<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - opinion]]> http://gazette.com/rss/opinion Thu, 26 Nov 2015 07:17:45 -0700 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: A day to celebrate and reflect]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-a-day-to-celebrate-and-reflect/article/1564359?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-a-day-to-celebrate-and-reflect/article/1564359?custom_click=rss

A traditional Thanksgiving Day editorial usually celebrates the things we should be grateful for or treasure. This year, Thanksgiving arrives amidst stark realities of the division and dangers in our world. However while there is a lot to be wary of, we still have so much more to be thankful for.

We are still a country filled with caring communities that unite to help the less fortunate, especially at this time of year. We live in an amazing time filled with new technologies that improve lives, allow for instant access to information and learning tools and present a myriad of entertainment possibilities. So despite ongoing concerns, we should not let fear force out our feelings of gratitude, hope and awe for the potential of our

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]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 04:10:06 -0700 <![CDATA[LETTERS: More on utilities costs; opposed to governor's decision on refugees]]> http://gazette.com/letters-more-on-utilities-costs-opposed-to-governors-decision-on-refugees/article/1564358?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-more-on-utilities-costs-opposed-to-governors-decision-on-refugees/article/1564358?custom_click=rss More on Utilities costs

This is in response to councilman Keith King's guest opinion in The Gazette, Nov. 22, concerning the Colorado Springs Utilities. I have only been here for two years and am not very familiar with CSU's finances. My only interest is that of a citizen and ratepayer. I did spend most of my career working with and advising utilities on their finances, retiring as the director of the water programs division of the Rural Utilities Service. The RUS makes loans and some grants for electric, telephone, water and waste water systems in rural areas.

King tries to make the case that CSU's rates are not competitive with some other places like Denver. No one I know likes to pay for these services, although most

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]]> Thu, 26 Nov 2015 04:10:02 -0700 <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Few Americans are better off than they were]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-few-americans-are-better-off-than-they-were/article/1564282?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-few-americans-are-better-off-than-they-were/article/1564282?custom_click=rss

With only a festive month until 2016, voters across the country are asking themselves that time-honored question, "Am I better off than I was four years ago?"

Unless you are a Middle Eastern jihadist, a Russian strongman, a Mexican coyote, or a race-baiting television personality here in the United States, the answer is "No."

To say our foreign policy is a disaster would be generous. Under President Barack Obama, we have no foreign policy. That failure is evident in Iraq and Syria, where Islamic State is establishing a caliphate.

Observers from across the spectrum are criticizing Obama's non-policy. Even blue politicians are blushing red. On cable news this past Sunday, Sen.

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Wed, 25 Nov 2015 09:12:35 -0700
<![CDATA[LETTERS: Support for Clean Power Plan; still bickering about race]]> http://gazette.com/letters-support-for-clean-power-plan-still-bickering-about-race/article/1564276?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-support-for-clean-power-plan-still-bickering-about-race/article/1564276?custom_click=rss Support for Clean Power Plan

I have been a wildland firefighter for 38 years, most recently as a battalion chief. I have witnessed dramatic changes in the climate and weather that determine the severity of these wildfires - and they are becoming unmanageable. The 2015 fire season burned eight million acres, destroyed thousands of structures and led to many firefighter and resident deaths.

Despite our valiant efforts, four died and 900 homes were destroyed in the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. The extreme fire behavior we face each year is directly related to much warmer temperatures, drought and extreme weather. The good news is the Clean Power Plan will decrease the carbon pollution making wildfires worse - and

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]]> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 04:10:03 -0700 <![CDATA[LETTERS: America's better than that; former spouses also served]]> http://gazette.com/letters-americas-better-than-that-former-spouses-also-served/article/1564178?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-americas-better-than-that-former-spouses-also-served/article/1564178?custom_click=rss

Recent letters to The Gazette from our readers:

America's better than that

Thanks to Barry Fagin for reminding us that, with the exception of Native Americans, all the rest of us are descended from immigrants. My great-grandfather on my dad's side of the family immigrated from Spain in the middle of the 19th century, eventually settling in New Iberia, La. My great-grandfather on my mother's side immigrated from Prussia in 1854, landing in Galveston, settling in Texas, and eventually serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

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Tue, 24 Nov 2015 17:09:41 -0700
<![CDATA[GUEST OPINION: We must learn from Paris]]> http://gazette.com/guest-opinion-we-must-learn-from-paris/article/1564206?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-opinion-we-must-learn-from-paris/article/1564206?custom_click=rss

Like many people around the world, I watched with horror as the attacks on Paris unfolded. We have now learned that 129 people lost their lives in these brutal and horrific attacks and 350 are injured, some of them Americans.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these victims as well as the people of France. President Francois Hollande has called the massacre an act of war, marking the city's deadliest day since World War II.

