What do Colorado Springs and Trenton, N.J., have in common? More than you might think.
They’re both medium-sized American cities struggling to fund vital public services during a prolonged recession. One is in catastrophic decline, while the other remains reasonably prosperous. One is largely black, poor, dangerous and governed by Democrats, while the other largely white, middle class and reasonably safe.
From the viewpoint of Geneva-based Swiss Public Television, the cities offer a great case study.
A four-person crew from Geneva has been in Colorado Springs for more than week, interviewing community leaders, newsmakers and ordinary residents. The crew is working on a story about how American cities are struggling to cope with declining tax revenue.
Colorado Springs made national headlines late in 2010 when it announced plans to turn off street lights and stop watering parks because of budgetary constraints.
“We’ve talked to Mayor Bach, Chuck Fowler and Jan Martin, and many others,” said Francoise Weilhammer, a journalist with SPTV. “It’s been very interesting.”
Before coming here, the crew spent two weeks in Trenton, where police budgets have been cut.
The one-hour special is slated to air in Switzerland on October 11.