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C4C not for 'everybody'
1) What will Colorado Springs' financial take be from these City for Champions projects ("Let the games begin," News, Dec. 18)? If nonprofits are set up, doesn't that mean "no-profit?" Who will be managing these nonprofits? Nonprofits don't pay taxes.
All building materials and equipment will not be taxed, including future maintenance. Will relying on Lodgers and Automotive Rental Tax (LART) revenue make up the difference? The city will not reap one dime. Why should the city float bonds for private ventures the city will not have any control over?
2) The city needs $600+ million in road/bridge repairs/maintenance. Stormwater needs $534 million. Maintenance costs for these will be in perpetuity. C4C will have a cost of $635 million. Where will the city extract nearly $2 billion from the Walmart/minimum-wage economy? Should taxpayers from across the county pay for these projects? What wages will be paid to support these facilities, excluding management? How many jobs will be part-time? What will the costs be to maintain these "new" facilities? Who will own these facilities?
3) The citizens have not been included, as "Mayor Bach has consorted on the project with like-minded movers and shakers ..." Could it be that the thinking of the "movers and shakers" is so 1970s? Doesn't Mayor Bach think the citizens have a right to voice their opinions? Apparently not! Mayor Bach should look to Stockton, Calif., as a template for what can happen here. They have a stadium, too.
4) Could these projects be "corporate welfare"? Could this be "a bailout" for those investors/speculators that purchased land in anticipation of a past stadium/convention center and are the biggest cheerleaders?
Author Jane Jacobs wrote, "Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because and only when, they are created by everybody." "Everybody" is not creating C4C.
— Gary Casimir
Jim was right
You got to love it! Despite what some people say, Jim Hightower was spot on in his Dec. 11 article ("Obamacare was a GOP idea," LowDown). The government is not running the health care operation. They just set standards that the insurance companies have to now follow so we as a country aren't spending 17 percent of our GDP on healthcare. The government has also set standards on how cars are made and how meat is sold, and nobody's claiming that the government is running those operations.
Additionally, working on a bill for 18 months and passing it at 11:19 p.m. EST is not "rammed through in the middle of the night." Also, then-Speaker Pelosi's quote taken in context is, "You've heard about the controversies, the process about the bill ... but I don't know if you've heard that it is legislation for the future — not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, but we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it — away from the fog of the controversy."
If anyone wants to see what government-run health care actually looks like, just take a look at France. They have the highest-ranked health care system in the world, and the last I checked, I didn't see any protests in the streets of Paris demanding their government adopt the U.S. system of free-market health care.
— Dave Tintle
Zombies in Woodie P?
After reading the Dec. 9 Gazette article entitled "Bible college hopes to be 'blessing' to Woodland Park," I tried to force myself to not respond but finally decided a comment was needed.
To know more about Andrew Wommack ("Mixed blessings," cover story, Nov. 10, 2011) is to know that he has a presence in many countries, including Uganda. Wommack is a very strong supporter of that country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, also known around the world as the "Kill the Gays" bill. That bill, if passed, would allow for the execution of all HIV-positive LGBT people in that country. It would also punish friends, family members, and co-workers who don't report LGBT people to police within 24 hours with up to three years' imprisonment. Wommack works hard at making sure this bill passes.
Locally, I believe Woodland Park officials are making a "pact with the devil" (no pun intended). The thought of Wommack sending his 636 "students" (average age 44 years old according to the article) to do street evangelization and gain Christian converts is all I need to know.
I grew up in Woodland Park and still live in the area. My family and I will not want to engage any of these people on the street trying to convert us. Besides doing our banking from a drive-up window, I do not foresee us doing any business in Woodland Park again. I would rather not support a town that in turn supports a man who believes HIV people should be put to death.
Additionally, the fact that he believes (according to the article) that he can make dead people come alive is absurd. I can't help but humorously wonder if these 636 "students" are really zombies that he brought back to life to use as free labor to run the call center he plans on opening.
— Steve Plutt
Editor's note: The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was passed by Uganda's parliament on Friday. Though the death penalty had been removed from the bill's final language, "aggravated homosexuality" is punishable by life in prison.
The Academy's worth
Taxpayers should honestly evaluate the Air Force Academy.
Under its new, improved so-called honor code/system, the academy administration has blundered from one rape, drug, cheating scandal to the next. The inability of the academy to deal with, let alone control, portions of the cadet wing apparently forced the Academy — with requisite credible deniability — to resort to the Office of Special Investigations.
That the academy did not know that OSI was on base, contacting cadets, spending long hours interrogating them, etc., as told to the Gazette, is purest hogwash. Given the high workload, tight schedules and time restrictions on cadet activities, the Academy clearly knew much, if not all, of what was going on.
Since OSI undoubtedly dealt with more cadets than it "turned," the Academy had to deflect or silence questions from cadets "touched" by OSI or who stood up to OSI intimidation.
The problem is not the cadet wing. The problem is the past and, to some extent, the continuing leadership of the Academy. If the academy wants to save the Wing, it's time to publicly state names and kick ass.
Perhaps the academy should junk the current honor code/system and return to the wing's original honor code and system — a single sentence in both regards: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us those who do."
One single violation and that cadet was automatically expelled.
If Lt. Gen Johnson can't fix the current problems, the Air Force should save taxpayers' money and shut down the Academy. Without absolute honor, why spend eight to 10 times as much to produce an officer from the Academy as it costs to produce one from ROTC?
— Ralph B. Palmer
Air Force Academy, 1967
Guns and veteran suicide
While at the Air Force Academy a while ago, I noticed two signs. One was thoughtful, and posted with sincere concern. The other is the reason for this letter.
The first sign was located in the Prep School gym lobby, on an easel. It said, "Not On My Watch! Suicide Awareness & Prevention." We later shopped at the Exchange/BX. There was an eight- to 10-foot banner outside, saying, "GUN SHOP, OPENING SOON. FIREARMS, AMMUNITION."
The Department of Veterans Affairs reported between the years of 1999 and 2011 that 19 to 22 veterans committed suicide daily. Thirty percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have considered suicide. Suicides are under-reported and death certificates are only as good as the information entered.
With that in mind, we don't know the actual number of self-inflicted gunshot suicides, but we do know it is far too high and the majority of suicides occurring within the military are committed with a gun.
The first four months of 2013, the Army sustained 109 reported suicides. According to U.S. News and World Report, in 2012, 349 suicides occurred by active duty military members. Suicides and murders can be directly connected to the 266,810 service members who have suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries.
My thoughts are: Why stress suicide awareness on the one hand and the addition of a gun shop on the other? Why does the Air Force have to make guns more readily available? Why would a military installation (worse yet, a college) provide another easy access to guns?
The Air Force wants us to be "wingmen" to those in need. I hope to draw attention to this schizophrenic message and to help more military members to not have these messages right in front of them.
Does the BX really want to have guns easily available on a college campus? Does the BX need revenue so badly?
— Brooke Squires
Editor's note: In a statement, Air Force Academy spokesman Maj. Brus Vidal writes, "There is absolutely no link between the suicide awareness and prevention signage that appeared across the installation during the month of September to help raise awareness about the damaging effects of suicide and the sales of firearms at the Base Exchange." He also notes that the gym referenced is actually a community center gym, not a Prep School gym. To read the whole statement, see this Letters compilation.