Rise and stand to be heard
In recent years, I've found myself less and less in agreement with The Gazette's ever more libertarian and ultra right-wing editorials. Yet, I must admit that the comments on the recent budget proposals of our Colorado Springs Utilities were right on target, especially since the excessive budget increases without appropriate scrutiny indicate a larger trend in government- local state and federal. It seems indeed a slap in the face of all those non-government, private sector workers and their families, most of whom haven't seen a major pay increase since the financial collapse of 2008. Now our utilities are asking for more money at the same time state, local and federal government entities suggest we all pay higher taxes and a variety of newly schemed-out fees to rescue neglected areas that range from road construction over education to parks and stormwater issue. While all these revenue-producing proposals are propagandized in fancy commercials, pay increases for government and utility workers, as well as the repair efforts for gradually failing state and local retirement funds are pushed past the average citizen's back without much debate. When someone asks where the pay-raise figures come from, you immediately get the answer that they are based on studies conducted by contractors, paid for with taxpayer money, and that their findings are in line with comparable pay standards in other cities. Judging from the numbers, that most likely means New York City, Chicago or Los Angeles.
It's time for our citizens to slowly rise from their seats and stand to be heard. I fully support The Gazette in their call for a line-by-line scrutiny of the utility's and all city and state budgets. Only that, not diverting our focus on more useless and unenforceable gun control and other diversionary issues, can prevent the creation of new corporate pay scams where the top takes all and those who do all the tough work can barely make a living any longer.
Ralf Zimmermann Colorado Springs
Always there, always controlling
The shutdown was a scare but not for the reason you might think. It scared the crap out of me because it showed how much the government is in our lives and controls our lives. Examples: Fishermen were not allowed to fish because government was not there to watch, parks were closed because the government was not there to watch, vets were not going to get paid in an age of automatic electronic deposit because no one was there to watch.
The government has turned into Orwell's monster, always there, always watching, always controlling.
How did we as a people let things get this bad? The government has turned into our largest employer! Think about that. We pay people with the money we tax them on - a circle I thinks that needs to be broken. We are never going to get out of this cycle, the more it grows the more money it needs. The more it needs the more it hires to keep itself working. Our government has turned into a parasite that feeds off its victim until that victim dies and moves onto the next. Dividing and multiplying until everyone is affected and we cannot live without it because now it's supporting our system. I think it's time for a new government - this one scares me!
Joseph (Joe) V. Seifert Jr., Colorado Springs
Nothing was gained, much was lost
We the people of El Paso County demand more out of our elected officials. I served my country for 29 years as an Air Force officer, and protecting our democracy is important to every service member. Extortion is not part of our democratic process. Doug Lamborn was in favor of shutting down our government and voted against reopening it in the House vote cast Wednesday night. Nothing was gained and much was lost. Veterans programs were crippled, 800,000 workers furloughed (a large number here in Colorado), scientific research halted, national parks closed, and our economy has been damaged. Why and what was accomplished? Nothing.
We want our elected officials to work together to move our country forward and solve our problems. We are not extremists in El Paso County - we are Americans and we deserve better.
Ann Shippy, Colonel, USAF, Retired, Colorado Springs
Ideology over constituents' needs
In his fourth term representing the Fifth District, Rep. Doug Lamborn continues to place ideology over the needs of his constituency. He proclaims devotion to service members, but his actions indicate zealous apathy towards any department of government. Fort Carson has and continues to treat many of its warriors for PTSD, TBI and other conditions to enable them to function in and enjoy our community, but yet in 2008 Lamborn opposed the Domenici/Kennedy Mental Health Parity Act to bring mental health equal standing with physical health. An informed and effective elected official would have concern for hundreds, if not thousands, of soldiers returning one day to civilian life.
Fast forward to the present and he continues his disdain toward this community. Colorado Springs aka Pentagon West employs 20 percent of its workforce in the federal sector. Factor in related private contract, retiree pensions, etc. and the figure is 40 percent. Unfortunately our community is dependent on (reasonable) government spending. The furlough alone decreases our local payroll 5 percent if not more as private contractors follow the example. But yet, he gladly impersonates a lemming over an ideological cliff than the needs of his constituents. Following his rhetoric he is proud to support purchase of a chunk of prairie for a future veteran's cemetery but his actions would lead to him voting to defund the costs to operate it. The Fifth District deserves better. There are many effective individuals, Republican or not, who could do much better.
Mike League, Colorado Springs