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Case against TABOR

Top 10 reasons we should repeal TABOR, which prevents elected officials from raising taxes when needed to save basic services:

10. Tourists are attracted to sites such as Pioneers Museum, Starsmore Discovery Center, Rock Ledge Ranch, etc. (which are now targeted for closure or severe cutbacks).

9. Colorado Springs' population is growing amid cuts in basic services.

8. Tax increases are now desperately needed.

7. The wealthiest 20 percent of citizens can easily afford increases in property taxes, luxury taxes, excise, user taxes and others. They cannot claim they can't afford to pay more, by definition of the word "wealthy."

6. Rich folks got the Bush tax cuts, and now can give back some of them. The wealthy are not hurting; only the bottom 80 percent are crimped, and the last 10 percent are desperate.

5. Police, fire, highway and health departments are vital and must operate at full strength or folks will die. Think that over.

4. Museums, parks, pools and elderly centers are absolutely required for any fully functioning city worth living in. Otherwise, why not live elsewhere?

3. The Gazette ("The Incredibly Shrinking Newspaper") supports TABOR.

2. This city is regressing, not progressing, due to lack of tax resources.

1. Disgraced former legislator Douglas Bruce wrote TABOR.

Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Turn the Paige

J. Adrian Stanley would be better off quoting someone who has just a bit more credibility than Sean Paige, the former Gazette editorial page editor ("It takes money to make money," News, Feb. 5). Paige has historically missed the big picture (maybe that is why he is "former"!); his out-of-touch opinion is in the minority and always has been; and perhaps if he had supported quality-of-life issues in Colorado Springs, he might have actually helped our Economic Development Corporation's efforts.

Please don't insult your readers by quoting this individual.

Steve Rodemer

Colorado Springs

A few bad apples

Re: Jill Moore's "Recycling troubles" letter of Feb. 19:

It's true, recycling has become somewhat more difficult for us all, but there is an unfortunate reason that Jill has missed. When I was living in Manitou, I utilized the recycling bins generously provided for that purpose at the west side Safeway. I remember attending a grass-roots meeting at Spice of Life Caf, at which Independent publisher John Weiss and others supported the idea and started the movement to obtain this community service, and a local waste-disposal service eventually agreed to provide the bins.

That's the positive, community-minded side. The dark side is that the service was consistently abused by the public. It was a success story gone bad. So many folks used the service that the bins were frequently filled to overflowing. Instead of returning another day, people left their bags, boxes and cans on the ground around the bins, creating an eyesore and nuisance for the recycling company and Safeway. When the wind came up, trash blew throughout the parking lot.

Others paid no attention to instructions and used the facility as a dump. Despite consistent, repeated warnings that the service would go away if the site wasn't kept clean, things got worse rather than better. For a while, volunteers kept watch to discourage the dumping. Finally someone's patience ran out and the bins went away. There was no surprise, at least not for someone who had observed the deteriorating situation. I suspect a similar scenario applies to other recycling sites that have disappeared.

I'm fortunate now to live near the recycling center off Fillmore Street and Stone Avenue. Others pay extra to have disposal companies deal with the issue. Everyone is slightly more inconvenienced because of an irresponsible few. Kind of reminds me of our financial crisis, but don't get me started on that!

Paul Dahlsten

Colorado Springs

The new trend

Well, folks, I feel it has begun. Colorado Springs looks like it will be the new Mecca of the west. Today I met two newcomers in my simple travels and, judging by what I can deduce from all my research, it's on.

Compared to many other parts of the country, we have it made. This is the bottom of our financial problems, and aside from closing a fire station, getting rid of a hundred extra police cruisers and cutting the hours of some city workers, it's going to be smooth sailing.

This is a perfect time for the county to legislate a growth tax on new residential construction. Say $10,000 to $20,000. The developers are already rich, and the workers are already laid off or have gone back home. This surcharge may slow growth (I hope) and raise the value of existing inventories (property taxes). The surcharge should be used for schools, parks and open-space development.

We have a choice: out-of-control big-box retail hell or high tech, high pay and sustainable growth. Let's implement what downtown Denver used to call a head tax: a few dollars out of every worker's check for the privilege to work in paradise. We have the opportunity through adversity to complete one of the best small cities in the nation.

The boys in Washington are spending us into a future of a huge inflationary spiral, and we have the golden opportunity to get ahead of the curve. Let's be smart and prosper together.

