Garden of the Gods portrait policy (copy)

A proposed policy would require commercial portrait photographers to pay $500 a year for a permit to shoot at Garden of the Gods and all other city parks.

Do we really need money that badly?

Oh no! Surely it’s not true that I could get fined?

A former exchange student returned to Colorado Springs and wanted to get some pictures of her in the Garden of Gods to show her family, when she went back home to Germany.

We did go out just as the sun was rising over the Kissing Camels and the Balancing Rock. Well, we also took some of the pictures of several other beautiful formations, as Pauline wanted to show them with her in the picture.

Honestly Council, I only wanted to be kind to this young Pauline, who had spent a previous school year in Colorado Springs, but never got any pictures of the Garden of the Gods.

My only compensation was getting a warm hug as she prepared to return home to Germany.

Come on City Council. Surely you have something better to do than try to control who takes pictures in some of our wonderful sights throughout the city limits. I didn’t know there was a fee for picture taking. Darn, I just remembered, our son wanted to propose to his girl friend within the Garden of the Gods. My wife selected a spot and that event happened. Troy and Lisa are still married 20 years later.

Do we really need money that badly? You might as well charge a fee every time a baby is born within Colorado Springs!

Duane Slocum

Colorado Springs

The bureaucracy of compassion

Matthew Parkhouse wrote a letter to The Gazette regarding the stabbing of eight people in downtown by a homeless man. What Parkhouse says should be taken seriously by City Council members because, while the Council are outsiders, Parkhouse, with his insider’s knowledge, understands the homeless problem. The myriad service providers in our caring city are enabling the chronic homeless — many who are migrating here from less caring and less generous cities — to live on our streets, in our parks, and alongside our creeks — their preferred choice of residence. The easy availability of marijuana and cash donations from gullible citizens support the lifestyle chosen by a significant number of the chronic homeless. A Gazette article quoted one woman saying she had been homeless for seven years! How can this be with all the help available?

Five decades of government and non-profit programs has not resulted in a solution to the homeless problem. Instead, the vast majority of efforts have resulted in increasing the homeless population. A solution has not been found because (1) solving the problem is not a goal and (2) a solution is being sought where it is not to be found.

In Theodore Dalrymple’s book “Life at the Bottom” he wrote (in 1996) “No subject is more likely than homelessness to produce calls for government to intervene and put an end to the scandal; and no subject is better suited to that most pleasurable of human activities, compassionate handwringing.” As a doctor, he tells of visiting a hostel for the homeless where there were 91 residents and 41 staff members, only a handful of whom had any direct contact with the objects of their ministrations. This is the bureaucracy of compassion, which includes clerical staff, grant writers, social workers, housing officers, health clinics, psychiatrists for the mentally ill, etc., etc. Thousands of British middle-class people owe their careers to the homeless industry. Reading Dalrymple is an effective antidote to the socialist utopian ideas that our youth are being fed in the government schools, ideas which are making them stupid and unfit to participate in public affairs.

If government is not the solution, what is? In Texas, a Christian church group has built housing outside Austin called Community First! Village, a neighborhood of micro-homes and RVs housing 180-plus of Austin’s native homeless. Colorado Springs could do the same. The old Greyhound Park on Winters just east of N. Nevada behind the sand and gravel facility is available. The site is located in an industrial area where there would be no NIMBY opposition from residential neighbors. There is sufficient acreage to accommodate 125 or so micro homes, a community center, bathhouses, gardens, and on-site meals and service providers. Allowing the chronic homeless to live under bridges is not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to provide them with $1,000/month government (taxpayer) subsidized apartments.

J. Lee Tangen

Colorado Springs

Closures of coal fired power plants

Change is always difficult and especially painful when it costs jobs. The Jan. 15 Gazette editorial went into great detail describing how closures of coal fired power plants will adversely affect the economy and employment in parts of Colorado. It went on to slam Joe Biden for acknowledging that the shift from fossil to renewable energy will cost jobs. What was not mentioned are the reasons behind the change.

There are strong parallels between today’s tribulations of the coal industry and tobacco at the end of the 20th century. Tobacco had been riding high for over 200 years. That bubble started to burst when it was revealed, over the kicking and screaming of the industry, that tobacco was a toxic and addictive drug responsible for a variety of often fatal and disfiguring diseases. The industry, in the U.S., has been in decline ever since with an attendant loss in jobs. Coal is now in a similar position. For many years it’s been the go to fuel for electric power and heating. Widely available and relatively inexpensive until its environmental and health costs were discovered and factored in, we now know it as a fuel that is a major driver of global climate change as well as adverse health effects on people residing near coal plants. There’s no such thing as “clean coal”.

If we’re lucky, and work at it, we can save much of what we’ve got left of this poisoned planet and avoid more Australias and many super-sized weather events. A major part of that effort will involve replacing much of our fossil fuels with renewables and, possibly, advanced nuclear or fusion power. That transition will cost jobs, as Biden admitted and, as a nation, we mustn’t make fossil fuel workers bear the cost. As Vice President Biden also said, which your editorial omitted, part of the costs of transition will be the funds required to make those displaced workers whole whether it be through retraining, income replacement, or other assistance.

Fossil fuel industry employees are not to blame for the warming and climatic changes wrecking damage to our planet. We’re all to blame and must share the costs and benefits of conversion to a minimal carbon fueled future.

Steven Schwartz

Colorado Springs

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