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LETTERS: A battle with ourselves; put infrastructure needs first

February 17, 2017 Updated: February 17, 2017 at 6:45 am
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A homeless man gathers together his belongings to move from a homeless camp that will be cleared out Tuesday morning. The area is beneath the MLK Bypass on and off ramps on I-25. Monday, February 13, 2017.photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette

A battle with ourselves

Members of the Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission hold true to the values of respect and inclusivity. In doing so, we must speak up when we see injustice being done to our friends - namely in the form of the removal of encampments where our homeless neighbors reside. I pass over these encampments everyday on my way to drop my son at school, and I see the safety and health issues that arise as a consequence.

We continue to be trapped in an ongoing battle with ourselves: rather than focusing our efforts on productive solutions to the housing problem, we perpetuate the cycle of abuse when we forcefully remove our citizens and push them toward... nothing at all. Indeed, the approximately 50 residents of this particular tent city were told that this area was safe by both HOT and DOT during the last sweep of the city. The continued isolation of our homeless brethren and moves by the city to force residents elsewhere is both short-sighted and inhumane. Our city's resources could certainly be put to more constructive use by educating its leaders on the realities of living without a home here in the Springs.

We invite our city leaders and city and county police officers, to partake in an immersive Urban Experience with us at the J&P as we walk throughout downtown, visiting community agencies and meeting people who face homelessness every day. Perhaps there is some knowledge yet left to impart that would help inform our leaders in taking a compassionate look at reality. We hope to join area nonprofits in looking into the establishment of a permanent designated camping area for our residents: a safe and clean place that satisfies all constituents.

Anjuli Kapoor

Colorado Springs

    

No to quarry in neighborhood

Regarding the Hitch Rack Ranch Quarry application: The Gazette has not mentioned that the situation is not the normal "airport flyway homebuyer syndrome," where people buy a home adjacent to an airport, then want the airport moved due to the noise, and vibrations. This is exactly the opposite scenario. This quarry would be moving into an existing neighborhood.

Forty eight home owners would be forced to drive through an operating quarry daily. Can anyone imagine trying to sell a home under these conditions, or sell a home where the well has gone dry due to blasting?

Either of the above would eliminate a homeowners' investment. The application states that the applicant has met all of the requirements listed in the proposal. The list of requirements in the state's rules cleverly omits consideration of surrounding home owners rights and values.

The rules that the staff of the division of reclamation, mining, and safety follow appear to be written for the sole benefit of the applicants and the state treasury of Colorado. There appears to be no consideration of peoples' life time investments. Under these guidelines they could easily determine that it would be just fine to approve quarries in the Garden of the Gods and

Palmer Park. There is unlimited vacant land in Colorado to locate a quarry. It does not need to be in a residential neighborhood.

Max Tallent

Colorado Springs

    

Two problems in our forests

I don't know which is worst for the forest in our state, the pine beetle or the Forest Service, who are hired to protect our forests and keep the mountains in our state green with trees . The pine beetle is a insect who lives in pine trees. The Forestry Service is there to keep pine beetles' lives short. Well, the beetle has no worries from the Forestry service here in Colorado. They let forest fires get way out of hand before they call in any support, which includes small air craft to dump water. I don't know which is worse, looking at a forest that is infected by beetle kill or miles and miles of burnt timber caused by the Forest Service not using large planes like the one setting at our airport to put out fires.

This agency gets hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money. They haven't done a very good job around here in several years. Just look at the mountain range to our west, do you see much young pine that has been replanted? No. How about around the two fires west of Pueblo? None.

Maybe we the taxpayers have two large problems in our forest. Which one is worst?

Doug D. Evans

Colorado Springs

    

Put infrastructure needs first

By signing an executive order to build the wall before signing one to improve roads, bridges, schools, and airports President Donald Trump has shown that the wall is his higher priority. This priority might be justified if the immediate start of the wall's construction was required as part of an agreement for Mexico to pay for the wall. But with not a single peso being committed, it seems absurd for U.S. taxpayers to pay (at least for now and probably in the end) for 100 percent of the executive order to build the wall.

Paying these up-front expenditures also means that the funds being used for the wall are not available for the promised infrastructure improvements. And the worst part is that a 20-foot high 20 billion wall won't stop illegal drugs or immigration. It won't stop people and drugs from coming over the wall by using a 21-foot ladder made from discarded wooden pallets and a few nails. It won't stop smugglers from using everything from drones to catapults to send drugs over the wall.

But no matter who foots the bill or how ineffective the wall, my main concern is that the construction of this wall is guaranteed to cause extreme shortages of concrete and other building materials. The law of supply and demand means that extreme shortages of construction materials will result in the exponential increase in the cost of every one of President Trump's infrastructure projects. These shortages will also hugely increase the costs for all state funded infrastructure projects and for all private sector construction.

Does anyone want to pay double, triple or more for the cost of putting in a foundation or a driveway? Are we willing to greatly increase the national debt when the wall vastly inflates the costs of all infrastructure projects?

Contact your Congresspersons and President Trump to let them know that the infrastructure projects should have a higher priority than the wall or to forget the ineffective wall altogether in order to fund the infrastructure projects that benefit everyone.

Rock Goldberg

Colorado Springs

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