<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - opinion]]> http://gazette.com/rss/opinion Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:01:47 -0600 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Council should form long-term strategy for eliminating fees]]> The Gazette editorial http://gazette.com/editorial-council-should-form-long-term-strategy-for-eliminating-fees/article/1534157?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-council-should-form-long-term-strategy-for-eliminating-fees/article/1534157?custom_click=rss

City government’s executive and legislative branches are grappling with the best way to eliminate fees imposed on businesses. Most agree the fees should go, but the devil’s in the details. The reason they should go seems obvious.

If society wants less of an activity, it has the option of taxing it or imposing taxes disguised “fees.” To get less consumption of sugary snacks, raise taxes on sugar. It’s a near-exact science. A market that can afford $10 million in junk food can afford 10 percent less if the offending products come with a new 10 percent tax. Want fewer businesses? Impose taxes and fees on them.

Conversely, governments can encourage activity by reducing taxes and fees.

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]]> City government’s executive and legislative branches are grappling with the best way to eliminate fees imposed on businesses. Most agree the fees should go, but the devil’s in the details. The reason they should go seems obvious.

If society wants less of an activity, it has the option of taxing it or imposing taxes disguised “fees.” To get less consumption of sugary snacks, raise taxes on sugar. It’s a near-exact science. A market that can afford $10 million in junk food can afford 10 percent less if the offending products come with a new 10 percent tax. Want fewer businesses? Impose taxes and fees on them.

Conversely, governments can encourage activity by reducing taxes and fees.]]> Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:40:02 -0600 <![CDATA[Reality check; Udall on birth control; and more]]> The Gazette letters http://gazette.com/reality-check-udall-on-birth-control-and-more/article/1534102?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/reality-check-udall-on-birth-control-and-more/article/1534102?custom_click=rss

Udall has it right on birth control

Your editorial lambasting Sen. Mark Udall for supporting access to contraceptives for American women got one thing right: bosses should not control a woman's health care decisions. Birth control conversations belong solely between a woman and her health care provider.

Unfortunately, the editorial got almost everything else wrong, trivializing the role that contraception has in health care, marginalizing women who can't afford out-of-pocket contraceptive costs, and dismissing the importance of certain forms of birth control.

Family planning, including birth control, helps promote healthier mothers and babies, as well as a stronger health care system.



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]]>
Udall has it right on birth control

Your editorial lambasting Sen. Mark Udall for supporting access to contraceptives for American women got one thing right: bosses should not control a woman's health care decisions. Birth control conversations belong solely between a woman and her health care provider.

Unfortunately, the editorial got almost everything else wrong, trivializing the role that contraception has in health care, marginalizing women who can't afford out-of-pocket contraceptive costs, and dismissing the importance of certain forms of birth control.

Family planning, including birth control, helps promote healthier mothers and babies, as well as a stronger health care system.

]]>
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:07:41 -0600
<![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Stars at summit inspire hopes of another Reagan Revolution]]> The Gazette editorial http://gazette.com/editorial-stars-at-summit-inspire-hopes-of-another-reagan-revolution/article/1534070?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-stars-at-summit-inspire-hopes-of-another-reagan-revolution/article/1534070?custom_click=rss

Conservatives, do not despair. Genuine change may be on the way.

That's the message repeated by speakers this weekend at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where the conservative movement of Ronald Reagan appeared alive and prepared for resurgence. The Republican bench is formidable and deep.

In fact, more than 3,000 attendees at the summit may have met and heard from the next Republican to serve as president of the United States.

Plastic key cards at the Hyatt Regency, epicenter of the event that runs through Sunday, featured a photo of Dr. Ben Carson and the words "Run Ben Run!" Carson, a famous brain surgeon and bestselling public policy author, wasn't the only presidential hopeful on hand.

Sen. Ted

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]]> Conservatives, do not despair. Genuine change may be on the way.

That's the message repeated by speakers this weekend at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, where the conservative movement of Ronald Reagan appeared alive and prepared for resurgence. The Republican bench is formidable and deep.

In fact, more than 3,000 attendees at the summit may have met and heard from the next Republican to serve as president of the United States.

Plastic key cards at the Hyatt Regency, epicenter of the event that runs through Sunday, featured a photo of Dr. Ben Carson and the words "Run Ben Run!" Carson, a famous brain surgeon and bestselling public policy author, wasn't the only presidential hopeful on hand.

