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LETTERS: Hancock Commons development; that awful global warming – Colorado Springs Gazette

Hancock Commons development

Recent Gazette articles about the proposed Hancock Commons project raise some questions about city and county leadership commitments to affordable housing. According to the reports, the City Council has designated the site an urban renewal area, and, as a result, the developer will receive tax benefits over the next 25 years. City staff and elected officials point out benefits to the city in future tax revenue and improved infrastructure as a result of the proposed build out.

Furthermore, city and county elected officials seem somewhat at odds over which political entity benefits the most from the development. Nobody expresses much awareness of the concerns that nearby residents might have.

What is worrisome from a human dignity and values perspective, is the absence of reference to affordable housing in the discussion of 150-180 apartments and 72-87 townhomes to be built and subsequently rented at “market rate.” This goes against stated Urban Renewal Authority requirements that at least 10% of the units within an urban renewal zone be affordable to households at 80% or below of area median income ($73,700, for a family of 4, according to the 2022 HUD AMI Table). The 80% AMI would accommodate the popularly designated “missing middle” housing gap, but would do little for those searching for affordable housing who earn in the 30%-50% ($27,750-$46,050) range.

To be clear, Urban Renewal Authority requirements on “affordable housing” might be “negotiated (by the developer) with the URA,” a convenient escape clause that grants too much power to a single person or agency, and denies voice and agency to the people most impacted by such a decision.

The absence of a minimum 10% affordable housing set-aside in Hancock Commons, let alone any reference to affordable housing at the 30%-50% AMI rate, ignores our neighbors, co-workers, and friends, all of whom deserve a safe, clean and affordable home.

Elizabeth Lindquist, Ph.D.

Colorado Springs

That awful global warming

I just finished reading the Gazette news article about the coming cold front when the wind chill factor will be -20 to -30 degrees. It must be more of that awful global warming. And then I read about how Gov. Jared Polis and the Democrat Legislature are planning on regulating natural gas out of existence in Colorado. I wonder how many windmills and solar panels are going to freeze up with this cold spell, and natural gas will have to come to the rescue.

And then I read a letter to the editor from a person talking about the “devastation” of climate change and how those toxic chemicals CO2 and methane are causing it. That is the “big lie” about climate change. CO2 and methane are not toxic chemicals and are minor greenhouse gases (CO2 — .03%, Methane — .00018%). CO2 is an essential element for the existence of plant life on Earth, and the more of it, the greener the earth will be. Water vapor is by far the major greenhouse gas and without it containing the warmth from the sun, the Earth would be a cold dead planet.

The push to eliminate coal and gas energy is an act of national suicide. The Chinese, Russians and other enemies are laughing at our ignorance and preparing for the demise of the U.S.

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Jim Anderson

Colorado Springs

The focus needs to change

As a Republican activist in this county from 1971 through 2018, I wish to comment on the recent column by my friend and former colleague, Paul Prentice, regarding the local GOP. Paul is correct in stating that internal division did not help us in the recent election. But he omits a critical factor: the major voting bloc in Colorado is socially libertarian to liberal and does not like the GOP’s stance on social issues.

Social issues can be, and are, as important to voters as economic issues. The Denver metro area is pro-abortion and pro-LGBT rights. Those facts have made Colorado a Democrat state. The pro-life people got what they wanted in the Supreme Court’s Dodds decision of last summer — but that is all the pro-life people in Colorado got. Nothing stirs up the Democrat base in this state like a threat to abortion — and that is what happened in the November elections. In fact, the right to an abortion is now part of our state statutes, and it is unlikely that the right to an abortion will be removed from our statutes for the foreseeable future.

The traditional Republican suburbs such as Littleton, Englewood, and Lakewood, et al., are voting Democrat because of changed demographics. Add Fort Collins to the new Democrat voting base and that’s where we are today. In the last election, when the Democrats aired a commercial showing Heidi Ganahl promising to rip up any law legalizing abortion, the governor’s race was over.

Social conservatives should no longer look to Colorado’s laws or political system for succor.

In an August 2020 article in the Wall Street Journal, conservative author Rod Dreher was quoted as saying, “We on the religious right have wrongly prioritized law and politics as what are important to us. What is important to us is the culture.” That’s what social conservatives need to do— focus on the culture and not look for a “silver bullet” approach to ending abortion.

What the GOP locally and statewide needs to do is to focus what is important to everyone — roads & bridges, crime control, sentencing reform, education, and the growth of government, wildfire mitigation and other issues.

True, fighting over who is a better Trump- or Reagan-Republican will not help. But the focus needs to change from social issues to the nuts and bolts issues that affect people.

Robert Shoop

Colorado Springs

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