Fork in the road

The forked tongue with which it speaks about "bullying" makes clear it is time to remove the Focus on the Family highway signs on Interstate 25.

— Ted Nace

Colorado Springs

Military monopoly

Little by little, we get more details about the militarization of the skies in our region. This is not a conspiracy. It is fact. Most recently we have found out that there are 16 Fort Carson helicopter landing zones in our nearby mountains.

The Pueblo Chieftain recently published a story about the beginning of Air Force drone flight training at Doss Aviation, located at the Pueblo airport.

The Army wants to bring 120 more helicopters to Fort Carson. The landing zones would obviously get lots more use. Their number might well increase.

The Air Force includes El Paso County in the flying zone for Ospreys and C-130s doing Air Force Special Forces training out of Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, N.M. Initially that program calls for three flights a day, but that number could increase dramatically at their choosing. One can imagine that future day when the planes doing flyovers at Air Force football games will be drones flown from Pueblo.

What's next?

— Bill Sulzman

Colorado Springs

Strong-mayor response

In your rationale for opposing Question 300, the Mayor Project ("Strong opinions," Endorsements, Oct. 14), we disagree with the issues you cite as concerns.

There is no claim that an elected, full-time, accountable chief executive will solve all of the city's problems. Question 300 is simply a good first step. There is no dispute that Utilities governance and pay for Council are important issues, but they could not be addressed in Question 300 because ballot measures must adhere to a single subject. Those two issues also detract from the primary discussion of problems this system of government creates in transparency of decision-making and leadership. Other worthy subjects could be debated and changed; Question 300 does not preclude them and likely will create a path toward getting them on the public discussion docket.

Who gets elected should be everyone's concern in every election. We need and will gain good new leadership in April 2011; we believe it is an improvement to have one of those leaders, properly elected, articulate a vision for Colorado Springs with the responsibility and authority to implement it. We must trust the process and the voters in the end to elect good leaders. Beginning the change in three to five years is not necessary. San Diego Mayor Jerry Martin had two months to start his new administration in 2005. It does not take that long to get it right.

Many have contributed to the Mayor Project. Some gave time totaling hundreds of hours, many have given money. All contributed what they could to something they believe in, that a change is needed in Colorado Springs.

There is a critical need to finally do something to remedy the structural deficiencies in our government. Many things can be done; the Mayor Project (mayorproject.org) is not the only thing, but it is a good first step.

— Kevin Walker

Director, The Mayor Project

Charter schooled

Colorado Springs voters are deciding whether to keep their current council-manager form of government or change to a mayor-council. Strong-mayor proponents have spent a small fortune for attorneys to draft City Charter changes "they wanted," for a website and brochures to explain "their program," and for TV ads to win voters to "their side."

I am amazed at the number of citizen initiatives that become so divisive. The strong mayor is the latest. Doug Bruce is an expert at generating citizen initiatives that polarize us. Our City Council is also guilty of putting referenda on ballots without ever going through a comprehensive public process to validate the need, clarify the language and to gain needed support.

The Mayor Project initiative is based on a change of over 5,000 words to the City Charter, but the voters are only provided a 106-word ballot title, or summary. I would imagine very few voters have read or will take the time to read the entire charter, much less the changes proposed (both can be found at mayorproject.org/documents). We have seen the unintended consequences of too many initiatives that sounded good in sound bites and from the short ballot title, but when the entire initiative was implemented, we discovered problems.

Although I will vote against Question 300, if it fails, I will ask our City Council to set up a commission, similar to one evaluating the Memorial Health System ownership and governance, to thoroughly evaluate both forms of government and come up with a recommendation. However, if 300 passes, I will ask Council, when making changes in April to clean up the new charter, to sunset the new charter in four years. This would provide an opportunity to evaluate the strong mayor and make the change permanent or go back to council-manager.

— Vince Rusinak

Colorado Springs

'Mystery jobs'

Someone help me decide on how to vote on the Doug Bruce "trifecta" of 60, 61 and 101. The opponents are mainly the people that thrive on the fat of our government. They say 78,000 jobs will be lost! What jobs? Show me! I have heard politicians who sound like that guy on the street who wants 17 cents for a cup of coffee, the change is the hook and the coffee is the last thing he wants. Pathetic.

If "we the people" keep our money, then we only gain, right? If I had not seen so much waste and slow workers (who cannot be fired without an act of divine providence) along with the fact they make twice as much as I, I might vote out of the kindness of my heart to save these thousands of mystery jobs. The opponents need to make a better case (if they can).

— Karl Knapstein


Alternate reality

After what I just heard on the news, I am outraged. Sarah Palin was telling her Tea Party crowd: "We have to undo the damage that Obama has done." You have got to be kidding me!

The president has spent most of his time trying to undo the damages caused by eight years of incompetence and flawed policies. Yes, we all hoped we would be out of Iraq and Afghanistan by now, but it is not possible.

