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Government agencies must learn to cooperate

Letter from Charlie Spieman

Local Government – March 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Government agencies must learn to cooperate

To the Editors:

Your editorial and articles in the February 1997 issue provide eloquent analyses of Central Colorado’s problems with uncontrolled growth — a theme presented so frequently in the pages of Colorado Central Magazine that some have begun referring to it as The Whiners’ Gazette. But as a native and current resident of Colorado’s small-town interior, I agree with much of the pointing with pride and viewing with alarm that goes on in the pages of your publication. I also believe wholeheartedly that attention must be given to alarm bells that you and others sound.

At the same time, as an ex-miner I cannot help noting the painful irony of it all: We have traded one set of environmental impacts for another, one that will cause far more extensive, long-lasting, and serious effects than mining ever did. And, just as in the case of mining, these impacts are often caused by out-of-state conglomerates which frequently steamroll over the desires and best interests of local citizens and local governments.

While our state and local governments decry the environmental impacts and boom-or-bust economy that mining caused, they heavily promote recreation and tourism — “clean money-producers that will never cause us any problems,” they say. Somehow they fail to understand that a very large number of the people crowding us in Colorado’s mountain center would never be living here if they hadn’t first come here on vacation.

The solution to current crises generated by the growth of tourism is remarkably simple: Government agencies at all levels have got to coƶperate with each other when problems cross political boundaries. They’ve got to look beyond the lure of the fast buck, consider the longer term, and get tough in dealing with big out-of-state corporations. It’s time to stop studying and talking about the problems and do something about them. The sole objective must be action, not words.

If it sounds as if I’m belaboring the obvious, ask yourselves why there are so many groups, meetings, panel discussions, outreach programs, analyses, and general hand-wringings. And why so little is ever actually done to enact and implement long-term solutions to our people problems.

Charlie Spielman

Arrowhead, in Gunnison County