Sen. Ted]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 08:45:02 -0600 <![CDATA[LETTERS: Suthers acted correctly; pot for potholes]]> Letters http://gazette.com/letters-suthers-acted-correctly-pot-for-potholes/article/1534069?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-suthers-acted-correctly-pot-for-potholes/article/1534069?custom_click=rss

Suthers acted correctly

Mike Littwin, in his opinion column Monday, July 14, has it all wrong about John Suthers.

It is the job of the attorney general to uphold the laws of the state of Colorado. In opposing the Boulder clerk's action to issue marriage license to same-sex couples, Suthers is enforcing the properly enacted laws of the state.

Hillary Hall, the Boulder clerk, who Littwin calls a "hero," is violating the law by her actions. Her job is to obey the law.

It is not her job to make new laws or void existing laws by refusing to follow them. Judge Hartman likewise is supposed to follow the law.

There are two proper routes to changing state law.

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]]> Suthers acted correctly

Mike Littwin, in his opinion column Monday, July 14, has it all wrong about John Suthers.

It is the job of the attorney general to uphold the laws of the state of Colorado. In opposing the Boulder clerk's action to issue marriage license to same-sex couples, Suthers is enforcing the properly enacted laws of the state.

Hillary Hall, the Boulder clerk, who Littwin calls a "hero," is violating the law by her actions. Her job is to obey the law.

It is not her job to make new laws or void existing laws by refusing to follow them. Judge Hartman likewise is supposed to follow the law.

There are two proper routes to changing state law.]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 08:40:02 -0600 <![CDATA[GUEST COLUMN: Sen. Mark Udall's conflicting views on freedom a tasteless joke]]> Mark Hillman http://gazette.com/guest-column-sen.-mark-udalls-conflicting-views-on-freedom-a-tasteless-joke/article/1534068?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-column-sen.-mark-udalls-conflicting-views-on-freedom-a-tasteless-joke/article/1534068?custom_click=rss

Fortune cookies and Mark Udall have more in common than Colorado's Democrat U.S. senator might like to admit.

You probably know the juvenile prank of reading the message inside a fortune cookie - like "Now is the time to try something new" - and then adding " . in bed" to give it an off - color twist.

Sadly, Udall's campaign rhetoric is strikingly similar.

The 64-year-old Udall hasn't had a for-profit job in more than 30 years. But he has made a political career by telling ordinary Americans that he and his Washington cronies know better than the rest of us about everything from educating our children to the type of vehicle we drive.

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]]> Fortune cookies and Mark Udall have more in common than Colorado's Democrat U.S. senator might like to admit.

You probably know the juvenile prank of reading the message inside a fortune cookie - like "Now is the time to try something new" - and then adding " . in bed" to give it an off - color twist.

Sadly, Udall's campaign rhetoric is strikingly similar.

The 64-year-old Udall hasn't had a for-profit job in more than 30 years. But he has made a political career by telling ordinary Americans that he and his Washington cronies know better than the rest of us about everything from educating our children to the type of vehicle we drive.]]> Sun, 20 Jul 2014 08:35:02 -0600 <![CDATA[LETTERS: Another government crisis; rural, roadless, backwaters]]> Letters http://gazette.com/letters-another-government-crisis-rural-roadless-backwaters/article/1534029?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-another-government-crisis-rural-roadless-backwaters/article/1534029?custom_click=rss

Another government crisis

Now we have another government crisis with the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children flooding our Southern border and as usual our three-tiered government is spinning on its axis without any sense of direction. It appears to me that we now have an executive monarchy branch, a narcissistic, impotent legislative branch and a reactionary judicial branch. Our government, by the people and for the people, is out of control.

We need to demand that our elected leaders get with the business of government, but I see two problems with that. One, there is now a large percentage of the population that is addicted to the welfare drug. "Don't bite the hand that feeds ya." Even though that hand has your

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]]> Another government crisis

Now we have another government crisis with the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children flooding our Southern border and as usual our three-tiered government is spinning on its axis without any sense of direction. It appears to me that we now have an executive monarchy branch, a narcissistic, impotent legislative branch and a reactionary judicial branch. Our government, by the people and for the people, is out of control.

