Feel-good news applauded
What a pleasure reading the Feb. 14 paper! Positive info about love shining through, keeping a historical church alive, successful road repairs and a cancer survivor.
Feel-good news trumps reports of fear and violence. And my husband, Harry, applauds the brilliant Mark Reis photos of Cheyenne Mountain swimmers. Thank you.
Businesses just treading water
Now that Donald Trump is in office as president of the United States, it's time to eliminate - at least reform - many of the business regulations and requirements imposed under the Obama administration and before.
With regard to Obamacare, the forced insurance coverage or fine with small business being defined as "under 50 employees" is punitive. However, now there are companies who write insurance for low-income workers. So, even though we pay 60 percent of the premium for the employee, it has happened that most opt out. We want healthy employees who are working for the benefit of their families. We have always offered and encouraged our employees to buy insurance.
However, the fact it is now mandated is a deterrent for anyone to own their own business, much less expand. With minimum wage continuing to rise, and in addition for employer paid health care, not only will costs across the board rise, but many businesses will simply not be able to afford the number of employees needed to operate, making it a challenge to break even. Are we supposed to be in business just to tread water? Many of us have debt to retire, relying on income from operating our business. Also, we have to pay our rent. Administrative costs add to overhead. We can't just shut down. Occupancy rates are already suffering. And so on.
Quickly becoming an alarmist
It was deeply disturbing to watch, last night (Feb. 14), the interview of two veteran national security reporters from two highly respected, nonpartisan newspapers. I urge all Americans to watch it: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/national-security-council- turmoil-amid-flynn-departure.
I am not an alarmist; however, I am quickly becoming one. In less than three weeks, two hostile world powers, North Korea and Russia, have, with apparent impunity, flaunted their contempt for President Donald Trump and international law with missile tests. Not only has the president's national security adviser resigned under a cloud of alleged collusion with Russia and lies, but there is a long list of positions vital to national security that remain unfilled. Not only are our national security agencies in turmoil, but, further, it has been alleged by at least one top national security official - unfortunately with increasing believability - that our entire government is in turmoil.
America is deeply at risk. Chaos - reportedly the president's favorite way of running his business empire - is not how one runs a government. Our citizens, our military, our allies and the world at large need a disciplined and strong, rational and intelligent, stable American president and government. None need an America amid shaky national security, charges of ethics and criminal violations, rafts of blatant lies from presidential surrogates and presidential midnight tweets attacking critics and retailers.
Far from making America "great again," it seems Donald Trump is on the verge of destroying it.
What do we really want?
I love my country and served during the Vietnam era. Each day I become more and more confused about the people of my country. Have we become a nation that likes to hear profanity in malls, movies and on television? Do we want to support the right to publicly wear a shirt displaying the F-word instead of protecting the rights of our children and grandchildren to civil decency? Do we rightly criticize a candidate for disrespecting women while we flock to movies and watch TV programs where women are similarly disrespected, and often even more so? Is it OK with us to claim to be a nation "under God," and yet we use his name in vain a trillion times a day? Is it now OK to "protest" by burning cars and destroying the property of others? Do we want to continue to see Super Bowl halftime shows where entertainers disrespect us and our children by dressing immodestly and dancing provocatively? Are we content to criticize our leaders rather than pray for them?
I am not saying that Americans were perfect back then because we certainly were not. But the questions I've considered above would all have been answered "no" back then. I think all of us, me included, should strive to do our best to be the people we need and want to make our country better. What will it be?
Mismanagement of Utilities
It seems like every time I open The Gazette there's yet another story about Colorado Springs Utilities and some lawsuit it finds itself embroiled in. Utilities is either using the court to attack a concerned mother for talking about air quality (which Utilities refuses to discuss) or being sued by other businesses and organizations. Even Pueblo County has jumped on the bandwagon to find redress in a court of law.
Could these increasing number of litigations all be without merit, or are they instead representative of the rampant mismanagement of our municipally owned Utilities?
The Utilities Board (whose members double as the City Council), instead of managing Jerry Forte and his team to avoid countless problems that morph into rate increases, simply sit by and continue to be obedient puppets. How many more hundreds of millions will the board allow the city to squander including on lawsuits (and lawyers) and now newly discovered violations of the Clean Air Act?
Utilities is in bad need of reform, starting at the top. Since the Utilities Board can't seem to properly represent their constituents regarding Utilities' matters, they need to be replaced with a qualified elected board whose sole responsibility it is to manage this major utility, a $1 billion operation. If ever there was a time for new governance for "the people's" utility, it's now.
At a minimum, we should consider this area of competence with candidates running in the upcoming City Council election. We, the citizen-ratepayer and owners of this business, must demand it is replaced with a more professional management team and board