ColoSprgs: Too poor for street lights but $880M water project OK.

Can a city that has to shut off its street lights to balance the budget really afford an $880 million water project?

The Post story today http://www.denverpost.com/ci_1… continues to examine what happens to a city of conservatives who refuse to raise taxes in an economic downturn. A budget shortfall of $24 million, compounded by the rejection of any tax increase, has resulted in closed swimming pools, turned off street lights, laid off police officers and firefighters, and suspended weekend bus service.

And while city services have been dramatically cut in response to a new era of austerity, the Colorado Springs City Council, acting though its utility department Colorado Spring Utilities, is proceeding with an $880 million water project known as Southern Delivery.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain http://www.chieftain.com/news/… , the Council has approved water rate hikes (not tax increases) of 12% for 2011 and 2012 and similar rate increases are expected though 2016, the projected completion date of the project.

The average homeowner will pay $5 more per month, and by the end of the project, Colorado Springs water rates will have doubled. The Chieftain goes on to say that “factoring in financing and inflation, ratepayers will pay $2.3 billion” for the project, which will bring water from Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs through a 60 mile pipeline system.

Colorado Springs is not out of water. There are no reported shortages. Current residents are not in jeopardy of loosing service-yet. The argument being made is that the city is relying too heavily on key infrastructure that is failing rapidly. And while Southern Delivery addresses the problem of deteriorating infrastructure, the reason for Southern Delivery is to ultimately provide for future growth. There is no other justification for a project of this size and scope.

Water rates should cover the cost of providing water service, but should water rates be raised in this manner to cover the cost providing service for people who won’t be residents of Colorado Springs for another 10 or 20 years?

Given the current financial state of the city, wouldn’t the $5 more per month Colorado Springs residents will be charged for water be put to more pressing items — oh like turning some of the street lights back on?

In candidates’ own words…WaPo’s take on MB-AR fight

The AR – MB catfight has gotten nasty enough to catch the eye of the national media. The WaPo’s Dan Balz offers his thoughts on the race in a column out today.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

The column is pretty basic with its once-insider-now-outsider take on Romanof. But the candidate quotes Balz got are telling – and sum up very succinctly what the candidate view they are fighting about:

Bennett referring to Romanoff:

“in one of the most insider positions a person can hold is all of a sudden an outsider, versus an incumbent who’s not even been in office a year and a half with no prior political experience.”

Romanoff  referring to Bennet

“The national party made no secret of their distaste for this exercise in democracy….They were pretty clear they would support the incumbent…”

Not much policy difference here, but plenty of hurt ego.

Rep. Lambert Speaks Gibberish

(In fairness, Lambert’s first language is gibberish – promoted by Colorado Pols)

I know state Republicans don’t want to give Governor Ritter any credit for the stimulus working, but it also leads them to make incoherent, economically asinine statements. Responding to Ritter’s claim that stimulus spending saved or created almost 4,500 jobs in colleges and prisons, Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs had this to say in today’s Post:

(Stimulus spending is) propping up state government at the expense of the private sector…Look what is happening to mining, sales and other Colorado industries. They are dropping like a rock.”

Huh?

“Sales” is a Colorado industry?

We’ve propped up state government at the expense of the mining industry?

Teaching and prison guard jobs aren’t worth keeping? Don’t you want to keep felons behind bars instead of more early release?

Is it better, then, to prop up private industry?

Isn’t that kind of getting bailout-y?

I guess when the Post gives you a chance to rattle off some quick talking points against the Governor, go for it-but don’t embarrass youself with gibberish.

Rocky Mountain News reincarnates on Monday?

( – promoted by ClubTwitty)

HuffPo reports that former RMN staffers are launching an on-line newsmagazine, called the Rocky Mountain Independent, starting Monday, July 6th

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

No word as to who the backers are, but they have enough funds to last 3-months. The contributing staff looks kind of thin but Kevin Flynn, Robert Denerstein and Drew Litton are on the masthead.

A lot was made of In Denver Times, which failed before it started. What’s different about this version? Why so little talk about it? Did I miss something?

Forget EFCA, I’ll vote for the guy who fixes traffic at I-270 & Vasquez

I feel somewhat vindicated knowing that my daily commute includes one of the metro area’s 18 most congested intersections, this according to the Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news…

Since moving to Stapleton three years ago, I have complained to my co-workers about a miserable stretch of I-270 and Vasquez I must commute each day, only to be countered with “yea, but you should have seen how f****ed up traffic was on the Turnpike going home yesterday..” or “think that’s bad, it took me three hours to take my kids up to Winter Park on Saturday for boarding..” Now my co-workers and I all have a list of bad commutes to compare around the water cooler, thanks to an official study by DRCOG.

Which lead me to think: DON’T OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS ALREADY KNOW WHERE THE TRAFFIC BOTTLENECKS ARE WITHOUT A DRCOG STUDY, AND SURELY THEY HAVE PLANS TO FIX IT! How wrong I am, as the Post story continues:

For seven of the 18 bottlenecks identified by DRCOG, CDOT has no plans to offer relief. At another six, environmental studies are in progress to identify future improvements, but there is no guaranteed source of funding.

So for 7 of the worst 18 traffic tie-ups in metro Denver-that’s more than 1/3 of the total–our state government has no plans to do anything about it, and for another 1/3, aside from an EIS in progress, no relief is in site.

Isn’t transportation planning and road building a basic public good our government should provide? Shouldn’t it be a core competency to which we hold accountable our elected officials?

Forget climate change, EFCA, cell phone use while driving, war profiteering by gubernatorial candidates, and how much a sacker at King Soopers should make-I want to know what my elected representatives will do about the basics– like fixing the roads.  

Tancredo calls Obama a “cult leader” — talk about projection!

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In Tom Trancredo’s world, everything is viewed through the prism of illegal immigration. He certainly has his share of strident supporters, but nothing approaching the critical mass necessary to keep him on the national stage. He clearly doesn’t have a clue why Obama got elected–the best he can do is to atribute Obama’s success to a cult like following.

As reported on the Foxnation website yesterday:

President Obama is a “cult leader” whose presidency transcends politics, former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) claimed.

“He is – you have to admit – he is a cult leader. And the cult will go with him wherever he wants to go,” Tancredo said on the conservative newsradio program “Dateline: Washington.”

Tancredo made the remarks in respect to the way Obama has characterized his immigration priorities, which Tancredo alleges is a cover for a broader “amnesty” program.

“You just don’t know about the size of the cult; how big it is – if it’s shrinking or growing,” Tancredo, a rumored gubernatorial candidate in Colorado, continued. “He is not just a political figure; he is truly a cult leader.”

Tancredo said he’s hopeful Americans will “see through” Obama’s rhetoric on immigration.

The part about being a “rumored gubernatorial candidate” is particularly scary only because this interview shows how intellectually shallow Tancredo is. Personally, I can do without the speculation whether Obama’s is “shinking or growing.”

Tancredo has enjoyed a measure of cult-like status himself–is he simply jealous that it wasn’t enough to carry him to the White House?