Stormwater management, burning wood for power generation, and more 


Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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'Naïve thinking'

With the failure of the stormwater ballot question, it's time for Colorado Springs to take responsibility for its share of the problem, which is the majority share.

Mayor Steve Bach proposed to City Council that voters be asked in April to approve a $160 million bond issue ("Chipping away," News, Nov. 26).

The plan, if you could call it a plan, would allow the city to spend $15 million a year to improve streets, $8 million a year on flood control projects, $4 million a year on public safety equipment and structures and $2 million a year on parks. The projects would be completed in five years and paid for over 20 years.

"It's not meant to solve the problem," Steve Cox, Mayor Bach's Chief of Staff, told Council. "But it is meant to make headway."

Making headway is not the objective — solving the stormwater management problem is. And there is no reason to believe that Springs residents, who have historically been debt-adverse and supportive of "pay-as-you-go," will approve such outlandish debt when they have already approved a Rural Transportation Authority sales tax extension to improve streets, a Public Safety sales tax for police and fire, and a Trails, Open Space and Parks sales tax for parks. Stormwater management is unfunded and has no dedicated General Fund commitment — it should.

To think that $40 million over five years with no identified future funding would have any significant impact on a $500 million problem is naïve thinking, to say the least. To believe it would mitigate the impact to downstream neighbors demonstrates a lack of understanding of the problem.

Colorado Springs' proposed 2015 General Fund budget of $259 million is the largest in city history. There is no reason why at least $18 million, 7 percent, could not be dedicated to a Stormwater Department.

— Larry Small,

executive director

Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District

Unsound policy

Mayor Steve Bach's latest proposal, to borrow bonds for 20 years to fund five years' worth of repairs and maintenance, is like refinancing your home to buy groceries. This is not sound fiscal policy.

— David Barber

Colorado Springs

Not so green

Regarding "Wood that we could" (SimpliCity, Nov. 26): I love you, Matt, but I have to take exception to a couple statements in your article about burning forest dead (woody biomass) in our power plants. It is definitely not carbon-neutral. Absent from the calculation by those who promote this is the factor of time.

Here's an example. Three logs lay in the forest near your campsite. You burn one in the evening campfire, and the other two might remain to decay on the ground, releasing their carbon into the air for the next 20 years.

You burn the second log the following night. You've burnt two logs in about 24 hours instead of them decaying for 20 years. If we burnt a thousand logs in our power plants in one day instead of allowing them to release their carbon over 20 years, we have accelerated the carbon-release process. The rate of carbon release has increased. Carbon release per unit of time.

Even if the logs decayed in the forest over 20 years, a substantial amount of the carbon is returned to the soil to nourish other plants. Not all of it ends up in our air. Burn it in a power plant, and more than just its weight in carbon goes into our air (from transportation and processing mainly).

As for Sweden burning most of their trash for energy, Jacques Cousteau said it best: "Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans." What Sweden burns, we all breathe. The better solution is to recycle or compost 100 percent of the waste rather than dump it on everyone.

— Scott Harvey, P.E.

Colorado Springs

Healthy disagreement

Gene Gustafson laments in the Nov. 26 letters section that Coloradans who elected Cory Gardner to the Senate have no sense of priorities, suggesting that Gardner is a "hand puppet" to the Koch brothers. He asks of Colorado voters, "How dumb are we?"

I'd like to propose a question to Mr. Gustafson: "How arrogant are we?"

Cory Gardner won because people with priorities other than Mr. Gustafson's voted in greater numbers. They are not dumb because they value a different balance between energy development, including fracking, and water conservation. Maybe they've even seen U.S. government water-pollution statistics that track the steady improvement in water quality in America.

They are not dumb because they preferred Gardner's other issue positions over those of Mark Udall. They are not dumb. They simply have different views.

I submit that it is the height of arrogance to declare people to be dumb because they disagree. That sort of thinking is really not compatible with maintaining a free, pluralistic political system.

Mr. Gustafson, tone it down. You're at a 10, and we need you at about a 3.

— John Howell

Colorado Springs

Sauce for the goose?

The American Civil Liberties Union is on a campaign to rid the military of praying. They are constantly filing lawsuits against military chaplains who pray in Jesus' name.

In our city of Colorado Springs, Mikey Weinstein has tried to file suit against the Air Force when a cadet puts scripture on a whiteboard. Yet, when our president invokes scripture in the speech about amnesty for illegal aliens, I haven't heard a word from the ACLU or Weinstein.

Why is it OK for the Commander in Chief to invoke scripture, and a cadet cannot? Who has more pull in influencing the public, a cadet or the president?

Come on ACLU and Weinstein, be consistent — sue the president for daring to invoke Scripture into public policy.

— Fr. Bill Carmody

Colorado Springs

Simple question

Why is it that it takes only weeks for us to decide who we should bomb, but many years for us to decide who can migrate here?

— Brien Whisman

Colorado Springs

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