Business behind closed doors
Government land negotiations with private entities have no business behind closed doors. That is what seems to now be taking place between the city of Colorado Springs Council and the owners/developers of the Banning Lewis Ranch. I applaud Councilman Bill Murray for walking out of the executive session negotiations on amending the annexation agreement. If council President Pro Tem Jill Gaebler is so bent on working to a constructive solution on the annexation agreement, then why is she trying to do it behind closed doors?
This is just another example of the development community trying to saddle the local tax and ratepayers with additional costs to subsidize their development resulting in increased sales and profits. The current agreement was a well thought out plan to place the cost burden of development fully on the landowners and development community -including the costs associated with financing.
Don't allow even a portion of this burden to be placed on us. Sure, the development will generate millions in new revenue, but remember this new revenue will go right back into the development for ongoing maintenance of infrastructure, as well as meeting the growing needs for police and fire protection. So thank you Councilman Murray for standing up for this community and protecting our interests.
Hold council, mayor responsible
And you thought your city council members are public servants well, there is considerable evidence to the contrary. The city council hired AECOM Technical Services to produce an air quality report in 2013 on the Martin Drake Power Plant. That report has never been made public. If the city council thought it flawed, they could have obtained a more accurate report, but no. The citizens of Colorado Springs paid for the report, but can't see it?
Act two: Clean air advocate Leslie Weise of Monument was accidentally given a copy of the AECOM report which showed the Drake emissions violating federal standard. After consulting other attorneys, Weise shared some of the report's findings with The Gazette. Your city council and mayor rather than focusing on getting better data decided to begin a vendetta against Weise. They tried to get her disbarred in California and New York. Is that what you as citizens of Colorado Springs wanted? Of course not.
Act three: Weise files a defamation suit against the city of Colorado Springs. According to the Gazette on Feb. 19, the city has now spent $109,000 on the feud with Weise. This is described as a large expense. That might be large, but the law suit seeks over $ 1 million in damages.
It remains to be seen how this suit is resolved. If the city, and its present and past council members lose, at least they can take comfort that they have not been criminally indicted for racketeering.
Do what you can to hold the city council and the mayor responsible to the citizens. Attend council meetings. Consider recalling rogue members who are not in tune with the public's priorities. Thank The Gazette for providing insight into the activities of your elected representatives.
Appeals to Sen. Cory Gardner
This past summer, while attending a town meeting, I took the microphone and asked Sen. Cory Gardner to stop wasting time trying to kill Obamacare and instead propose ways of fixing it. He agreed. I also asked Gardner to help DACA members become citizens. He also agreed. Last week, Gardner co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would do just that.
I also applaud Gardner's stance on protecting legal marijuana in this state. The state legalized it and the federal government should not interfere.
However, I was deeply saddened to learn that he received more money from the NRA than most other Senators. The New York Times said it was $3,879,064. I am shocked that he accepted money designed to block any sensible legislation to prevent the legal purchase of a semi-automatic weapon used by the Florida shooter.
I believe no one with a diagnosed mental illness should be able to purchase a semi-automatic weapon. I appeal to Gardner conscience to stop receiving money from the NRA or its affiliated PACs.
I ask Gardner to co-sponsor legislation to make it illegal for anyone with a diagnosed mental illness to purchase a semi-automatic weapon.
Barry K. Weinhold, Ph.D.
Real threats to public safety
So Edward Kiley blows up his house. Cops find "common objects that can be used in the production of explosives," a BB handgun and two rifles in his house as well as "a possible pipe bomb" and an M-Series explosive device in his car (wonder what school he was getting ready to drive to and blow up?). He is now out of jail on a $10,000 bond (which means he only needed $1,000 to get out) Why? How?
It is this lackadaisical attitude toward real threats to public safety (also recently displayed by the FBI when they cared more about finding Russians who said nasty things about Hillary Clinton on Facebook than they cared about a nut who said he was going to be a professional school shooter on Facebook) that allows tragedies to happen.
And based on the headline "Marijuana concentrate found after blast in home" the anti-marijuana obsessed Gazette thinks the danger to the public is the marijuana concentrate residue found in the house not the bombs?
Question on NRA contributions
In the Feb. 27, Gazette, Daily Buzz column, "A warning for Delta over NRA" Georgia Lt. Gov., Casey Cagle threatened to kill tax legislation that would benefit Delta Air Lines because Delta said it was ending its relationship with the NRA. He reportedly stated that "If corporate America wants to make a positive difference on gun violence it should donate a portion of its profits to mental health and safety initiatives."
I think it would be helpful to all of us, regardless of political affiliations, to learn information concerning the portion of its profits the NRA contributes to reduce gun violence, including mental health and safety initiatives.
James (Jim) Condit