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How to fix Fountain Creek


It appears to me that Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful's executive director, Deborah Cunningham, seems to have her head buried in the sand somewhere along Fountain Creek.

I am an avid "walker" along Fountain Creek on an almost-daily basis, and I can assure the public there is little or no defecating or urinating in the creek that I have ever seen by any homeless person. I have, however, been witness to a few of our city's more well-to-doers, out riding expensive mountain bikes, relieving themselves in the wooded areas near the creek.

To single out any particular group as she has done ("A hole in the bucket," News, Aug. 9) is to also say that all cyclists are to blame for creek pollution. And we at least those of us who have seen the creek run know what really causes its pollution, now don't we?

Within the past few weeks, I have seen Fountain Creek running high from runoff in the areas surrounding it and the mountains that feed it. The creek has been an ugly, brown, fetid-looking water passage. This, obviously, is a condition that we, as Creek Crawlers, would like to see the $45,000 annual budget for Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful used for actually keeping Colorado beautiful instead of homeless-bashing.

So how about this? We spend the money on cleaning up the creek by actually cleaning up the creek's water, and promoting a healthy source of water flow into it from the contributing sources. Perhaps the wildlife would be more abundant than it currently is.

I'm not talking about the homeless-folk type of wildlife here. The homeless issue is far more complex than trying to clean up water. So how about using your volunteers and promoters to do some good for Colorado beauty, instead of beating up the downtrodden?

Want to get the homeless away from Fountain Creek? The answer is simple. Get them help!

Area agencies that do help the homeless do the best they can, but the issue isn't food or clothes. The issue is about putting a decent roof over their heads and providing adequate medical assistance when needed. Provide them with a pathway away from the creek, and they shall be gone.

No homeless person likes to be homeless, nor do they seek its lifestyle on purpose. They got that way through devastating events in their respective lives or by suffering from illnesses that no one wants to provide long-term care for.

They become throwaway people. This is not the Christian way. We do not throw away people.

Some would say, "Well, we do have shelters for them." Obviously spoken by folks who have never lived in one. Rules of living in one particular "safe haven" are attuned to keeping the spirit of the homeless hopeless. The typical breakfast of Cheerios and milk, and the typical dinner of goulash of some sort, are about as unhealthy as you can get.

The only time the homeless in a shelter get a good meal is when church volunteers show up and bring it themselves. The regular daily routine at a shelter is: up at 5:30 a.m., eat at 6 or 7, then out of the building by 8:30 to either find work or do what is known as the downtown shuffle. Finding work or applying for a job without a permanent address or phone number is next to impossible. Then it's a mandatory bed check at 10 p.m. and lights out at 10:30.

Don't know about you folks, but I'm a 60-year-old decorated war vet. I don't take kindly to someone forcing me to go to bed at 10:30. We save that for 10-year-olds, no?

Anyway, Fountain Creek? Clean it up and stop blaming the homeless for all its filth. Provide the homeless with the opportunities they need, and they will gladly leave without needing a police escort. We can use the police to, you know, catch criminals?

Oh, and by the way, these so-called sweeps? They amount to taking everything from the poorest people in the city, leaving them with nothing.

Nice job there, folks. Pick on somebody your own size.

Steve Slezinger, a homeless person in Colorado Springs, communicated with the Indy via library computers.

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