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Give rural America a chance

To the Editor:

Everyone who considers growth limits must first go take an in-depth look at the most recent census results. Demographics clearly show that in almost every state with "an urban growth problem," there are rural towns whose populations have declined at an equally alarming rate. If we desire to attack "the growth problem," perhaps we must first understand that which drives the true problem. Were the U.S. dollar weaker we might be better able to have a more rural economy which would better support a more agricultural- and manufacturing-related population base. [This kind of] a population base would not need to be so centered in the current 10 to 20 growing metropolises of the United States, would require less energy, would create less pollution and would offer citizens a better quality of life for themselves and their better-educated children in smaller class sizes in towns with far less crime.

Yes, President Bush is (somewhat) supporting the strong dollar policy, but it was installed by Clinton/Rubin much to the demise of our entire working population base. We as Americans must once again begin building and growing some greater portion of our daily needs! Cramming 15/16ths of our nation's population into low-paying service jobs in a few major cities is not good for the land or the people!

For each Denver or Santa Fe with excessive growth there are more Lamar, Colorados or Clayton, New Mexicos withering with an aging population smaller each year than it was the year before. Give rural America a chance at life; it will save us all.

-- Richard Harmon
Broomfield, Colorado

Glut of goods

To the Editor:

A really insightful story ("Marx in the Museum," Your Turn, June 14). Marx, for those that read him, has been eerily correct on everything from globalization, to downsizing and loss of labor value relative to capital. I am sure he will also be proven correct when capitalism finally collapses -- because too many low-wage people can no longer afford to purchase the capitalists' goods, leaving enormous inventories on shelves and in warehouses. A glut of goods, but too few with the money to buy them.

-- Phil Stahl
Colorado Springs

What wasn't said about urban renewal

To the Editor:

In Councilman Skorman's letter to the editor ("Condemnation a necessary evil," June 21), he overlooked some things. First off, if it were his property involved in an urban renewal, I am sure he would object to condemnation. His opinion of the value of his property is not necessarily what some developer, who is only in it for money, might think. I doubt if he would feel that the City should then take over.

I also find no justification in city taxes paying for improvements.

The other things overlooked are the poor results of prior urban renewals, which have only resulted in public, tax-free buildings and vacant land. He also overlooked the fact that the lost revenue from property and sales taxes collected by these businesses would probably not be replaced, especially by a park and convention center.

Also in Mr Gallen's letter ("Urban planning, Briargate-style," June 21), he neglected to mention that the Portland renewal area is the biggest handout for the homeless and druggies in the entire city.

-- J. F. Corcoran
Colorado Springs

Remembering John Hartford

To the Editor:

It brought a tear to my eye when the Independent chose my photograph of John Hartford to use in [Owen Perkins'] tribute obit for him ("John Hartford -- Tickled to Death," June 14).

John was truly unique as Perkins' marvelous column points out. I have many fond memories of him and the dozen or so times we were in the same room. We had about a 90-minute photo session in a Colorado State University ballroom one time in the late '70s or early '80s. It didn't take that long to take the photos, but we kept taking breaks. We talked about everything imaginable. Basically all the photos taken there were shot in about 20 minutes while John performed to an audience of one -- me!

He was dancing, playing and singing while I was dancing and clicking the shutter. Then a good friend living in Fort Collins stopped by with his son. His 12-year-old boy was a violin player and really wanted to meet John, so I had told them to come by toward the end of the session. Jeff Foster had brought his violin along with him, too. John was really taken aback that this 12-year-old idolized him and knew a lot of his songs. John listened to him and the kid was pretty good, so soon John was playing along with him. It was magical watching John's rapport with the kid.

After that session with John, I felt like I was around a distant cousin when I was with him. I'm going to miss this guy, but he hasn't really completely left us.

Take care and thanks.

--Paul Idleman
Over the Internet

P.S. I'm living in Illinois right now, but keep up with things in Colorado Springs with your Web site ( I couldn't live without reading you while living there, and don't intend to now. I will move back there soon, but meantime, thanks for your great Web site.