Sadly, we understand what the people of France are feeling. On Sept. 11, 2001, I remember very clearly watching with astonishment as the attacks on our country unfolded. It also would ultimately lead to my resignation from the office of Colorado state treasurer to volunteer to return to the

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Tue, 24 Nov 2015 13:51:36 -0700
<![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Construction defects proposal would benefit consumers and builders]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-construction-defects-proposal-would-benefit-consumers-and-builders/article/1564177?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-construction-defects-proposal-would-benefit-consumers-and-builders/article/1564177?custom_click=rss

Today, the City Council will consider an ordinance to opt Colorado Springs out of the state's construction defects regime. Because state politicians refuse to fix their shoddy statute, we urge the City Council to free our city from its grasp.

The defects law, although it pretends to protect everyman against corporate monsters, is simultaneously anti-consumer and anti-business.

It harms existing homeowners. Passed in 2005, it encourages the homeowners associations of common interest communities, such as condominiums, to sue their builders for every little flaw. Two owners can involve their entire building in a class-action lawsuit even if the rest would rather not participate.

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Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:14:49 -0700
<![CDATA[Big premium increases foreseen for Medicare drug plan]]> http://gazette.com/big-premium-increases-foreseen-for-medicare-drug-plan/article/1564116?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/big-premium-increases-foreseen-for-medicare-drug-plan/article/1564116?custom_click=rss

WASHINGTON — With time running out on open enrollment season, many seniors are facing sharply higher premiums for Medicare's popular prescription drug program. The reason: rising drug costs have overtaken a long stretch of stable premiums.

Beneficiaries have until Dec. 7 to see if there's a lower-cost plan that will cover their medications in 2016. Consumer advocates and experts say it will pay to shop around this sign-up season.

"Premiums are going up. Deductibles are going up," said Tricia Neuman, a Medicare expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "There is some potential to save a lot of money by switching plans."

Government spending on the program also has risen significantly, driven by pricey new

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Mon, 23 Nov 2015 13:10:20 -0700
<![CDATA[LETTERS: How to meet the energy demands; shouldn't have applied]]> http://gazette.com/letters-how-to-meet-the-energy-demands-shouldnt-have-applied/article/1564093?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-how-to-meet-the-energy-demands-shouldnt-have-applied/article/1564093?custom_click=rss

How to meet the energy demands

While I agree that the Drake power plant needs to be retired and I support practical green alternatives, the demand that Drake supplies is not going away. How do we meet that demand? I attended a presentation by Utilities and their consultant on the Drake options. The focus was on getting rid of Drake. When I asked how we satisfy the demand void, I was told that we have extra capacity at the Nixon plant, which is a coal-fired plant and access to some power at a gas plant but that the primary plan is solar and demand control.

Demand control involves voluntary conservation, upgrading insulation and installing remotely controlled thermostats.

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Mon, 23 Nov 2015 10:06:36 -0700
<![CDATA[EDITORIAL: City Council's decision on Drake strong, decisive]]> http://gazette.com/editorial-city-councils-decision-on-drake-strong-decisive/article/1564061?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-city-councils-decision-on-drake-strong-decisive/article/1564061?custom_click=rss

With strong opinions arrayed on both sides of most issues, political decisions inevitably offend someone. That is why most legislators prefer a studied ambiguity to clear-cut proposals and progress.

Congress is wildly unpopular, but members of Congress usually win re-election. Those facts are perfectly compatible. Voters disapprove of Congress because it does so little, and it does so little because members of Congress avoid decisions that could hurt them in the next election. They strive to be neither hot nor cold but lukewarm.

On Wednesday, the City Council broke the vicious cycle. Acting as the board of Colorado Springs Utilities, council members voted to close the Martin Drake Power Plant by 2035.

