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'Gotcha' fire coverage?
I always read the Indy each week, even agreeing with some of the letter writers and stories. However, last week's edition seemed more like a "gotcha" on the Waldo Canyon Fire happenings ("Seeing through the haze," News).
Yes, mistakes were made in the use of resources that might have been available. Our Southface subdivision is just east of Centennial and Vindicator. We were part of the exodus out of "upper Rockrimmon" during that frantic Tuesday afternoon.
Yes, exit roadways could have been better planned.
However, it took me less than an hour to get from Centennial and Vindicator to I-25 at 6:30 p.m. on June 26. People were polite, some even stopping to fill their car with gas, as most of us inched along.
It is so easy for the Indy and Pam Zubeck to find things that weren't smooth and organized. Now is the time to get on with the evaluations and training to help things become more efficient the next time. How is government ever going to be ready for every contingency that occurs in such a diverse community — from the rock quarries to the Powers corridor? From the Air Force Academy to Fort Carson? It will never happen!
Taking potshots never seems like the best way to solve problems or improve anything!
— Duane C. Slocum
'Seeing' it differently
What was your point, Pam Zubeck?
If you're one of my neighbors whose home was damaged or destroyed in the fire, I'm so very sorry. I am among the fortunate — my home was unharmed. As our community tries to heal and rebuild, it helps to evaluate what went well and what didn't, so have you a helpful point to your article ("Seeing through the haze")?
On one hand, you cite the dearth of wildfire experience for our chief and deputy chief, yet you question why civilian assistance was not utilized.
Humanity is not successful in predicting or harnessing weather events, let alone the path of a wildland fire. (If you have experience in this area, please forgive my lack of the same.)
In my neighborhood, we were on evacuation notice from Saturday, June 23. Throughout the Waldo Canyon Fire, the battalion chief, along with many firefighters, monitored the fire and new smoke curls from the vantage point of my street. We were informed that they received continuous updates from firefighters all over the region, and they pointed out new areas of concern to us in advance of media.
This was neither idling around nor wasting of resources.
Queens Canyon became involved on Tuesday afternoon, June 26, and as our world exploded in fire and smoke, 32,000 of us were evacuated. Was the successful implementation of this plan what you wanted to convey?
Manitou Springs, Cedar Heights, and towns up and down U.S. Highway 24 were spared because of the efforts of firefighters and the effective use of resources.
For an unprecedented, catastrophic event, resources weren't idle, rather, they were stretched beyond what planning could prepare for and were utilized successfully.
— Norma Hollister
Guns kill people
I write to you with profound sadness over the Batman massacre, where 12 people were killed and 58 injured, making the tragic incident one of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history.
My heart goes out to all of those who are affected by this tragedy.
We simply cannot accept gun violence as a "norm" in our society. I believe it is imperative for our public policy to reflect a commitment to lessening the terrible toll that gun violence takes in so many lives every year.
While the debate over gun violence and gun control can quickly become divisive, we cannot allow a difficult debate to deter us from addressing what is a major public health crisis in the U.S.
The cost of gun violence, in medical costs, costs of the criminal justice system, security requirements and in quality of life reduced by fear of gun violence, is difficult to measure.
I believe we can certainly take reasonable common-sense steps to reduce the likelihood of deaths and injuries due to gun violence.
Let's reach across the divisive debate around gun control and take small steps to save lives.
— Dennis Apuan
Sick people kill people
Colorado ranks toward the bottom out of 50 states, in providing for persons with mental illness and disabilities. Severe problems abound, with insufficient diagnosis, treatment, education, care and residential placement (other than incarceration) being available.
Is there a connection between the current tragic shooting in Aurora, the also-tragic shootings at Columbine and a Colorado Springs church, etc., and Colorado's failure to provide mental health treatment and residential facilities? Many in the medical and legal fields, social services and special education have for years believed that such lack of provision is tragedy waiting to happen.
The TABOR Amendment, squelching fair and equal taxation of all, particularly corporations and the wealthy, is often cited by concerned professionals in Colorado's having a lower-than-low rating in providing health care, placement and education for those with mental illness and emotional/behavioral disorders.
As one concerned psychiatrist not long ago told me: "We need help. This isn't practicing medicine."
— Rita Ague
A bigger picture
Could the media please give us a break with endless grisly accounts of the Aurora killings? I understand it was a tragedy, and our sympathies lie with the 70 innocent victims. But, we also need to appreciate that 86 Americans are killed by firearms every day, and nearly 4,000 are killed prematurely by chronic diseases linked with consumption of animal products and lack of exercise. (cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_04.pdf) So, let's replace the vacuous hand-wringing over the Aurora tragedy with constructive personal steps to lessen the greater tragedies facing us every day.
— Carl Silverman
Springs' cash cow
No citizen who observed City Council on July 23 could come away without finding it a mind-boggling experience. One after another, city department spokespersons detailed maintenance and replacement needs for antiquated infrastructure, and each department has many high-priority needs.
