Response to Cheyenne Edition Publisher
Dear Mr. Walter,
Your “ramblings” in the May 30 Cheyenne Edition about the Springs gaining local residents who feel no one else should be allowed into “our little circle,” call for a response, especially since your comment was in part precipitated — I suspect — by remarks I made in a recent Cheyenne Edition interview.
First, I am not a recent transplant to the Springs. I was born here, but that is actually irrelevant. Whether I was born here or not, I have a right – in fact a duty – to care about the quality, integrity and viability of this community. This community could use more people like me, who are willing to inform themselves, willing to get involved, and if necessary forego a Lexus in the garage in exchange for clean air, nicer people, less traffic congestion, and adequate water for the people who live here. There is no intrinsic right invested in anyone to be able to move here. We are under no obligation to despoil this place or use up our water supplying future in-migrants. And now there is much evidence to suggest we don’t even benefit financially from continuing on our current expansion kick.
What if you were considering a move to, let’s say Lompoc, Texas? What if they were rationing and worrying about where they would get water for a growing population? What if they knew, if they could get it at all, that water would have to come from 200 miles away? What if those water sources 200 miles away were becoming more and more scarce, and the communities where that water flows were becoming less and less inclined to diminish their flows in exchange for dollars from Lompoc? Wouldn’t you want at the very least to be warned about the possibility of future shortages, or at best some very expensive water? And does Lompoc have some legal responsibility to promise you water if you want to buy an acre at the edge of town and hook onto their water system?
Henry, I’m not bothered by the inconvenience of rationing. My family and I were taking military showers over a year ago before rationing began. I’ve always been committed to conservation of natural resources. I am, however, bothered by those in a desert community who cling to archaic attitudes about “unlimited” natural resources. Clean air and water may not have been a big concern 50 years ago. But they are today. Did you know it’s likely we’ll have ozone-alert days within a few years here in the Springs? Yet are we doing anything about it? Colorado Springs ranks 44th in the nation in cost of congestion, ahead of places like Kansas City, Omaha, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City. The average Springs driver wastes over 27 hours per year in traffic delays, three times the 1994 hours — more than in Boston, Philadelphia and Las Vegas (we’re tied with Washington, D.C. – 20th in the nation). Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments projects in 2025, even with 8 to 10 lanes on I-25, we’ll be on the verge of violating carbon monoxide standards. Some suggest we have no choice but to go down this road. Some suggest we will benefit financially from going down this road. I suggest we don’t have to, and I suggest we are foolish to “sell out” our beautiful community in the interest of questionable prosperity.
I’m enclosing some reading material to bring you up to date on current thinking about resources, economic development, and community growth. I’m pretty sure Colorado Springs will ultimately wise up. The question is whether it’ll be in time to save the beauty God bestowed upon us, or after we’ve already spoiled it.
I’m posting links to useful information about growth issues at my discussion group web site. I encourage you to explore further if you’re of an open mind.
Advocating rational, informed decisions about growth
cc: David Vickers
http://www.rmi.org/images/other/NLRMIspring99.pdf – p.11 “Escaping Sprawl”
http://www.rmi.org/images/other/NLRMIspring95.pdf – p.6 “How Communities Get Hooked on Socialized Growth”
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