Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Of mountains and molehills

You knew this would happen. In a Gazette story Dec. 3 that discussed why views are important to area residents and businesses, Mike Kazmierski, the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. president, was asked if mountains and views matter to prospective employers when they're considering the Springs as a place to do business. Nope, Kazmierski, replied; a quality work force is most important. Views, he said, are "a single component in a very complex mix of different elements in the community. What we educate a prospect on is the quality of our work force. If we don't get past that hurdle, they don't care about anything else." Then, Kazmierski added that not every area with great mountains is a hotbed for business expansion. "There are mountains in Alaska," he said, "and nobody really cares about them." His comment didn't set well with one e-mailer to The Gazette. "He really stuck his foot in his mouth," the e-mailer said. "Has he ever been to Alaska? There are plenty of people who care about them, to include myself. One could make the same statement about the hill called 'Pikes Peak.' It's not just the mountains in Alaska that draw people there. It's the majestic beauty of the entire state; the friendly people, the free spirit and the simple lifestyle. Alaska is a far better place to raise kids than in Colorado. It's Mr. Kazmierski's thinking along with many other things about Colorado that solidify it was a mistake moving here." Kazmierski said he wasn't ripping Alaska, just using it as an example to explain that businesses care more about quality workers than quality views.

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