EDITORíS DESK: Not talking about THAT this time... uh
All right, so our last two print issues, I devoted this column space to solving (at least in my mind) the bum problem. Not that I want to go back to that - there's a lot of positive news, as we look ahead in 2018.
But at the same time, I'd feel remiss if I ignored a major city government enforcement change, announced in December. If you've wondered why the Colorado Springs Fire Department isn't dousing all the fires being set by people camping randomly along our public creeks and trails, that's what I'm talking about. Using a loophole in the International Fire Code, city legal staff is spinning them as "warming fires" - so of course anyone opposing them wants homeless people to freeze to death.
Another way of looking at this (and then I'll move on) is that our city leaders are not only willing to risk another Waldo Canyon Fire, but are floundering on the subject in general. Evidently fearful of political backlash, they don't even try to weed out the vagrants, mental cases and addicts from the genuinely homeless. They simply lump them all into a new "victim class" and keep ratcheting up the goodies - as if that's worked before.
And let's not overlook the long-term implications of a law enforcement double standard. Doubt that's the case? Here are a few headings you could look up in the City Codebook: 2.5.704 (no drinking in public), 4.2.102 (park curfew), 9.6.202 (no littering), 9.6.110 (no camping on public property), 9.7.207 (no pot- smoking in public), 9.9.202 (no dumping trash in city parks) and 9.9.403 (stipulating where fires are allowed in parks)...
OK, let's do a 180. Here are some positives: Gold Hill Mesa and Uintah Bluffs both having responsible developers on very difficult properties; the creative job by Kraemer North America as contractor for the now-completed Cimarron/I-25 interchange project; the ongoing beautification of Old Colorado City (from summer flowers to Christmas lights - and yes, they're looking for money to fix those bumpy sidewalks); School District 11 using sincerity and solid facts to sell its mill-levy override to voters; our OCC revitalization hero Dave Hughes turning 90 in May; and the pedestrian plaza being built at Ridge and Colorado - planners will take steps to discourage it becoming a bum hangout... won't they?