January 29, 2014 Updated: January 29, 2014 at 8:15 am
Avoid some of Denver's mistakes
As a former community organizer for low-income housing in Denver in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I offer a question regarding the Colorado Springs City for Champions project: What good is a shining city on the hill if only a select few can afford to live and participate in it?
The economic and political leaders of Denver were seduced by the idea of a "world class city" and took a systematic approach to pushing out the poor, disabled and the elderly. They didn't fit the model of the young, hip and creative class that is supposedly the panacea for all municipal economic woes. It was even an uphill struggle to get the Denver City Council to consider even a pitiful level of affordable housing for workers making up to $30K a year back in 2001.
City for Champions is proceeding in the same spirit as the so-called development of Denver. Mayor Steve Bach wants Marion House moved; Mayor Wellington Webb helped move the social service agencies in Denver's Golden Triangle neighborhood.
A true community includes a cross section of people from all walks of life. I hope that we can avoid some of the mistakes Denver made.
The Rev. Derek Krehbiel, Colorado Springs
Time to put down the pompoms
I attended the Economic Development public discussion last Thursday hosted by, among others, The Gazette. My hope was to hear/view information that would move me toward support of City for Champions. What I got was cheerleading; leaders, if you want this project to move forward, it's time to put down the pompoms and bring forward facts and specifics so that those of us who are willing to listen can understand the proposal.
An environment that lacks that transparency is ripe for misinformation and half truths that were in ample supply at the community forum. The longer these sources circulate and recruit, the fewer folks there will be listening to understand and perhaps support C4C.
Casey C. Tencick, Colorado Springs
Impression of the city: stagnation
I've only lived in Colorado Springs for a few years, although I've made every effort I can to patronize the arts, entertainment and dining. I've faithfully followed local politics and voted and made the most of my opportunities. I am leaving now due to a layoff.
I'd just like to convey my impression of the city: stagnation. Whether liberal or conservative, most in the community don't seem to be invested in improvement. Why? You have natural beauty, history and several options for higher education. What is stopping citizens from putting aside differences and beautifying trails, neighborhoods and downtown? A community is made up of citizens, not private business owners. If people don't refocus their views from me and mine to us and ours, growth and prosperity will continue to elude you.
Claire Ohman, Colorado Springs
Clarifications on Manitou
I would like to state that supporters of recreational marijuana in Manitou Springs love their city and love their children. I have listened at some meetings at the City Council, and one would believe that we don't. I want to clarify this. We love our children, our city, we have jobs, we pay taxes and volunteer at our schools and in our community.
Sally FitzGerald, Manitou
Stop using Manitou as whipping boy
First, let me state, I am not a resident of Manitou Springs; I am a 40-plus year resident of Colorado Springs. As a young man, I took great pleasure in visiting Manitou; I enjoyed the flavor, the vibrancy and the freedom it espoused. As an adult, I enjoy its character, its "quaint" shops and restaurants. I find of late I am dismayed by how it has been portrayed in The Gazette. Manitou Springs is its own city with its on legislative branch of government and, as such, should be treated accordingly. We in Colorado Springs do not, nor should we, dictate its policies.
The City Council of Manitou adhered to the wishes of its constituency when it allowed retail marijuana shops within its boundaries; Colorado Springs chose not to in direct opposition to its constituents. As the second-largest city in the state, it opted to send tax dollars to other communities; if that stings their pride, it is their own fault. Stop using Manitou as its whipping boy. Irrespective of anyone's view on marijuana, it is legal in the state.
Amendment 64 gave individual communities the opportunity to either opt in or out. Just because Colorado Springs and other communities in the state assumed a nanny state position with regards to recreational sales does not give them the right to disparage communities that chose to opt in. What makes this country great is its representative form of government. As such, our legislature is bound by law to follow the will of the people that elected them, not to do what they think might be in our best interest.
Manitou showed more respect for its obligations than the city of Colorado Springs and by doing so showed it is in a class far above the governing body in Colorado Springs. They should be commended, revered and held up as an example of how government is supposed to work. They should not be disparaged, belittled or treated as a bunch of aging hippies who just want to smoke pot.
The members of Manitou's council are cut from the same cloth as those who govern Colorado Springs. They are business men, entrepreneurs, educated scholars and family persons; they share the same beliefs and values that many in America do.
Robert Thew, Colorado Springs