Division of powers
At City Council meetings Nov. 26-27, former City Attorney Jim Colvin made a most substantive recommendation. He pointed out that, whether meeting formally as City Council or sitting as the Utilities Board, their functions are primarily legislative. Accordingly, authority over Colorado Springs Utilities is an executive responsibility of the city executive, i.e., CEO Mayor Bach.
Colvin recommends that the issue be put to a vote of the people in the April 2013 municipal election. Many of us in this city of 450,000 find it a travesty and insult to the voters that the mayor has been powerless over this city's principal asset, the $2 billion CSU. If it takes a charter amendment to rectify the situation, it should be done. Authority over Utilities should be restored to the mayor.
There was spirited discussion regarding a $545,000 shortfall in the Utilities budget. Since the amount relates to watering city parks, Council members, Mayor Bach and the CSU representative expressed diverging opinions about who is responsible for payment. This is an ideal case exemplifying the need to carry out Jim Colvin's recommendation.
Oddly, no mention was made of the $73.5 million contract the Utilities Board had awarded Neumann Systems Group. Ratepayers have never been told how much monthly or annually we are doling out for our "investment." If a timeout were called and payments suspended for six months, couldn't CSU then easily make up its $545,000 shortfall?
A parting thought: Incredibly, CSU has spent $8.3 million over five years on outside PR firms, despite employing a 21-person in-house public affairs staff. Considering CSU is a monopoly, much PR activity is preaching to the choir. If they are dedicated to good communication with ratepayers, how come Utilities Board meetings are not carried on springsgov.com same as Council's?
— John A. Daly
Follow the leader
To Rep. Doug Lamborn: Please consider supporting our president's tax plan. The election and the polls show that his plan has the overwhelming support of the American people.
I am an enthusiastic supporter of President Obama. I believe that he is trying to do his best with the executive tools that are available to him. His style of leadership includes the use of the bully pulpit and I cheer every time he solicits the support of the people.
I also believe that continued gridlock in solving our country's fiscal problems is extremely counterproductive. Please discontinue this strategy when representing the 5th Congressional District of Colorado. It was not the intent of our country's founding fathers that Grover Norquist have so much representation in Congress and the people have so little. The very rich in this country have contributed very little from the Bush years to the present, and yet the middle class have sacrificed all. It is time for the very rich to pay their fair share. Trickle down economics has been tested over the course of three decades and many empirical studies prove conclusively that IT DOES NOT WORK!
— William Mendell
Although the 2012 election is still being scrutinized for where the parties and candidates went wrong or right, what is not being looked at is each party's most basic beliefs and how they affected undecided voters. In the late stages of a presidential campaign, those voters' decisions are often reduced to either deal breakers or deal makers that are a product of their deepest core beliefs. These are issues for which a voter has drawn a red line and can either comfortably vote for a particular candidate or party, or not.
While one-issue voters can, often correctly, be considered immature, there are for most of us some lines we will not cross.
Gay people are surely concerned with the economy, but at the same time you can't expect them to vote for a party that questions the validity of their very existence.
Young people are not going to vote in great numbers against their ability to afford an education by selecting a man who thinks concern for class size is a ruse, and a party that continually
cuts education funding.
Who among middle-class parents would vote for a party whose biggest concern is to protect the top 2 percent from any more taxes?
How many Latinos would vote for a man who expects them to self-deport?
What self-respecting woman would vote for a party that calls for taking her healthcare decisions out of her hands so a small group of old men can tell her what's best for her?
There are just some things voters refuse to agree to. The late-voting undecideds may have waited to make their decision, but in reality those decisions were made by the Republican party long before Nov. 6.
— Mike Clow
Tin Man party
I picked up a few things I needed at the store, all made in China. A computerized self-checkout totaled up my order and conspired with other robots to take money out of my bank account. On the way out I stopped at a DVD machine and rented a movie that, ironically, contained only computer-generated characters. Oops! Better hit the head before I hit the road! In the men's room there are two robots quietly waiting to use the facilities. They're shy around people but as I leave I hear one fart deodorant as the other one pees disinfectant into the urinal I just used.
We barely notice them anymore. Today robots fight our wars, disarm bombs for us, secure our homes and businesses, teach classes, monitor our babies, entertain our children, sort our mail, and vacation on Mars while sending home spiritual photos of wheel prints in the sand. They help assemble our smart cars, which warn us about collisions, park for us, and will be driving themselves in a few years.
Robots play music, dance Gangnam style, swarm like bees and run in packs like dogs. They answer our phone calls and direct us to the correct department, balance our checkbooks, pay our bills, and remind us of important events. They have our coffee ready when we wake up, cook our food, record our favorite shows...the robots are everywhere, and they're fitting in nicely.
Still, we consider them one of the greatest threats to mankind, right up there with climate change and nukes. Robots aren't a threat to mankind, they merely mirror our inner sociopath. But they are a threat to capitalism. Technology is slowly crushing capitalism into a fine gray-green powder.
What will we do when the machines can do it all for us, besides look back and laugh at 10 percent unemployment? A socialist or communist economy would welcome this problem; let the robots all do the work while the people spend their government checks ordering products on a touch-screen TV.
I'd suggest we start taxing technology, immediately if not sooner, but then we'd have to give them personhood rights. No taxation without representation, so we'll have to let them form a Tin Man Party and vote (they'll need ID too). As a concession to Donald Trump only robots born in the U.S. will be allowed to be president.
— Steve Suhre
The right to resist
Does Israel have a "right to exist"? Do we? Where is it written? What does it mean when a people declare that they have the "right to exist" as they please because they are a "democracy," but other people have no such right?
Israel refuses to negotiate with Hamas — will not recognize the political leadership that the Palestinians chose in internationally monitored elections — because, Israel declares, Hamas will not recognize Israel's "right to exist."
And why should Hamas recognize that "right"? If there is a "right to exist," is there not an equal right to resist — illegal seizures of property, expropriations and appropriations, illegitimate detainments, incarcerations, torture, homicides.
"We the people," in the infant republic of the United States, did not think much about the existence of American Indians, women or slaves. Some three score years after our founding, we did not think Mexico had a "right to exist" north of the Rio Grande. We did not think Hawaii had the right to exist as a sovereign nation. Nor, in spite of promises made at the time of the Spanish-American War, did we think the Philippines had the "right to exist" as anything other than a U.S. colony in Asia.
Is it simply power that determines the "right to exist"?
The Zionist state demands the right to exist as a Zionist state — a non-signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, bristling with nuclear weapons. Why can they alone break all the rules of international decorum with impunity, without censure?
According to Noam Chomsky the term "right to exist" is unique to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. No state has a right to exist, and no one demands such a right... Israel's insistence on a right to exist forces Palestinians to provide a moral justification for their own suffering.
Pride, arrogance and lust for power in a nation will corrupt it from within.
— G. Yenne
It is time for Republicans to reach across the aisle. Money can be saved for one, by reducing expenses on health care delivery systems.
I was at a hospital not long ago, and there was a large slotted case filled with forms of different insurance companoes. Why not standardize them?
And to Doug Lamborn: How old is the Earth?
— Jeff Adams
Mr. Nemanich's statistical epiphany and Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve, are both wrong. They have intelligence racially trapped. Intelligence is enlightenment, awareness. It is not what color house it's lived in. The economically illiterate re-elected the road runner as commander and chief.
— Joan Christensen