This one's not for the gipper

To the Editor:

Needless to say, I was quite startled when I read in the June 16 edition of The Gazette that the ribbon of Interstate 25 that runs through this county is to be designated as the "Ronald Reagan Highway" when I don't remember being polled for input. Although by all accounts Mr. Reagan is a very nice man, I feel that his designation as an icon is a bit much.

Why not first pay tribute to those who really had a direct, positive effect on Colorado Springs, such as: Katherine Lee Bates, William Jackson, Helen Hunt Jackson, Nicola Tesla, Dr. William Bell, Lon Chaney, Winfield Scott Stratton -- and I could go on and on. These and many others have no political connection for their accomplishments and can be celebrated by all.

--Georgia E. Maguire
Colorado Springs

Who are the Black Forest's friends?

To the Editor:

Will Rogers said, "Everyone has the right to their own opinion, but no one has the right to be wrong in the facts."

I read Mr. Schinderle's letter in the Independent ("Please reconsider," June 7) and I could not let it stand without a response. Please allow me to discuss several of the erroneous and misleading points of the latest "Friends" response.

We are planning over 40,000 lineal feet of improved publicly accessed trail in our subdivision, over 13,000 of which is proposed for equestrian use. It is true that we are limiting horse use from Holmes Road (where we are building a trailhead to accommodate horse trailers) to a corridor continuing to our western border, and a horse access trail from the existing Black Forest Regional Park north connecting to Section 36. The mixed-use trails accommodate a variety of uses and significantly enhance what is currently available, and they are all public.

Mr. Schinderle states that "the proposed land donation would come in phases over the next one to 10 years." In fact, the land would be publicly accessible open space from day one. The actual donation will occur when we can pay off the land and donate it free and clear of monetary encumbrances, a period we anticipate to be no more than three to four years for the entire donation. The newly recorded plat would show the land as open space from our first filing.

The letter states: "... the developer does not meet the current water or septic requirements." It is customary and acceptable to meet those requirements during the final plat stage, not the preliminary plat stage where we are now. Further, our water augmentation plan has been approved by the state and we have been through water court.

Mr. Schinderle declares that "there was relatively little community support for the Milam Road extension." There was, in fact, significant support for the proposed extension.

Continuing on to the petition: the wording used in the petition is extremely inflammatory and completely one-sided. The "petitions" do not mention the inclusion of 208 acres of additional parkland, nor the nearly eight miles of trails, nor the trailhead at Hodgen Road, nor the fact that Milam Road already exists north of Shoup for the benefit of a few homeowners.

Mr. Schinderle refers to the "specious nature of the land donation" noting that "the 208-acre land donation was exactly that which was required" under the five acre zoning.

Originally, my partners and I planned a private park/open-space design. Most subdivision plans say, in essence, "Keep out, this is a private community." Our plan, however, welcomes the community through open space and trails, inviting others to share the natural beauty of the area. In fact, our lot values would be higher for private open space rather than for publicly accessible space, thus the donation is actually a cost to us. If the community does not desire the proposed donation, we would be pleased to keep it as private open space, because the plan complies with the zoning requirements and the Black Forest Preservation Plan eitherway.

Mr. Schinderle casts aspersions on our donation offer by claiming that we are shoving maintenance costs onto the community. First of all, in the event of private open space, the Homeowners Association would shoulder the costs of maintaining the open space; secondly, in King's Deer, the total cost of maintaining the unimproved open space over several years has been zero. There are virtually no costs.

Next, I and my partners are supposedly achieving "significant tax benefits" from the donation. I don't have time in this space to give Mr. Schinderle a basic course in taxation, but the tax benefit is absolutely zero.

In conclusion, is the real motive [of the Friends' organization] the well-being of the park or is it protecting THEIR private peace and quiet, not to mention private property values?

We're proposing a donation of 208 acres to the park. Who are really the Friends of the Black Forest Regional Park?

-- Dan A. Potter
Managing Partner,
King's Deer Development

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