Letters – January 18, 2013

Museums can make the city much better

The Space Foundation certainly agrees with your editorial suggesting that Colorado Springs focus on museums — especially the idea that local museums should collaborate to magnify their impact on the community.

We recently opened the Space Foundation Visitors Center, which currently comprises the Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring an amazing Science On a Sphere (you really have to see it!) and the El Pomar Space Gallery showcasing just a small portion of our space artifacts collection.

We have been extremely pleased with how the community and the space industry have stepped up to fund this venture, including major grants from the El Pomar Foundation, Northrop Grumman, the Anschutz Foundation and the Boettcher Foundation, plus contributions of fascinating space artifacts from industry, space agencies and other museums.

Our philosophy has several elements that may be worth consideration by other fledgling museums.

First, we “build as we go,” starting out small and building our fan base while we pursue our longer-term, more ambitious goal for a much larger, much more sophisticated facility that will include a teaching auditorium, a Space Technology Hall of Fame®, interactive activities and many, many more artifacts. Second, we approach this endeavor as an adjunct to our space education program, using the facility to offer meaningful, standards-based curriculum to schools in order to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) proficiency. And, we make it a practice to partner and collaborate with other organizations that share our educational and community goals. For example, we’ve been deeply engaged with both the Pioneers Museum and the Cool Science Festival.

Museums pack a double whammy for a city like ours: They enhance our already strong tourism offerings and they enrich the educational opportunities we provide to our residents. So, the Space Foundation strongly endorses making museums a major focus of Colorado Springs.

Chuck Zimkas

President

Space Foundation

 

City Council deserves better chance

Council is slowly and strategically being silenced as we see the promotion, support and abuse of authoritarian leadership. The people voted a Council-Mayor form of government to have a separation and a limit of powers.

City Council is meant to be a deliberative Republic body. Short-term successes are being achieved like benchmarking, outsourcing, and reducing waste. However, long term, the city is witnessing the spoiling of collective partnerships, a division of leadership, groups and PACs exchanging financial support to dissuade, and citizens losing confidence in their elected officials.

Despite the livability and low property taxes bringing people to Colorado Springs, the challenges for local government continue to grow. It’s more important than ever to build coalitions among city, county and state leadership, private businesses, and neighboring municipalities to come up with strategies to solve problems, get citizens involved, stop the overlapping or duplication of services, and provide the best services to all citizens. That’s our job as your elected representatives.

Very important community events like our governor’s visits, the Southern Colorado Economic Forum, the UCCS Lane Center groundbreaking, the UCCS sequestration discussions, and the State of the Region discussions had Council representatives in attendance. Mayor Steve Bach chose not to attend. He has canceled regional mayor meetings and Bach does not attend Council or Utilities Board meetings, and has ignored votes of the majority made by the legislative body.

With the upcoming City Council elections, please use your influence, money, and vote choosing leaders who are willing to work with others and be committed to the common goal of improving the city and the region. Do not allow favoritism or familiarity to overshadow fairness and those wanting to serve with political integrity.

Your support for Council is critical for change. Real, lasting, satisfying change. Thank you.

Lisa L. Czelatdko

City Council Member District 3

Colorado Springs