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Frustration and futility

To the Editor:

I read Cara DeGette's article, "That's Ugly," (June 28) with great interest. As a member of the City Planning commission from July, 1994 until July, 1998, four of your worst came before us. I am glad to say that I voted no against all of them. (New Life Church and First and Main Town Center were not items during my tenure.) I was the sole dissenter on the Jefferson at Broadmoor, but [then-commissioners] Charlie Knoeckel and Fred Baruth agreed with me on most of the others.

Since we were viewed as "broke" members of the Commission, we were all summarily dismissed when our terms came up for renewal. When I realized that my time and efforts were largely useless, I was relieved to give up the frustration and futility.

The city and the planning department have no way to prevent the development of such atrocities, and, in fact, cannot enforce the criteria they place on any one of them. Recommendations in regard to landscaping, hillside development, ridgeline restrictions and geologic hazards are discussed and routinely ignored. And just forget the special tax districts to pay for street improvements. They'll be in court forever.

Liked your coverage!

--Donna Bauer
Colorado Springs

Don't back down on Comp Plan

To the Editor:

Thanks for the article on the Urban Blight Awards ("That's Ugly!," June 28), and the article on Public Enemy No. 1 ("City hopes to control growth through comprehensive plan," June 28). They both pointed some things wrong with this city and hopefully something that is being done about it.

I walked through the Pioneers Museum today. In this state, the core of the older cities and towns were built by people with a vision who came here to live. They didn't sit far away and order a big box or a bunch of houses to be built so they could make more money. The people I'm talking about built to make money, but they also built to create something that would last. They built communities that they could and did live in. These people, such as General Palmer in this area, laid out wide streets, planted trees and gave land for parks. You can see their legacy in the old neighborhoods in Colorado Springs, in Old Town Fort Collins and parts of Denver.

There is no way to force developers to live where they build. It is up to the local goverments to have some vision and a plan as to what kind of city is going to be left for our children and grandchildren. Leaders can say they're just bringing in jobs and money as an excuse to let developers do anything.

I've been to almost every state and lots of countries with jobs and money, and I wouldn't want to call many of the cities in those places home.

I encourage the Colorado Springs City government to keep working on the Comprehensive Plan, and don't back down.

-- J Sullivan
Colorado Springs

Manitou water scheme ignores will of people

To the Editor:

Last week in the Independent (Outsider, July 5), John Hazlehurst pointed out that poll after poll has shown that what concerns the citizens of Colorado the most is growth. So why can't we get anything done about this problem? We can't get anything done about this problem because we have public officials who are more interested in their own agenda than complying with the will of the people they are supposed to be serving.

Last year a very vocal majority of the voters of Manitou Springs made it damn clear, by way of a petition and speaking out, that we do not want to facilitate the development of Red Rock Canyon. This includes, but is not limited to, annexation and most especially giving away or selling the most precious resource Manitou owns -- our water supply ("Manitou eyes Zydeco watertap proposal," July 5).

Already, we are seeing many Colorado communities having to buy water from sources hundreds of miles away in order to supply their citizens with water. We will face this problem in Manitou if some of our public officials continue to pursue irresponsible water give-aways or sell-offs like the one proposed last month by Dan Wecks for the Red Rock Canyon development scheme. What Wecks and Gary Smith (with the blessings of our mayor Nancy Hankins) have come up with is a transparent, underhanded, back alley way of helping Zydeco Development Company to build 27 mansions and a 27-hole golf course using Manitou water, in direct opposition to the will of the people of Manitou Springs.

The real issue with Red Rock Canyon at this time shouldn't even be whether or not to develop the site. The real issue here is why: If the groundwater has been contaminated, isn't the owner being required to use his resources to clean up this groundwater contaminated by the landfill he chose to put on his property?

