Excellent articles on rural Colorado
Several deserve accolades for the writing, gathering and publishing of the eight articles about rural Colorado in Monday’s Gazette. All of the articles were written from differing but important perspectives about the challenges of farming and ranching in our state. Although we do not live that lifestyle anymore, we represent those who live in other communities now but grew up in rural Colorado, having an appreciation and fond memories of “home.” We also understand many of the problems discussed because as they say, “Roots run deep.”
We grew up on the eastern plains of Colorado (Flagler and Holyoke), and we experienced many of the things mentioned in the articles. We moved away to prepare for and pursue our careers, living and working in the Greeley and Colorado Springs areas for about 40 years. Our generation also includes many of those who now live in Colorado, moving here from other states, but are originally from agricultural communities. They, too, understand the issues.
It is hard for us to know how to support the farmers and ranchers of our state, except by buying their products for our use. However, we are planning to send those excellent articles to Gov. Jared Polis since he says he supports and defends all of the regions of Colorado.
Is it naive to expect him to read them and respond accordingly? We don’t know, but it’s worth a try.
John and Sandra Wickham
Challenging season for vendors
The Old Colorado City Farmers Market has only three weeks remaining. This season has been a challenge and a disappointment to the vendors.
The city chose this season to improve the park. Thank you to all have attended the event and supported the vendors who rely on the revenue.
Please give the vendors a great last three weeks — they have persevered and need our support.
Columnist deserves wide readership
I just want to say thanks to the Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial Board for including Cal Thomas as a regular contributor. The Oct. 6 column, “Faith, presidents, the political power debate,” was but one example of his balanced perspective on the major issues of our times.
Anyone who can include faith and politics in such a sensible way amid so much social chaos deserves as wide a readership as possible.
City’s issues were more complex
As one of only three City Council members who became part of the transition from the council/manager to the council/mayor form of government, and as the first council president under the new system, I read Sunday’s Perspective “A fight to lead our cities” with more than a passing interest. I felt the opinion piece oversimplified the issues that were plaguing our city in the last few years of the council/manager system and put far too much credit on the city’s turn around to the assumption of a “strong mayor” system.
While I will not dispute the fact that the city took drastic budget actions in the 2008 —2010 time frame, these were not due to inept management of the city. They were due to the very real reductions in the city’s budget.
The general fund budget declined, as a result of the national “Great Recession”, from $242 million in 2007 to $212 million in 2010, an approximate 13% reduction at a time when the city’s population grew almost 5% and the cost of goods and services increased approximately 4.5%. Because the city has to conform to a balanced budget, the council and city manager had to roll back services and eliminate many personnel positions. This would have been the case regardless of what form of city government had been in effect.
Many of us felt the move to a new form of government was being perceived as a panacea to the city’s ills and was a long-term solution to a short-term problem. The city has improved services since the implementation of the strong mayor, but this is a direct result of the city’s revenue stream improving from 2011 forward — the projection for 2020’s general fund is $331 million, a 56% percent increase from our 2010 low.
The council was, and still is, paid a small stipend for what amounts to almost a full time job. As such, most council members are forced to continue work in their chosen professions to earn a livable wage. While most council members work tirelessly, they still cannot devote 100% of their time to the job, a luxury the strong mayor has.
There are many factors that affect the city’ ability to provide services. But I think an evaluation of the two forms of government is more broad and encompassing than The Gazette’s perspective would have led you to believe.
Respect must be earned
Don Winter’s observation on respect for the office matters made me laugh as he called out one of the writer’s style on the editorial page as “disrespectful and contentious.”
Respect matters. Of course it does — when it is deserved. I recall several people using only the former POTUS’ last name. For many of us, Trump will be Trump until he is out of office. I doubt I am alone in not preceding his name with “President.”