If I were mayor, I would concentrate on these seven things:
1. Embracing our military community. 2. Supporting our higher education institutions. 3. Increasing convention/tourism. 4. Continuing the growth and vitality of our downtown. 5. Focusing on getting investments into our community. 6. Historic preservation. 7. A real collaboration between the city and county, uniting some services provided to the region.
If I were mayor, I would increase my visibility and approachability. I would get back to walking into businesses and shaking the hands of those around me. I would use current technology trends to stay in touch with my citizens and have a website updating and explaining, and asking what people want and what they are thinking. I would have the humility to ask for help, accept advisement and take suggestions from those around me who are running successful organizations. I would request a decent and appropriate salary for the mayor and City Councilors. I would surround myself with equally committed and passionate people on Council and staff and get rid of those who have a less-than-positive attitude or authentic agenda.
Lastly, I would ask the Indy to promise to never draw me as a caricature on your cover — ever.
— Lisa L. Czelatdko
Stop Christo now
I have just finished reading the draft environmental impact statement for Over the River, the Christo art project on the Arkansas River.
The DEIS states there will be a significant impact on the bighorn sheep, which are "notorious for being negatively affected by humans and by anthropogenic disturbances of any sort ... and stress, such as human contact, vehicles, dust, noise, and harassment on bighorn is a factor in their susceptibility to disease (Spraker et al. 1984)."
Section 4 goes on to say "The timing of installation would occur during other sensitive times, such as maternity roosting for bats, the bighorn breeding season, and the critical wintering period for ungulates." The overall impact to the struggling indigenous herd is termed significant over the project's three-year duration.
On traffic, it states: "The 20-minute delay scenario generated a vehicle queue of approximately 2.9 miles. The model estimated that delayed conditions would last approximately 138 minutes. The maximum queue would involve slightly over 600 vehicles while traffic is stopped. Approximately 2,450 total vehicles would be delayed before the traffic returns to normal speeds ..."
Well now, 138 minutes to get into line so I can get from Howard to Salida — 13 miles. This is not a minor inconvenience, and the significant impact on the bighorn for which the canyon is named is not a "gentle disturbance," as the artist says. A lot of the DEIS is inconsistent with all the propaganda coming from the artist. The above items are just a few of over 40 other concerns raised during my first read of the DEIS.
I urge you to obtain a copy of the DEIS from the Bureau of Land Management so you can comment, as I am going to, that "No Action" should be the preferred alternative.
— Marshall Nichols
I read with dismay that Christo's Over the River project hasn't died. This project isn't so much "art" as it is an ego trip for the artist. It is an obscenely inappropriate use of beautiful and scenic public land.
I suggest that Christo should stay in New York and hang his panels over Times Square, rather than over the Arkansas River.
— Charles Rollman
Small, safe churches
I read with interest Major Van Harl's letter ("God and guns," July 15) in which he opined that church security was needed in light of the Denver and New Life Church tragedies of 2007. He further opined that "any religion or denomination you can name in the U.S. has had a violent incident on a church campus in the past 16 to 18 months."
I beg to differ. I did the old Google search and could not come up with another incident in the time period he cited. I know that my denomination has not faced this problem.
To me, it's interesting to note the 2007 tragedies took place on non-denominational, mega-church campuses. Denominational churches have not been subject to such tragedy. Maybe it is because we are small churches, know our members, and are not part of the mega-church where most folks don't know each other's names. Joining a community where everyone knows your name may be a key to church security.
— Joan Lucia-Treese
Maes and the media
Dan Maes won the majority of delegates in the Republican State Assembly, which consisted of more delegates and more new delegates who had never before participated in politics than any other state assembly. The news media has belittled Mr. Maes and as a non-politician himself, he and his staff have made some small paperwork errors ("Maes agrees to big fine," Noted, July 8), totally free of any intent or for selfish gain. I, like most Coloradans, have accepted that the national media has an anti-conservative agenda, but with local media I believe we all expect higher and fairer standards in covering our issues and news.
Coloradans can decide for themselves what is right and wrong, what is better, socialism or capitalism, and we do not want the media involved in the decision, only the facts. We want both parties covered equally, and fairly. The candidates may be too numerous at times, but after the caucuses and state assemblies they are thinned down to a reasonable number, and people want and need fair, impartial information about the candidates.
The free press, a right granted by God not government, has a responsibility to the people for that right.
The press owes nothing to government, political parties or unions. You provide both facts and points of view to the public. Just make sure to separate the two when they are printed.
We The People have been too lazy to search out the truth at times, and too trusting in our news sources as truthful and honest, but locally we expect our neighbors to be a little more honest.
— Daniel Davis
Get over it
So your reporter's feelings are hurt ("Yes or no DUH," News, July 15) because she couldn't get the proponents of the three pro-taxpayer issues — 60, 61, and 101 — to publicize their campaign strategy and tactics in advance? Aww. Well, if someone asked me to blurt out my political timing, volunteers or ad campaign, I would have been less polite than the person interviewed was. I agree with their response to the reporter's self-centered curiosity. My answer would be blunter — No, Hell no, and DOUBLE DUH!