Groundwater is not static. Groundwater, like surface water, moves down gradient and, in this case, that probably means north toward Fountain Creek Valley and then east toward Monument Creek Valley, contaminating and polluting as it goes. People should take responsibility for what they do with their property, especially when it becomes a potential health problem for their community. If Zydeco Development Company wants to purchase and exploit this property they should first be required to clean up the ground water. Private owners made a profit from this land and private owners, not the taxpayers, should be required to clean up the mess. That's fair.

Voters of Manitou Springs, if you agree with me on this issue, I urge you to contact your elected and appointed officials and let them know how you feel.

-- David Loucks
Manitou Springs

Fill in the blanks

To the Editor:

Having spent half of my summer traveling to the Northwest and Midwest, friends and family seem so mystified that El Paso County would dream of naming a stretch of I-25 as "Ronald Reagan Highway." The stunned silence is normally broken with a series of reactions beginning with, "Don't they remember that he was the guy who ... ?" Then the litany begins -- the Beirut barracks bombing, ballooned deficits, the S & L crisis, the invention of the $150 defense hammer, the AIDS outbreak and the lack of action it inspired, Iran-Contra, the Grenada invasion, -- and there really isn't much for me to do but shake my head and sigh as they press the point: "Why would you live there?"

Good question, one I'm sure that most high-level thinkers on the right would respond to by dusting off a bit of their 1970's bumper-sticker wisdom and tell me, "If you don't like it, why don't you leave?"

The truth remains, I teach kids, and I can't turn them over to Joel Hefley and his ilk. It's not a big sacrifice; heck, it's not even a tough decision. Yet if El Paso County wants to be taken seriously, its first duty is to look to the quality of its political representatives. In what other area of the state, let alone the country, could a congressmen so nakedly preach the beauty of term limitation to voters and then hold office for seven terms? His defense, that his "influence" has kept Fort Carson from closing and the military pork flowing to Colorado, is absurd. Most in Washington couldn't tell him from the doorman at the Capitol Building, except that the doorman works regular hours.

I enjoy reading the Indy; you take your duty to "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable" seriously without taking your selves too seriously. Maybe the solution, as Butch says to Sundance, is simply to "Outlast the _ _ _ _ _ _ _."

-- Steve Schriener
Colorado Springs

Church cops needed

To the Editor:

This is in response to a letter written by Parrish Cox about the police directing church traffic ("Who pays weekend church cops?" Letters, July 5). The reason for the police directing traffic on Sundays is to ensure that there are no backups on westbound Austin Bluffs.

Since there is no light directing the left turn into Pulpit Rock Church, the left turn lane becomes full and traffic starts to back up in the left lane of Austin Bluffs causing more delays. The same is true at Woodmen and Rockrimmon where the police are once again directing the traffic to ensure that unnecessary backups do not occur.

Having being caught in these backups I am very appreciative to the police for taking control of the situation. This is a service the police are providing for everyone who drives on a Sunday, not just those going to church.

-- Wendy Murphy
Colorado Springs

According to Armand Summer, senior pastor at Pulpit Rock Church, who called after Cox's letter appeared, the church contracts with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department and pays for the traffic-directing services of officers on Sundays. The officers are in uniform, said Pastor Summer, because drivers would not recognize their authority to direct traffic otherwise. -- Ed.

Gastronomic daring

To the editor:

Gennaro Lombardi's inaguration of pizza on the streets of Little Italy ("Mamma, Mia!" July 5), extended by lesser men into the red-roofed outposts of Colorado sprawl, onto ice-caked bagels and into glorified toaster pastries, would perhaps embarrass the master. Like all creative explosions, it has led to some profound disasters, so much so, that as one crosses the bridge from Nevada into California, one encounters a sign: Attention! Pizza bizarre!

Yet pizza's history, out of rough Neopolitan lava ovens to the unbearably delicious deep-dish sausage of the South Side, has shown how gastronomic daring upon daring has blessed our tastebuds with this pie of the devil's fruit.

-- Daniel C. Boyer
Cambridge MA

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