June 27, 2013 Updated: June 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm
Before rushing to the courtroom
Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed into law Senate Bill 13-025, which facilitates the collective bargaining process for firefighters and, upon written request, provides firefighters a statutory seat at the table when issues of safety and equipment are being addressed. The bill concerns me for two reasons: 1. I am opposed to public sector unions. When public sector unions exist in critical departments, government cannot guarantee public safety needs will be addressed. 2. The bill does not respect the home rule authority guaranteed by the Colorado Constitution in Article 20, Section 6.
As a city we cannot control the existence of Senate Bill 13-025; it's signed, it's here to stay. However, what we can control is our reaction to it. Some local government leaders are already focused on a legal battle that could cost the city untold amounts of time and money. Before rushing to the courtroom, I believe we should build on the mutually-appreciative, trusting relationship we've established with our firefighters.
Over the years, our community has shown support with a Public Safety Sales Tax that addresses the needs of our sworn police officers and firefighters. More recently, City Council voted to give firefighters a 7.4 percent raise to bring their pay in line with firefighters in peer cities. As a City Council member, I personally commit to going one step further: Whenever I have authority, I will automatically, voluntarily offer firefighters a seat at the table regarding safety issues.
Last month - less than a year after the Waldo Canyon fire and less than a month before the Black Forest fire - the city posted a request for proposals for a "Fire services best practices" study. One item the study will cover is the number of firefighters on a truck. The inclusion of this item, in tandem with discussions I've had with local leaders, suggests that the number of firefighters on each apparatus may actually decrease. With such an essential component of safety being examined, I have requested Mayor Bach give our firefighters a voice in the study from day one. Doing so will demonstrate our appreciation and support for the men and women who have protected and served us through the most destructive fire in Colorado history, and will lessen the chance we will meet these same brave men and women in court and/or see a collective bargaining measure on the next ballot.
Joel Miller, Colorado Springs
Letter struck a nerve
In response to "What liberals do." I am not for sure if Tim Rowan is just trying to get a rise out of conservatives but that letter strikes a nerve. It is a perfect example of what liberals do - jump to conclusions with no supporting evidence, try to control everyone else's life and have a self important attitude while doing it. Tim, you were statistically likely to have been picking up after one of the 99 percenters. But you're right, with the fire danger so high, people should have to get a permit to have a campfire. Really, they need a permit year-round regardless of conditions for that dangerous activity.
And about those dangerous plastic trash bags. How many more of our young have to die before they outlaw those things, except for liberals who know the proper way to use them. The trash, the bullet holes, the gun casings - we need new laws for all since the old ones did not work for these lawbreaking "conservative NRA members." I certainly hope you rode your bike up there and did not contribute to global warming by driving a carbon emitting gasoline vehicle or at the very least were driving your electric car. By the way, breathing out is also carbon monoxide. Have liberals quit doing that? Too much hot air coming out of your letter to believe that.
Bill Kenline, Colorado Springs
Don't self-righteously blame others
I too have come across camp sites left in horrible condition, bullet riddled signs and all. Every time I come home from the outdoors, I bring the trash of many others with me - spent shells, balls of fishing line, cans, diapers, water bottles - the works. It disgusts me, and I always wish that I could have reported the offenders. In the long run, like you, I just do it. I'm not looking for thanks. I'm looking to leave things better than I found them.
Unlike you, I am a conservative. I don't self-righteously blame an entire class of people who happen to have an opposing political view. I blame the ignorant, uncaring individuals responsible for the messes. As a conservative outdoorsman, I hold myself accountable and will do my best to hold others accountable whether liberal, conservative, male, female, rich, poor, or any color of the rainbow. I refuse to engage in the manufactured class, gender, racial, political and religious warfare that currently poisons this country. I love America, I love the outdoors and I believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights . and I'm no better than anybody else.
By the way, substitute a skin color, or any of the above mentioned types of warfare of your choosing for the word "liberal" in your letter. Read it to yourself in the mirror . doesn't sound quite as smug anymore, does it? Also, by the way, gun control really is people control.
Justus Anderson, Peyton
Punishing those with larger lawns
Your editorial on water usage seems to take a stance punishing those with larger lawns. It is a given that we are experiencing a water shortage that may continue into the indefinite future.
However, if you are advocating equal treatment for all - let's ban lawn watering all together so that we all lose our lawns rather than just those with larger lawns. That would really save water. The current restrictions are based on a 3,000 sq. ft. lawn, which is arbitrary. Many of those with larger lawns live under HOA restrictions that mandated a certain percentage of our lots to sod. The current water restrictions do not give our lawn any chance of survival, so we are forced to watch our landscaping wither and die.
Mark Davies, Colorado Springs