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The stormwater question, the government's role, Manitou's pot vote, and more



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Bill the developers

The Sept. 24 letter, "Not my problem," argues that those in areas not impacted by stormwater should pay less than those affected, so the vote should be "No." Others could argue that those unaffected are more likely to produce runoff, and should pay more.

Regardless, voters should reject County Question 1B. Here's why.

It's totally obvious: The costs of infrastructure required to handle stormwater should have been included in residential and commercial property costs as they were built. Instead, the lack of required infrastructure to handle new growth resulted in enormous damage to those in low-lying areas. But 1B imposes those costs on everyone, instead of on those responsible.

A point on economics: For market forces to properly guide decisions, prices must comprehend all costs associated with the product or service. Otherwise purchasers are guided to make choices they may not otherwise make. The "invisible hand" doesn't have the necessary information. With all costs included, purchasers might make alternate choices or not purchase at all.

Developers not paying these costs as growth occurred increased their sales and profits by passing the burden of damages and costs to others. This cost redistribution produced enormous infrastructure backlogs here and nationally.

Yes, I know. It's politically incorrect to point out that cost redistribution is an integral "free market" feature: socialize costs and privatize profits.

Any initiative, like 1B, that does not impose impact fees on developers to pay for necessary infrastructure as they build should be defeated. Otherwise we violate fundamental economic principles that depend on market forces to properly regulate supply and demand. And we insure never-ending implicit growth subsidies, more growth, and more taxes.

Don't just say "no" to growth. Let market forces guide growth naturally.

— Bob Powell

Colorado Springs

No more guilt trips

After decades of neglect, our region's stormwater system is simply a disaster waiting to happen.

As you know, recent flooding has caused untold damage to local roads, bridges, private property, our neighbors downstream and our local economy. Those of us who live near or in the floodplain will soon be facing exorbitant flood insurance rates, if they can get insurance at all. If you add the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires to the mix, our problems are multiplied, particularly for citizens on the west side, up Ute Pass and in Pleasant Valley, Manitou Springs, Cheyenne Cañon and Fountain.

During the flood of 1999, when eight inches of rain fell in 48 hours over Colorado Springs, I saw firsthand the damage that cost tens of millions of dollars to residents, farmers and businesses all the way to the Kansas border. I was one of the local elected officials to face angry farmers in Rocky Ford and La Junta whose fields were ruined with debris, erosion and sewage. I apologized to the furious residents on the east side of Pueblo who had to live with the stench of flooding and swarms of mosquitoes all summer long. And I apologized to west siders and those near Templeton Gap, Cheyenne Cañon and The Citadel mall, who didn't have flood insurance and whose homes were ruined by the failure of our system.

I promised then that we would fix our problems. In the 15 years since, much of our infrastructure has turned to rubble, and our flooding problems have grown exponentially worse.

So here's my plea: Vote for 1B and tell your friends to do so. I don't want to apologize to anyone anymore for our failing stormwater system. 1B's passage will help me with my guilt and help our community as well.

— Richard Skorman

Colorado Springs

Rely on DIY

The Indy has cut through the fog of the political season to bring us a laser-focused insight on the ideological war that is being fought out on TV, in your mailbox and on your front porch.

In the Oct. 8 endorsements, you write that I accused the incumbent Democrat "of acting as though government can solve problems." BTW, I expected an Indy endorsement for my Republican campaign, the same way President Obama breathlessly expected one from FOX's Bill O'Reilly.

Can or should we expect government to solve our problems?

I believe that people can solve their own problems. Government's job is to protect our rights and provide basic services so we may do so. When government gets confused and thinks it can solve our problems, it tinkers with our lives; tries to protect from us from ourselves; and flies down the path of unintended consequences.

For instance: college education debt. Federal government pours money into higher education, inflates the market, now wants to fix the student debt issue.

In this election season, there it is, your real choice. Are you voting for someone to employ government to fix your problems, or are you in charge? How about a role of government that provides a good road for you to drive on, less regulations to wrestle, and just enough of that good ol' DMV customer service?

— Michael Schlierf,

candidate for House District 18

Colorado Springs

The Manitou vote

The Nov. 4 election for Manitou Springs is important because of the 2G ballot issue prohibiting existing, legal, recreational marijuana sales. A strong voter turnout is necessary to fully represent the will of the people. It will also serve to continue our regional reputation as a functional city that cares and openly participates in our destiny with thoughtfulness for future generations as well as ourselves.

Full participation of all Manitou voters will also serve to support our local government as it endeavors to represent all of the people. This is no easy task.

I am proud that Manitou citizens and elected officials are not idealogues. We look to solve real problems, whether it involves flood mitigation, servicing tourists, dealing with slumlords, or finding the best way to regulate marijuana sales.

I have good friends on both sides of 2G. There are reasonable arguments to vote yes or no on this issue. Most of the discussions have been respectful and considered. Whatever the outcome, this will be a great election if 2G really gets out the vote.

The community engagement vision of "Manitou Springs Forward: A Vision and Planning Guide" states: "We are a diverse village which celebrates, supports, protects and fosters a creative and interconnected community and provides multiple opportunities that allow each resident to uniquely contribute to the well-being and enhancement of our community." Voting is a core part of community engagement.

Whether you are for or against prohibiting recreational marijuana sales in Manitou, vote. If we have done our part and voted, then we cannot complain too much if the "will of the people" differs from our own. Manitou Springs is resilient and will deal with marijuana one way or another.

— Shanti Toll

Manitou Springs

Language perverted

I am the son of a soldier. My father fought in World War II and Korea. I spent four years in the Army, two in Vietnam. In my professional career, I learned much about people who commit violent acts on others. I learned how the language we use shapes our beliefs and attitudes.

Regarding war and other forms of violence, in every instance, whether it is warring nations, acts of terrorism, conflicts between various groups or gangs, or interpersonal or domestic violence, the first rule of engagement involves dehumanizing your opponent. This is accomplished by using pejorative terms often based on country of origin, ethnicity, race or gender. Once the enemy becomes a non-human, despised thing, it is easier to attack or assault them.

Recently this rule has been perverted in order to soothe our collective consciousness and to make it easier to send our (mostly young) people into battle. To wit, the expression "boots on the ground." This dishonest, sanitizing term serves only to dehumanize and degrade members of our own armed services and to emotionally distance ourselves from the reality of what we (and they) are doing. Politicians and pundits throw this term around freely and avoid the harsh reality of what it really means.

If we want to honor and dignify the efforts and sacrifices made by these young men and women, we need to be honest with ourselves. I suggest replacing "boots on the ground" with the more honest "lives on the line." That expression more accurately describes what happens when we commit our forces to combat arenas, regardless of their stated mission.

— Mike Frohardt

Colorado Springs


Due to an editing mistake, in last week's CannaBiz, Mike Dunafon was identified as a Libertarian candidate for governor; Dunafon is running as an independent. We regret the error.

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