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Friday, February 26, 2010

Jesus Doesn't Save the Polis: Colorado Springs Falling Apart

Colorado Springs shows what you get if buy theocracy and anti-government conservatism: collapse of basic public services. Blessings to Pandagon for discussing this Denver Post article on the capital of Western piety:

This tax-averse city is about to learn what it looks and feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric.

More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled.

The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter.

Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that.

Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; the flower and fertilizer budget is zero [Michael Booth, "Colorado Springs Cuts into Services Considered Basic by Many," Denver Post, 2010.02.01].

Think government is expensive? Try anarchy.

CNN updates with a Feb. 26 story. Note local businessman Chuck Fowler's article of faith that governments just don't work. So do you get rid of it, or do you fix it?


  1. Not every mayor or governor is a good businessperson, Cory. The problems in Colorado Springs have nothing to do with your headline or your thoughts. That's probably the strongest, wildest twist I've ever read in your blog and far below your abilities.

    The article in the Denver Post says, "Community business leaders have jumped into the budget debate, some questioning city spending on what they see as "Ferrari"-level benefits for employees and high salaries in middle management. Steve Bartolin wrote an open letter asking why the city spends $89,000 per employee, when his enterprise has a similar number of workers and spends only $24,000 on each."

    There's your problem! The City of Colorado Springs spends an average of $89,000 per employee versus $24,000 in private enterprise. Do you think they might be unionized, loaded with the same Cadillac benefit plans our Congress wants to tax?

    Poor fiscal management and an inability to plan for downturns is what hurt Colorado Springs. City government, just like State government, needs to be run like a business.

  2. No, Rod, not a stretch. Colorado Springs is loaded with Focus on the Family fundagelicals who think Jesus will save and that government is the devil. Their Grover-Norquist politics translate into crumbling public services.

    Mr. Bartolin epitomizes the hypocrisy of Colorado Springs piety. He rails against city employees receiving decent pay for important work while he makes huge profits by paying low wages that leave a family in poverty and make sure his workers can't afford to live in the same nice neighborhood as he does. Poverty wages show his focus is on anything but the family.

    Government is not a business. Citizens are not consumers. We are all neighbors working together to maintain a civil society with vital public services.

  3. Cory:

    Anarchy will usher in the End Days; the point driven home here: http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/news/article_70ba0b8e-242c-11df-886b-001cc4c002e0.html

    The common theme relating all your threads is easy to see; depression and despair compels the right-wing to hide behind their circled wagons awaiting Judgment, the left-wing is adapting their wagons into starships.

    CAH, keep up the exuberance!

  4. ...circling the wagons in their gated communities that their employees can't afford to live in...

  5. I've been to Colorado Springs and know that their decency standards run from one extreme to the other.

    Both Government and Private Enterprise have to be run as a business. The example in Colorado Springs shows exactly why deficit spending, the likes of which we've never seen before under our new President, Congress and Senate, will criple communities and states, large and small.

    Spending yourself popular doesn't work because the bill must eventually be paid, and that will be very painful as Colorado Springs is finding out, and the entire US will figure out quickly. History does repeat itself.

    We don't know that critic, Mr. Bartolin, is making huge profits in his business, but I will agree that $24,000 per employee if that includes wages and benefits, is critically low. On the other hand, $89,000 average salary for a city employee in Colorado Springs will do exactly what has happened...break the bank.

  6. Bartolin's 5-star Broadmoor has the money to fight raising the minimum wage for its employees. suppose a good Christian view says a man's labor isn't worth more than $5.15 an hour.


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