Recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers:
Every litter bit hurts our city
The "Time to clean up Colorado Springs" letter by Alan Rasmussen, Sept 7, is a wake-up call to all Colorado Springs. Not just the "frequently traveled" routes, but also the neighborhood where you live should be the cleanup goal of all residents. The intersection of Airport and Academy is the hellhole of litter-throwing. Some residents of the Satellite Condominiums and the Satellite Townhouse want to "make 80910 clean again." Every Monday morning you'll see us outside picking up litter, wearing our "Make 80910 Clean Again" signs. Join us in your own ZIP code and let's "Make Colorado Springs Clean Again." Make everyone more aware that every litter bit hurts.
Voters need stormwater assurances
Let's make sure stormwater fees go only to aging infrastructure repair and improvements. In November, we the voters will be given the chance to say yes or no to a stormwater fee that will bring sustainable funding to a much needed program for this community. If approved, it is my hope that our elected officials and municipal staff will act responsibly in managing the new dollars they receive. With the program funded through the general fund, our city officials need to find a suitable balance between continuing to use the general fund to support program administration, and the stormwater fee to address needed infrastructure repair and improvements.
Using the new fees to pay for city staff, new vehicles and vehicle repair, fuel, buildings, and other internal operations associated with stormwater management should not be allowed. Nor should the funds be used to repair poorly constructed infrastructure that was the original responsibility of a developer. These costs need to remain under the general fund. The new fees should pay for competitively priced contractors, equipment and materials to repair and improve aging infrastructure.not wasted on pay raises, inflated job descriptions warranting higher salaries; and, repair or replacement of municipal vehicles. This happened in the last stormwater enterprise program whereby internal decisions were made to have the fee pay for several internal support expenses that already had a funding base.
The voters need assurances that there will be a balance of spending between the general fund and the stormwater fee fund; and, the developer will not be subsidized. Without such assurances, my vote will remain a firm no.
Safari industry aids African economy
This letter is in response to the recent letter regarding safari hunting in Africa. To begin with, I am a graduate of the South African National Professional Hunting School, am a member of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa, am a wildlife rancher, and have just finished my ninth year of working in the industry. When one considers the following it is readily apparent that the hunter is the true conservationist. In the mid-1960s, there were less than 200,000 head of wild game in South Africa. By the mid-1970s, this had increased to 550,000 head. Today there are 22 million plus head of wild game. All of this is due to the safari industry. Several species, e.g., the black wildebeest and sable antelope, have been brought back from near extinction due to the combined efforts of the outfitters and wildlife ranchers. More than 95 percent of the wild game in South Africa is privately owned by the outfitters and wildlife ranchers.
No meat from harvested animals is wasted. Wild game is served twice a day. Native staff are routinely issued game meat. Our lodge supports a feeding program for AIDS orphans. Wild game is free ranging and live a far better life than in feed lots, poultry ranches, etc. What is better; being hit between the eyes by a sledge hammer or 400 grains in the heart? The meat is organic; no hormones or antibiotics, and low fat.
The wildlife ranching industry has surpassed both the dairy and sugar industries as an economic factor in the South African economy.
South Africa has a 27-percent unemployment rate. Our lodge employs 33 native workers who support their extended families by working in the industry. Without the safari industry, there would be no jobs.
Kenya, on gaining independence, stopped safari hunting. The wildlife has been poached and overrun by cattle. This has affected the economy. Meanwhile, neighboring Tanzania is thriving with a balanced program of hunting and maintaining vast herds.
Photo safaris have their place. They are a minuscule part of the economy. Without the outfitters and wildlife ranchers, there would be little to view.
David A. Nuss
Colorado Springs and Sterkrivier, Limpopo Province
We must rein in spending
Congress is considering slipping an increase in the debt ceiling into a bill to provide emergency relief to Texas (and perhaps Florida). As tragic as Hurricane Harvey was in Texas, and Irma may be in Florida, far worse is the fiscal storm the Congress is refusing to take action against by avoiding, or increasing, the debt ceiling. Increasing the debt ceiling now will not save us from a future fiscal collapse. We can't increase the debt, and we don't need an increase in the debt to service it. Instead, we can pay it. To do so will require sacrifice and we'll have to cut in other places, many other places.
Decreasing the debt and balancing the federal budget that we must be willing to sacrifice border wall funding. We must also repeal the huge increases wrought by the ACA, cut the military budget, reinstitute welfare reforms brought about by President Clinton, pull out of the Middle East; eliminate both of the DOEs; whatever it takes. We must rein in the out-of-control spending in Congress. If we don't, there may be nothing left for our future citizens to ponder.
Joseph J. Milich