Ray D. Nixon Power Plant

Ray D. Nixon Power Plant.

The times they are a changin’

Bob Dylan says it best regarding Colorado Springs Utilities recent decision to replace its coal-fired power generation primarily with renewable wind/solar/energy storage, “The Times They are A-Changin.” Utilities’ alternative to meet state mandated emissions reductions was additional natural gas-powered generators, and it prudently chose renewables coupled with batteries.

Over the next two decades, power from the Drake and Nixon plants will be replaced by about 1,100 megawatts of wind, solar and batteries. Putting this number in perspective, the U.S. today has about 200,000 MW of installed wind/solar/batteries with 1,200 MW of that being two wind farms just east of us near Limon. New installations planned in the U.S. total 200,000 MW as well. Utilities is part of a massive wave of conversion by utilities around the country and globe from fossil fuels to renewables and batteries. Congratulations and thank you to Utilities for A-Changin!

Ross E. Dueber

Colorado Springs

Penalizing bicyclists is misguided

I have to agree with Lew Willey (“Time for bicyclists to pay”) that bicyclists have been known to “maneuver through roadways with disregard to motorists” and “blast through stop signs,” which many motorists reinterpret as “slow signs”. However, the vast majority of biking miles in Colorado Springs are traveled on the extensive and more hospitable trails around town, most bicyclists being cautious and wise enough to avoid roadways whenever possible.

Bicyclists are not the only ones to maneuver through roadways with disregard to motorists. And bicyclists do not ride well above the posted speed limit, drive aggressively on somebody’s bumper or contribute to traffic gridlock. They do not contribute to the deterioration of roadways or environment and do not disrupt peace and quiet, especially in unfortunate neighborhoods.

Bicyclists do not knock over lamp posts or mailboxes; they do not kill and maim all sorts of wildlife and occasional pedestrians (even hit-and-run variety), and to my knowledge never crash through walls of homes.

Penalizing bicyclists is wrong-headed, misguided and counterproductive; encouraging biking (and walking), particularly on trails would reduce roadway traffic, frustration, and health care costs. Time is better spent focusing on potential solutions to the real issues, such as the proliferation and reliance on autos, and the crumbling infrastructure.

Finally, if by the term “blocking traffic” Willey is referring to bicyclists’ rightful use of the road, I urge him to reeducate himself.

Ken Krall

Colorado Springs

In defense of unions

Wayne Laugesen’s column in The Gazette’s Sunday “Perspective” uses a broad brush to tar unions, be they police, education, government, or labor. The views expressed by him, our mayor, and the heavily quoted victim of sexual violation by a teacher appropriately focus on some unions’ practice of shielding “bad apples.”

But does our newspaper’s editorial editor give any thought or space to the merits of unions? I find none, either by him, Mayor John Suthers, other Gazette columnists, or op-ed writers who routinely badmouth unions.

In the mid-’70s I helped organize a union at a state university. I did so because after only seven years of teaching there I had witnessed numerous examples of discriminatory firing and punishments done to colleagues in my department as well as in others.

Among the merits of collective-bargaining agreements is the authority to challenge the “good old boys’” power structure. Unions also establish various committees to oversee wage/salary, sick leave, working conditions, merit and tenure guidelines and the like. Further, unions establish a grievance committee. Its officers contests actions by administrators that violate the terms of the contract and that, in consequence, discriminate against a faculty member’s rights. I was grievance officer a half-dozen times, and while I was never trained in law, my “client” was successful in every case, invariably because administrative decisions violated our contract.

In sum, it’s simply not true that all unions “prevent employers from” getting rid of “bad” employees, as our mayor contends. Nor is it true that unions “will protect any bad employee because it’s in their financial interest to do so,” as a Freedom Foundation writer asserts as a universal truth. Unions strive to better their members’ working conditions and, thereby, lives.

Gerry Brenner

Colorado Springs

The merits of capitalism

Isn’t it high time that we (USA) set aside a day each year to acknowledge and celebrate capitalism? There can be no liberty without it! Freedom and capitalism work hand and hand providing goods and services that no other system can match, least of all socialism and its blood brother Communism. It fails everywhere it’s been tried and one only need look at the fall of the Soviet Union or today’s Venezuela.

Capitalism has raised millions out of poverty throughout the world by creating wealth and higher living standards. When one is free to pursue dreams and ambition, there are no limits to the marvelous inventions that make all lives better. Capitalism succeeds by pleasing people. It provides things that people desire and want.

You need look no further than McDonalds or Walmart to see that this is true! Capitalism creates another wonderful outcome, that being competition. This makes products and services better and cheaper.

Why do so many young people crave socialism? The public education system has failed our nation. A recent Supreme Court decision might well open the door to allow tax dollars to go with the student. If we can agree that everyone wants the best education possible for children per dollars spent, then the only argument left is; what vehicle provides it!

Let’s celebrate the system that has made the whole world better.

Capitalism creates wealth and wealth funds charity and endowments that everyone benefits from.

Why would anyone want to live under the failed socialistic systems that always bring shared misery and fall under their weight? Socialism’s product is despair and the suppression of the human spirit.

It’s a lesson that must constantly be taught lest younger generations fall for its false promises of utopia!

Len Bentley

Colorado Springs

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