South by southwest at the Fine Arts Center

To the Editor:

In his letter concerning the Fine Arts Center proposed expansion ("Architectural necessity ... ," April 26), Richard Lightle mistakenly asserts that the choice of site "by the Fine Arts Center leadership" is that of the existing parking lot on the south side -- and that it's unfortunate that this choice is raising opposition.

Unfortunately, that is not the site that is raising opposition. Many people agree with Mr. Lightle that the existing parking lot would be the best site for an expansion.

The area proposed as the site for the expansion can be seen on a plan diagram posted by the front desk of the Fine Arts Center. It is at the southwest corner of the existing building. Concerns with this site are twofold: potential irrevocable violation of the architectural integrity of the original building; and potential dangerous precedents regarding the violation of General Palmer's original deed restrictions pertaining to Monument Valley Park land.

The Fine Arts Center's current leadership is highly respected and appreciated by the regional arts community and the Colorado Springs community at large. No one questions the need for expanded, 21st-century facilities to match and embody the Fine Arts Center's exciting vision, as well as the needs of a vital, growing community. I wish that the parking lot site Mr. Lightle champions were, in fact, the proposed site for the expansion. (Another site that could link well with the original building without compromising it would be that of the existing sculpture garden at Cascade and Dale streets.)

As a second-generation Colorado Springs artist with particular personal ties to the Fine Arts Center (my father's downstairs murals have been part of the building since it opened in 1936), I applaud the Center's vision and spirit: to host amazing, perhaps challenging, national or international exhibitions while supporting regional artists, all rooted in the exquisite Southwest founding collections of the Taylor Museum. But I am one of those who opposes the site choice being publicized by the Fine Arts Center, on the southwest corner, necessitating Monument Valley Park land negotiations.

I trust that the creativity and vision I so respect at the Fine Arts Center will result in an expansion more along the lines that Mr. Lightle describes -- one that not only meets (and exceeds!) the Center's needs, but also one in which the entire community takes pride and rejoices.

-- Pat Musick
Colorado Springs

Clean up your mess

To the Editor:

My letter comes in response to "Gun Range Litters the Landscape" (April 19). I realize that I am probably not the first to propose this solution to the problem, but I feel that it is an important one as it directly addresses the greater need for people taking responsibility for their actions in this country.

I believe a dedication to a more aggressive patrol of the area can reveal at least some of the culprits. Once identified, the offenders are then sentenced to cleaning up a determined square footage of the littered landscape. Rather than spending more tax dollars enforcing the punishment, the parcel to be cleaned may be inventoried via video recorder prior to cleanup to identify the elements of trash as well as quantity and location. The offender is then left on his own to clean up his predetermined area. Upon exiting the property, the offender must present his cargo of waste to an authority who can then simply verify items and quality against the earlier video file. The offender meanwhile has cleaned up his given piece of property by his own means and at his own expense in order to minimize the burden on taxpayers. Upon a return site visit, if the offender has not successfully completed his task he will be sent back to finish the job with a possibility of additional square footage as punishment.

This is a tough sentence, but is certainly neither cruel nor unusual given the offender's ability to litter the landscape in the first place. As a proponent of a healthy natural ecosystem, I for one have had enough of a handful of greedy and irresponsible individuals damaging the environment for the rest of us.

Thank you for considering my interest in this topic as well as for continuing to present the news as many mainstream sources of media are unwilling to do.

-- James Kruse
Colorado Springs

Calculate impact fees correctly

To the Editor:

Ann Oatman-Gardner wrote ("Patching up Colorado Springs," Letters, April 19) stating essentially that new development in El Paso County should be forced to pay its own way and that it not be a burden to existing taxpayers. I agree whole-heartedly. The city and the county should make a true and honest calculation of the revenue and the expense generated by each new home and should then make a proper charge. Or a rebate, as the case may be.

