Council creating imagined 'problems'
I have lived in this city for 53 years. In that time, I have been active in many facets of this city, including serving six years on the City Council, several years on the Urban Renewal Board and much more. I can assure you that this city has never or rarely used eminent domain as a way to acquire land. In fact, it has been quite the opposite.
While I was on City Council, we acquired land for several major projects including water diversion projects and never utilized eminent domain to acquire it. There were significant outlying pieces of land in the backdrop of Garden of the Gods that owners were not willing to sell. We could have used that right to acquire it, but we did not. They were later acquired as owners moved and decided to sell. These are only two of many instances when eminent domain was not utilized.
Even to this day, the city does not use eminent domain or condemnation much at all, even when it makes sense to do so. We have many blighted properties throughout the city that are detriments to their neighborhoods - victims of total neglect by their owners that should be either cleaned up and taken care of or torn down.
This city is very judicious when it comes to rights of owners, and there is no reason to change existing eminent domain laws in this city.
I urge the council to stop creating imagined "problems" that don't exist and start to concentrate on the things that will make this city a better place. We have much to gain and even more to lose if we don't start working on the things that are important to the future of our city.
Katherine Loo, Colorado Springs
What is 'racism': dare we ask?
With "racism" once more raising its ugly head, this time on the NBA stage, we yet again are challenged to specify what we are talking about. Definitions matter.
Is "racism" based on skin color or personal behavior? To this citizen, who is fairly relaxed when it comes to someone's skin melanin content, personal and group behavior is ignored in our perennial attempts to gain the moral high ground.
Simply put, when we see school kids beating up a classmate on a school bus, when we see a street gang killing someone on the sidewalk "just for the fun of it," when we see black communities devastated by the collapse of the family unit, the abolition of fatherhood, when we hear "rap music," which denigrates every cultural value known to "white" America, when we see black studs siring dozens of children by as many women, when we see a "white" liberal America that has underwritten all of the above by a cynical welfare ideology that has locked generations of Americans into a hopeless cycle of dependency from which they will never emerge, rendering them incapable of becoming constructive citizens, when all of this becomes a steady diet in our headlines, what do we all as citizens deserve to acknowledge? Just why is it that our prison populations are predominately "minorities?" Do we dare ask? Or does just the asking condemn us to a perpetual purgatory of political parsimony?
Do we deserve to recognize Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Star Parker, Ben Carson, Allen West, Herman Cain and dozens of other commentators, black and white, who dare to raise the curtain - Toto style - on the social pathologies cited above?
How many studies on how societies collapse do we need before we come to grips with an honest appraisal of what "racism" is and what it isn't?
Ultimately, do we dare ask ourselves what our responsibilities are as citizens, as blacks or whites or anything else, and do we dare to hold ourselves accountable for our personal behavior?
Whitney Galbraith, Colorado Springs
Pay now, or pay later
After my sending him an email outlining my concerns about speeding and what I consider reckless driving on Teller County Road 51, Sheriff Mike Ensminger invited me to meet in his office, which I did recently. I had never met Mike, and I found him to be cordial and informed.
He listened to my concerns and promised he would do all he could to increase patrols in my area. He told me that I was not the only Teller County resident who has complained to him about people speeding through local neighborhoods.
What Mike told me next was that the Teller County commissioners were funding his department at 2005 levels and that he was doing the best he could with the money he is given. I believe him, because with our "all Republican all the time" Teller government, tax increases (gasp) are not a subject of discussion here in get the government out of my pocketville.
However, commissioners are elected to ensure that county services are maintained during their terms of office, and that is currently not the case.
Teller County roads are in poor shape, county offices are running at half staffing and budgets are as lean as they have ever been, all so the county commissioners can say "I never raised your taxes during my term in office." Teller County enjoys one of the lowest tax rates in Colorado, and at some point we must realize that some small tax increase is necessary to maintain our infrastructure. We cannot put off needed repairs and maintenance to county assets that we all own.
I am not endorsing anyone for the upcoming elections in Teller County, but we must remember that the cost of providing necessary county services, maintaining qualified law enforcement personnel and keeping Teller County in top-notch shape requires an adequate tax base. If the current administration in Teller County is not up to the task, they can soon be replaced. What maintenance we forgo now will be paid for by our children, and it will be way more expensive.
Steve Storrs, Divide