We need to demand that our elected leaders get with the business of government, but I see two problems with that. One, there is now a large percentage of the population that is addicted to the welfare drug. "Don't bite the hand that feeds ya." Even though that hand has your]]> Sat, 19 Jul 2014 08:20:02 -0600 <![CDATA[GUEST COLUMN: Attorney General's job is to be an advocate for all Coloradans' rights]]> Don Quick http://gazette.com/guest-column-attorney-generals-job-is-to-be-an-advocate-for-all-coloradans-rights/article/1533980?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-column-attorney-generals-job-is-to-be-an-advocate-for-all-coloradans-rights/article/1533980?custom_click=rss

Recently in this paper, Cynthia Coffman, the chief deputy attorney general and my opponent in November's election for Colorado attorney general, attempted to defend her position of continuing the defense of Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage. Coffman implied that the reason her office is still defending Colorado's ban is that the Attorney General's Office is required to defend all Colorado laws, even if there are grave doubts about their constitutionality. That's not true, and Ms. Coffman knows it.

First, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2003 that it is the attorney general's job to challenge a law when there are concerns about its constitutionality. I remember it well, as I was chief deputy to Attorney General Ken

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]]> Recently in this paper, Cynthia Coffman, the chief deputy attorney general and my opponent in November's election for Colorado attorney general, attempted to defend her position of continuing the defense of Colorado's ban on same-sex marriage. Coffman implied that the reason her office is still defending Colorado's ban is that the Attorney General's Office is required to defend all Colorado laws, even if there are grave doubts about their constitutionality. That's not true, and Ms. Coffman knows it.

First, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously ruled in 2003 that it is the attorney general's job to challenge a law when there are concerns about its constitutionality. I remember it well, as I was chief deputy to Attorney General Ken]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:55:02 -0600 <![CDATA[GUEST COLUMN: Address the real issue at hand, stop being offended by Bloomberg]]> Michael Merrifield http://gazette.com/guest-column-address-the-real-issue-at-hand-stop-being-offended-by-bloomberg/article/1533979?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/guest-column-address-the-real-issue-at-hand-stop-being-offended-by-bloomberg/article/1533979?custom_click=rss

Michael Bloomberg's quote in the Rolling Stone interview has made quite a splash in the Colorado Springs media.

His tasteless comment about "No Roads" indicated he is not well-traveled, not well informed, or not very effective at using sarcasm.

This comment should not shake our pride in this beautiful community in which we live. We are fortunate to call Colorado Springs home.

Not only do we have roads by which to see our breathtaking views, but also an extensive trails system, open spaces to explore, and neighborhood parks.

I will always own up to my missteps in public life and expect Bloomberg to do the same. But The Gazette's ludicrous attempt to put Bloomberg's foot in my mouth is reprehensible.

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]]> Michael Bloomberg's quote in the Rolling Stone interview has made quite a splash in the Colorado Springs media.

His tasteless comment about "No Roads" indicated he is not well-traveled, not well informed, or not very effective at using sarcasm.

This comment should not shake our pride in this beautiful community in which we live. We are fortunate to call Colorado Springs home.

Not only do we have roads by which to see our breathtaking views, but also an extensive trails system, open spaces to explore, and neighborhood parks.

I will always own up to my missteps in public life and expect Bloomberg to do the same. But The Gazette's ludicrous attempt to put Bloomberg's foot in my mouth is reprehensible.]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:50:11 -0600 <![CDATA[LETTERS: Wake up America; unsure about utilities fix]]> Letters http://gazette.com/letters-wake-up-america-unsure-about-utilities-fix/article/1533978?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-wake-up-america-unsure-about-utilities-fix/article/1533978?custom_click=rss Body Justify

Wake up, Americans

It is painful to watch the trashing of America, and it is accelerating daily.

On every front, President Barack Obama is governing (if you can call it that) against everything traditionally revered by those who love this country. It is truly an "in your face" administration.

The president's diabolical plan is working perfectly, I'm sorry to say: Make sure the citizens are poorly educated and as ill-informed as possible. That way they have no way of knowing the illegality and unconstitutionality of his actions.

Read more on Colorado Springs Gazette


]]> Body Justify

Wake up, Americans

It is painful to watch the trashing of America, and it is accelerating daily.

On every front, President Barack Obama is governing (if you can call it that) against everything traditionally revered by those who love this country. It is truly an "in your face" administration.

