Conflict of interest in local politics
Thank you to The Gazette and reporter Mary Shinn for shining the spotlight on a very troubling situation in this upcoming City Council election. Her in-depth articles on March 28 and more recently on March 31, should make every citizen in this city very concerned. In each one of our six council districts, developers and housing associations have heavily, if not totally, financed their chosen candidate.
Based on the Gazette reporter’s research, Nor’wood and the Housing & Building Association have contributed at least $60,000 in campaign funding to these six individuals: $10,000 to Mason District 1, $13,000 to Geislinger District 2, $15,000 to Skorman District 3, $2000 to Avila District 4, $10,000 to Henjum District 5, and $10,000 to O’Malley District 6.
If elected, when it comes to their next vote to approve yet another zoning or high-density land development proposal, how do they not have a real or perceived conflict of interest? Taking these significant contributions might put them at odds with the public interest, health, or safety of those citizens they supposedly represent. This is particularly true for anyone living in wildfire-prone areas on the west and north sides of Colorado Springs. As a previous government servant for this city, I have never seen such an obvious attempt to influence our elected officials as this.
What a needed uplift
Thank you for the delightful story by Amanda Hancock about “The Squirrel Guy” in the March 27 Life section. What a needed uplift it was to read about this gentle man — John Snyder — and his thoughtful treatment of the creatures in our backyards! I am so appreciative of his example and grateful to the Gazette for featuring it so prominently. Bravo!
Tracey A. Johnson
Tackling rebuilding our infrastructureRe: Biden must expand labor if he wants to fix roads:
You are right that robust infrastructure projects are necessary and will be good for the economy. Reinstating half the Republican tax cuts will not have adverse effects. In fact, if infrastructure work had been initiated instead of tax cuts the former administration might still be in office.
As far as a prepared workforce, we do suffer from a lack of skilled tradespeople. But, it’s not the fault of lawyers. Public schools have, for decades, emphasized academics over construction and mechanical skills. Not so for trade unions, that still offer paying apprenticeships.
I can attest, from personal experience, that expertise in construction or mechanical skills can provide a satisfying career. But, a safe workplace, good wages, health and retirement benefits and training that begins before academic burnout causes unproductive behavior are a necessity for creating an adequate workforce to tackle the rebuilding of our neglected infrastructure.
Possible renewable energy source
Colorado can significantly contribute to its goal of 100% power from renewable sources by 2040, while simultaneously boosting the economy in rural parts of the state. One of the state’s most plentiful, yet underutilized sources of clean energy can be found throughout Colorado, but it is not what you might expect. This resource is our agricultural waste — which can be used to create renewable natural gas.
When animal waste decomposes it releases methane, which can be captured to create RNG, and used as natural gas to fuel vehicles, generate electricity, or power heating systems. Since RNG is compatible with existing natural gas infrastructure, RNG can make an immediate impact on the state’s renewable targets if we take action to support its production.
By making RNG an integral part of greenhouse gas emission reduction programs, the state can help achieve our environmental goals while providing family dairy farms and the agriculture industry a welcome financial boost. The Colorado Legislature is debating an emissions bill sponsored by Sens. Hansen and Coram and Rep. Arndt. This bill would require utilities to adopt GHG reduction targets and require that RNG account for at least 35% of emission reductions.
As chair of the Colorado Dairy Farmers and a farmer, this bill would be a win-win for all Coloradans. We have a readily available renewable fuel source that does not require massive infrastructure construction to come online and provides economic benefits to rural areas. RNG should be a major part of the state’s renewable portfolio, and I urge the Legislature to pass SB21-161.
Unaccountable current administration
Mid six-figure incomes for life guards in California? Well, what’s a life worth? In that context it’s priceless, but it’s not worth spending that much in taxpayer dollars.
Since Jan. 20, the cost of lumber and something as common as a 4x8 panel of strand board has risen from $11 to nearly $44. Check you local lumber yard... The materials are usually 40% of housing construction, labor 60%. Now imagine how that will play out.
Federally, with a trillion dollars in the pipeline, and another $6 trillion of proposed spending, will that be enough? The reaction to all this “free” money is called inflation. Just ask your great-great-great grandchildren.
Thank the unaccountable current administration. Is this what we wanted as the welcome contrast to the former administration? The media is asleep or complicit or both.
Stalin noted, one death is a tragedy, a million a statistic. Looks like Biden is setting up for a statistic. Sleepy Joe and his minions have to go before our country does.