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Patty Jewett Golf Course is shown last month.

On river water

Today’s cover article (“Farms lose to cities”) focuses on the impact that diminishing Colorado River water has on farmers. The article ended with this quote: “People are going to have to decide if they want a lawn or they want to eat.” This leads me to make a few comments on water usage restrictions. (None of this is news; it’s often in the paper and on broadcast news.)

Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I fly toward the southwest and see the many green golf courses in the desert (Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Phoenix, etc.), I wonder about governmental priorities. Is it possible to dictate water usage along with granting of water rights? And on a personal level, there have been many studies about the insane amount of water it takes to maintain the kind of lawn that has become the standard for beauty. A residential house doesn’t need to be surrounded by a golf fairway to be attractive; however, many residential areas are under covenants that require them to waste water in their landscaping!

And how about new development? How does a city calculate the costs of utilities and city services? How many times are those estimates ridiculously low to persuade citizens to vote for the projects? How often does the local government offer significant tax breaks and other incentives (such as not requiring compensation for municipal costs) to attract those projects? And does the city really benefit that much if you calculate all the costs? (A thought: I think the reason developers and large commercial projects apply to come here is that they know that even if they don’t get tax incentives, they’ll still make out like ... whatever.)

The bottom line? We need to hold our government entities accountable. We need to insist that they focus on the long-term good instead of being seduced by the status quo. At the very least, let’s tip the scales from golf courses to farms.

John Conaway

Colorado Springs

Same-sex marriage

Having passed the Democrat-controlled House without public hearing, the U.S. Senate will soon be voting (and might already have voted) on H.R. 8404, the deceptively named “Respect for Marriage Act.” The bill, which would put the full weight of the government against those Americans who disagree with same-sex and polyamorous marriages, has received scant attention in the media.

While H.R. 8404 is being dishonestly portrayed as simply codifying the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell decision upholding same-sex marriage, it goes way beyond Obergefell by silencing, under penalty of law, many who believe marriage is exclusively between one man and one woman and laying the foundation to legally prosecute them, including people and organizations of faith. If enacted, H.R. 8404 would:

Require the federal government to recognize any state’s future definition of “marriage” no matter how far-fetched, including polygamy, other types of group “marriages,” and a “marriage” between an adult and minor child.

Deputize individuals and groups to sue religious individuals, organizations, and businesses that operate in accordance with their sincerely-held religious belief about marriage, if they act “under color of State law.” As a result, faith-based foster care providers, religious social service organizations, and other religious organizations and businesses will be forced to conform to a government-imposed view on marriage or risk personal liability.

Allow the IRS to strip churches and other religiously based nonprofits of their tax-exempt status if they do not unequivocally affirm same-sex marriage and any new redefinition of “marriage.”

Sen. Michael Bennet, contrary to his campaign ads portraying himself as a moderate, is considered a solid vote for H.R. 8404, and Sen. John Hickenlooper has publicly said he supports the bill.

In his Obergefell opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that “decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises” undergirds the view of many who disagree with same-sex marriage and “neither they nor their beliefs are disparaged here.” H.R. 8404 does the exact opposite: it publicly stigmatizes those “decent and honorable” Americans as bigots and societal outcasts, and lays a legal foundation to exclude their views from social discourse.

Doug Barth

Colorado Springs

Fighting each other

As we get closer to midterm elections, I reflect on the last presidential election where we have experienced unrest during the months prior to the election, and this time unrest had also occurred right here in Colorado Springs. Much of the unrest was due to unnecessary police shootings; we also experienced this in Colorado Springs.

Hopefully, if the Republican who runs against President Biden isn’t Donald Trump this time, as I fear that if he does, unrest will occur once again. During the 1980 election, when Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter constituents were not fighting among themselves like they were when Trump ran for office. I call out to the public not to fight each other and just vote when these next elections commence. Constituents fighting among themselves over an election will accomplish nothing but potential martial law.

Ed Billings

Colorado Springs

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