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Ignoring the people’s voice 

click to enlarge Strawberry Fields may have set a precedent locally. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Strawberry Fields may have set a precedent locally.

Regarding the recent Indy article on a local Bitcoin mining operation:

It would appear that the present leadership in Colorado Springs is far more interested in growth and income than it is in local neighborhood concerns. For instance: Colorado College’s new stadium and the attendant neighborhood parking concerns; The Broadmoor’s expansion plan and the hotel’s blithe disregard for the way in which that plan impacts neighborhood parking and wildfire evacuation; the opposition of multiple neighborhoods to short-term rentals, which has been met with no more than the feeble imposition of an annual fee that many have ignored; the bike-lane re-striping of Cascade Avenue; and the article which prompted this submission.

These are but a few examples of the local neighborhood issues that have caught the headlines in recent times. None of these have been met with firm, adequate and decisive resolution by the city.

The reality is that no place stays exactly the same year after year. All neighborhoods evolve. The question is what direction they’re moving in, and what forces are pushing them that way. It’s tempting to say that this pushing aside of the people’s voice began with the utterly corrupted giveaway of public land to The Broadmoor, i.e., Strawberry Fields.

It’s probably more accurate to say that it suddenly became highly visible during that disgraceful exercise in public disenfranchisement. There is a reason why the prestigious Wall Street Journal willingly chose to publish an article featuring our very own Broadmoor land exchange.

Regardless of when or how this increasingly autocratic and corrupt form of governance started, the solutions are pretty clear. First, Colorado Springs needs to undo the strong mayor form of city governance as soon as possible. That concept has proven itself far too susceptible to the political ambitions, personal leadership style (Steve Bach) and “connections” (John Suthers) of the person who occupies the seat. It isn’t that hard to admit we made a mistake when choosing the strong mayor concept for our city. The risk lies in not collectively correcting an error that very clearly has led to a more autocratic and far less responsive form of government. That way danger lies.

Second, we really need to pay our City Council a living wage. The lockstep voting majority of those gray-haired pension-supported geezers (not my words) who now sit on our City Council is clearly not responding to the voice of the people. This is also true of the city’s current parks director, Karen Palus, and City Attorney Wynetta Massey, who answer directly to the strong mayor, along with other major players in the city government. 

Even the “volunteer” Parks and Recreation Advisory Board has shown itself to be swayed by inappropriate phone calls from the mayor. It really is time for a big change, or more easily tolerable, perhaps — call it a corrective action. As the bulldozers move in to impart their leaden destruction on what was rightfully our pristine public land by North Cheyenne Cañon Park, one hopes that the visible evidence of invisible forces will constitute a clarion call.

Change doesn’t have to be that difficult. Just remember the Big Blue Frame at Garden of the Gods (tinyurl.com/Indy-blueframe). The future of Colorado Springs depends wholly upon the courage, insistent voice and decisive actions of its electorate.

Together and party-blind, the citizens of Colorado Springs can mold the future of this city, and its neighborhoods, to fit the peoples’ vision, and not that of a handful of wrong-headed career politicians.

Never in my half-century of living here has it felt more timely and downright imperative to say, “The future is in your hands.”

Donna Strom has lived in Cheyenne Cañon since 1973 and has been known to stand up for the acquisition and preservation of public open space in Colorado Springs.

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