The president's diabolical plan is working perfectly, I'm sorry to say: Make sure the citizens are poorly educated and as ill-informed as possible. That way they have no way of knowing the illegality and unconstitutionality of his actions.]]> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:50:01 -0600 <![CDATA[LETTERS: Tips for a better economy; Lamborn's dance]]> Letters http://gazette.com/letters-tips-for-a-better-economy-lamborns-dance/article/1533936?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-tips-for-a-better-economy-lamborns-dance/article/1533936?custom_click=rss

Tips for a better economy

At long last, the wars are ending and military spending will and must be cut. Always a bad time for a military town. So new sources of revenue are sought but, historically, tourism has been a poor crutch to lean on in lean times.

As an oceanographer, I traveled to, stayed in and lived in many places. Three common factors stood out in those cities I saw whose economies were thriving: roads, parks and schools. So how does Colorado Springs compare:

Dodging potholes in our roads has become a necessary survival skill.

Citizens are putting conservation easements on parks to keep commissioners from selling them.

Read more on Colorado Springs Gazette


]]> Tips for a better economy

At long last, the wars are ending and military spending will and must be cut. Always a bad time for a military town. So new sources of revenue are sought but, historically, tourism has been a poor crutch to lean on in lean times.

As an oceanographer, I traveled to, stayed in and lived in many places. Three common factors stood out in those cities I saw whose economies were thriving: roads, parks and schools. So how does Colorado Springs compare:

Dodging potholes in our roads has become a necessary survival skill.

Citizens are putting conservation easements on parks to keep commissioners from selling them.]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:20:01 -0600 <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: United Way redirects to help children from cradle to career]]> The Gazette editorial http://gazette.com/editorial-united-way-redirects-to-help-children-from-cradle-to-career/article/1533935?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-united-way-redirects-to-help-children-from-cradle-to-career/article/1533935?custom_click=rss

Ours is a culture of growing dependence, with politicians delighting in promises of free food, government incomes, housing and health care. While some individuals cannot do for themselves, and must depend on the collective, the most fortunate among us provide for themselves and others. For people of able bodies and minds, success entails education, health and self-sufficiency.

Those are characteristics the Pikes Peak United Way plans to instill in young people throughout the region, even more than it has in the past. A July 14 Gazette story by Jakob Rodgers explains the nonprofit's new shift in the direction of helping people "from cradle to career.

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]]> Ours is a culture of growing dependence, with politicians delighting in promises of free food, government incomes, housing and health care. While some individuals cannot do for themselves, and must depend on the collective, the most fortunate among us provide for themselves and others. For people of able bodies and minds, success entails education, health and self-sufficiency.

Those are characteristics the Pikes Peak United Way plans to instill in young people throughout the region, even more than it has in the past. A July 14 Gazette story by Jakob Rodgers explains the nonprofit's new shift in the direction of helping people "from cradle to career.]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:15:10 -0600 <![CDATA[FAGIN: Can we solve the health insurance problem with more freedom?]]> Barry Fagin http://gazette.com/fagin-can-we-solve-the-health-insurance-problem-with-more-freedom/article/1533934?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/fagin-can-we-solve-the-health-insurance-problem-with-more-freedom/article/1533934?custom_click=rss

The Supreme Court has issued its ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. I wrote about this case when it was argued (Gazette Opinion, March 27) and am pleased to report that the Supreme Court, in its Supreme Wisdom, agreed with me. Closely held for-profit companies can in fact claim religious exemptions from a law, if there are other ways for the law to accomplish its goal.

Despite the howls of anguish from the easily angered left, the sky is not falling. It's a narrow ruling that interprets an existing law.

The law in question is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which requires any laws that substantially burden a person's exercise of religion to be narrowly tailored and undergo strict scrutiny.

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]]> The Supreme Court has issued its ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. I wrote about this case when it was argued (Gazette Opinion, March 27) and am pleased to report that the Supreme Court, in its Supreme Wisdom, agreed with me. Closely held for-profit companies can in fact claim religious exemptions from a law, if there are other ways for the law to accomplish its goal.

Despite the howls of anguish from the easily angered left, the sky is not falling. It's a narrow ruling that interprets an existing law.

The law in question is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which requires any laws that substantially burden a person's exercise of religion to be narrowly tailored and undergo strict scrutiny.]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:15:02 -0600 <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Gay marriage advocate Polis should not oppose fracking]]> The Gazette editorial http://gazette.com/editorial-gay-marriage-advocate-polis-should-not-oppose-fracking/article/1533805?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-gay-marriage-advocate-polis-should-not-oppose-fracking/article/1533805?custom_click=rss

Same-sex marriage and fracking share two factors: U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and the 14th Amendment. The equation reveals the congressman's hypocrisy.