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Sun, 22 Nov 2015 10:15:24 -0700
<![CDATA[GUEST COLUMN: CSU must become competitive in its rates]]> http://gazette.com/guest-column-csu-must-become-competitive-in-its-rates/article/1564062?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-column-csu-must-become-competitive-in-its-rates/article/1564062?custom_click=rss

When I ran for the City Council in 2013, the question I heard most was, "Are you in favor of selling Utilities?" I said no and my answer is still the same. However, Colorado Springs Utilities' residential rates are now among the highest along the Front Range. How did that happen?

Over the past 10 years, the price of fuel operations and maintenance decreased by 10 percent, but the cost of Utilities' expenditures increased 33 percent. Inflation was 20.8 percent, but residential rates increased by 52 percent. There is no excuse for burdening the ratepayers with these increases.

Denver does not own its electric and gas utilities, but it does own Denver Water. Also, it should be noted that the board of Denver Water is not

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]]> Sun, 22 Nov 2015 09:55:04 -0700 <![CDATA[LETTERS: The wrong side of history; words of wisdom]]> http://gazette.com/letters-the-wrong-side-of-history-words-of-wisdom/article/1563994?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-the-wrong-side-of-history-words-of-wisdom/article/1563994?custom_click=rss On the wrong side of history

"Syrian" is the new dog whistle for "Muslim," not that certain people had any shame saying Muslims were awful before; now they have a word that is, what, less offensive, less obvious? I don't know.

But I can tell you this. The man I know, the Muslim war refugee who came to this country from a different but equally violent and devastating war zone, served in our military, became a citizen, has been an active participant in the American democracy and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, even after you said you hated him because he was (pick one: black, foreign, Muslim).

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]]> Sat, 21 Nov 2015 04:00:03 -0700 <![CDATA[D-11's priorities are in question]]> http://gazette.com/d-11s-priorities-are-in-question/article/1563812?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/d-11s-priorities-are-in-question/article/1563812?custom_click=rss

On Nov. 3, union-backed candidates won election to school boards in every corner of Colorado. They carried the day in Jefferson County, Douglas County, Thompson and Colorado Springs School District 11, which serves half of the city.

These new school board members and the unions they represent are now responsible for producing graduates who can read, write and do math.

Last week, the Colorado Department of Education gave a sneak peek of 2014-15 test scores. Between 37 percent and 42 percent of students, depending on their grade level, are proficient in English and math. Absent the custom of social promotion, about 60 percent of students would either go to summer school or be held back. Most schools deserve an F.

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Thu, 19 Nov 2015 11:50:12 -0700
<![CDATA[FAGIN: The tradition of America's acceptance of immigrants]]> http://gazette.com/fagin-the-tradition-of-americas-acceptance-of-immigrants/article/1563796?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/fagin-the-tradition-of-americas-acceptance-of-immigrants/article/1563796?custom_click=rss

President Barack Obama has committed America to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. That's not enough. We should admit every Syrian refugee to America that passes the vetting process, presidential quotas be damned. Such an action would save lives. It would be cheaper than war, morally decent, economically beneficial and rooted in America's most treasured values.

I do not claim objectivity on this issue. All of my great-grandparents were refugees. They came here, tired and poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. In my case, they yearned to breathe free from the state-sponsored attacks on Jewish homes, businesses and lives under the czars of pre-revolutionary Russia. If you've seen "Fiddler on the Roof," you know my story.

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Thu, 19 Nov 2015 08:12:51 -0700
<![CDATA[LETTERS: Can't verify who's coming here; time to end all discrimination]]> http://gazette.com/letters-cant-verify-whos-coming-here-time-to-end-all-discrimination/article/1563795?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-cant-verify-whos-coming-here-time-to-end-all-discrimination/article/1563795?custom_click=rss Can't verify who's coming here

Gov. John Hickenlooper has agreed to allow Syrian refugees into Colorado. The U.S. Department of State tells us all incoming refugees will undergo a vagarious background check.

After retiring from the Army, I worked as a contract investigator for the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Treasury. I did background checks on potential employees. Let me tell you some of what that entails. Upon receiving a name, you talk to that person's family, friends and neighbors. You talk to his employer and former employers as well as co-workers. You check school records, police records and military records. This is a start. If you find or hear anything derogatory or find anything suspicious, you dig

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