Time for Reflection and Action
Every businessperson knows that there isn’t enough time to think through decisions, that time for reflection isn’t usually scheduled during a hectic week.
The Jewish High Holidays are just that kind of time, asking us to stop and reflect, in a span of ten days, on what happened last year and what we hope to accomplish in the next year.
The yellowing aspen leaves remind us of this time of the year as well; time for change.
Young residents cynically say that we should keep Colorado Springs “lame,” that in fact nothing has or will change in this sleepy village just south of the vibrant Denver metropolis. Should we?
As a challenge, I suggest four ways in which we can overcome our lameness and think of ourselves as potentially good enough, if not great. Yes, it’s about conceptualizing first and then doing, the way we offer a business plan to be executes later.
First, we should acknowledge past grievances in order to overcome them. Enough with the political bickering between the Mayor and City Council. Unless they want to compete with the low approval rate of Congress, they should change.
The Mayor should meet with each councilmember alone (with a therapist in tow?) to air old concerns in order to build a civil environment if not outright trust. If the Truth and Reconciliation Commission worked in South Africa after apartheid, it can work among our leaders.
Second, whatever has gone on in the past with city utilities, it’s time to think ahead to the future of our young entrepreneurs, those who care about the air they breathe and want to ensure a bright and healthy future for their children.
Why is CSU the “other” rather than “our” very own utility? Our best interests should be on their minds rather than threats of rate increases; as stakeholders and outright legal owners, we should determine the future of CSU.
Looking around the country at what is happening in every utility enterprise, we can quickly conclude: coal is out, renewal energy is in; old plants are out, efficient new ones are in. It’s not complicate to figure out how to be stewards of our environment—just some common sense and goodwill.
Third, let the City of Champions come forth and bring some fresh air to our stale old city. Despite the bickering and power moves, despite the concerns about wasting money and raising taxes, what else can transform the old warehouse district into a viable center?
Look northward to Denver and see what it did, with city leadership and financial support, to renew various areas that were moribund, that could be crime scenes rather than party spots. Has anyone been recently up there? It’s alive!
The four parts of this grandiose plan, the Air Force Academy—a federal entity that will take care of its allotted share, UCCS—a state entity that can be counted to take care of its future leaves the other two. Rumor has it that Dick Celeste said that he’ll lead the effort on behalf of the Olympic Museum; so what’s left? One fourth of the total, and we can’t find out how to handle it?
Fourth, I have proposed for years (to two different heads of the Convention and Visitors Bureau) to copy Colorado’s mountain towns. They somehow managed over the past decade to transform their heavy reliance on the ski season into a year-round programming that brings visitors every weekend for different festivals.
Breckenridge, with about 5,000 residents, hosts over 1.5 million guests annually. Can Colorado Springs, with 500,000, at least match that? I proposed to have something called “100 days of summer” (to Ms. Palus—Director of Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services—with no response). Here’s the plan.
Starting sometime in May or June, going all the way to late August or September, we should have an event every day in Acacia Park downtown: from farmers’ market to a local band, poetry reading and silent movie projection with a live piano player, all the way to street chalk paintings, mimes, and puppeteers. You name it, we can do it.
Who’ll fund this? I suggest we ask local individuals and business to contribute $500 for each day, thus completely underwriting the 100 days; some things will require less, some more, but $500 daily average should cover the costs. I volunteer to fund 2 days. Is anyone listening? Does anyone care?
These are just four ideas that I’m sure others can improve on. These are just some reflections that deserve to be heard and debated, just as I’m sure others, younger and smarter than I can offer theirs. What forum can they use? CSBJ? Social Media?
Raphael Sassower is professor of philosophy at UCCS. He can be reached at email@example.com See previous articles at sassower.blogspot.com