Karl Knapstein

Colorado Springs

Balink must go

To County Clerk Bob Balink:

I am asking that you resign, due to the arrogance that you have displayed over your tenure as clerk (using the office to promote your personal beliefs, squelching citizen participation) in addition to your recent action of turning off the phones ("Balink takes phone flak," Noted, Feb. 19). You forget that you serve the people, and not the other way around.

The arrogance of blaming the budget crisis and then giving no notice to the public or the rest of county government is a perfect example of your attitude that you answer to no one. Yes, making cuts is hard to do, but it is part of your job. Are you trying to "teach" the citizens a lesson, that you'll "show us" for not approving a tax hike? Did you ever think that your arrogance may be part of the reason we citizens refuse to approve a tax increase?

If you are so worried about the crisis, why not reduce your salary or volunteer to give part of it to your overworked staff?

For a quarter of your salary, you could find/hire a full-time employee just to answer the phone. With your passion for making technical justifications, you could even call them "seasonal" so that you could avoid the additional expense of benefits.

Instead, your actions are petulant and only hurt those who need the most help, who cannot stand up for themselves. How do persons who rely on the phone get help from your office?

Do you think if they had to resort to calling that they are able to access the Web or have the extra time or money to come to your office? Doubtful.

Because you turn your back on those you serve, I request your resignation.

Joe Irwin

Colorado Springs

Memo to 'smell-boy'

Please, smell-boy, tell me you were using the "emcee" title ironically in reference to Jonny 5 and the Rabbit Brer (Reverb, Feb. 19). I just chastised a Gazette scribe for using "emcee" when he really meant "MC." It wasn't "Emcee" Hammer who said, "Can't touch this."

According to the other guy, the Gazette style book defines "MC" as a colloquialism for "emcee," but emcee is a colloquialism for master of ceremonies, and where does that get you? Isn't "MC" in reference to a rapper a term of definition rather than a colloquialism? You wouldn't say Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit were masters of ceremonies of the Flobots, right? That would be weird.

Hell, you're just jerking my chain ...

Everything else looks good. See ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.

Marty Harper

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Adam Leech replies to this letter in this week's Reverb. One thing Adam doesn't mention, for what it's worth: Jonny 5 and Brer Rabbit refer to themselves as "a pair of intelligent, visionary emcees" on Flobots' Web site (flobots.com).

Stimulating irony

The stimulus package will give Colorado $1.97 billion. Colorado Springs has requested $1.3 billion of the pot (65.99 percent) to create only 3,006 jobs. That's $433,333 per job!

Which greedy bastard submitted the city's gluttonous request to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Colorado Counties Inc.? (Yes, $125 million for a street-widening project?)

Wasn't El Paso one of the few Colorado counties that went to the Republican candidate?

Our U.S. Rep. Doug (Stillborn) Lamborn didn't even vote for this economic stimulus package and said: "This spending bill is a sorry substitute for a comprehensive economic stimulus plan to help American families and businesses. My constituents are looking to Congress for real solutions. Instead, the Democrats have delivered them a big government spending spree."

His constituents sure have jumped on the wagon in a big way.

Whatever the size of the pie Colorado Springs gets, we have only the Democrats to thank!

Robert Kalkowski

Colorado Springs

Broken promises

I read the Independent almost without fail. This is my first time writing.

George Bush broke, I think, 19 campaign promises in his first month in office. Barack Obama, it seems, will not be far behind.

This stimulus we will have to pay back with interest. I hear the debt will amount to about 4,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies per man, woman and child. Expect $13 more in take-home, if you still have a job, not enough for a homemaker to buy bread, milk and eggs. Maybe bus fare, but forget about the cab. Those of us unemployed or homeless won't be seeing it, either. I'd have rather received the $8,000.

As a candidate, Obama promised to keep Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security intact. Today he's looking at cutting back on these programs to settle the national debt, which I believe the stimulus doubled.

Maybe without such a lavish inauguration, we wouldn't have to borrow now. Also, support and donations from unions and union workers contributed to his election. Forget about NAFTA. No time for that now.

Next, he's considering amnesty for all illegals. The simple logic: Immigrants don't immediately run for office, so his job is secure, but they do compete for jobs in almost every other sector. We pay for food stamps, supplemental housing and health care for them when many of us cannot afford it for our own families.

Thanks. I doubt if this gets published, but it's off my chest at least.

Robert Salazar

Colorado Springs

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