v0.2 I No.47 I COPYRIGHT 2009
THURSDAY, APRIL 16, 2009
WRITER'S UNHAPPY POST-ELECTION
City is in dire need of young blood and fresh ideas
BY DAVE HUGHES
YOUR HUB CONTRIBUTOR
This “citizen journalism" article is more a Hub opinion piece than a warm and fuzzy Old Colorado City story. My unhappy opinion was underscored by the city election results of last Tuesday. I am going to make everybody in town mad by my opinions, because in my opinion, everyone in town shares the blame for this city becoming, and remaining by choice Mediocre Town, USA. So my ﬁrst complaint is against the Colorado Springs voters. The 65% who did NOT vote, just don’t give a damn. Let somebody else solve the difﬁcult community problems — not them. The business-paid lobbying efforts for issue 1A (extending a tax for 15 years to put the money into “economic development," i.e. try to attract companies with cash incentives to relocate here) failed by a 2 to 1 margin. Ok, residents don’t like taxes, even more so in this recession, I am not really surprised. Even if its rationale was, and always has been for new “jobs.” A minority vote against needed new jobs, even traditional ones.
The morning after the election, the Editorial Page main editor of The Gazette took an entire column mildly applauding the defeat of 1A. But also writing the same old tiresome mantra The Gazette has chanted since it was ﬁrst published in 1872: Taxes are always bad, government is almost always the problem, and the private sector is always the solution to all problems. Then that editor weakly and totally unconvincingly, gave his unhappy solution for creating jobs in Colorado Springs. He says that we should eliminate the city and state business property tax. He suggests more of the same, tax cuts, will magically “create” new jobs. In a city that already has some of the lowest taxes in the country and the Tabor tax limitation, how will it pay its bills to support physical growth? He ends with “With the defeat of 1A, we should become the national model of a community that knows how to entice economic development without crude and unfair incentives.” But in ALL that full page of Gazette ranting there was not ONE fresh idea about what new kind of “economic development” we should and can “entice.” It’s all vague political, not even economic, platitudes. Well, I proposed one speciﬁc economic strategy on the Hub many months ago — September 6, 2008 to be exact. It is the economic nurturing of an “Intelligent City" by capitalizing on several measurable local factors. First is the reality that every household in Colorado Springs is, or can be, connected to the Internet and thus to the world wide web — even more cheaply per month than they can drive to and from large employer “work " across town. Jamming the roads, driving up “infrastructure” costs and wasting driving time. Secondly, that with the general educational level existing in Colorado Springs, there is a huge reservoir of potential “knowledge workers,” all of whom could not only work individually from home or from close by technologically advanced and connected neighborhood “work centers” built by business, non profit organizations, or local governments themselves. Write about the the people. events and issues important to you. Start a bloq or post photos. Your stories, your words, your opinions are important to us and other readers. I Dave Hughes am a West Point graduate, west-side resident and an Internet pioneer. private, nonproﬁt, or government employers. Some could work for remote others far from the city as programers, graphic designers, educators, data entry specialists, medical transcribers, clerks. Others could practice their profession: legal, health services, or higher or education remotely. Yet others could entrepreneurially create, market, and deliver (as individuals or in small entrepreneurial groups) creative products: art, design, music, dra ma, computer code, writings from creative to original studies. Or create services like many of those which only came into existence be- cause of the net (i.e. Google, eBay). Don't believe me? Just jump into this week’s Time Magazine online, search for “Get Rich Slow" and see what I have predicted coming true for many. All communicating work in return for pay via the Internet, and seldom by physical means of communications: car, truck, plane, paper mail or shoe leatheren. Everything in this election was either traditional physical growth versus no growth (Dave Gardner versus Jerry Heimlicher) or out- side company-incentive-tax money versus no-more-taxes or corporate welfare. ’tweedle-Dum, 'tweedle-Dee. At the very time this political campaign was being waged, more than one “study” declared Colorado Springs was stuck in the mud economically. One ﬁnding by Angelou Economics: While the aging of the regional population mirrors national trends, the Colorado Springs MSA has experienced an exceptional percentage decline in young professionals when compared to peer cities. During 2000, the Springs had the second highest percentage of young professionals among seven selected MSAs at 32.4 percent, trailing only Austin’s 35.19 percent. Seven years later, having dropped more than 15 percent, the Springs had the second lowest percentage, 27.7. This is aging dullsville, USA. Yet it is precisely the younger segment of the population which are the prime users, innovators, and visionaries of computers and the Internet. And two of its prime recommendations were being ignored by every spokesperson during the political campaign. “Give attention and money to innovative economic opportunities “beyond the scope of the traditional economy.” “Focus on recruiting and training a young, talented work force." But where, I ask you, has any civic leader or candidate stepped forth to champion ANY real “innovative economic opportunities." Bah, Humbug. Neither local government ofﬁcials, elected or appointed, nor Economic Development business types or so»called academic local experts like oft- quoted UCCS Associate Professor Fred Crowley get it. While right under his nose at his same UCCS is one of the few organizations that do get it: the UCCS Small Business and Technology Incubator. I have picked the brains of a Veterinarian who is creating a vet-service business based on the Internet. He credits the incubator for much help. But who has ever heard of it? ‘ That, with a new Information Age vision and just a little bit of leadership, local economic growth can happen without corresponding and ever more costly physical growth. But at 81 years old, having practiced what I preached for Years and in one recent stretch brought $2 million into Colorado Springs, I am not prepared to go downtown any more and tilt at the city wind- mills. : Instead, after having dropped $30,000 of my own money — earned from my online endeavors — I am into developing the advanced and innovative new Web site for the small (less than 300 members and no paid staff) non- proﬁt Old Colorado City Historical Society in order not just to permit it to do a better job than “traditional” museums distributing and teaching the unique local history of the original Colorado City around the world, but to ensure the Society remains ﬁnancially solvent, even grow, economically. All because I am practicing what I preach — use the Internet, World Wide Web, personal computers, wireless networks — to develop our ability to export history and our know-how, while bringing in dollars from those grateful for the books and digital products we sell and ship (online) the stories, the voices, the video images, and the genealogical research we can do for distant people. Many of them who only knew we existed because we were online have come to see us from afar, spending money, as Well as joining us as virtual members!