Published: November 28, 2013
Someone should have been aware
I read with interest the article Friday, Nov. 22, titled "New fire codes considered" for the rebuilding of the Black Forest victims. I attended that meeting because I lost my home of 27 years in that fire, and when I reach an agreement with my insurance, I plan to rebuild.
Noticeably missing from your article was a mention of the presentation by Dan Potter, the developer of Cathedral Pines subdivision. Potter showed that he was "required" for fire protection to place three 30,000-gallon cisterns strategically around the subdivision at a cost of $500,000, before his subdivision was approved. Potter pointed out that none of the cisterns were utilized during the fire. Not even to protect the one house that burned, near one of the cisterns. When Potter asked someone in charge of fighting the fire why none of the cisterns, or the "dry fire hydrate" located next to their holding pond, were utilized, he was told that no one was aware of them. Someone should have been aware of them.
Also not mentioned was the "Rural Fire Fund" that the fire departments are imposing if you apply for a permit to rebuild. These requirements are imposed if they feel that your plans meet "their" criteria. These requirements could be a cistern, indoor sprinklers or a fee of $5,625. This fund only applies for people rebuilding. I'm not sure that the "criteria" has been clearly listed. As stated in the meeting, this is another expense that the majority of the people cannot afford. It was also mentioned in the meeting, by the commissioners themselves, that the law states they cannot impose such regulations without approval from the El Paso County commissioners. I'm not sure it has been approved or even proposed before them.
This fire was a disaster. How it started, or who caused it, really doesn't matter. Once it started and with all the variables (wind, heat and the drought), it took off. There is much to be said for all the people who fought it and stopped it from traveling even farther. But it has devastated hundreds of those who lost everything. There are many people living out there on limited incomes, and starting over is a major project. I know, because I am one.
Terye Kandrak, Colorado Springs
Medicine with competitive pricing
I think it was Tuesday, Nov. 19, when a guest editorial by Jacek Popiel panned Obamacare and offered a solution. Popiel's diagnosis was correct, but his solution was backward, and it would actually be worse than Obamacare. The proposed Popiel fix was to have the government create a single-payer system, something similar to what European social democracies offer. I disagree. This kind of system does not offer health care; rather, it offers a waiting list for health care.
Even before Obamacare, about 60 percent of health care spending came from the taxpayers. Medicare and Medicaid are the big spenders. And these programs contribute heavily to the increasing cost of medicine. But there are parts of medicine that are still relatively free and have healthy competition. An example is laser eye surgery, which used to cost thousands per eye and now is as low as $500. And quality of results has improved. If all medicine were practiced with competitive pricing, it would be affordable to everybody.
A certain type of single-payer plan is needed. I call it the unit-payer plan, where the people who receive care also pay for it. It is free-market capitalism, which has always improved service and products while always reducing cost.
Yes, repeal Obamacare, but replace it with something that will work, not another bureaucratic cauchemar. Replace it with free-market capitalism.
Richard H. Timberlake III, Colorado Springs
Where are pot tourists coming from?
I sincerely believe all the anti-retail marijuana shop advocates should take a deep breath off a doobie and chill out.
Pot sells for around $150 on the street with none of the overhead of a retail store and no 25 percent tax. Together, these will bring the retail selling price close to $200 an ounce. Most retail pot shops will go out of business, unable to compete with the price of the established black market.
From where are these pot tourists going to come? Pot tourists from the closest sizable population centers in our neighboring states (Omaha, Albuquerque, Salt Lake City and Topeka) would have to pay for at least one night at a hotel and at least $100 to $200 in gas and food expense bringing the price of that ounce of pot closer to $400 to $500.
Contrary to their portrayal in Reefer Madness or Cheech and Chong comedy routines, pot smokers aren't addicted fiends or so spaced out that they would spend that much time on the road and that much money for something they, as well as Colorado residents, are already getting easily and cheaply in their hometown, unless they already had planned a trip with their families (yes, pot smokers have families, jobs, etc.) to ski, visit Pikes Peak, Cave of the Winds, etc.
I have a news flash for Kari Kilroy. Your public officials already let the worst form of drug into your town, alcohol. How many intoxicated tourists already drive in your streets and stroll your sidewalks after drinks with lunch or dinner at your restaurants and bars?
Bill Schaffner, Colorado Springs
Understanding the commandments
I had to write in after reading a letter discussing the oath at the AFA and the writer commented in essence that the military violates the commandment "thou shalt not kill." The writer is misinformed and bases the assertion based on misunderstanding of the real meaning of the Ten Commandments. Correctly understood the commandment is "thou shalt not murder," which is not the same meaning as killing.
What Cain did to Abel was murder; there was no reason in the act. However, when someone wants to kill you and you have to stop them to prevent it . that is killing, not murder.
Patrick Hogan, Colorado Springs