Voters attempted to regulate same-sex marriage when they approved Colorado's Amendment 43 by 56 percent in 2006. As such, the Colorado Constitution defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Last week, Colorado District Judge C. Scott Crabtree - appointed in 2001 by then-Republican Gov. Bill Owens - became the 16th judge in the country to strike down gay marriage bans this year. Attorney General Eric Holder wants the Supreme Court of the United States to end same-sex marriage restrictions once and for all.



Read more on Colorado Springs Gazette


]]>
Same-sex marriage and fracking share two factors: U.S. Rep. Jared Polis and the 14th Amendment. The equation reveals the congressman's hypocrisy.

Voters attempted to regulate same-sex marriage when they approved Colorado's Amendment 43 by 56 percent in 2006. As such, the Colorado Constitution defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. Last week, Colorado District Judge C. Scott Crabtree - appointed in 2001 by then-Republican Gov. Bill Owens - became the 16th judge in the country to strike down gay marriage bans this year. Attorney General Eric Holder wants the Supreme Court of the United States to end same-sex marriage restrictions once and for all.

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Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:36:30 -0600
<![CDATA[LETTERS: A strategic plan for utilities; what immigration reform?]]> Letters http://gazette.com/letters-a-strategic-plan-for-utilities-what-immigration-reform/article/1533804?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/letters-a-strategic-plan-for-utilities-what-immigration-reform/article/1533804?custom_click=rss A strategic plan for utilities

The recent fire at the Martin Drake Power Plant has demonstrated that being a producer of electricity carries a real risk, and has opened an offer from Xcel Energy to buy Colorado Springs Utilities' (CSU) electric division.

While I was running for City Council, my constituents repeatedly expressed to me that they believed that low utility rates could only be accomplished by the city owning and running CSU. Not once while campaigning did I encounter a citizen who believed the sale of Utilities would be of benefit to the rate payers of the City of Colorado Springs. I was openly opposed to selling CSU during my campaign, and I will continue to support keeping it locally owned and governed.

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]]> A strategic plan for utilities

The recent fire at the Martin Drake Power Plant has demonstrated that being a producer of electricity carries a real risk, and has opened an offer from Xcel Energy to buy Colorado Springs Utilities' (CSU) electric division.

While I was running for City Council, my constituents repeatedly expressed to me that they believed that low utility rates could only be accomplished by the city owning and running CSU. Not once while campaigning did I encounter a citizen who believed the sale of Utilities would be of benefit to the rate payers of the City of Colorado Springs. I was openly opposed to selling CSU during my campaign, and I will continue to support keeping it locally owned and governed.]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 09:20:01 -0600 <![CDATA[EDITORIAL: Council should consider all options to help ratepayers]]> The Gazette editorial http://gazette.com/editorial-council-should-consider-all-options-to-help-ratepayers/article/1524794?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/editorial-council-should-consider-all-options-to-help-ratepayers/article/1524794?custom_click=rss

The aging, fire-damaged Drake Power Plant gets older and more obsolete. Federal regulators continue cracking down on coal plants, a sad circumstance beyond our control. The plant's operator, Colorado Springs Utilities Board of Directors, aka City Council, is mired in debt with bond obligations twice the value of the utility's annual income.

Meanwhile, the utility's governance structure is flawed. It's overseen by nine elected volunteers, members of council, stretched so thin they could justify new labor laws. Each has motivation to keep rates low while in office. That's a good thing, until it results in kicking the can down the road by gambling with deferred maintenance, neglecting risk management and encumbering ratepayers with



Read more on Colorado Springs Gazette


]]>
The aging, fire-damaged Drake Power Plant gets older and more obsolete. Federal regulators continue cracking down on coal plants, a sad circumstance beyond our control. The plant's operator, Colorado Springs Utilities Board of Directors, aka City Council, is mired in debt with bond obligations twice the value of the utility's annual income.

Meanwhile, the utility's governance structure is flawed. It's overseen by nine elected volunteers, members of council, stretched so thin they could justify new labor laws. Each has motivation to keep rates low while in office. That's a good thing, until it results in kicking the can down the road by gambling with deferred maintenance, neglecting risk management and encumbering ratepayers with

]]>
Sun, 13 Jul 2014 13:23:24 -0600