Stop the erosion
Kudos to City Councilwoman Jan Martin for the political intestinal fortitude to address the budget crisis head-on ("Jan with a plan," News, July 9). We need more leaders like Martin who can think outside the box and challenge the conventional wisdom that has put us where we are now.
Our quality of life is eroding. Our charming downtown, once populated with local businesses and restaurants, now exists mainly for the bar business.
Our parks — loved, admired and enjoyed daily by citizens and visitors alike — have become a pawn in this quest to find revenue. County commissioners threatened to put them on the selling block until outraged citizens protested. Now, thankfully, we have saved our county parks, but in city parks there is little money to water the grass, and restrooms are shuttered.
More evidence of the erosion of quality of life is the imminent phase-out of our health department.
The city and county tax levels are among the state's lowest. An increase of $200 on a $250,000 home is reasonable. The consequences of a destitute city not only will affect our lifestyles, it will affect the value of our homes and the ability of our citizens and their children to attain and keep jobs. What desirable businesses will stay in or locate to a region that can't afford adequate police protection, passable roads, a viable health department or a decent quality of life?
We pay taxes for services to benefit citizens and the community. I'm willing to pay for services to support a decent lifestyle. If you don't trust politicians to spend your money wisely, elect someone you do trust. I trust Jan Martin to do the right thing and keep Colorado Springs the type of community I can be proud to call home.
— Linda M. Dyer
Regarding "City manager has it tough, too" (Between the Lines, July 9): good article. What can we do to help Penny Culbreth-Graft succeed in turning the situation around?
Referring to your statement "Lately, though, many have suggested the time has come for change ..." we discussed the issues of a strong mayor and mayor/council-run city in the last charter committee meeting of a few years ago. Most of the group who were from the real estate, development, financial and education areas were lukewarm to the idea of changing our form of government from the existing format to a strong mayor or mayor/council.
My questions: Whom could you see of our current crop of civic leaders or politicians in the role of a strong mayor? Or whom could you see in a mayor/council form of government?
I still believe the last national election raised the bar on the quality needed of our elected officials. But unfortunately it has not trickled down to Colorado Springs, as witnessed by the April 2009 local election.
— Gary Casimir
It's always greener ...
Larimore Nicholl ("Robin Hood revisited," Letters, July 9) believes "taking from the rich and giving to the poor" can solve all of our nation's maladies. The trick is defining the boundaries when one becomes "rich" and when one falls to being "poor."
Nicholl believes when one earns $100,000 per year, he or she has become part of the "excessively rich." When it comes to paying taxes, Americans seem to believe that anyone making more money than they are have to be "rich" and should pay more taxes. So the guy making the minimum thinks that someone making $15 an hour is rich, and the guy making $15 an hour believes the woman making $50,000 per year is rich, and so on.
People who earn more should pay more taxes than those who earn less — and they already do in percentage of income and total dollars. But everyone, not just "the rich," needs to contribute to the maintenance of national, state and local governments no matter what their income, either in actual dollars or services rendered to the community.
Currently, millions of Americans contribute zero tax dollars to the treasury (Social Security taxes do not count, as that comes back directly to the individual in the form of checks), and others even get a refund when no income taxes were paid. It's easy for people like Nicholl to spend someone else's money, but what additional sacrifices are they willing to contribute for the national good?
— Ben Miller
In the current electoral system, politicians "win" when they reward key constituencies, resulting in future campaign contributions that keep them re-elected.
While many of them intend to and do work for the common good, the temptation to pander to vested interests and lobby groups distorts decision-making in ways that often undermine their commitment to public service. Locally, the U.S. Olympic Committee mess is just the latest example.
Let's put an initiative on the November ballot giving bonuses to City Council members and county commissioners of $20,000 each, tax-free, for every 5,000 additional jobs (private sector, nonprofit and military) created from the January 2009 employment baseline, and a $5,000 bonus for every percent shaved from the city/county budgets over the previous year's baseline.
Perhaps by "incentivizing" our elected officials in the right direction, we could get the undistracted and bold leadership that we so desperately need, and the bonus money would be recovered many times over in increased tax revenues and decreased expenses.