There seems to be consensus that the problems are region-wide and solutions should be sought on a regional basis, numerous communities contributing. While that may be true, the lion's share of needs and infrastructure renewal is in Colorado Springs. It follows that major funding for projects must come from this city and its people.
To alleviate stormwater problems alone would take an estimated $500 million. Add other high-priority needs and we need another $150 million.
It is folly to think some wealthy benefactor will die and leave the city $650 million in his will. So where will we get a large sum of money to accomplish all or most of our requirements without outrageous taxation?
Extraordinary problems require extraordinary solutions. It's time for the city to look at its enterprises and assets. Considering the huge amount taxpayers have invested over generations, there has been virtually no monetary return to the city on those investments.
Our most valuable asset is Utilities. Unlike most other cities, our Utilities include gas, water and electricity. My idea would be to obtain Requests for Proposal from potential bidders or buyers for one-third of our system, electricity. Without obligation, we could obtain a good idea of what the system is worth. If the price is right, City Council then may elect to hold public meetings.
— John A. Daly
What's Mitt hiding?
This week my wife and I had to submit our previous year's tax return to the University of Colorado's financial aid office for our children's scholarships and grants approval. This is reasonable in that they must verify our children's qualifications for financial assistance.
When they were admitted to CU we had to submit Colorado tax returns and motor vehicle registration records verifying that we were residents of the state so they would receive in-state tuition.
In years past when seeking business loans, auto loans and a home mortgage we were asked to submit multiple-year tax returns to verify income and financial assets. Verifying financial records is a common practice, especially among the middle working classes. It has also become expected for politicians seeking elected office.
But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee refuses to release (therefore verify) his federal tax records previous to 2010, and 2011's is still being administered and may not be released until just before or after the election. One tax return for the public (yes, us, the "you people" in the Romney household), because the presumptive nominee fears opposition research from the Democratic incumbent's campaign will find something. Huh?
The U.S. electorate has come to know that verifying the income and wealth of presidential candidates (and whether he or she has paid all taxes) is part of the process even if they are super-rich or think they live by another set of social and legal rules. "Stated income" does not qualify in this matter. If it was good for the father to release a dozen years of taxes, it is good for the son. Let us see what really is in those returns.
— Bob Nemanich
Won't stand up in court
In response to Lotus' letter in the July 18 Independent regarding oil and gas development ("Oil and gas untruths" Letters), it is clear that he or she has a deeply flawed understanding of how the legal system works.
The Pittsburgh ordinance banning oil and gas drilling was adopted over the advice of the city attorney and would almost certainly be struck down if challenged as being over-reaching for a city under Pennsylvania law. It was introduced by a city councilman who was grandstanding. It was not opposed by the oil and gas industry because the geology for gas extraction is not good under the city and it would be nearly impossible to comply with Pennsylvania state regulations regarding setbacks, etc., within the city.
In Colorado, oil and gas development has been held to be of mixed state and local interest. If a local ordinance prohibits what the state regulation allows, state law will control. The state allows oil and gas development as long as state rules are followed. An attempt to ban oil and gas development will be struck down by the courts.
In the early '90s I argued this issue before the Colorado Supreme Court. Greeley, by a vote of the people, had banned all new oil and gas development within the city limits. The court said that the city could not do that and could only adopt regulations which did not conflict with the state regulations.
Lotus may have the personal opinion that there are basic, superior rights to "health, clean water, air, and soil" which trump existing statutes and case law but that is only his or her personal opinion. Trying to make such an argument in court is very unlikely to be successful.
— George Monsson
There they go again, those silly Republicans, wasting time and money to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the 33rd time even though they know it will not succeed, because Obamacare is popular and is already helping many Americans.
Not a word about the jobs bill, except to kill the Democrats' proposal for small-business tax cuts, which would've helped create a million jobs (politico.com/news/stories/0712/78452.html).
Their consistent opposition is not to help the economy or the middle class, but to undercut it and hurt President Obama, per instructions from Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. If Obamacare is repealed, there will be increasing prescription drug costs for seniors, health insurance companies can again deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, and taxpayers will subsidize health care for life for members of Congress.
This relentless action to demonize and repeal Obamacare is yet another distraction from the GOP's lack of a proper jobs bill and their derailment of Obama's jobs bill last fall, which would've put 2 million construction workers, cops, teachers and firefighters back to work.
— Sharlene White
Approximately 40 percent of our population is obese and the majority fall into the poverty level. That's a dichotomy if there ever was one.
Shouldn't they be skinny? Do they drink alcohol? Do they smoke? Just curious. I raised three children, ages 6, 7 and 8 without child support, without food stamps, welfare, Medicaid.
I worked two jobs for 15 years and we did without a lot of material things, but not without food or love. Why? Because that was my responsibility, not my neighbors'. By the way, I also put them through college without student loans.
— Joan Christensen