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Two-year road warranties, GOP responsibility, severance pay, refugees, and more 

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Bumpy roads ahead

Actually the 2C road work is really a $250 million giveaway. Two years is not the industry standard. A "two-year warranty" is the minimum warranty on road construction per https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/pavement/warranty/backgrnd.cfm.

I doubt any city employees, or any of the contractors bidding on the work, have read that document.

There is no performance requirement until a five-year warranty. Therefore, expect shoddy workmanship and inferior materials to be applied to the streets of Colorado Springs with no accountability.

The Federal Highway Administration has short-term (5- to 10-year) and long-term (10- to 20-year) warranties. The increase in cost is 3 to 15 percent. Does this mean the estimated repairs of $900 million are under-reported and the real estimated cost should be $1.035 billion?

Instead of the "lowest bidder," a "best value procurement" model should be used assuring quality in workmanship and materials. Why isn't Colorado Springs willing to join the rest of the world in upgrading roads? Europeans are working toward 35-year warranties.

Or maybe it's because road building companies here are (a) unwilling to put a better warranty on work, (b) unable to do quality work, (c) do not have necessary skill levels to do quality work or (d) city employees determining bid requirements don't know that they set the bar for quality of work and if the bar is too low, you get what you pay for. In this case the road tax will never be enough, ever!

— Gary Casimir

Colorado Springs

Letter to the Senate

I teach American government in Colorado and snarkily tell my colleagues I don't need a textbook, just a copy of the Constitution and the newspaper. My students have been discussing the three branches, as responsible Civics students should. We have discussed Articles 1, 2 and 3, dissecting the responsibilities of each branch. They want the members of the Senate to explain the following:

Article II, Section 2 states that, "He [the President] shall have power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate ... shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court and all other Officers of the United States." Why aren't the senators doing their part? Students understand the checks and balances and want to know what power is being checked? Sen. Orrin Hatch stated on NPR that after the election in November the Senate may go through the process.

Why wait? They want to know the Constitutional basis of waiting. They want to know why the Senate "isn't doing their job?" The people voted for Obama, so my students want to know why those people's voices and selection are being denied or ignored?

My students, the future of this great nation, want to know if the argument "it is a messy election, a lame-duck year" is to stand, then by that logic, why is the House even meeting, why is one-third of the Senate even in Washington?

You are setting examples for our future, and they are embarrassed by the "third-grade behavior" of Congress and those running for president. Is this the example you want to set for future generations? Do your arguments stand up?

My students agreed to the contents of this letter and truly want a response.

— Kate Rachwitz

Colorado Springs School District 11

No vacancy

The concept of being a Colorado native is curious, especially when that title is touted mostly by European and Spanish immigrants. People use bumper stickers to passively lay claim to stolen land, and wage online flame wars against anyone new to the state. This is a gross set of purported values that states simply, "This is our land!"

A recent example of this misplaced fervor is the occupation of a government building in Oregon by angry, armed ranchers. The indignant idea of ownership over territory that was previously settled exists in the minds of descendants of invaders, and is ignorantly perpetuated by previous generations and current politicians alike. After trickling down and sinking into the wrong cracks, this concept manifests here in self-proclaimed Colorado natives who purport such silliness as the state itself being filled to capacity.

A broader understanding of history is much-needed and may help alleviate some hostility perpetuated by Americans with anti-immigration views. The Colorado War (1863-1865), which probably doesn't ring many bells, saw the genocide of some true Colorado natives. The atrocity was a continuation of a mindset that drove ethnic purging as early as the beginning of the 17th century.

According to a 2010 census, less than 1 percent of the U.S. population identifies as Native American. That means if you claim to be a Colorado native, you're probably not. You, like most of us, are progeny of immigrants, invaders, terrorists.

Will we see an armed militia, intent upon driving out newcomers?

— Alexander Peck

Colorado Springs

Changing history

It seems the Colorado caucus is going the way of the spittoon, as we will soon switch to a primary system. I am honored to be the "last" state delegate from my precinct, simply by offering to take the name of the candidate chosen by our straw poll (I demanded a straw poll be taken, as was tradition!). However, tradition be damned!

The only reason we have a representative government is that it was not possible to fit every colonist into a hall in Philadelphia. It is high time to have a direct, digital democracy. One person, one vote, on everything! Any ballot issue can be read online. Anybody can vote once. The issue is closed at a certain time (say, 40 days). The result can be viewed online.

"What about hackers?!" they scream. Dude, you are so hacked by PACs right now!

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs

Good partnership

I am sorry that a parent has had a bad experience with the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and I want to express my sincere appreciation to Harrison District 2 for its continued partnership with this program ("Unhappy with D-2," Letters, March 9).

Both of my sons participated in the program for three years, and we thoroughly enjoyed the benefits they received from gifted music teachers and performers.

In 2013, one of our sons was given the opportunity to practice his singing, acting and dancing in the Conservatory's stage production of Oliver. It was an experience that he would not have had otherwise, simply because one of the music teachers suggested he try out. We were thrilled with the production and amazed at its quality.

I am confident many families are thankful for the experience of being part of a program that costs non-Harrison students hundreds of dollars to participate in each month.

Thank you for giving Harrison students the chance to try new things through programs such as this.

Even though my sons no longer attend Conservatory, I am still very grateful for the opportunity Harrison D-2 and C.S. Conservatory afforded them.

— Ericka Meyer

Colorado Springs

  • "Actually the 2C road work is really a $250 million giveaway."

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