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Frack, baby, frack
I am so excited at the prospect of drilling rigs rolling into town. They'll put our abundant water to good use by mixing it with toxic chemicals and injecting this poisonous soup underground. This will help them extract the hard-to-get dregs of oil and gas so we don't have to conserve energy or embrace clean, renewable energy.
The rumble of water trucks and heavy equipment will tell us our economy is on the move. Our children who aspire to be roughnecks and roustabouts will find employment. Heck, they won't even have to finish high school. And these wells have notoriously short lives, so the drilling must never stop. Our health care industry will get a solid boost from treating the rise in cancer, neurological disorders, respiratory and skin ailments, birth defects and infertility.
The tax revenue windfall means the city will have ample cash to subsidize new shopping malls, data centers and baseball stadiums. Out-of-town energy companies will inject money into our local economy via contributions to city council and mayoral candidate campaigns. Many of the hazardous chemicals used in drilling are on the EPA's Superfund list, so it's possible our community could eventually become a Superfund site. If the federal government can come up with the money, efforts to clean up the environment could extend this economic bonanza for decades!
As we all know, if jobs are created, we can just ignore an activity's environmental destruction, a few deaths, or other negative health effects. Drilling and fracking in Colorado Springs is just such a case. If you value the dollar over human life and quality of life, attend the Nov. 27 Colorado Springs City Council meeting and support the proposed rules that — for all intents and purposes — deregulate oil and gas operations in our city.
— Dave Gardner
Giving away the farm
Colorado Springs City Council is scheduled to vote on regulations for the oil and gas industry on Nov. 27, but how can they vote on regulations when they don't even know what is legal to regulate and what is not?
The regulations that have been developed are not based on Colorado statutory and case law, but instead on threats from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, a state agency, and the attorney general, both of whom clearly work for the oil and gas industry rather than Colorado's citizens.
The COGCC has a history of creating overly broad state regulations, and their rules attempting to preempt any conflicting local regulations have been repeatedly struck down by Colorado courts, ruling that local governments do have the right to regulate the oil and gas industry so long as their regulations do not frustrate, but rather can be harmonized with, the state's interest.
Council has been led to believe that because COGCC regulations cover so much of the field of oil and gas regulation there is almost nothing that the city can regulate. Their incredibly weak proposed regulations will not require water quality testing, nor that toxic air emissions must be controlled.
The Pikes Peak Sierra Club's Jim Lockhart has made these points clear to City Council repeatedly (see frackfreesprings.org). The state is likely to be overruled if it argues that the COGCC can preempt all aspects of oil and gas development and operations. Council should contact officials at the Colorado Municipal League, which has produced a white paper supporting local regulation, and the City of Longmont, which has adopted broad oil and gas regulations, to get their view on how Colorado law supports local regulation.
At this point Colorado Springs City Council is about to give away many of our rights to the oil and gas industry.
Questioning the ban
To the City of Colorado Springs, regarding the new ban on all panhandling/soliciting:
I am curious if you intend to do a follow-up with the mayor's office, CSPD and City Council on what the measurable, intended outcomes will be from implementing the panhandling ban. Particularly:
1) What methods and indicators did the city use to identify the level of nuisance created by aggressive panhandling?
2) How will we measure whether this broad panhandling and solicitation ban is an effective response to the identified problem?
I am particularly concerned about whether the city has data on the potential impact this panhandling ordinance could have regarding the increase of other types of crime, such as shoplifting, purse snatching, drug dealing and prostitution. Such concerns are cited by the national Problem Oriented Policing Center (popcenter.org/problems/panhandling), but I have not seen any localized information.
November is national Homeless Youth Awareness Month. As someone who works with at-risk youth, I understand that giving money directly to panhandlers can increase the chance that personal charity goes toward enabling negative behaviors. Additionally, I do not think that a panhandling ban excuses someone from committing another crime to gain money.
I have compassion, though, for people who are unable to fully care for themselves and find that — for a short period of their lives — panhandling earnings can help them cope with being on the street. We need to sustain and increase existing community efforts to support people in changing their own lives, not just punitive measures that make poverty invisible.
— Shawna Rae Kemppainen
Inside Out Youth Services
Lamborn the fixer
Rep. Lamborn is again announcing to his constituents that the Affordable Health Care Act is fatally flawed and he means to fix it. Note, he used to crow about repealing it, but now the active verb is "fix." Lord save us from well-intentioned fools!
He once warned us (with a straight face) about imaginary "death panels." Well, yes, Mr. Lamborn, there really are death panels, but they aren't anonymous government bureaucrats, as you claimed; they are anonymous pencil pushers at United Healthcare, Aetna, Prudential, et al. So long as private, for-profit insurance companies stand between my doctor and me, the U.S. will remain in the lower tier of health care quality and affordability. Mr. Lamborn belongs to the party that favors corporate profits over citizens' well-being, thus any "fixes" he makes to the Act will likely be for the worse.
— Bill Donaldson
Blue states, gray states
The campaign is over and President Obama did in fact win the majority of the popular vote and the electoral college vote. If the Republicans could open their eyes to clearly look at what the majority of Americans see, they would see that we Americans are so privileged to have an outstanding, intelligent, compassionate human being as our national leader.
