Targeted giving to the homeless
There are up to 1,500 homeless people in Colorado Springs. Some are homeless by choice, others as a result of poor decisions and yet others by plain bad luck (stuff happens).
I have participated in give aways, creek clean up and donating to various charities. I don't care to see any more new jackets and back packs cast off to litter our city, or Bibles torn up to start camp fires. I don't care to support folks pushing their belongings around in stolen grocery carts. I really don't like having to step over what appear to be healthy men and women blocking my access to stores.
So I suggest that before we use mine and your tax dollars to build free homes that will enable this small but highly visible segment of our community to continue non-participation in the community we change. Why don't we triage the population. Segregate those that have no skills but can be trained, those that have mental illness or abuse problems and those that truly just need a little intervention? Some past choices that resulted in interaction with law enforcement can't be just wished away, but there are programs and jobs or training that will take them on. Some folks just need some training and then there are families with children that I think should go to the top of any list.
What I propose is instead of blanket giving, we prioritize and provide a method for dedicated, targeted giving. A "here is my donation for families with children only" choice. "Here is my donation for anybody that is cold" choice, or something similar. Being homeless in Colorado Springs should not be a destination of choice as it is now because of all the free stuff. But the community should be able to designate who gets help, especially when that help comes from public funds.
Michael S. Welsh
Springs citizens deserve better
Reference two of your news articles from Tuesday, Nov. 20: "Deal could get Springs $49M" and "One owner, 80 percent of code violations". Both have a central connection. First, regarding the "deal" I wonder if the city has learned anything from the hole it (and it's leadership) dug regarding developer variances that caused revenue shortages and supposedly justified the recent storm water tax increase. Now we "could get" millions if we just change the rules regarding annexation and let the developers off the hook regarding paying for infrastructure and fees, and of course lesson their financial burden.
Bad move. We did that with developer variances and ended up taxing the citizens more to pay for storm water. Adding 24,000 homes and the accompanying infrastructure costs will benefit the developer, not the city that then has to build, maintain, and inspect infrastructure and new roads.
Secondly, the city complains in the code violation article that it hasn't the money for code enforcement officers. So code violators are being let off the hook for years and allowed to abuse Colorado Springs citizens? No owner should be able to get away with code violations because of too few inspectors.
Developers must pay the full costs of their development and code violators should pay fines that make fixing all code violations attractive to them. Colorado Springs citizens deserve better.
Neil L. Talbott
Scam has played out for years
Reference article "Deal could get Springs $49M" (Nov. 28): How long will the good people of El Paso County continue to endure the charade being played by City Council members. Does anyone really believe they won't change the Banning Lewis Ranch agreement that mandates developers be responsible for infrastructure costs? Council members convey with a straight face that they are waiting for more information to render a decision. You can guarantee the Council will hold some phony-baloney hearings, convey they understand your concerns and then rapidly pass the motion behind closed doors, dumping the costs on to the tax payers. The developers own the council members, or is it just a coincidence that developers are the number one donators to everyone that runs for office.
This scam has been played out for years at the expense of the taxpayers. Not long ago, the taxpayers paid $14 million for a bridge over the railroad tracks on west Baptist Road so the developers could make mega millions building out Forest Lakes. Furthermore, literally every developer motion to increase established plat density levels have been passed under the same ruse. Council won't be happy until every inch of El Paso County is developed and we'll be left with the nightmare.
We can't even sustain the infrastructure costs as things stand now. We toy with destroying TABOR to put a band aid on the gash. The only thing preventing us from becoming California is TABOR. Let's expose the Potemkin Village for what it is; a massive money grab steaming with graft and corruption that is destroying what was once a terrific place to live.
One more way to transplant cash
We all want to prevent traffic accidents. No one wants people running red lights. But this is a proxy for the real question we've been asked: Do we want red light cameras?
Is there any evidence that the presence of red light cameras lead to an increase in safety? Not really. The same bad drivers continue to drive badly, just in a different way. You see a decrease in the T-bones and a simultaneous increase in the rear-ends. Red light cameras will not make us any safer.
So if they don't increase safety, at least they will increase revenue, right? Unfortunately, this is the real motive behind red light cameras. It's just one more way to transplant cash from the citizens to the authorities. They're always going to use fear to convince us to give up our independence.
Luckily, our wisest founding father (Benjamin Franklin) gave us some insight for what to do in these situations. "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."