Oh, yes. There may be a rebate. I understand that that possibility goes against accepted wisdom. But accepted wisdom is not necessarily wise or knowledgeable. Developers, in fact, already pay very substantial impact fees, in the area of $7,500 on a $200,000 home or approximately $32 million total in the year 2000. These use fees are for drainage fees, bridge fees, pond fees, school fees, park fees, water development fees, waste recovery fees, waste water development, etc.

Further, that new $200,000 home incorporates about $70,000 worth of building materials on which about $1,500 of sales tax revenue is generated. If those taxes were set aside for infrastructure or to fire, police and maintenance salaries, new housing would have generated about $6.5 million in the year 2000. This is no different from the setting aside of gasoline taxes for highway improvements or a use tax for the Convention Bureau.

There are any number of other arguments to be made, but I will say that there is a case to be made that if a fair and honest impact fee analysis is made -- as contrasted to the underhanded and dishonest analysis in the case of the Woodmen/Academy overpass so well covered by Cara DeGette in the April 27, 2000 issue of the Independent -- we would find that new homes may in fact be subsidizing older homes.

I do not understand all this divisive carping at one another. We all ought to be happy to live in a wonderful city like Colorado Springs and we all ought to work together to solve our city's problems. And we all ought to have the facts before we can do so and not rely on fables.

-- Robert Hoff
Colorado Springs

How do I quote thee? Incorrectly.

To the Editor:

As an English major at UCCS, I am always glad to see a literary reference in a newspaper, but in the interest of accuracy I must comment upon one such reference in Jim Hightower's column in your April 26 edition.

Hightower begins his "In So Many Words, 'You're Fired'" column with the statement: "To paraphrase Shakespeare, 'How do I fire thee? Let me count the ways.'"

I believe he is actually paraphrasing Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Sonnet XLIII in her Sonnets from the Portuguese begins, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

-- Charles Carr
Colorado Springs

pResidential polls misleading

To the Editor:

The reporting of the results of the latest ABC-Washington Post poll is a perfect example of what is wrong with our national media. Every TV station and major newspaper across this nation boldly proclaimed that 63 percent of the people approved of the job the "pResident" was doing. However, on a closer analysis, we see that the majority of respondents did not think the present Resident even understood their concerns. The headlines could have read, "Majority of Americans Do Not Think President Understands Problems."

Furthermore, 66 percent thought it was more important to provide needed services than to cut the size of government. Also, 66 percent thought the pResident cared more about big business and corporations than about "normal" people. The headlines could have read, "Bush Cares More for Corporations Than People."

We should note that it is not the polls that are faulty. It is not even the results of the polls. It is the "reporting" of the results. From every question in the poll, there was a clear indication that the people did not agree with Bush's policies. By more than 80 percent, the people polled thought Bush was more interested in economic growth and oil exploration than in the environment. The headlines could have said, "Vast Majority Disagree with Bush on Environment."

However, we were told that 63 percent of the people approve of the job the pResident is doing. Only 32 percent disapproved. From the job approval question alone, these numbers are to be expected. Even Bill Clinton had high job approval ratings during the height of the McCarthyite impeachment hearings.

Unless Bush is caught in bed with a corpse or a young boy, we can expect his "job approval" to remain high -- so long as we have a good economy -- even though the obvious conclusion from the poll was that the majority of people do not agree with Bush's priorities and he does not understand the problems of average Americans. The media and the Repugnant Party wish for us to believe that Bush is as popular as their idol, Reagan. But Democrats should not be deceived. This pResident is wading in deep doo-doo.

-- Ken Alford
Colorado Springs

Write re: home inspections

To the Editor:

My name is John W. Jackson Jr. I was in a story run in your paper today ("Disabled Divide couple may lose home ...," April 26). The reason for this letter is to have the comments of your readers sent to my home or [have you] call me so that I can pick up copies of these letters. I am trying to have laws passed to control home inspectors, so they can no longer shaft disabled vets, [the] elderly or disabled people! I thank you for all of your help.

-- John W. Jackson Jr.


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