The Republicans must realize that running a government budget is like running a family budget. You must have income/revenue to cover expenses in order to survive. If every taxpayer paid their fair share there would be no fiscal cliff. If a family maxes out their credit and borrows on the mortgage of their home they are headed for disaster.
That is the same for government. In the past we have started two unnecessary wars (without funding) and we still give huge unnecessary welfare/funding to big oil, the monster agri business, big pharma and war profiteers like Halliburton, Blackwater, etc. We must stop nation building and getting involved in civil wars. Balancing a budget is not rocket science or neurosurgery, it just takes a little common sense and a little cooperation from the Republicans in Congress.
Many right-wing pundits have complained about illegal Latino immigrants. Well, most of the Latino voters in my state of Colorado are descendants of residents who lived in Colorado before Colorado was a state. As an American/Latino I resent the continuous disparaging remarks of all Latinos as illegal immigrants. Most Colorado Latinos were here before the so-called pioneers.
I suggest the colors of the political map be changed to blue for the democrats and gray, like mushrooms, for the Republicans. These folks living in the red area of the political map are like the gray mushroom, as they are kept in the dark and fed bullshit.
— Leon Rodriguez
Stick to your task
It's easy to see that County Commissioner Amy Lathen ("A Fight for Human Liberty," Gazette, Nov. 16) gets her talking points straight from FOX News (O'Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, Palin, et al), other pseudo journalists of their ilk and Mitt Romney. These folks continue to disillusion themselves that the recent rejection of the GOP presidential candidate was because of all the "free benefits" that Hispanics, blacks, the poor and the young are getting or are promised by President Obama.
To conflate helping those in need with bribing the electorate raises cynicism to a new level, cheapens our society and is insulting to the vast majority of citizens who pay taxes of some form. Ms. Lathen should stop whining, get over the lost election, and actually start doing something positive for the benefit of our county, state and nation.
Fortunately, there are some leaders doing just that. Contrasting Lathen are the future Republican frontrunners, like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Jindal called on Republicans to "Stop being the stupid party ... We've also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters."
Responding to Romney's latest recorded gaffe to wealthy supporters doubling down on his earlier "47 percent" comments to explain his election loss, Rubio said, "I don't want to rebut him [Romney] point-by-point. I would just say to you, I don't believe that we have millions and millions of people in this country that don't want to work."
I suggest Ms. Lathen stick to the task for which she was elected, which is certainly not badmouthing the president or constitutional law to suggest that the Benghazi incident is an impeachable offence for Mr. Obama.
— Elfego Gomez III
People in 20 states want to leave and take their state with them. A little over 200 years ago we broke away from a government we didn't like, fought a war and declared independence, and set up guidelines for this new-at-the-time country. We were sure we could do a better job on our own. We didn't. Half the country is unhappy again. If the election had gone the other way things would be very different; in that case only half the country would be unhappy. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
There are no new frontiers to run to, there is no place to go. The planet is all crowded up now. It's all bought and paid for. This is bad news for all of us, those who hate it here and those who love it here. There is no more escape, no frontier to run to. We have to stay and fix it this time. That means hard work, tolerance, and cooperation.
Maybe that's not so bad! Obviously when you run away from home and can do whatever you want you just waste centuries making the same mistakes and end up back in the same spot. I hate work and tolerance and cooperation as much as anybody, this will not be easy.
It's like a troubled marriage, do you ask for a divorce or try to work things out? Can we get some country counseling over here! Today there are kids, and there are real estate and money issues, and relatives who have come to rely on us... We can't bicker and squabble and complain all the time. We've worked our way to the top, and with great power comes great responsibility. You can't run away from home, you're only 236! Shut up and eat your broccoli!
— Steve Suhre
The Gaza story
The Israeli Prime Minister declares: "We have a right to defend ourselves" and repeats it over and over again. The American media consistently covers only Israel's side and not Palestine's. The Palestinians have a right to defend themselves.
In 1948, during the violent Zionist military occupation of the U.N. Palestinian Mandate, they assassinated the U.N. ambassador. In 1967, during their violent military takeover of Gaza and the West Bank, they attacked the U.S.S. Liberty, killing 34 Americans and wounding 171 aboard in international waters. Israel has an army, navy, air force and illegal nuclear weapons. Palestine has none, only outdated missiles. The media reports three Israelis killed in recent days but not that 16 Palestinian men, women and children were killed and 170 injured. Israel began this latest aggression on a blockaded Gaza by assassinating a Hamas resistance leader. A few weeks ago the Israelis took credit for the 1988 assassination of the co-chair of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
A report we received from friends in the area says U.S.-made warplanes and navy ships made 140 military attacks in the last four days on 1.5 million civilians, "burned Palestinian babies, mutilated children, devastated neighborhoods, destroyed power plants and infrastructure." We were members of Christian Peacemaker Teams in this war-torn region six times, been tear-gassed, fired upon with mortars and detained by the Israelis. We know the facts on the ground in this war zone. So we (I) ask, who has the foremost right to defend themselves? Why do media and the government cover up the facts? Who is controlling our foreign policy?
— Bill and Genie Durland