Having your prying inquiry thwarted, and complaining about a "subterranean" campaign, your reporter then inconsistently sneers these volunteers have "rudimentary websites crammed with information." See COtaxreforms.com. I found them useful and high-class sites, better than yours.
You are obviously for opponents, writing their campaign group "is reaching out to grassroots organizations." Reported donations show the Denver Chamber gave $500,000. They got $50,000 each from a bank based in Spain, a financial group in Canada, a law firm in Nebraska, and an investment banker in Missouri. Add in $170,000 from one contractors association, and $100,000 from the bond dealers association. Some grassroots. Then you add "top" politicians as "grassroots" opponents of tax relief for the little guy. You should list your slanted story as a donation.
Why not report how much their agents are paid to take your phone call and stroke your ego? You let them allege the campaign will be won "in the trenches." With $1.5 million, they can afford an air-conditioned, fur-lined trench with room service and an indoor pool.
I suggest you take a leave of absence and work against these tax relief measures. Honestly.
— Helen Patrice
Asking for trouble
News has been breaking for the past two weeks about the race for governor. Today rumors are rampant that our state GOP wants one candidate to drop out so they can "select" their own candidate. I can tell you that many activists in Colorado are not happy with this. This is just another example of the "machine" trying to control us.
The voters took time to get involved. There was an overwhelming participation in our state assembly. This is an off year and this is not supposed to be happening. But we the people want our state and country back and have gotten informed and involved. Now the people in charge of our party think they will be telling We the People who our candidate is? Not only is that a slap in our face, but a slap in the face of those campaigns who've taken the time, money and effort to participate in the process we have.
This is a story of control and corruption. It is worth your time checking into. We want to know why our state GOP can't stand behind the candidates the people have chosen.
— Mike Barron
Forget Tom T.
So Tom Tancredo thinks that the president is the greatest threat to his way of life? If he means a threat to the "Screw you, I've got mine" health care system, or the 'The poor are just here to make us richer" economic system, or the "Corporations should rule politics" system, or the "Drill, baby drill" point of view, or the "Who cares about the environment as long as someone's making a profit" view, then I hope he's right.
Yes, many people desperately want to keep our society from growing, changing, becoming more equitable, less polluting and basically stuck as it is, or as it was two to nine years ago. They will say or do anything to keep the status quo, and whenever they say words like jobs, socialism, or especially "liberal," they know a loud minority of people are easily manipulated to shriek and stammer and complain due to their biases.
It's time we rejected this clamor of selfishness and moved our country forward. WE know we can have strong capitalism and grow wealth without sacrificing the little guys. WE know we can fashion an efficient health care system that takes care of the less fortunate while leaving room for upgrades. WE know things can be better, but we have to stand up to the Tancredos and those who stand firmly in the way of any progress simply because they've got it good.
— Max Lowe
Charge the newbies
As Colorado Springs floods her precious bluegrass with a near-record snowpack, the poor families who live in the Cherokee Water District watch as the record heat of June along with little rain slowly kills any hopes they might have of a living lawn next spring. Lost court battles or poor planning, it does not matter anymore, Cherokee is a failed experiment in urban planning.
Or is it? Cherokee's principals got rich with the tap fees (I am sure) and now the plan is to merge the district into Colorado Springs Utilities. I am sure this was the plan all along.
Why should the community foot the bill? Where is the outrage of the Cherokee residents who were misled at best or scammed at worst? Is this predicament the excuse or the close, if you will, on the Southern Delivery System, the biggest insider boondoggle since the Stormwater Enterprise?
Before Colorado Springs caves in again to developers, consider a $10,000 surcharge on new construction to help pay for the $1 billion-plus it will cost your children and grandchildren to pipe in water from Pueblo. Limit bluegrass on this construction and maybe take a portion of this money to Xeriscape the Cherokee district before it becomes more of a blight on your housing stock. Create jobs, save water and let new construction pay for the water it needs while raising the value on existing houses.
— Karl Knapstein
On Shirk's side
Thanks to Pam Zubeck for her excellent analysis of the two sheriff candidates ("Sheriff showdown," News, July 15).
After years in the FBI, the CIA in Vietnam and a police department in California, I've had a legion of great bosses and think I can spot a terrific one from a mile away. Speaking of a fine leader, I had the pleasure of meeting with Monument Police Chief Jake Shirk and had a long chat with him. I was very impressed with his style, his personality and loyalty to those who work with him. He's well-spoken, obviously well-educated and, after hearing about his vast experience in all phases of police work, I knew he was the man for the job. I've even confirmed this by speaking with people who have previously worked with him.
I was a volunteer investigator at the local Sheriff's Office for five years and know the kinds of leadership skills needed to run such a department well. For that reason I urge voters to examine the records of both candidates and support Chief Jake Shirk, a good man.
— Charles Hess