Lawbreakers put us all at risk
I must register my concern with the statement by Sgt. Curt Hasling of the CSPD in the Dec. 4 article concerning homeless campfires. He suggests that they have a "right" to stay warm. Not only is staying warm not a right, but neither is having a home a right, either in law or custom.
When someone puts the rest of the community at risk, i.e. wildfires, some steps need to be taken to bring the situation under control. Sgt Hasling and the rest of the HOT team need to start enforcing the laws regarding vagrancy, littering, defecating in public spaces, and open-burn restrictions or find a better place in the Police Department to pursue their chosen career.
We are counting on them to "Serve and Protect" not empower lawbreakers that put us all at risk.
Efforts to end homelessness
Thank you, Michael Welsh, for ideas on solving our community issues around homelessness. There are many ways to redirect and support people experiencing homelessness and our city, community organizations and citizens are doing some things, but there is more to do. In efforts to have a focused effort we have the Continuum of Care with the purposes to:
- Develop a long-term strategic plan for identified needs of homeless individuals and households in a particular community
- Apply annually for federal funds to end homelessness in a community
- Oversee Coordinated Entry to assess the needs of homeless persons and match them to appropriate housing resources. There is a strategic plan in place so our city can access federal funding. There is a monthly Coalition Homelessness Advocates and Providers meeting that folks can get on the agenda to discuss concerns and solutions.
As the past executive director for the Women's Resource Agency, we hosted a series of talks on women experiencing homelessness that resulted in Springs Rescue Mission and ESM opening shelter beds just for women - this was huge and these agencies made a quick response to house women! So there are emerging efforts to coordinate services based on folks' needs. Many folks experiencing homelessness are entrepreneurial in spirit and so we could create housing and programs for business incubation and mentoring, who knows?
I am the board chair for the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission; we host Urban Experience where folks can learn much more about the efforts to end homelessness and how individuals can take action. Contact the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission at 719-632-6189 for more information.
The genie is out of the bottle
I am writing in response to The Gazette's Viewpoint entitled "Locals confront the governor about pot." I have lived in the Colorado Springs region for 16 years, and I have witnessed the homeless population rise dramatically, especially in the last five years.
I agree that the increase in our homeless population can be attributed, at least partly, to the legalization of recreational marijuana. I have spoken to homeless people in the downtown area, and heard from several that they chose to come to Colorado because of the pot laws.
I am also concerned about people driving under the influence of THC. I believe that many people who use marijuana do not seem to think that driving under the influence of THC is dangerous or illegal. Perhaps we need a campaign about driving while stoned. The genie is out of the bottle, and we need to deal with the consequences.
I digress with The Gazette's view on one aspect. To John Hickenlooper, we should say, "Please continue to spread the word on national television that legalizing recreational marijuana has been absolutely wonderful for our state!"
This is because the more states that legalize it, the less Colorado will be a magnet for pot smokers.
Take advantage of opportunity
Colorado College and the Fine Arts Center have strategically planned the merge of their facilities. Over the next two years, there will be some major changes.
After multiple community listening sessions as well as public reviews of any other changes being made, the two facilities have made sure that the public's voice was one of the top of their concerns.
The merge not only offers funding and programming for the revamp of the Fine Arts Center programming and its multiple branches, it will also presents multiple new opportunities for students of art within CC and out.
While change is never a comfortable thing, in the case of the Fine Arts Center it is a necessity.
At this point, the only thing I can do as a student studying art gallery practice is remain hopeful that CC takes advantage of these opportunities.
Equality not a government mandate
Congratulations to Rachel Stovall for her excellent column (Dec. 1, Gazette). She tells it like it is. That big statue in New York Harbor is the Statue of Liberty - not the Statue of Equality. "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" is a matter of personal effort and responsibility and not a government mandate.
Human beings are the greatest example of diversity. We have various skills, aptitudes, abilities, values and motivations with which to live our lives.
Perhaps the best that we can hope for is represented by an old Army slogan "Be All That You Can Be".