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The self-reliance of Colorado Springs

Critics have ridiculed Colorado Springs for a budget that has cut services, left city jobs unfilled, darkened some streetlights and called on citizens to provide upkeep of public parks.

"It's real simple, all you have to do is call the city Parks and Recreation Department, or go to the city website,, and they can connect you with Proud of our Parks. They've done a wonderful job of connecting neighborhood groups with the parks themselves and getting them adopted so they can be maintained," said Mayor Lionel Rivera in a recent video. "Our city's budget for Parks and Rec has dropped from $20 million to $3 million from 2008 until now. We know the economy's going to be turning around but in the short run, we need citizen activism."

Whether this call-to-action is a solution, or a stop-gap, remains to be seen. But there are at least two observations worth making.

One, the Springs city council this week declined to support the so-called Local Jobs for America Act, yet another taxpayer-funded federal boondoggle (with a $100 billion price tag) that could reportedly send $42.8 million to the Springs.

“Everybody thinks it’s somebody else’s money, and everybody else is feeding at the trough, so we should, too,” said Councilman Sean Paige, reported the Colorado Springs Gazette. “In small ways, we as a city need to start to say no.”

Two, when presidential candidate Barack Obama came to Colorado Springs in July 2008, he said that asking "for your service and your active citizenship" would be a "central cause of my presidency."

Colorado Springs has since made "active citizenship" a necessity.

Pres. Obama, with an emphasis on government-to-the-rescue, now oversees a federal debt that may soon equal the U.S. gross domestic product.

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