Approval voting, restaurant community, and a downtown convention center? 

Editor's note: The following have been submitted by Indy readers, unedited, un-fact-checked, and presented in whole. Join the conversation in the comment section below, or via email to letters@csindy.com.

A downtown convention center

I am writing about the convention center proposed by the Broadmoor. This is on the city council agenda on May 14th. The Broadmoor's chosen location is near the Broadmoor. There is a better approach that would benefit the entire city- a convention center located DOWNTOWN.

1. A downtown convention center would energize the city and provide a double boost to the economy- tax revenue from the facility AND increased economic activity in the city's traditional center.

2. A downtown location would be central, visible and within reach of many restaurants and shops, not just those of the Broadmoor. It would benefit everyone - business owners, restaurateurs, patrons from all parts of Colorado Springs and all parts of the country - a perfect pairing with the new Olympic museum.

3. A downtown location would be a gathering place for residents and visitors of all socioeconomic classes - a hub of activity and a place of employment in a central location. Let's revitalize this area – there is land available for development near the Olympic museum.

4. If our council approves the construction project as proposed by the Broadmoor we will miss an opportunity to build what we might otherwise accomplish in downtown Colorado Springs.

5. I urge our city council to consider this better approach. I want the Broadmoor to work with the city on a better plan, a mutually beneficial approach. In the best interest of the entire city – a downtown convention center.

Approval voting

The Approval Voting Party advocates the adoption of approval voting, a simple voting method that allows voters to choose any number of candidates for a given office. "Check all the candidates yeah or nay. The most yeahs win at the end of the day."

The candidate with the broadest appeal wins. Approval voting discourages negative campaigning and political extremism.

Under the current system, popular candidates sometimes lose when a minor candidate draws some votes away from them. Approval Voting resolves this by allowing supporters of alternative candidates to also support a more electable frontrunner as a compromise.

I was the Approval Voting Party candidate for President in 2016. In 2018, Blake Huber was the Approval Voting Party's candidate for Secretary of State. Blake was the only "unaffiliated" candidate who successfully petitioned onto Colorado's statewide ballot in 2018. His petition drive gave Colorado residents the option to affiliate with the Approval Voting Party on their voter registration.

Colorado recently passed legislation obstructing independent candidates from petitioning onto the ballot. However, if one thousand voters affiliate with the Approval Voting Party on their voter registration by April 1, 2020, the Approval Voting Party will qualify as a recognized minor party in Colorado, legally authorized to nominate candidates by party convention. As of May 1, 648 active Colorado voters were affiliated with the Approval Voting Party.

Express your support for a more sensible voting system by changing your political party affiliation to the Approval Voting Party.

For more information, go here.

— Frank Atwood, Chairperson, Approval Voting Party

* Editor's note: The following was originally written for a college class assignment.

If local had a face

Colorado Springs has a plethora of local restaurants that are cornerstones of the community. We know they serve us, but now they share how we serve their business: There is something different about eating in a locally owned restaurant. Something special. The most obvious reasons are that the food is probably not from a bag and that the restaurant is right down the street. What makes the difference though? People.

Local restaurants are something close to my heart. My parents own and run The Warehouse in downtown Colorado Springs, so there is an obvious bias. But, there are dozens of other locally owned restaurants in town that I love just the same. Local owners make the difference when it comes to having the best restaurant experience possible because they understand their customers. They live in the same town and go to the same events as their loyal patrons.

Jenny Sherman, co-owner of Odyssey and The Bench, knows the importance of active participation in the community. “We are a part of the community, so we understand what’s missing, what we can’t access, and what we can provide in terms of food and experience,” Sherman says.

There is also the clear understanding of culture that comes when the owner of the restaurant lives in town. The owner is no longer an intimidating businessman, but a friend. Relationships with customers are truly what sets these restaurants apart. Brent Beavers, a Colorado chef and restaurateur for over 30 years, has known some of his customers for decades. “I still have people that come to my restaurant from when I owned Sencha, and we closed 12 years ago,” Beavers says nostalgically.

These relationships also allow restaurants to be incredibly in touch with what their customers want. Trends in food and restaurant experiences are apparent, allowing the chefs and owners to tailor their restaurant experience to their customers. As a guest, the goal of the meal is no longer to eat and leave, but to enjoy and experience the meal with these local restaurateurs.

The most important difference that comes with locally owned restaurants is the sense of community owners create with their customers. Community is necessary to human existence, and there is no better way to build community than through food. These business men and women have the unique opportunity to not just be chefs or banquet coordinators, but friends of their city, and Eric Viedt, co-owner and chef at The Margarita at Pine Creek, deeply understands the importance of community. “There are plenty of places in town to go if you’re hungry,” says Viedt, “but the places that are special are local and they are the places people can go and get down and reconnect.”

Without these local restaurants and their owners, the community would not be the same. The pride customers feel for local food would be gone and restaurant relationships with customers would be minimal. These restaurants shape Colorado Springs. These restaurants are the face of local.
— Alaina Africano

Represent the West

I have stopped picking up the Independent, since there is nothing ever about Colorado Springs' Westside or Old Colorado City in it. When Kenyon Jordan ceased publication of the "Westside Pioneer" after decades of well delivering its independent news of a town which was founded 10 years before Colorado Springs drove its first stake, we who not only live here now but are among those who turned the core historical area around the 1959 Cabin in Bancroft Park into a National Historic District in 1982, launched recurrently popular Territory Days before 1980, and made it so that over 150 1890's business and residential buildings economically and architecturally attractive that scores of small businesses and families moved in.

While we were busy starting in 1976 reviving "Old Town," misguided downtown Colorado Springs owners had set about in the 1960s destroying all of its historical buildings. The great opera house on Colorado Avenue is still a parking lot.

— Dave Hughes

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