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City elections, safety issues, and "a facile coward" 

SoapBox

We shared our 2019 local election endorsements earlier this month, and since then our readers haven't been shy about sharing theirs.
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.

No vote for Wayne Williams

According to isidewith.com Mr. Williams supports expanding off shore drilling and the further use of hydraulic fracking. He supports the Patriot Act, which is probably unconstitutional. He believes working illegal immigrants should Not be given temporary amnesty. He does not support Affirmative Action. He does not support the legislation of marijuana. He supports the military flying drones over foreign countries to gain intelligence and kill Suspected terrorists. He does Not support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He believes that Suspects of terrorism should not be given Constitutional rights, even if they are US citizens. He supports the death penalty. He does not believe children of illegal immigrants should be granted legal citizenship, as is written in the Amendment to the Constitution. We should Not raise taxes on the rich. We should Lower the tax rate on corporations. He believes we should make cuts to public spending to reduce the national debt. We should put more restrictions on current welfare benefits. He is anti abortion. He does Not want to separate church and state by removing references to God on federal buildings and national monuments. He does Not support same sex marriage.
Knowing all this I cannot support Wayne Williams.
— Cheryl Leonhardt
click to enlarge Wayne Williams - COURTESY WAYNE WILLIAMS
  • Courtesy Wayne Williams
  • Wayne Williams

Your voice is needed

There is a very important municipal election going on for City Council At-Large and Mayor. You should have already received your ballot in the mail. When you sit down to fill it out please take a few moments to educate yourself on the candidates and specifically who is funding those candidates. This matters greatly.

Are they funded by grassroots, individual donations or by large donations from PAC’s, corporations and wealthy donors? Ask yourself why such large donations are being made and what is expected in return from the candidate. Ask yourself who will they represent and who are they beholden too.
Your questions are easily answered. You can visit a candidate website to find out about their platform and issues or read voter’s guides, but this can only tell you so much. Perhaps a better resource would be the campaign finance reports. Candidates are required to file financial reports with the city. These can be quickly reviewed on coloradosprings.gov by searching Campaign Finance Filings. You can see a list of the amounts and donors each candidate has accepted.

Nearly 2/3 of registered voters didn’t participate in the municipal election of 2017. Local politics is where laws and policy affect you most directly. Please vote! And before you do, take the time to find the candidate whose priorities and principles most closely align with yours.
Vote Smart!
— Bear Wilson

"A facile coward"

Once again, Cory Gardner showed his utter servility to Donald Trump. Instead of actually doing the right thing, today he once again put party over constitutional dictate and voted against the Emergency Declaration Resolution of Disapproval in the US Senate. There is no emergency on the border with Mexico, there’s only one in the tortured mind of Donald Trump. Gardner is a facile coward and cannot credibly call himself a supporter and defender of the US Constitution. It’s OK, though, because in November of 2020, the voters of Colorado are going to bounce him out on his ear. I’d recommend that he begin updating his resume sooner rather than later. Since last year’s trillion-and-a-half dollar tax cuts for the wealthy that Gardner supported have completely failed to stimulate the economy, he might be out of work for some time.
Sincerely,
— Greg Sauer
click to enlarge Cory Gardner - GAGE SKIDMORE, VIA FLICKR.COM
  • Gage Skidmore, via Flickr.com
  • Cory Gardner

Our Colorado Springs safety: Long term vision

It is comforting to know that when smoke begins rising from our rooftops, that the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) will arrive on scene well before the point we are stumbling through smoldering ash, searching for what is left of our belongings and the family dog.

With a greatly expanded land mass being developed east of the city limits and strong growth happening around the NE segment of the city there is a growing risk of fire hazards due to changing weather patterns. How long can we maintain this level of comfort and safety knowing we will have a shortage of firefighters using increasingly outdated, worn-out apparatus?

Revenue is the key to funding all public safety needs as well as all other services provided by local government, particularly Public Safety. While the majority of local governments are funded by property taxes, Colorado Springs depends on sales taxes which are far more volatile than property taxes. These tax revenues may well level off, go flat, or even decline in the near future. Next recession is generally thought to be coming in the late 2019, early 2020 time frame.

The arena of firefighting is a ‘specialty’ area with needs best evaluated and communicated to the public by those in the firefighting profession and its Professional Firefighting Community – much like health concerns. When you have heart issues, you go to a Cardiologist – not to a Podiatrist. When the Professional Firefighters speak about public safety and their needs to protect our community, then perhaps we should listen? The Firefighters are our ‘Cardiologists’, the Mayor our ‘Podiatrist’.

There will be a ballot measure, Issue 1, on the April 2019 municipal election ballot allowing our firefighting community to have the right to have voice at the table in around matters centered on staffing, equipment, policy as well as compensation.

This measure will be strongly opposed by the Mayor – The Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC, Colorado Springs Forward and The Homebuilder Association. These are individuals and associations who know absolutely nothing about: firefighting. They know politics. They do ‘Politics’ well.
click to enlarge FILE PHOTO
  • file photo
Should we be listening to those who know the subject – those who have concerns about the future revenue generating capability of the city to fund public safety needs? Or to Politicians? The Mayor, originally willing to meet with the firefighters, has shown a recent reluctance to even meet and discuss their concerns, forcing the firefighting community to reach out to the public for assistance. It’s our turn to support our firefighters.

While City officials, some within the daily Press, and the Chamber all glowingly about the strength of the local economy – let’s consider some key factors that may explain the need for our firefighters to have the right to be heard – and concerns about future revenues to fund their needs:

The city recently reduced its sales tax revenues by approximately $35M for the period 2019 through 2025. That is $35M less to spend on firefighting apparatus, training and staff! A reduction of $7M annually. (Source.)

Colorado Springs has the slowest rate of wage increase of all the metro areas in the state as well as the lowest per capita individual income. Smaller wage increase: smaller sales tax collections. (Source.)

Colorado Springs is the only major metro area in the state, other than Pueblo, to feature a steady decline in per capita gross output for twenty years running. Declining output: declining revenues. (Source.)

Colorado Springs is way behind the rate of production in bringing new firms to the region than are competing cities – some of which are smaller than the Springs! Fewer new firms: fewer revenue dollars collected.

These data points raise concerns on future funds available for public safety. This is not about raising taxes – this is about budget priorities, and asking politicians to honor their campaign pledges that public safety will be their number one priority! Candidates are talking the talk – after election are they walking the walk?

Perhaps for fire safety needs, we should listen to those who know the subject and vote YES on 1 to allow collective bargaining for our firefighters. They will show up to put out your fire.
Will the Mayor or the Chamber?

— Richard D. Wehner

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