LETTERS: A lot of nothing being done; root causes of poverty
A lot of nothing being done
As a regular user of the Incline, I have been curiously observing the lack of activity at the Incline since it has closed three weeks ago and want to know what is going on. I see a lot of nothing being done by a lot of nobody! I have been upset by this trend of closing the Incline for four months out of the year, especially this closure. If I understand correctly, the work is being done above the "cut off", if true, why can't the bottom portion remain open? I know the bureaucratic response will be something like."risk of injury, insurance issues, safety, blah, blah, blah". What about customer service? I find it interesting that a few weeks before the closure, Channel 5 reported that the closure was coming, but that no contract had been awarded. I only heard this blurb once and never again.
So here are a few questions for our Manitou government buddies. Has the contract been awarded? What is the period of performance? What type of contract is it; cost plus, firm fixed price, etc. How was the contract awarded: did the city get multiple bids? What was the selection criteria; lowest bid, technical? Are there incentives for early completion, under budget.if not, why not? Maybe since we can't use the Incline for the next four months, we could be entertained by seeing the answers to these questions.
This is just political theater
With great fanfare, politicians in El Paso County have identified $10 million to support the critical I-25 Gap improvements.
Lets do the math. About 0.4 miles of roadway cost $10 million. Where is the other 17.6 miles, or $490 million in funding coming from?
Wiping out the El Paso County available TABOR revenue with this I-25 Wizard of OZ idea while ignoring the bigger problem of ineffective local politicians seems more likely.
Conceptually, if you offer CDOT pennies they will come? Not likely.
Now CDOT starts a new slogan "Mind the Gap". Seriously? This is just political theater of "we are doing something" to misdirect voters and provide local political cover while CDOT remains saying they don't have the funds.
State priorities must change not new CDOT slogans, or maybe state and local politicians must change first!
Funding the health insurance mess
I appreciate Gov. John Hickenlooper's efforts to try to help with the health insurance mess. However, it seems to me that his main solution is to dump more federal tax dollars into the current system. His plan says Congress should "fund" the pool of lower-income insurance buyers. I thought this was already taking place, but I guess more is needed - surprise, surprise.
Plus his plan says Congress should also "fund" the catastrophic cost insurance pool separately from the rest of us needing insurance. I thought the whole premise of insurance was that everyone shares the risks by paying their premiums, including those who end up incurring the highest costs.
I can't see how the governor's proposed solution will actually help; it just transfers more of the cost burden onto federal taxpayers, as well as future generations through higher federal deficits.
Addressing the root causes of poverty
On Aug. 30, the Colorado Springs Bastiat Society hosted a challenging presentation on improving the quality of life in southeast Colorado Springs. The speakers were Regina Lewis and Bart Givens, followed by Jon Stapleton representing the Cheyenne Mountain Civic Solutions, co-host of the event.
The audience of about 75, drawn from local communities, was immediately challenged to imagine themselves in a state of "poverty," wherein the fundamental choices of daily life involve giving up one fundamental necessity when opting for another - e.g. food on the table in exchange for children's clothing. While the sympathetic audience easily accepted the language and the reality of poverty, they were hard-pressed to more fully appreciate the deeper emotions and psychology of destitution.
Once the speakers presented their case, which was essentially a graphic definition of want, they were asked what they expected, or at least desired, their fellow citizens to do about it. Here the simple answer was resources - money - to enable impoverished families to eat, clothe themselves, to send their kids to school and to enjoy personal safety.
As vital as such needs are and the willingness of their fellow citizens to contribute to minority community recipients, it seems clear that such largesse addresses symptoms, not the root causes of poverty.
While neighboring communities of southeast Colorado Springs such as Broadmoor, in their admitted naiveté in the condition of the minority, primarily black, community and its similarity with black communities elsewhere in the nation, deeper reflection opens up deeper conversations on what to do with minority poverty anywhere.
For instance, how should we measure minority employment eligibility and how should we, as fellow citizens, help encourage a migration from a welfare mentality to one of entrepreneurship?
For deep thinkers who appreciate the legacy of Frederic Bastiat, that early 19th-century French economist who in monarchical Europe understood very well the difference between voluntary charity and the official, socialistic "plunder" that was coerced welfare, how far does voluntary charity and empathy for our fellow citizen go to resolving the perennial cycle of poverty in America?
For many of us the answer is precisely the official "plunder" of a welfare system that for decades in the United States has undermined the very institutions of a stable and rewarding society - marriage, the family, fatherhood.
Where should, therefore, awareness, sympathy, focus on poverty on southeast Colorado Springs take us? The answer, or answers, to that question would be grounds for a second seminar.