EDITORíS DESK: Parks: the regional alternative

       As the sad state of our local parks systems continues, it is easy (at least for me) to wax nostalgic. I can still remember those grand old days way back, oh, about three years ago, when grass was regularly watered, restrooms were always open, trash was regularly picked up, graffiti was painted over, routine maintenance wasn't delayed, paid staff weren't laid off and at least five seconds could go by without a new call for volunteers or to start another fundraising campaign.
       Thus it is intriguing to see the Trails and Open Space Coalition exploring the possibility of a regional parks system (see story on Page 11). No specific plan is expected for a while, but it is at least pleasant to think that somewhere out there could be an economical way to restore at least a portion of the former civic joys that rewarded residency in Colorado Springs. Of course, the word "economical" here is code for "new tax." And it was made abundantly clear in the last election that there are many, many people who not only don't like new taxes, they don't think a whole lot of the old ones either. What's really sad is how this whole premise has transmogrified into some kind of a political statement, with the anti-tax people proudly proclaiming that this should send a message to government everywhere and their opponents sniffing that they are making us look bad to out-of-towners. I don't hold with either side. I've just always felt that if I'm going to lighten my wallet for any government, I'd much rather it be to the town I live in, where it's easy to corral our elected leaders - for instance, the dunk tank for councilmembers Tom Gallagher and Sean Paige March 20 from noon to 3 at the Westside Community Center. Just try organizing something like that with a state lawmaker or U.S. senator.
       So no matter what your political view, why not at least look into what Coalition members are suggesting? Their survey is online, or you could call them up at 633- 6884. I like nice parks. Do you like nice parks? There, we all agree.

- K.J.