Don't let them off the hook
As reported in Dec. 18 Gazette, there is a move underfoot to change the terms of the Banning Lewis Ranch annexation agreement. Changing that agreement could have a serious negative impact to the citizens of Colorado Springs on multiple fronts. Imagine thousands of new homes on top of the development that is already in progress.
Accelerating development with modifications to the annexation agreement will increase traffic and demand for city and county services beyond just the infrastructure. Removing any of the requirements on developers to fund the infrastructure will mean more costs to each of us. And the net result is continued deterioration of the quality of life in our fair city. The annexation agreement protects the existing citizens.
Nor'wood Development Group knew what they were getting when they bought the land and their attempt to get out the agreement in court failed. Let's not let them off the hook now.
Changes will make no difference
Re: Transit Mix's new application. (With the State Mined Land Reclamation Board to open a rock aggregate quarry on the historic Hitch Rack Ranch.)
They listed two changes. Reduction of the duration of the operation, and reduction of the area of the operation. Do these changes make any difference? Of course not.
They cleverly avoided the number one issue. By far the most important issue is damage to the fragile aquifers that supply our already scarce water supply. Will the shock waves of the blasting be diminished? Of course not. It takes a tremendous force to separate hundreds of cubic yards of rock from a canyon wall. Do the shock waves stop at the property line? Of course not. There is more rock sticking out the ground in Colorado than all the rest of the United States. Thousands of square miles of it. There is no need to put a rock quarry in the middle of another residential neighborhood and properties surrounding this site.
Will the reduction mentioned above mitigate the loss of property values? Of course not.
Can't discriminate based on religion
In a recent opinion piece in The Gazette, Congressman Doug Lamborn defended the baker who refused to provide a cake for the wedding of a gay couple. He said the baker should not be forced to create a message contrary to his religious beliefs. That would be a violation of his First Amendment rights, Lamborn wrote.
Congressman Lamborn was confused about the facts in the case and the meaning of the First Amendment. The baker was not being asked to create a message. In fact, he refused to serve the gay couple even before they spoke of a design for the cake.
Moreover, the Congressman misstated the religious issues here. People cannot call on religious beliefs to avoid obeying general laws. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that gay marriages are legal. Colorado has an anti-discrimination law. Businesses open to the public cannot discriminate based on religious belief.
In the past, restaurants refused to serve Black people based on religious beliefs. Bob Jones University relied on religious belief when it refused to admit interracial couples. That kind of discrimination used to be widespread until it was prevented by civil rights laws.
Congressman Lamborn should have a better understanding of what the free exercise and establishment clauses mean in the First Amendment. We are gloriously free in our country to practice any religion we wish. But people cannot use religion to impose their beliefs on others, or use religion to claim exemption from laws that apply to everyone. Religious discrimination is not in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
Nancy and Bill Hochman
Reality of 'trickle down' claim
Reading Wednesday morning's paper, the Senate passed a record breaking tax bill and the House was expected to pass it. This bill benefits corporations and the wealthy, promising business profits will trickle down. But let's look at the reality of that trickle down claim in one familiar sector.
According to the Reuters news agency on Dec. 5, 2017, airlines are set for record profits in 2018 of over $38 billion. Yet despite these profits, airline fares are forecast to increase. These fare increases come at a time of rising passenger complaints, reduced services and increased fees for simple amenities like checking a bag. Profits have not trickled down to consumers.
Sadly this tax bill was passed without adequate time for review and comment by the citizens. Indeed, it was changed and passed so quickly that not even those who voted on it reviewed it. Senator Bob Corker admitted he had not read it before announcing he would vote for it. That is perhaps not surprising since a last-minute addition to the GOP tax plan created a new tax deduction that would potentially benefit both President Trump and Sen. Corker according to the International Business Times.
System finally being righted?
Re: Letters, "System is completely upside down".
Power protects and allows predatory behavior to flourish unchecked. Society is not in danger of "sinking" so long as truth is revealed. If the preying behavior or those who have for too long been protected by influence and power (beyond HR complaints, etc.), is finally acknowledged, society and the country can only thrive.
Perhaps the system (ship) is actually finally being "righted."