February 17, 2014 Updated: February 17, 2014 at 8:00 am
Proactively prevent homelessness
Homelessness is a serious issue in our city and one that deserves thoughtful, compassionate solutions and the support of the community.
As the director of Court Appointed Special Advocates, a youth-serving nonprofit, I have firsthand knowledge of the unique challenges faced by youth in foster care and victims of domestic violence, including homelessness and poverty.
Each year in our community, dozens of young people turn 18 and emancipate - or age out - from the foster care system. Aging out of foster care without a life plan or preparation puts these vulnerable youth at great risk. These risks include homelessness, unemployment, substance abuse, criminal involvement, and mental health issues.
About one in five teens become homeless within a year after leaving foster care, and one in four emancipated foster youth will be incarcerated within the first two years after they leave the system.
CASA programs address the unique challenges faced by older foster youth and to prevent, or even reverse these trends. The Fostering Futures program engages volunteers as advocates for and advisers to foster youth ages 7-17, with the goal of helping them develop specific transition plans, identify supportive adult connections, and achieve positive outcomes once they transition out of foster care.
In addition, the CASA Hanger project was created to fulfill the need for clothing and personal items for foster teens; it also provides life skills workshops and other opportunities for personal and professional growth.
In so many ways, our advocates are well-positioned to facilitate needed services to proactively prevent homelessness and ensure safe, permanent homes for children and youth.
It is my hope that youth/family-serving nonprofits and the mayor will collaborate to find a solution to homelessness in our city.
Trudy Strewler Hodges, CASA of the Pikes Peak Region
Relieved about PERA decision
I was relieved to see a ruling in the lawsuit regarding Memorial Hospital that sided with hard-working medical staff and others who earned and paid for their retirements. It would have been unfair for the city to pass along those costs onto other cities and governments. Many years ago the city entered into this agreement with PERA, the rules were clearly stated, so the city was well-aware of the costs of exiting that agreement when they decided this was the best course of action.
When each of us make decisions to change our minds on contractual agreements there is generally a cost associated with that change. It is no different with PERA, the city or my phone carrier.
Now it will be up to the mayor and the city to decide whether to continue this costly legal battle or save our tax dollars for more important matters. I hope they do the right thing.
Sharon Jamison, Colorado Springs
City can't maintain infrastructure
The city roadways are going down hill fast. My wife and I moved here eight years ago from Alaska, and I remember commenting how nice the roads we in this town. But seemingly everywhere you drive roads are cracked, potholed, with small depressions and ruts. They really seem to have accelerated in decay the last two years.
I've used the GoCoSprings app to report some potholes and am glad to say they were repaired quickly. Now there are so many problems with the roadways all over town, I couldn't report them all.
So how is it a city collecting revenue from over a half-million taxpayers can't maintain a basic infrastructure? Pretty sad. Yet the City for Champions is a priority that I and many others still don't get and are against. Let's build visitor centers that are a redundant duplication of some that exist. Genius!
Here's a thought, instead of crying for more taxes and revenue - redistribute what you already bring in. We moved here with no kids, yet the majority of our property tax goes to School District 11. Of course the school districts will whine, but I say redistribute a higher percentage of the tax revenue already collected to the city for maintaining roadways, stormwater projects, etc., from taxpaying households with no kids. Let the city get 20-25 percent of that school tax revenue from households who put no burden on their school districts.
Michael Skalisky, Colorado Springs
Absence of cohesive, logical basis
The Independence Institute strikes again, this time with Barry Fagin's "Our sense of fairness and a fight for survival," The Colorado Springs Gazette, Feb. 13, 2014. The absence of any cohesive, logical basis for his position is staggering.
He tries to make the argument that a sense of fairness is one on of those "leftovers from hundreds of thousands of years ago," but didn't the concept of "fairness" in Fagin's "Western Civilization," lead from Moses to Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution? Would Fagin throw these foundational concepts out?
Apparently so, when it comes to profits. But if, for just one example, the employees of his rich owner's company decide to agree with him and throw out the concept of "fairness," and take over the company, he might feel a bit differently.
Kenneth Valero, Littleton
Dangerous, dark curves ahead
I had to drive through the construction area on Austin Bluffs between Union Boulevard and Meadowland late one night. That area of road is extremely dangerous. There are no streetlights lit and the road has dangerous curves. It is pitch black through that area and somewhat narrow due to the construction.
Is there any reason why a couple of lights can't be turned on, on both sides of that road? I would like to have a city manager drive that road after dark to get a full understanding of how dangerous it is. High beams isn't a option due to oncoming traffic.
Judith Nelson, Colorado Springs