— Michael Lowery
Feel the noise
Jim Inman ("Silence is golden," Letters, July 2) brings up a subject that has infuriated me for some years now. My Knob Hill neighborhood has never been a quiet one, but at the end of the day I could always retreat into my house for peace and quiet.
No longer. These subwoofer stereos can now reach into every room, from several blocks away, at all hours. I can even feel them when they drive down my street. In the 1980s, the Colorado Springs Police Department's noise patrol ensured this kind of thing did not happen. Why can't we have that again?
As for loud pipes on motorcycles, it seems bikers felt picked-on when busted for noise violations. CSPD responded with a policy that looked the other way regarding loud pipes, as long as motorcyclists agreed to ride in a manner so as to keep the noise down. The only time I've seen that happen is in the presence of a marked police car. Oh, and don't forget the Cop Chopper, another all-hours nuisance.
Something must be done. After all, isn't constant loud noise used by our military to wear down the enemy? Do we really want to be grinding away at the remaining sanity of our populace? The time has come to outlaw these noisemakers.
— Jacques Sears
Regarding "Dr. D.I.Y." (Cover story, July 2), thank you for featuring breastfeeding as an important step toward healthier babies and mothers. Decisions about sex and family planning are central to a woman's long-term health and well-being.
It is crucial for members of Congress to remember that for the majority of women in their child-bearing years, reproductive health care constitutes their primary care. For these women, their ob/gyns serve as primary care physicians. Reproductive health must be included in any health care reform package.
Women of child-bearing age spend 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health care costs than men, largely because of reproductive health-related needs. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, one in seven women (14 percent) has postponed an annual ob/gyn check-up because of the economy. In order for health care reform to be meaningful and to accomplish its simplest objective — ensure more Americans live healthier lives — Congress must see reproductive health care as primary care.
— Joyce Ruddy
What about Palin?
It's unusual to get all the Bush-Cheney haters, socialized medicine lovers, anti-capitalists and Israel bashers with letters in the same issue (Letters, July 9).
The same ol' rhetoric can be expected by Bill Sulzman, Sharlene White, Larimore Nicholl and Bob Nemanich as they dislike anything rational or conservative.
Added to the mix are Mike Maday and Virginia Tardi, who are new to me. Maday does not add anything new about health care reform. However, he denigrates anyone who thinks health care reform, as proposed by President Obama, is not the road to travel. Tardi rails on poisoned water, air pollution and thinks drug companies and everyone else put money before patients.
It should go without saying, (but I will anyway), I support a company's right and ability to make a profit so as to provide jobs and a return on value to stock investors.
Someday, I'm hoping Israel will get tired of all the manure being thrown its way and put a stop to this Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian and Palestinian nonsense.
Anyone who can't see the train wreck coming with legislation, like cap-and-trade and universal health care, needs to get their head up so they are prepared for the financial crisis headed our way. More bailouts! Get serious! The last ones didn't work, except to get this country further in debt. General Motors went bankrupt. Chrysler was taken over.
I'm surprised this illustrious group didn't take shots and put blame on Sarah Palin for something. All the mainstream media did; why don't the rest of you socialist-leaning, big-government, special-interest spenders jump into the pool? The water's polluted!
— Duane Slocum
That's not right
Let's say you are a factory worker operating a box-making machine. At the end of the week instead of getting a paycheck, you are told the government has made the receiving of boxes a right; i.e. all people are to receive boxes whenever they want them without having to pay for them, and you, the boxmaker, are to provide them.
Or let's say you are a salesman selling men's clothing. At the end of two hard weeks of selling, you are expecting $2,000 in commissions, but your employer tells you the government has decreed that all people are to receive help with the purchase of their clothing by right. Practically what this means is that your compensation is now subject to a government board established for the purpose of ensuring all clothing salesmen are only paid what is fair and equitable. And fair and equitable to this board means you are getting $1,000 in commissions.
If you think this is absurd, then please tell me how these two examples differ from what is currently happening in the health care industry? Because the people of this land have decreed through their elected representatives that health care is a "right," the doctors, nurses, hospitals and everyone else associated with the medical profession will soon lose their right to determine how much they can charge for the property and services they rightfully own or to set the terms of their employment.
— Russell W. Shurts