One of the most contentious issues in Colorado Springs in recent years has been the issue of trading city-owned parkland for privately owned land. Brought on by the controversial "Strawberry Fields" land swap with the Broadmoor Hotel, the effort to change the city charter to make it more difficult to swap land has gone on much longer than it should have. It's time to settle the issue once and for all, and either of two competing issues on this year's ballot will do just that. While both ballot issues 2B and 2C are similar, the difference is in the details. Very simply put, 2B would require the approval of Colorado Springs voters to transfer land, while 2C would allow a "super majority" (7 of the 9 city councilors) to approve a land swap. There are exceptions as to what would require either action to take place and land purchased with TOPS money already requires voter approval before being swapped or otherwise disposed of.
When I have talked to people about these two issues, there has been some misunderstanding about how the vote works. it's not a simple either/or vote. As with any other ballot issue, either or both must get more "yes" votes than "no" votes to even have a chance to pass. If both get more "yes" than "no" votes, the one with the highest number of "yes" votes passes. If only one gets more "yes" than "no" votes, it passes. But, if neither 2B or 2C gets enough "yes" votes to pass, then neither passes.
Don't let that happen. Both issues provide more protection of our park lands than currently exists, so study the two proposals, pick the one you like the best, and vote "yes" on it. You can either vote "no" on the other, or not cast a vote on it at all, but it behooves you to make a decision, and vote.
Fall Colors Update: It seems that the warm, dry summer and fall has taken its toll on fall colors this year. While some places, such as Mueller State Park, Guanella Pass and Kebler Pass have done well, other places, such as perennial favorite Kenosha Pass, haven't. This past Thursday I made the trek down to the town of Cuchara, on scenic Colorado Highway 12 in southern Colorado, with plans to do some leaf-peeping and photography. My past experience has been that the first and second week in October is usually the prime time for fall colors in the southern part of the state. This year, however, didn't pan out. The scrub oak along Highway 12 between La Veta and Cuchara had already turned and leaves had fallen, while the aspens looked pretty good up to Cuchara. Going south on Hwy 12 from Cuchara to Forest Service Road 422 (Bear and Blue Lakes), the fall colors diminished in quantity, and past 422 to the top of Cuchara Pass, the trees were mostly bare. FSR 422, usually a hot-bed of fall colors, was a total bust. A local resident I ran into confirmed that the timing of my visit would normally have been spot-on, but this year the colors changed early and didn't last very long. I was able to get intimate, close-up photos of colorful leaves, but this visit wasn't one for getting the big, wide photos of large swaths of color.
A weather front moving in on Sunday, accompanied by windy conditions, may sound the death knell for fall colors at the higher elevations. On the other hand, the trees at the lower elevations, such as the cottonwood trees along Fountain Creek, are just starting to turn, and should be getting better over the next few weeks.
Be Good. Do Good Things.
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