained parks and roads.
I've watched this discussion over the years, and believe it's time for a game-changing decision. There is a group appointed by Council whose sole purpose is to give guidance to Council on Utility matters — the Utility Policy Advisory Committee. Their last assignment was to research and guide City Council on governing Utilities, and they recommended that Utilities have a separate board, basically made up of business leaders in the community. When you research the people on this committee you will find that it's made up of local businesspeople with strong financial, utility and leadership backgrounds. Their knowledge of Utilities has been built over years. Couldn't a group much like it give Utilities guidance, direction and accountability?
People may agree or disagree, but they all need to do their research. Find out how many times Council has made decisions that financially affect Utilities to better the city's position, and ask if these were the best decisions or political decisions.
— Linda Foulk