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Follow the money
The media should report the biggest fact of this or any city election. The elephant in the room is the financial influence by big money developers and the Housing and Building Association.
The HBA chose its Council winners long before the candidate filing deadline. They simply found people to do their bidding, and bought them. Voting is a mere formality.
Their puppets received thousands of dollars from the HBA, directly and through fronts and straw men. Such control dominates the election.
Take Deborah Hendrix. $2,750 of $3,250 in her total donations at the end of January came from real estate moguls. In her next report, $1,250 of $1,290 came from them. In her last report, $7,100 of $8,220.
Look at Al Loma. $2,750 of $3,168 in his original donations came from real estate lobbyists. In his last report, $2,500 of $2,500 (100 percent) came from a single developer.
Look at David Moore. $2,500 of $2,500 (100 percent) in his late January report came from the HBA. In his next report, $1,750 of $1,925. In his last report, $5,300 of $5,622 came from the same handful of lobbyists.
According to city campaign reports, the HBA still has $30,000 left for additional payoffs. Should our democratic process be for sale?
Who are the candidates that are not in debt to the HBA? Helen Collins, Roger McCarville, and Ed Bircham are spending their own money running against Hendrix, Loma and Moore.
See for yourself at the City of Colorado Springs site: springsgov.com/units/cityclerk/search/fcpa.aspx.
— John Heimsoth
One man's opinion
Wake up City Council, the mayor's lawyer ("Chris cross," cover story, March 6) is just that! The mayor's lawyer.
He is not a judge, he does not make law, he provides an opinion of the legality of specified actions. Since he is reporting to the mayor, then his opinions will normally favor the mayor's point of view. However that is all it is: an opinion, which can and should be challenged when said opinion doesn't pass the sniff test or a common-sense view. If a proposed action needs to be scrutinized for legality, letting the other side set the rules is surrender of your position!
Lawyers are not infallible — they are supposed to consult previous case law and should be required to provide references for their opinion. This includes citing previously settled similar cases with the court of decision, who made the decision, and the date. If this can't be done, then you are in the arena of making new law, which is pretty unlikely in the business of running a city, and then you must get a court decision.
Grow some backbone! Don't accept what others tell you without some backup and good reason.
— Michael S. Welsh
Regarding the upcoming vote in April concerning a potential City Council pay increase, I feel that many in our community have taken a stance on the issue without seeing all angles.
The main issue so far has been one of local fiscal responsibility. Some feel that the increased expenditure of funds to pay our local elected officials could be better spent elsewhere. I agree that our local allocation of resources can use some tweaking. But the point being missed here regards the issue of "government for the people, by the people," common citizens, a very basic tenet of our shared American ideals.
The role of a standard city councilor in most communities is most certainly a part-time job and should be paid as such. On the contrary, our City Council members are also the de facto board of directors of a $1 billion-per-annum utility corporation, and this role is certainly outside the normal scope of work for your average city council. This responsibility is another part-time job, and one of great importance.
If we expect our elected officials to work two part-time jobs for a $6,250-per-annum salary, we should also be expected to only elect those who are independently wealthy and can afford to work for next to nothing while being unaware of the issues common constituents face daily. If we, the people, want elected officials who reflect our common cares and concerns, we need to pay them a reasonable salary in order to recruit candidates from the core of our community, not the fringes.
All Colorado Springs voters who believe in having a government run "by the people" — elected officials who reflect similar values and lifestyles — should vote "yes" on the pay increase for City Council in April.
— Erik Honaker
For the past 4½ years, I have lived in this beautiful city in the shadow of Pikes Peak. Before I arrived, Colorado Springs was described to me as a politically conservative city. To my surprise, however, this city was governed by a largely left-wing City Council. Many of these Council members professed conservative values but their votes spoke loudly of more spending and government control.
Today there is only one consistently conservative City Council member: Angela Dougan. Please join me in supporting her re-election for District 2.
— Richard Eleuterio
Count all the costs
Regrettably, both Bob Mulvaney and your editorial staff ("Defense numbers," Letters, March 6) got the numbers on military spending only partially correct. When we think about all the costs for our military's support, we should consider the Pentagon and all its contracts; the direct costs of the wars we are in (Afghanistan) and are still concluding (Iraq); retirement costs for those who have served for so long; and the Veterans Administration with its support for the wounded, the former people who served, and the old and infirm from battle injuries.
All told, the costs of war and war-making account in the current year's budget for about 50 percent of our total national budget! These numbers come from the Quakers and other organizations who are deeply concerned about the ways we spend our country's largesse, at the expense of all the other needs for growth, stability and civility.
If you want to know where we could trim costs, ask your readers. Questions like: Why do we have three Air Force bases (each with its own command) in New Mexico as well as Oklahoma? Why do we have two Air Force bases around London, each with its own command, too?
To really cut costs in our military budget, ask your readers what they have seen that is redundant, unnecessary or just plain wasteful. I can imagine the input will be astonishing.
— Dean Tollefson
Marine officer, '52-'60
Thanks for the votes
Thank you to Democratic state legislators Leroy Garcia, Diane Mitsch Bush, Edward Vigil, Dave Young and Steve Lebsock, for voting against all or some of the most ridiculous gun ban bills ever presented in the Colorado Legislature. None of these will make Coloradans safer. They will empower the criminals to take over the state and raise the violent crime level just like in other cities with strict gun laws.
I am glad to see you all used at least some common sense and resisted the "carrot" sent by Barack Obama to get you to vote his agenda. Thank you for standing strong for Colorado, not Washington, D.C. Your research, clear thinking, and the protection you tried to provide for the law abiding citizen in Colorado is appreciated.
— Helen Sabin
You have to love the spin with the cartoon in your March 6 edition.
The cartoon was a rather portly older man sitting in a high chair with the word "Sequester" written on the chair, a rattle in one hand and the name "Congress" written on the other arm. The spin and misinformation was amazing.
I, too, would not have been aware of the truth, had I not witnessed and heard Bob Woodward himself, a liberal-leaning news editor from Watergate fame with the Washington Post, also a liberal-leaning news outlet. He told the truth about the sequester much to the dislike of the White House. The person that should have been depicted in that high chair is Obama himself.
You see, it was Obama's idea for the sequester, not Congress'. It was his idea on how it would done, and how the cuts would be mandated, and it was Obama that attempted to change the sequester at the last minute. Yes, both houses of Congress passed the sequester in 2011 and none of them, even Obama, really expected it to become a reality.
— Ron Patterson
Check out the March 2013 National Geographic article "The New Oil Landscape" for a great overview of the impacts of fracking in North Dakota. The article could well help the citizens of our "village" to better understand more about fracking as it is not written in very technical terms, but sure presents a graphic picture.
I have given up on our elected leaders to make any sort of educated, rational decision, but believe in the Independent's efforts in trying to understand the impacts of today's decisions on tomorrow's well-being.
— Scott Smith
• Last week's letter "'Public' means everybody" was written by Gina Douglas, not Gina Davis.
• The March 6 story "Still spreading" had incorrect information on the purpose for which LIDaR (light detection and ranging) imaging was gathered. It was for the needs of city information technology, Springs Utilities, D-911 and El Paso County.
We regret the errors.