The country was in recession when Obama took over and now it has ended. Banks were on the verge of collapse, and he pulled them back from the brink on the grounds that foreclosures be slowed down. This has allowed thousands to keep their homes and rework their mortgages, and many banks have paid back their loans. Automakers are showing a profit, rehiring many who were laid off.

Many think health care reform was unnecessary, but because 9 million more people lost their insurance under Bush, something had to be done. The idea that voters want to put back into office members of the party that flushed us down the toilet for eight years is mind-blowing!

If the Republicans caused so many disasters and could not clean them up, why decide in less than 20 months that Democrats are not doing enough? People need to look at the candidates and their policies very carefully and decide if they want to undo the resuscitation that is occurring or keep flushing the toilet over and over again.

As for Sarah Palin, why anyone would take advice from someone so ill-equipped to lead a nation is beyond me. And why did Tea Party members not run in the primaries as Tea Party candidates instead of Republicans? Oh wait, that is another letter. Next time!

— Jane Madden

Colorado Springs

Point for Maes

Gasp! It actually happened — a politician and I actually agree! On the issues of prostitution and "illegal" drugs, Dan Maes and I agree!

We should legalize all "recreational" drugs, and prostitution, and tax it. After all, Prohibition has never, nor will it ever, work.

— Dwayne Schultz

Colorado Springs

Bicycling issues

As a driver and pedestrian, I would like to point out that as long as bicyclists are permitted on both roadways and sidewalks, there will always be some sort of angst.

An experienced driver will sometimes travel a few miles over the limit, be in an intersection just as the light turns red, or engage in a "California stop" about 15 percent of the time — just as an experienced cyclist will sometimes travel in the middle of a roadway with a speed limit that is posted for vehicles. These are usually professional — athletic.

Yes, roadways can be shared as long as it's clear that cyclists do so at their own risk, and yield the right of way to vehicles at all times; that is, keep as far to the right as possible and, if not possible, dismount rather than impede vehicular traffic flow.

Might we say the same things about pedestrians? "Negotiate sidewalks at your own risk!" I don't think so.

Cyclists do: go through red lights and stop signs, cut in front of faster-moving traffic, travel on the wrong side of the road, and ride on sidewalks — both ways, both sides.

Think the answer is well-marked bicycle lanes? Maybe, but they are few and far between and seem to end nowhere. Also, they appear on roads seldom traveled by cyclists.

— Marty Wilson

Colorado Springs

Need a plan

Does Colorado Springs have the right stuff to provide creative energy for job growth and a way out of economic recession? Maybe we fail, in Robbie Burns' words, "to see ourselves as others see us." Result: Let's call it venture capital punishment.

Entrepreneur (August issue) lists 50 U.S. cities as active or desirable business locations due to their innovation and commercial potential.

Colorado Springs is not mentioned. Boulder ranks very high, attracting $275 million in venture capital in 2009 despite a tough economy.

One wonders whether our city may have cultivated a kind of superiority complex, a throwback to the 19th-century mentality of "Little London." Enamored of our many community assets — climate, scenery, cost of living, educated workforce, quality of life — have we grown feckless about important issues such as job creation, bread on the table and roofs over our heads?

We were once a winner in the technology field and could be again. To emulate successful innovators like Silicon Valley or Boulder, we should capitalize on the ingenuity and talents of residents already here. Their education and training make them quite capable of providing new ideas, old ideas recycled, and technology expertise to produce marketable startups.

Venture capital is the investment money that transforms upstarts into startups. We are late coming to the party. It has taken Colorado Springs Technology Incubator its entire 10-year lifespan to attract a total of $38 million (Gazette, Sept. 15). A UCCS professor seeks to raise $3 million, this city's first venture capital fund. For the future and when the economy recovers, a venture capital municipal fund is not without precedent (San Jose and New York City).

For now, it is essential that the Economic Development Corporation, Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Olympic Committee, major employers and incubator promoters be all on the same page.

— John A. Daly

Colorado Springs

Deregulation destruction

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, says yes to extend tax cuts across all brackets.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has over 150 lobbyists who are paid over $1 million a year to write legislation for Republican senators and representatives to block any action by the Obama administration in benefiting and moving America forward in job creation and stimulating the economy. The national chamber is spending millions to defeat Democratic leaders across America. In fact, it is soliciting funds from overseas corporations to help defeat Democrats.

If you would read the manifesto of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the goals of the Republican Party, you will see that they are the same as the definition of fascism. With the help of George W. Bush's appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which legalized unlimited campaign spending by corporations, unions, trade associations and other such entities, our campaigns are now rigged by the very rich Republicans and the U.S. Chamber.

The privatization of government services — police, firefighters, education, veterans care, Social Security, Medicare, food inspection, DOT, FAA, water treatment, sewer, etc., plus the deregulation of rules that enforce safety and security — will destroy America. Civilized countries must have a fair tax system to survive. I have never heard any of my friends making over $250,000 complain of paying too much tax.

I cannot understand how people on Social Security as their main source of income, and Medicare as their only source of health care, want tax relief for millionaires.

— Leon Rodriguez



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