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Monkey Chronicles

My liberal friends were not too happy with last month’s Monkey Chronicles when I “defended” Douglas Bruce. I don’t know why any liberals live in Colorado Springs anyway, but my statements were not based on liberal versus conservative views. Responsible government is not bi-partisan.I’ve been in this area long enough (26 years in April) to have an opinion about the elected officials. Frankly, I think the majority of our elected officials – city and county – are all about their own agendas and egos. I want accountability, and I have yet to see it.Think about it. A couple of weeks ago, a headline in the Gazette read something like “Road improvements (Colorado in general) are in jeopardy because of budget constraints.” Remember last month when I mentioned that the Colorado Department of Transportation paid $21,000 to a local public relations agency to come up with a name and logo for the Colorado Springs Interstate 25 widening project? (COSMIX was the name.)Well, Mike Boyd, the editor of the Colorado Springs Business Journal, talked with the folks at the public relations agency, Praco Advertising. In a recent editorial in the business journal, he cited the following: The agency fee for the logo project was $13,000 and the remaining $8,000 was spent on printing, hiring another company to recruit people who participated in focus groups and feeding the focus groups. The money was well spent, said a department of transportation employee.If that’s true, then I don’t believe for one minute that there is a budget deficit. Maybe the state thinks $21,000 is a mere drop in the bucket. Well, it’s a year’s salary for some people! I worked for the government off and on for six years – trust me, fiscal responsibility is not a priority. Read Doug Bruce’s account of county expenditures in his column this month. It’s why he won! People want more, at least a few Falcon people.Okay, enough on that subject.Growth, now that’s another issue.I would have never believed more than seven years ago when I moved out here (when Safeway was a seed planted in corporate America’s head) there would be a Frankie’s Too, a Mancino’s, two coffee shops, a WALGREENS, etc., etc.And what about traffic? Have you noticed the back up in the mornings on Highway 24 lately? It’s not all about construction. What about the traffic heading in and out of Safeway – in and out of the gas station? It’s a crash, boom, bang waiting to happen. What happened to the sleepy, peaceful rural area? It’s growing, and there is pain that comes with growth.Other areas have gone through the same growing pains. When I was the executive director of the Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce in Monument, growth in that area had been an issue for 15 years or more, and it remains an issue today. People there were (and still are) saying the exact same things that I hear in Falcon.Like the talk at the last Falcon business league meeting. One business owner remarked that he heard a woman who had lived in Falcon just three years say that she no longer wanted growth (now that she was here). How many times have I heard that from newcomers? “Close the door once I get in.” It’s rather elitist.On the other side, it also is elitist to ignore the thoughts and feelings of the Falcon “pioneers” who moved out here 10, 15, 20 or 30 or more years ago. They are ranchers, farmers, pilots, horse people, animal lovers, truck drivers, contractors, teachers and people who could easily live without a nearby shopping mall or major grocery store. They exude a spirit of independence that is unknown to city dwellers and suburbanites.They are the people who didn’t mind being snowed in for days at a time. They are people who were guided by the stars as opposed to the streetlights. They cherished land and sky more than short commutes and fancy restaurants. They moved to Falcon to get away from dense neighborhoods and housing developments where every house mirrors the other. They didn’t worry much about crime or bumper-to-bumper traffic.They sought freedom. They got their piece of the pie – their five, 10, 20 acres and more. Then it all changed.The city moved east and further east. The “pioneers” still have their five, 10, 20 acres and more, but surrounding them is a fortress of new buildings and a glut of people and cars.So, is it no wonder “they” are a bit reserved about growth, even unhappy?Is anyone listening to them? One board member of the Falcon business league said at the last meeting that people have to realize, if they don’t support our school system and other like entities, there will be no more growth and the commercial area could die. Hmmm … could be why the last election didn’t favor the school and fire districts. On the other side, people say the growth is here, and it’s not going away, no matter what, so it’s time to support the school and fire district. Well, we don’t know for sure what will happen in the future.But oftentimes the leaders of one movement or another come across pompous and hell bent on swaying people this way or that with an argument that is totally subjective, like “the growth is here – we can’t turn back,” or, “if we don’t do this or that, blah, blah.” Well, that’s your opinion.I like what is happening with the incorporation movement. Art Van Sant and Jean Woolsey aren’t in the mode to persuade people – they are trying their best to present the facts. At every meeting I’ve attended, Art always says, “Remember, this is going to be up to the voters.”Getting information that is untainted by political agendas or persuasion based on what some have maintained as a loosely defined need to the community, the voters, is what matters. Being responsive to all sides and responsible to taxpayers is what matters.Whatever the future holds for Falcon, if it is incorporation or leadership from various organizations, it’s an opportunity to be different, to set a new standard. Whatever, we do, let’s not take our cues from a state government that spends $21,000 on a logo. And let’s throw the rhetoric to the dust.-ml@jazzwireless.net

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