July 8, 2013 Updated: July 8, 2013 at 11:45 am
Building a new stadium won't help
In the midst of fire and flooding, we read of new stadiums, museums, parks, and economic development. Does popular-but-irresponsible spending grab headlines at the expense of news on what should concern us, such as work being done to improve our safety? Or is no such work being done? Stormwater runoff is serious and expensive and gets worse the more we build and pave; a new stadium won't help. However, we spend money to study stormwater to make sure it's a problem while floods inundate us. Pine bark beetle damage and drought make our community more susceptible to fire. Logging, to clear the forest and provide roads for fire breaks and equipment access, has been reduced. Yet the news speaks little about anything being done to make forests safer.
I understand the sheriff is trying to get a contract for better aviation support for firefighting during danger months. Could the millions proposed for park improvement be used for such support? Our Legislature concerns itself with same-sex marriage and gun control, but not fire or flood control. A fire- and flood-free community would be demonstrably safer and more economically desirable than one that has unconstitutional gun restrictions and social activity laws which are not an appropriate province of government. Gun laws, fire, and flooding do provide our area with publicity, but not the type we want.
Chris Baum, Colorado Springs
'The thousands of voices like mine'
Mayor Bach, I respectfully request that you stop it.
I resent the drumbeat touting the downtown stadium. I wouldn't mind your efforts if the stadium didn't require my tax dollars, but it will, and I won't stand for it.
I resent your consistent dismissal of the thousands of voices like mine who do not want our tax dollars paying for this. Please, just stop it.
I resent you spending my tax dollars to fund polls and studies all designed to fabricate a "glowing vision." You're spending my money to convince me that I should spend my money for your stadium. Please stop that, too.
You're using the "glowing vision" (which you made me fund) to lobby for state money (note: those are my tax dollars, too!) to cover part of your stadium cost, and if you win it, you'll pressure me to approve a tax to cover the rest of the cost.
Don't rebuild what we already have if you have to do it on my dime. Please. Just. Stop. It.
Joseph Oppelt, Colorado Springs
Did not vote for a developer
That can't be our new mayor sitting behind that desk. I thought he was elected to help save our city from the destruction imposed upon us by the last administration. The city had no money, we were so in debt we had to put a second mortgage on the new police department building and on our new firehouse. We couldn't afford streetlights in neighborhoods, or pick up the garbage in our parks. We cut bus service on nights and weekends, cut programs for the elderly and disabled and couldn't even water our parks. We also laid off city employees by the dozens.
This man wants us all to forget that and actually allow him to develop an area downtown with a new ball park and lots of adjoining stores to attract tourists. Our City Council has already given him $70,000 to hire a consultant to put this together so he can ask the state government to give him $92 million to accomplish this brand-new development, which you know will be a lot more expensive than that, so he will then go to the City Council and ask them to float the bonds necessary. I did not vote for a developer ... I was just hoping for a good manager who could get our budget under control and return the services we lost. I think we got a snake oil salesman and I want to stop the world so I can get off.
Della Valk, Colorado Springs
Misinformation regarding PERA
As a former public employee and retiree, I routinely read information regarding PERA's sustainability, assumed rate of return, and the economic impact it has on Colorado.
PERA bashers seem to bend over backwards to not offer the entire story. The 2012 rate of return was not 8 percent (a number that was touted as "unachievable" in a recent Colorado Springs Gazette article) - it was 12.9 percent. The 10-year return now sits at 8.4 percent and the 30-year return is 9.4 percent - both above the assumed 8 percent, even including the Great Recession.
Another point that is very rarely talked about is the fact that my PERA dollars (a portion of which come from Colorado-based investments) go back into the Colorado economy - adding labor income, tax revenue and helping to spur job creation. PERA doesn't just help retirees, it's a driving force in our state's economy.
Joyce Schmaltz, Manitou Springs
Next time knock on the door
To the neighbor who lacks the courage to stick around after you spent 10 minutes interrogating the young man I hired to remove the juniper bushes from my yard on Thames, I'd like to know why you thought it acceptable to read him the riot act, and question his nationality, and credentials, but thought it acceptable to run when I confronted you. You're a coward. Apparently, being bonded and insured is more important to you than removing dead wood and flammable material from your neighborhood.
As far as the question of whether what I am doing on my property meets code and bureaucracy, I can only ask you to contact the mayor's office. Last Friday on the Richard Randall show on KVOR, the mayor stated his No. 1 concern is the fire hazard that exists in our neighborhood. If you had any courage, you would have had a discussion with me, the property owner, rather than intimidating the young man I hired to make our neighborhood safer.
Next time, why don't you stop by, knock on the door, introduce yourself, and state your position, instead of intimidating the young man working on my yard.
Steve Mezhir, Colorado Springs