TABOR, Richard Nixon and mischief in Manitou Springs 

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 credit for TABOR

Please tell Patience Kabwasa the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) Amendment protects those in the Hillside area of Colorado Springs, and all property taxpayers in Colorado. She gave it no credit in her overwrought story.  Her June 5 article implies that those with 35% property assessment increases are being driven from their homes. TABOR controls overall property revenue growth. Absent a voter-approved property tax rate increase, revenue in each district will change only by the combination of inflation plus net new construction (more buildings voluntarily paying the tax) or student enrollment increases in school districts (rare).

If general inflation is 2.3% and local growth (mostly new construction) is 1%, that district's growth in revenue is 3.3%, not 35%. In effect, grandma's property tax bill stays the same in inflation-adjusted dollars. No one is taxed out of his or her home.

Sales are caused by leaving town, death, moving to a nicer neighborhood, downsizing, or wanting to take a profit in a rising market.

Owning real estate is more desirable when property tax growth is limited, and not at the whim of government studies. Higher home prices are another TABOR success story. The alternative of plunging values would be painful and costly.

If your home's assessment grew 35% in two years, but tax revenue can only grow 3.3%, the property tax rate is forced down so that final values times the new, lower rate grows only by the revenue growth limit. The next year, there is no change.

TABOR takes the profit (to government) out of assessments. No sales are forced by higher valuations. I know it is painful for the Independent to admit that TABOR helps taxpayers, or to admit Douglas Bruce was right, but those are the facts and the law. You can verify it with our county assessor.

— Douglas Bruce, TABOR author

Stop the Comparison

The increasing comparisons between Donald Trump and President Richard Nixon must stop. Not only because they are historically inaccurate to the point of irresponsibility, but because they are also tremendously unfair. To Nixon.

Historians have filled volumes with criticisms of Richard Nixon, and some of the ones that weren't written by useless hippie professors unwilling to admit that it was JFK who first introduced combat troops into Viet Nam (illegally, BTW) are legitimate. But there are a few things people should know about our 37th president besides the fact that he is the only man to ever resign from the office. Richard Nixon grew up dirt-poor, laboring alongside adults on the family farm, in an era where survival had to be earned daily. As a young man, Nixon didn't wait to get drafted during World War II; he enlisted in the US Navy where he earned the rank of Commander (and a fair share of service awards) while serving in the South Pacific Theater. After his service, he was elected to congress, where he was quite successful not only because he understood the basics of how our government works, but also because he possessed a keen sense of nuance in navigating and advancing policy through the legislature. Nixon knew how to get things done. Added to Ike's ticket in the fifties, Nixon served two terms as vice-president where he spent the next eight years of his life being truly under appreciated while serving one of our most 'disinterested' presidents.

Once he became president, Nixon understood the power that he had. More importantly, he understood the powers that he did not have. He had a sense of history and America's post-war role in shaping it. Love Nixon or hate Nixon, you cannot deny that Nixon had a vision of where to lead our country through some of it's most difficult times, and he could enunciate it clearly, not limited by an intellect that can only be expressed one hundred and forty characters at a time. Nixon wanted to lead, not simply erase the accomplishments of his predecessors. Nixon governed, and he was eminently qualified to president of the United States. You may not have agreed with Nixon, but it cannot be denied: Nixon was worthy of the office. He earned the presidency, inch by inch, battle by battle, year by year, by preparation, by right, and by victory, with no thanks to Leonid Brezhnev. Along the way Nixon also earned a reputation for ruthlessness, and he has been vilified for it in the history books. Quite simply, that's what it took back then; today's soft politicians would have never survived the rough and tumble politics of Nixon's era.

Richard Nixon was a faithful husband and father— whose daughter, Tricia, never made a dime off of slave labor as practiced in countries antagonistic towards the United States— chose to exit the stage quietly because at the end of the day, as flawed and imperfect as he was, Richard Milhaus Nixon was a patriot who loved his country more than he loved the power and the attention of his office. Nixon was not about accolades, Nixon was about accomplishment. Nixon betrayed the oath of his office, but Nixon did not betray America. And despite sometimes contentious personal relationships with other world leaders, when Nixon was president our allies went to bed at night with the certainty that America had their back, and our enemies slept with one eye open— not the other way around.

Yes, there were some tense moments in the summer of '74, but in the end, Nixon went quietly into the long winter's night. He did it because Nixon put America first. He did it because he realized that the office of the president was much, much bigger than himself, and because he knew that the checks and balances that are the crux of our republican form of government were much more important than his personal ambitions. Nixon knew that the faith of the American public in the office of the presidency was more important than their faith in him.

Can Donald Trump say any of those things?

— Daniel C. Smith

Missed opportunity

I’m surprised Jim Hightower can write a column without blaming or badmouthing Trump about something. Surely Trump must be responsible for the Micky D conspiracy. Missed your opportunity. Keep up the good work Jim.

— Allen Harmon

Banana Republic

It's now official; Manitou Springs is a Banana Republic. The stench of self-dealing and corruption spews from Council chambers following Council's star-chamber decree appointing one of their own to a highly paid sinecure position at the top of city administration. Having eclipsed the mere appearance of impropriety, this gross violation of fiduciary duty flies in the face of legal advice from Council's independent counsel, and violates every ethical standard known to democracy: elected officials have a primary responsibility to observe fiduciary duties of care, loyalty, impartiality, accountability, and the duty to preserve public trust. Indeed, having botched two transparent searches for city manager (I have knowledge that the head-hunting community now regards Manitou as a laughing stock), City Council now violates open meetings law by forming a shadow cabal to install one of their own in office when a deep pool of candidates, trusting to fair and ethical public processes, scheduled their opportunities to compete, bringing wealth of knowledge, specialty, and experience in public administration to bear. Oh, apparently these norms of public trust are no longer relevant to our city. Worse, Acting City Manager Ash violates her fiduciary responsibility to act as the Hand of Corruption, when she should have ethically and professionally refused to do so, if not resigned outright.

Here's what's next in the weeks to follow: Councilor Elder will receive the emoluments of all City landscaping and groundskeeping contracts, which she will convey to herself after she is appointed Public Services Director. Councilor Smith will crown himself Chief of Police in name for his wife, our former Chief of Police, so she won't have to observe working after retirement restrictions. Councilor Wolbrueck shall merge the city's website into her online business – want access to public information, or apply for a permit or license? Pay Wolbrueck first. Planning Director Rohrer will enable his new empire of B&Bs to thrive, unrestrained by licensing, zoning, historic guidelines, or other disagreeable inconveniences. Mayor Jaray and Councilor Fortuin shall serve penance in their current positions, as an example to all who foolishly believe ethics and propriety have meaning. And City Manager Todd's oily sheen of graft will taint all he touches. Fie.

— Thomas Fears


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