Poor plan for properties
Many residents in the area where "The Ridge" is to be are concerned about how this low-income population would be served ... or disserved. It does not appear to be well-thought out either by the city or the Greccio planners before purchasing the property.
1. The property backs up to busy Colorado 115, a blighted area that appears to have been purchased for far more than its actual value.
2. Bus transportation is 1.5 to 2 miles away. If the nearest one is unavailable due to flooding, the 2nd one is along Academy Blvd. to Pikes Peak Community College, with some area lacking sidewalks. For disabled residents, this would be difficult in any kind of weather.
3. The children are especially vulnerable. When schools are at full capacity, the elementary children must go to a school outside the neighborhood. There are no school buses. Their parents cannot be expected to take them to and from school because they will be working.
4. One mother living in the area felt walking to school was doable and that she had walked to school as a child 30 years ago. We think it is dangerous to consider children from kindergarten through high school walking 4-7 miles (Gold Camp Elementary, Skyway, Cheyenne Junior High, Cheyenne High) to and from school in all kinds of weather, especially along Colorado 115 in rush hour traffic.
5. No plans have been made to serve these children with before school or after school care.
6. A fragile population needs more, not less care. Yet property management plans to be available 8-5 Monday through Friday (when the residents are most likely to be at work). A drive by some Greccio properties brings concern about how well the properties are being maintained, though promises have been made that this one will be kept up.
When something is this ill-thought out, the answer can usually be found if you: Follow the money.
Obamacare has controlled costs
If you are like most people, you have heard over and over again that Obamacare is crashing and burning because premiums went up 20 percent this year. You heard it in the debates, and you may have heard it said of our exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. This news concerned you, perhaps even caused you to vote for Donald Trump. An increase like that is shocking and unacceptable.
At the same time, if you are like most people, your family's premium only went up about 3 percent this year. You probably felt incredibly lucky, you probably thought you dodged a bullet. Turns out, you weren't lucky. You were actually just typical. Nationally, only 3 percent of the population experienced that 20 percent increase. Make no mistake, it is a terrible burden borne by that 3 percent. But most people get their insurance through their employer and for those folks, the average increase was....3 percent.
So who suffered? Exchange and nongroup premiums did go up by 20 percent, but 85 percent of exchange participants receive a subsidy capping premiums as a percentage of income. Thus people in that situation continued to pay the same premium, if their income did not change. The folks who didn't qualify for a subsidy in most cases earn at least four times the poverty level ($97,000 a year for a family of four.) Those who chose to buy individual insurance outside the exchanges were also hit hard - you probably know a few of them, and their situation is dire. But Obamacare has controlled costs for the vast majority of Americans. The fact that it hasn't worked for everyone is a reason to fix it, not to throw out the good it has done. It is true what the president said - health care is complicated.
Uproar over health care plan
I am not sure I quite understand the uproar over the GOP health care plan. I don't understand why the federal government is involved other than providing appropriate rules and regulations to ensure that the health care available to Americans meets good standards. Repealing the mandate should have been a stand-alone issue as it is an infringement of personal liberty. Providing an avenue for those rejected by insurance companies for pre-existing conditions is laudable, however, requiring an insurance company to accept those parties is socialized medicine. It would be better if the government would open up Medicare for citizens who have been rejected by insurance companies. This is not a free pass as the participant would still have to pay all the Medicare costs and fees, and would need a couple of rejection letters from established insurance companies to qualify. Few in this country are truly without access to general or emergency medical care unless they reside where there are no hospitals or doctors, and that is what a new health plan should address. Those that don't wish to have health insurance should be held accountable when they use the health system either financially or with service requirements.
Michael S. Welsh
GOP accessories to this harm
Our national legislators take an oath of office to uphold the Constitution against enemies, both domestic and foreign. For that matter, so did Donald Trump. It is overdue that these lawmakers stop placing their party loyalty and political ambition over their sworn duty. It is time for Congress to require a special prosecutor to investigate Trump/Russia contacts. It is beyond me why the GOP stays silent as the Bannon/Trump White House attacks the First Amendment, the media, the courts, people of color, and women.
When will the GOP stop being accessories to this harm? We may not be the Koch brothers, who, with their cohorts, buy Congress. But there are scores of millions of us.
Boring Oscar runner-up
Likely most don't care, however I couldn't resist digressing a bit from the political world. This past Monday, with our daughter and son-in-law restless at our home; we decided to go see a movie on a Monday afternoon. They were restless as their flight back to Baltimore was canceled due to the big snowstorm.
At the local AMC theater, there were limited choices of good movies, so we decided to see the Oscar runner-up, "La La Land." This movie barely kept me awake through the first 45 minutes or so. Boring and un-interesting is the best I can come up with. Maybe, I like a little action of some kind. Maybe, because I had never heard any of the performers or maybe it was just a boring movie with a yucky unemotional ending.
Oh well, at least I only spent $28 for the four tickets.
Duane C. Slocum