Recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers:
We must do better with health care
Medicaid is a lifeline for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The U.S. Congress is attempting to cut that lifeline.
In May, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act. That act would radically restructure Medicaid. The result: less funding and fewer services for people with disabilities.
In June, the Senate revealed their version of the proposed legislation, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Although it was a different name, it would do the same damage to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities: less funding and fewer services.
Members of Congress are trying to portray this proposed legislation as reining in spending, cutting taxes, and giving new flexibility to states. The truth: funding is directed away from people with disabilities, the elderly, and the poor; taxes are cut only for the wealthiest among us; and more flexibility means that states will have to make the hard decisions about who will no longer get the services they need once federal funding is diminished.
This is not good for people with disabilities, it is not good for our nation, it is not good for people in Colorado. We must do better.
Through my work as the executive director at Mosaic in Colorado Springs, I see firsthand the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I am concerned about what would happen to them if the proposed legislation were to pass. Denial of services? Longer waiting lists? Move from communities and back to institutions?
I cannot answer those questions but I know with certainty the actions that would stem from this proposed legislation will negatively impact the people I serve every day.
The health care system does need reform. But it should not come at the expense of some of our most vulnerable citizens.
Was it April Fool's day?
I just had to wonder if it is April Fools' Day or not after reading Wednesday's editorial in The Gazette concerning the high-speed train. Is this a hoax? Allow me to explain. First and foremost, why is this being proposed in an urban area that has high density of people and structures and adjacent to a congested interstate? Who in their right mind would put a large, 400 mph projectile with completely untested technology adjacent to a densely populated area?
To me, this belongs right next to land rocket test sites or perhaps right next to "Spaceport America" in southern New Mexico, where nothing launches! Or, perhaps in the Fort Collins area. Maybe they do not want it there, either. Let this happen in Texas or Florida, but definitely not here. After this untested technology passes all safety concerns, then what? Some punitive measures like the new California gas tax? To socially engineer people into something they may or may not desire is wrong.
I lived in southern New Mexico when the ballot issue was passed for Spaceport America. What an absurd hoax perpetrated on the poor New Mexicans in southern New Mexico only, because the supporters knew northern New Mexicans would not fall for this hoax. I will offer some conventional advice, just say "no".
Obviously, there has been taxpayers' money spent on this, just by having public officials spend time considering this project in the first place. Research and refine this idea in the desert where people and property will not be in jeopardy.
Disappointed with curbs, sidewalks
First let me say that I fully support better roads and infrastructure in Colorado Springs.
Like many voters in Colorado Springs I was frustrated at the quality of our roads - even though we give the city an additional $56 million annually through the PPRTA tax, 2C would save us!
I've closely followed the results of the spending on 2C and have been disappointed to say the least. Here's some results I have found from the city of Colorado Springs website on 2C (www.coloradosprings.gov/2C):
2017 2C Budget: Asphalt $25.7 million, Concrete $17.9 million, Inspections and Administration $6.4 million.
Highlights of 2016 expenditures: Resurfaced 229 lane miles of roadway, replaced 123,665 linear feet of curb and gutter, replaced 282,407 square feet sidewalk, installed 269 new pedestrian ramps, retrofitted 466 existing pedestrian ramps.
It looks like one half of the budget from 2C is actually for sidewalks, curbs, and inspections. The voters of Colorado Springs have been duped again.
But hey, at least we have 735 new pedestrian ramps and great curbs and sidewalks now. I think it's against the law to drive on the sidewalks though?
For the sake of bike safety
I have been bicycling on our extensive network of trails for more than 20 years. This is one of my favorite things to do in "Colorful Colorado"! I have encountered no problems with riders of electric bicycles. The bicyclists who frighten me are the ones who pedal past me at a high rate of speed, without making their presence known. Courteous bicyclists will call out "on your left" or ring a bell before they pass. I have been startled many times by bicyclists who silently fly by me.
I have a rear-view mirror mounted on left side of my handlebar, but I do not focus on it all of the time. I enjoy looking at the beautiful scenery as I ride along at 10 mph or less. Some bicyclists speed by me at probably close to 20 mph, and they're not even riding electric bikes!
For the sake of safety, I wish those cyclists would let me know they're about to pass.