Letters – March 22, 2013

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Tough times for City Council

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, for the 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, stopping the overlapping or duplication of services, and providing the best services to all citizens.

That’s our job as your elected representatives. Very important community events like our governor 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 does not attend Council or CSU meetings regularly, and has ignored votes of 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, District 3

Colorado Springs

Taxes and fiscal conservatism

While it is true that in 2008, I proposed to lessen a countywide sales tax increase to one-half its original size, the motion died.

Three county commissioners then voted to place a 1 percent sales tax increase on the ballot, which ultimately failed at the polls. I was not among them.

Meanwhile, one of my opponents, Keith King, voted to place a $19.7 million property tax increase on the ballot while he was on the District 12 school board in 1994.

Another one of my opponents, Brandy Williams, recently voted to raise electric utility rates by spending $23 million for costly “solar gardens.”

So, I ask you, who is the true fiscal conservative in this race?

I will not vote to increase your taxes or your utility rates if elected to City Council District 3.

Jim Bensberg

Colorado Springs

Medicaid isn’t the full solution

The Colorado Academy of Family Physicians thanks Gov. John Hickenlooper for his efforts to expand eligibility while strengthening our state’s Medicaid program. Coupled with the insurance exchange program where affordable private insurance will be available, nearly all our state’s citizens will have access to primary health care. This will truly be an impressive achievement with wide-ranging social, health and economic benefits for our state.

But simply insuring more people does not automatically grant access to quality health care. As your family physicians, it is our responsibility to assure that every patient gets the best possible care. All patients deserve high quality, cost effective, comprehensive primary care, oriented to their individual needs.

Physician-led Patient Centered Medical Homes bring together a team of health professionals providing each patient with the right care, by the right professional, at the right time. Properly run PCMHs are proven to significantly reduce costs while improving quality and the patient experience. As the largest medical organization representing primary care physicians, CAFP is a leader in promoting these medical homes as essential components in Colorado’s health care system.

Robert Brockmann, MD

President, Colorado

Academy of Family Physicians Englewood