Sunday, April 15, 2012

We All Know It, Someone's Gotta Say It.

There has been a deliberate, concentrated effort to turn Manitou Springs, Colorado into Vail Junior, Colorado.

There have been actions, both legislative and economic, to push the current population out of town and replace us with rich, jet-set outsiders.  I wish I could believe that the improvements to the sidewalks and such were done for us, but it is apparent from my recent dealings with the Soda Springs Park Safety Task Force that this is not the case.  These improvements are being done for the people who are slated to replace us.

It's not just lower class people that I'm talking about.  This is going to effect everyone.  If these people have their way, after about the next 18 months, we will be past the point of no return from the yuppietization of Manitou Springs.  This place is set up to be a place where people's "other houses" are.

Let me start somewhere concrete, literally concrete, and try not to wander too far from there.  Did you move to Manitou Springs for this:

Posh curio shops and Custard?

Or did you move to Manitou Springs for this:

Sweeping views?

Historic charm?
The fact is, we knew what this town was when we fell in love with it.  Most of the population of Manitou Springs moved here because they love Manitou, not because they have some dream of bulldozing everything and replacing it with condos.

Unfortunately, because we love this place how it is, a lot of us have trusted our government enough to not even register to vote.

Our trust has been abused.  The current City Council in Manitou Springs has completely collapsed under pressure from developers, and they are now trying to "clean up" the town for their target clientele.

Problems with traffic?

Run out all the poor people!  When I say poor people, I'm including doctors and lawyers.  Make it prohibitively expensive for our current locals and tourists!  Screw these Subarus, we could have Benzes instead!  Just think:  If the "standard" residents are wealthy enough, they will be too busy on vacation to Fiji to clog up our streets.  Not only that, but the square footage that currently houses thousands of people could eventually house a few hundred.

Never mind all of the businesses who have been here for decades!  We can replace them with couture clothing outfits and cigar bars!  Sales tax revenues will probably take a major hit, as the "locals" will prefer to do their shopping worldwide.  Don't worry, though, there will be so much more collected in property tax!

Problems with panhandlers?

Don't worry!  We'll make it illegal to be dirty!  We'll make it illegal to wear tie-dye!  We'll outlaw smoking, and we'll prosecute marijuana like it's crack!  We'll make it illegal to sit on the stage!  That'll keep those "undesirable" people down enough to get them out of sight!  We'll make it illegal to exhibit any signs of counterculture or poverty!  All actions taken to alleviate this problem will criminalize large amounts of both citizens and tourists.

What a great place to live.

With the rezoning of that lot on the 1300 block of Manitou Avenue to commercial, the dominoes are lined up to fall.  That end of the Ave is almost entirely made up of affordable housing.  There may be as much as 5% of the population of Manitou Springs within 5 blocks of that lot.  It should be noted that the zip line that this rezoning was done for will cost $85.00 per ride, or $60.00 for locals.  That is prohibitively expensive for everyone in the neighborhood.

Our current City Council will rubber stamp zoning and building permits for that area, so the commercial speculators will  be here in no time after the zip line opens.  Property values will skyrocket with the speculation, and many of the property owners in the area are already under pressure to "clean it up."

If we don't do something, we can expect the end of Manitou Avenue to go from affordable housing to cookie cutter yuppieland shops.  There are no plans for any affordable housing to replace what is on the chopping block.  Sure, we may see more loft-type development where limited, expensive housing is available above the shops, but current residents of the west end of Manitou Avenue are set to be displaced by commercial development.

A couple of years of this sort of pressure, and we can expect a major demographic shift in the population of Manitou Springs.  The vibrant atmosphere that is created by such a crossroads of cultures will be replaced with the homogeneous, sycophantic plastic world of Everywhere, USA.  The people who live here are not considered because there is already an underclass in Colorado Springs to feed off of, so it is not necessary for there to be working class accommodations in Manitou Springs.

There is a systemic push to bully lower income people into silence.  Many people have directly felt the burn from this, both in sessions of City Council and in its committees and other subsidiary bodies.  Undue pressure is put on the police to harass people who are deemed undesirable, and ordinances are currently in the works to criminalize normal behavior.

If we, the people of Manitou Springs, do not get registered to vote and raise some candidates, we can kiss this place goodbye.


  1. Heh. In the early seventies, your little town had a reputation for heavy-handed law enforcement disproportionately aimed at the longhaired, pot-smoking segment of the population, which in those days included the likes of me. Today, they'd have to run in (or run out) most of the town, and their kids.

    History biting its own tail, or local government biting the hands that feed it? Discuss.

  2. Such a beautiful place, and of course the wealthy have noticed that, too. Many years ago they noticed Vail, and Boulder, and a few other places in the area that are now uninhabitable in any ordinary sense.

    The ray of hope, if there is one, may indeed lie within that distasteful political realm, because when you think about the people whose kids thrive in Manitou's enviable public-school system, you're thinking about a substantial segment of the local population.

  3. I totally agree with what you are saying and where you are attempting to go with your arguement however if you ever want it to go anywhere other than on your blog I'd start getting your ideas and arguements alot more solid and to the point. Please don't misunderstand I truly am trying to help not hinder here but it isn't just Manitou you refering too with this topic on your blog and if you have convinced yourself it is you have disillusioned yourself for far too long... The entire scenario you laid out above is the current state of our country not just manitou springs... That being said look at not just your own situation but the situation of all of us across the country it starts with no smoking inside, then after thats goes okay then it is no smoking outside it's all leading up too a totally centralized Nazi camp of sorts. We live in a modern day situaTION that is the exact thing our founding fathers started this country to get away from an iron thumb saying you cant be free and cant live openly and be who you want to be if you want to start in on someone we need to turn our attention away from City Council and start focusing on WHO AND WHAT GOT US THERE OURSELVES sad but very very true!
    I do love your passion for the situation as well as your dedication to doing something about it and it saddens me to say it but we are headed to an eventual unavoidable revolution again just like our founding fathers unless something is done like yesterday!!!
    But thats just my two cents on everything good luck in your fight to keep manitou the Lovely and mystical place it has always been know to be best regards!


    1. I fully agree with you, man. One problem is that the higher levels of government and economy are somewhat unapproachable to average people, and waiting for a change of conscience from people who have the influence is about all we can do in those spheres.

      Here in Manitou Springs, it is possible to achieve great things through democratic means. As we go through these articles, we're more trying to start a conversation than we are to issue a platform or mandate. We'd like to invite as many writers from as many perspectives as possible, and then try to form consensus and direction from what ensues.

      My own perspectives are tabled in favor of the general impressions of public opinion I get from talking to people on the street.

  4. How to make Manitou Springs Street News legit, rather than just a blogspot for non-residents with attitudes? Simple! Fire the bloggers--all of them--and replace them with those who are posting the replies.

    Except for me, of course--I'm too busy: this is my week to clip my nails.

    As a longtime resident of Manitou Springs (I've been a registered voter here since 1993), I'm happy with our current electorate. Anyone who wants to register to vote has my blessing, of course! But those who have to be nagged into registering to vote, while they add to the quantity of the voters, I have my doubts that they add to the quality of the electorate. Genuine Citizens do not have to be nagged into doing their civic duty.

    1. One thing to consider: less than 20% of the population of Manitou Springs is registered to vote, and less than 10% actually participated in the last election.

      By that math, less than 10% of the population are genuine citizens.

      We would love to get more of your voice on here. It sounds like you must have some well-founded opinions about things, and this would be a great platform for you to share with us. If you're interested, we can set you up, and you or one of your friends can write here, too.

      People are dying to know what you think. Want to share?