Published: February 25, 2014
Some empathy for average citizen
Here we go again! After raising utility rates in January, our gloried Utilities boss is demanding another increase in electricity and natural gas rates that will primarily hit lower and middle-income people - those who didn't see the same pay increases and bonuses as our local and federal government employees.
At the same time, we also get to read about outrageous pay studies that recommend more bonuses for the Utilities head honcho and management types. And no one tells us how much that useless study cost the ratepayer.
For once, the City Council should show some balance, guts and empathy for the average citizen and refuse to go blindly along with the latest utility blackmail. What should they do? Heck, if the rate increase is the result of a miscalculation and lack of maintaining a financial reserve, hence unavoidable, then at least tell Jerry Forte that there won't be bonuses and pay raises until the budget is balanced and with a rainy day reserve to boot.
For once, our citizens should be reassured that average and below-average management performance is not rewarded with huge bonuses, as we seem accustomed to from Wall Street and our banking system. All that shouldn't hurt our current Utilities boss one bit, especially since he knows he can find higher paying employment anywhere in the country. At least, that's what the latest pay study supposedly told us.
This needs to stop
Come on, City Council, are you ever going to find a rate hike or tax that you don't like?
We know that Colorado Springs has higher utilities than any other comparable place in Colorado, and you want to give them more? To us mortals, it looks like the CEO is compensated enough and if Utilities wants more money, take it out of his next bonus. Don't think that the citizens are not paying attention to how the members vote. Every time Utilities wants more, you don't seem to even question it and this needs to stop, or you do.
I wouldn't want your jobs, but as long as you are there supposedly serving the people, jacking up rates every chance you get is not serving the people who elected you. Try turning them down for once.
Just wishful thinking
Tell me it isn't true! Utilities wants more rate increases? Will it ever stop? When will Utilities start reducing their spending? When will the council get a backbone, just once, and say no? Where are all those new council members, who made so many promises about keeping costs and the city's spending under control?
I suspect this is just wishful thinking during some lucid moments of my expectations. Based on the first year's lack of progress; the council has spent all their time trying to rope in more power, while making the mayor look bad. They pay little heed to spending as a board of directors for Utilities. Labeling them as a "rubber stamp" is being way too kind.
Utilities is a money swamp, which sucks the ratepayers dry like a leech. The recent Gazette article has lots of "could" and "maybes" in the analysis of what lies ahead. Utilities doesn't have a clue, but wants a rate increase in electric during the spring when warm weather is coming. They love to blame cold weather, which is about gone, to raise rates on gas.
Hope springs eternal in wanting some on council to question Utilities' flawed logic. Utilities runs rampart in spending and the airport fades into nearly oblivion. The council plays Nero, fiddling away, while Rome is burning.
Way to go, President Keith King! You must be taking note of how Washington is run. When is the next local election?
Duane C. Slocum
Popularity of historical photos
You've heard this from me before, but I want to add a few more stories to reinforce how popular the Who We Are photos are in this region.
Two weeks ago, a well-known architect with very deep roots in Colorado Springs came to the library with a big smile on his face saying how pleased he was to see a picture of his sister running a race during her high school track days. He requested a copy of the photo so he could mail it to her.
Last week, a gentleman came into the library full of excitement after seeing his mom in that 1947 photo of the inside of the Stewarts Commercial Photographers' shop. He was absolutely thrilled to see her and requested a copy.
Those sort of stories are happening quite regularly, but here's the best one yet.
Today, I attended the memorial service for Irving Howbert, the grandson of the famous Colorado Springs pioneer, Irving Howbert, which, as you know, was held at Grace and St. Stephens. At the beginning of the service, Steve Handen, the lead Celebrant, held up a copy of the three-generation Howbert family photo that you ran on Thursday and publicly thanked The Gazette for its thoughtfulness. A murmur of appreciation echoed off the walls accompanied by nods of approval. The decision to run that photo was brilliant! Well done, indeed.
Minimum wage earners will be hurt
Re: "Minimum wage hike hurts the middle class".
"Medium income of someone with only a high school diploma in the United States is $31,539." Where are those jobs? Not in Colorado Springs. Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour will give people a life. State workers are getting a raise, school employees are getting a raise and military members are getting a raise. How about entry level workers i.e. bus boys, waiters, cooks. They get tips, some would say. Tips aren't guaranteed. Will their loans get approved on the basis of "tips" income?
Nathan Fisk, you might be right, burger flippers, convenience store cashiers and pizza delivery guys could be the minimum wage earners. And costs of goods and services will undoubtedly inflate. While individuals getting their raises will continue to pay for these increases, the minimum wage earners will continue to live paycheck to paycheck.