Homeless stalkers in white motorcades

COLORADO SPRINGS- Cleanup operations continued this morning under the Highway 24 interstate overpass. The “Green Team” crews are distinguished by their white pickups and vans which transport Community Service parolees to bag homeless possessions under the supervision of the CSPD H.O.T. officers in unmarked white cruisers.

Not to begrudge the poor their fancy motorcade, but you might think a cash-strapped city needn’t expend so much automotive bling in its poverty flushing efforts. Colorado Springs takes great pride obviously in its street cleaning.

The procession of pickups and vans are marked by magnetic signs denoting them as the Colorado Springs “Green Team.” What are we to make of the police cars being unmarked? They are not undercover vehicles, merely police cruisers without the decals, standing out like detectives in trenchcoats, as I imagine the intimidating police apparatus of authoritarian states. These officers are projecting all the authority without the flashing lights, projecting unfortunately all the menace which law enforcement inherently presents to the poor, without the trappings of official function of “to protect and serve.”

As friendly as their campside manner might be, these officers are enforcing regulations which have criminalized joblessness and dispossession into defacto “vagrancy.” What are the poor to do, invent jobs? Conjure houses and property? Move along folks, we don’t want to see your personal problems in public places. Nothing personal.

Private interests overlap with public

US SENIOR OPEN advertised on Colorado State Highway signTraveling down Highway 24 today I see parking directions for the US Senior Open which begins today at the Broadmoor. Look at this, a private event advertised with state highway equipment, in the public interest, of course, The U.S. SENIOR OPEN! I’m most interested in the private versus public distinction because DNC authorities are trying to emphasize the Pepsi Center being private property and thus in a position to say what speech should be free. I heard this argument in the Federal Courthouse yesterday. It’s the same rhetoric the Colorado Springs prosecutor has been asserting in the State Convention trespassing charges against our May 17 [attempted] demonstration there.

Both the state and national Democratic convention events are held on private property. But aren’t they somewhat public events? The political parties, the politics, the election, are all of vital public interest. In this free land of ours, it’s difficult to argue that the public doesn’t have an open invitation to participate in the election of its leaders, certainly to demonstrate its concerns. What’s decided at the convention certainly has public consequence.

I’m happy to say the judge yesterday was not yielding this issue to the lawyers for the Secret Service and the City of Denver. She reiterated that the DNC is a historic event of public interest. I’m hoping the Colorado Springs courthouse will see the state convention likewise. The grounds belonged to the World Arena, were leased that day by the Colorado Democratic Party to conduct business which would impact the Colorado public. We turned up with banners and are now facing trespassing charges because they we were standing in the wrong part of the area taped off for the public. We had only the CSPD officers’ word that the part we were standing on was for “boosters only,” and the further away part was for “protest.” Thus it was also only the officers’ subjective opinion to decide into what category our message fit. As it happens our banner that day was supporting of the Dems, but it didn’t feel like “free speech” anywhere outside the World Arena that day.

But to try to hide behind PRIVATE OWNERSHIP is highly unpatriotic. It invites scrutiny into all the private facilities receiving public funds to subsidize, wouldn’t you think? Park your Goddamn facility in your own authoritarian kingdom if you want to shred the Bill of Rights over it. This is America you Fascist warmongering war-profiteering facilitator enabler assholes!

I’m troubled by the greater privatization of public concerns. It’s been the trend to shift public works and private monies into private hands to glean the profits. Republicans are still after the public funds sitting in Social Security. Imagine if we’d let them invest that in private hands, in light of the housing/lending debacle/ripoff!

In some cases the incentive is also to restrict oversight. Private security firms are examples of moving authority-keeping tasks into the autonomous hands of corporate cronies. Private armies, private utilities, private water supplies, take control from the people, or the representatives of the people, and put it squarely into tools for aspiring totalitarians preoccupied only with taking it to the bank.

A sign for the golf tournament is no big deal. Certainly the City of Colorado Springs has a need to direct spectator traffic to the appropriate parking. But the example serves to show that private and public interests overlap when private wants.

Waldo Canyon, Colorado

Sometimes the only thing standing between me and complete despondency is the mountain.
My fellow bloggers have endless energy to tackle important issues — homelessness, hunger, war, politics, environment, media, government, healthcare, torture, death. The list is depressing and endless. I admire them, but I am not made of steel like they are. I am more a fragile flower and, when buried under humanity’s toxic waste and cut off from nature’s largesse, I wither very quickly.

For me, the correlation between physical and mental energy is 1:1. So, rather than blog or read the Sunday paper today, I hiked Waldo Canyon!

A bit about the hike:
Heading west on Highway 24, you’ll find the trailhead on the right side just past the Manitou Springs exit. The Waldo Canyon loop is seven miles of easy trekking and amazing views. The scenery, especially the view of Pikes Peak, is the best reason to do this hike. In my opinion, seven miles of easy hiking is about four miles too many. I like to earn my relaxation with a couple miles of sheer hellish exertion.

I suppose if I were a runner — and there were quite a few of them beginning to train for the Pikes Peak Ascent — I might feel differently. Nonetheless, the cool weather, beautiful vistas, and proximity to the serious runner crowd made for an excellent Sunday morning!

Please don’t tell me what world news I’ve missed. Let me just enjoy my tired muscles and slightly sunburned shoulders until I’ve finished sorting my photos. The horrid world can wait for me today.

Money for COS buses is going to HWY 24

COLORADO SPRINGS- Instead of spending a quarter Billion (minimum bid) to widen two miles of HWY 24, they should/could but probably ain’t would spend half that and double the number of bus routes.

Y’all do realize that the widening of the road is for the people who are building their multi-million dollar houses on the side of the mountain, (the ones that are going to slide into Bear Creek, mountain ground isn’t all that stable, especially when you modify it) and for the dumbasses who are going to get sucked in to Our Very Own Local Love Canal aka the “luxury apartments” they’re fixing to install on top of that toxic waste dum(b)p… no question mark because it isn’t a question.

Folks in Teller and Park counties (the loudmouths who think they run the counties) are yelling that opposition to the widening the road is hurting them… or at least, the developers.

They don’t have enough water in those counties to support the current populations.

But like the song sayeth,

“why they tried to tear the mountain down, to bring in a couple more..
More people, more scars upon the land”

Oh, and lest some of the people who haven’t read what all else was written about that particularly huge monstrous sore spot are browsing, that “road improvement” won’t actually benefit the Teller and Park county folks, it ends up at the corner of HWY 24 and 24W-Business… where the Sinclair station is… right by the big plastic dinosaur… which in turn is right behind the BUS stop.

Privatizing the loo

John out-house rip offPrivatization is nothing but a scam to lower wages and pocket the difference.
A few years ago our city Republicans decided to pull a porta-potty switcheroo. First they convinced the citizens it was too expensive to maintain public facilities in the city parks. To save money they leased portable outhouses from Republican businessmen. Thus the city workers who normally cleaned the bathrooms lost those jobs, union jobs of course. The contractors who supply the Port-a-lets hire day laborers to hose the plastic units down, making for a tremendous savings in labor cost. Every dollar that would have gone for a living wage, benefits, retirement, etc, goes right into stinky Mr. Port-a-let’s pocket.

Might I add there’s a stretch of Highway 24 on the west side of Colorado Springs where, if you have your window rolled down, you can smell a back yard where they service Port-a-lets.

Meanwhile city park patrons are left with the plastic Port-a-let experience, instead of the brick facilities they once paid for thirty or so years ago, unveiled at a ribbon cutting ceremony, when local politicians were not so visionary with their greed.