Addressing finance, revenue issues
An editorial in The Gazette concerning the stormwater tax seems like a good place to start. Is there too much water flowing in Fountain Creek at times? Where is the headwaters for Fountain Creek? Where do flows begin to exceed manageable levels?
That is where mitigation should begin. This is yet another example of why some folks consider this "Taxorado." Will nonprofits and government entities pay their fair share? How about military installations? When every property owning entity pays I will be glad to also. Please publish exactly how much each city and town in Colorado charges their residents for stormwater management.
Will recreation marijuana be on the ballot also, or are we still too stodgy for that? We currently have to deal with the problems associated with that, but are not able to reap the benefits, tax-wise. When will we begin to tax the bikers and hikers for the resources they consume? How much does land acquisition cost? How much do trail and bike lane construction and maintenance cost? This is a huge, untapped revenue stream.
How much has Colorado Springs spent on hiking and biking related infrastructure in the past 10 years? How many bikes are in Colorado Springs? At $20/bike/year, it adds up to millions of dollars in uncollected revenue. The facts that the Colorado department of Public Health and Environment, plus the federal Environmental Protection Agency have both filed suit against Colorado Springs reeks of manipulation and politics and will probably be dropped or dismissed, should hold no sway in this decision.
I am totally in favor of "all of the above" type of approach in addressing finance and revenue issues. I am totally in favor of excise taxes on all outdoor gear, not just boating/fishing/hunting taxes. If you are buying $2,000 mountain/road bikes and $400 hiking boots you can totally afford excise tax and annual permit fees to support your passions. Put your big girl panties on. No crying. No denying. It's obvious. Pay to support your passions like I do. When additional revenue streams and inclusion of all property owners are part of the whole picture, most folks will see the equity in it and support it.
The world without religion
The world would be a better place if there was no religion within it, as religion has proven time and time again throughout history that is has the capacity to do more harm than good. Its fuel has been the cause for millions of unwarranted deaths throughout history; a world without religion would make a more peaceful world with no more wars in the name of whatever god someone worships, a less hateful world as people would not be taught from a young age that only their religion and belief set is right and everyone else is wrong, and the world would show more equality across the board.
What is religious fuel? It is when religion energizes a cause or set of beliefs. This can be for either good or bad. However, it seems that in today's times, this is fuel is mostly used for bad reasons. Religious fuel is used to promulgate a multitude of dark causes today - gender inequality, extremist from all walks of faith, women's health rights like abortion, and the list goes on. If the religions fueling these causes did not exist, then the fuel one would be left with would be weak and hardly gain traction, or it would sputter out and die altogether. There would be less death and inequality and hate if thing were not fueled by religious causes.
Thus, the world would be a better place, if religion did not exist.
Exercising freedom of expression
I applaud Colin Kaepernick for his use of our American freedom of expression.
If he becomes a player for the Denver Broncos, I too will use my freedom of expression to turn off the TV, cancel my cable service and no longer wear the Denver Bronco jacket that hangs in my closet.
Chris G. Baker
Cultivating a well-behaved garden
Our country's current smoldering contretemps with Russia, coupled with a litany of international turbulence from Pyongyang to Caracas, not to mention national and local kerfulles large and small, defines disquieting.
As an antidote, like Candide, we've been cultivating our garden and are pleased to report our Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), though making a brash statement in our rockery, is displaying no bellicose behavior.
Preserving national monuments
August 24 is the deadline for U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to give his recommendations to President Trump on whether 27 of our existing national monuments should be opened to drilling, mining and other development or remain protected.
Following an executive order from the president, the Interior Department began a review of these national monuments. The review included a public comment period during which 2.7 million comments were submitted; and 98 percent of the comments were in support of keeping or expanding the current boundaries of our national monuments.
While Secretary Zinke has removed some monuments, including Canyons of the Ancients, from his review, it is vital that every national monument remains protected. Each of the monuments protects not only essential and rare environments, but also culture and history.