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"These days, you've gotta milk a dollar out of every dime." — Gayle Forman, novelist
Nobody in middle-class America pinches a penny harder than I do. Frugality is unquestionably a virtue, but an occasional meal in an exceptional restaurant can be a worthwhile indulgence.
When one chooses the luxury of savoring a dinner in a truly great high-end restaurant, it's just plain tacky to carp about price like Mr. Schniper did in last week's Independent ("Greetings from the top of the world," Appetite, April 17).
There are many, many mid-priced and even bargain restaurants in Colorado Springs where delicious meals are available. Most of us enjoy the bulk of our dining out in these good establishments. When concerns about breaking the bank might compromise your experience, stick with these eateries, and don't even venture into the expensive realm of fine dining.
Respecting one's budget is forever wise; however when you are able to splurge, you can't go wrong with Carlos' Bistro — a local small business where quality food is expertly and lovingly prepared and then served with style. For my money, it's the best meal in town.
— Jan Allbright
Green Mountain Falls
Follow the money
To Pam Zubeck: Thank you for the informative story on the financial effects of Mayor Steve Bach's mass firings ("Take the money and run," News, April 3). His actions have shown he actually has very little concern for the welfare of the city.
There is so much we could have done with that million dollars. Why was he so concerned last year about the million-dollar severance for Dr. McEvoy of Memorial Hospital when he pulled a similar stunt?
I hope the Independent continues to pursue release of the public records of the severance packages. Might be worth a court fight.
— Judith Lee
Where credit is overdue
As May 1, the date Colorado will recognize civil unions, draws close, we say "thank you" and "kudos" to Tim Gill.
My husband and I watched the biopic Milk this winter, and it feels like American culture is finally achieving the breakthrough San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk predicted: If gay men and women would say publicly, "I'm here and I'm queer," the stigma and discrimination would vanish.
Tim Gill, through his foundation, demonstrated with beautiful action this fact: Gay people have contributed greatly to humanity's development in all domains — art, science, religion and philanthropy — always have, and always will. In the past, we didn't acknowledge they were gay people's contributions, because gay people didn't acknowledge they were gay people's contributions. Now, they have: They're out, and they're claiming credit and authenticity, and the rest of us are quickly learning how fair and right that is.
— Di Graski
Congratulations Jill Coleman ("Firing back," Letters, April 17), and all you loyal NRA members, on your victory in defeating the Gun Violence Act in the Senate.
Now for a fact from the Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey: Gun homicides in 2010 can be broken down into 2.7 percent justifiable homicides and 97.3 percent criminal homicides.
As Mother Jones puts it: "The gun lobby claims that firearms are used for self-defense an estimated 2.5 million times a year. But according to the Department of Justice the actual number is just a fraction of that. ... Guns are used for self defense (both successfully and unsuccessfully) by less than 1 percent of all violent crime victims (tinyurl.com/MoJo-gun-stats)."
Also: "In another twist on the self-defense argument, the NRA likes to claim that women in particular need guns to guard against bullies and rapists. But crime statistics ... indicate that only about 10 percent of those who shoot people in self defense are women."
Don't let your love of guns, and the lies the NRA brainwashes you with, confuse you with actual facts. Go ahead and believe the NRA loves our kids and is not buying off politicians.
Let's all agree on one thing: We are not looking forward to the next gun massacre.
— Elaine Brush
Ignorance in power
At a lecture on Wednesday, April 17, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson said: "There's no crime in being ignorant. Problems arise when people who don't know they're ignorant rise to power." I think that this can be applied to the members of the United States Senate who voted against the expansion of background checks to purchase a gun.
Any polls that I have seen indicate that between 78 percent and 98 percent of the American people surveyed favored the expansion of background checks and that over 70 percent of members of the National Rifle Association are in favor of the expansion of background checks. Yet some members of the Senate and the leadership of the NRA either don't know this, which would have me believe that they are ignorant, or just don't care.
Some say this is due to the lobbying efforts of the NRA. If that is true, my question is: Why do we allow an organization with an estimated membership of approximately 4.5 million, which would be about 1.5 percent of the population, have so much influence on national policy, and law? Something is very wrong with this picture.
— Bob Sprenkle
I've been working for gun-violence prevention since President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, 50 years ago. We had a democracy then. A majority vote has been the only requirement to pass legislation in a democracy. Not so in an oligarchy, aristocracy and plutocracy — which the U.S. Senate has become.
Only in a democracy do senators vote the people's interest, not their own personal self-interest in getting re-elected. Ninety percent of Democrats voted for watered-down, compromised background-check legislation. Ninety percent of Republicans voted against it.
Shame on Senators Reid and McConnell for requiring 60 votes to pass legislation in the country's interest.
Shame on Democratic and Republican representatives for voting for their re-election first and against background checks, ammunition limits and a military assault weapons ban approved by a large majority of citizens.
Shame on us, the voters, for giving such dangerous power to such mediocre NRA cronies. In the face of the most recent targeted killings of defenseless human beings, these senators deserve to be impeached for approving a minority vote to take away our constitutional right to a vote democratically representative of the majority of the American people.
— Bill Durland
Dump the troll
I was a little surprised to see that Sam Taylor's letter was published ("A pro-Earth sickness?" April 17). Was it a slow week for letter writing? Sam wasn't contributing to the debate over climate change or environmental stewardship by calling people names. He was just being a troll.
A troll never has anything constructive to add, but simply tries to get a rise out of people by posting inflammatory material, usually on the Internet. I think Sam realizes that he knows nothing of the science behind climate change, so instead regurgitated a 20-year-old Rush Limbaugh insult to try to get a rise.
I have no issue with you, Sam. Say all the dumb shit you want. But to the Independent, the only place a letter like Sam's belongs is about 157 comments down on a Sheryl Crow video on YouTube. If you need help filling your pages every week, I will gladly submit a weekly column.
Just please move this kind of thing to your deleted e-mail folder. For the greater good.
— Tom Nelson
In "They are not a PAC" (Letters, April 10), Colorado Springs Police Protective Association executive director Robin Rogers is correct to point out that her organization is a Small Donor Committee, not a Political Action Committee. However, Rogers' assertion that SDCs "are limited specifically to support from the people or members in their associated organization" turns out to be inaccurate. While the CSPPA may have accepted donations only from its members, Andrew Cole with the Colorado Secretary of State confirms that by law, SDCs may accept donations from any individual.
• In "Route 64" in last week's ReLeaf, the subject of the portrait identified as Craig Small is actually Eric Bergman.
• In last week's Dine & Dash column, the incorrect Bean Bandit location was listed as having been visited. The actual location was 320 N. Circle Drive.
We regret the errors.