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Fort Lyon, Syria, the What If? Festival and more

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Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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Doug's dilemma

Does Congressman Doug Lamborn vote to support the Syrian attack, pandering to his major contributors, the defense industry, or does he continue his assault on and criticism of President Obama, whom he loathes (unless Obama is sending federal disaster money and resources to CD-5).

Indeed, it is a dilemma for Doug.

My bet is Mr. Lamborn will do what a friend of mine, a former congressman, said the "rule of Congress" is: On any given issue the first consideration is how will this affect my major contributors; second, how will this affect my re-election; third, how will this affect my party; fourth, how will this affect my district (or state in the case of a senator); and lastly, how will this affect the country? What do you think Doug will do?

— James M. Hesser

Colorado Springs

Not there yet

The "What IF Festival, Welcome to a Day of WOWS," proved to wow me when we found our child was asked, "Are you a boy or a girl?" by a large adult white woman. Instead of being asked about the experience of building robots with the state's top robotics team, or about being a high-achieving student, or what other activities she was involved with, our well-mannered, well-spoken and decidedly feminine daughter was asked her gender.

Why? Why, during a day whose purpose was to expand the knowledge and imagination of our community, would someone attempt to demean a child? Did you ask any other of the young people present this? Were you uncomfortable seeing an intelligent young woman passionate about an engineering activity? Were you embracing the stereotype that black women are masculine? Regardless, you are without right to this disparaging query.

Initially, my reaction was that you should crawl back to the hole you came from. However, being an enlightened individual, I would ask you to perform two tasks: Get professional help and write an apology to our child, in care of this paper.

— Gerald Roebke

Colorado Springs

A really bad plan

According to a Sept. 8 story in The Washington Post, the meat inspection program that USDA plans to roll out in meat and poultry plants nationwide has repeatedly failed to stop production of contaminated meat. The program allows meat producers to increase the speed of processing lines and replace USDA safety inspectors with their own employees.

But plants operating under this program have experienced some of the worst health and safety violations, including failure to remove fecal matter and partly digested food, according to the USDA inspector general. These contaminants may contain complex strains of deadly E. coli and Listeria.

Traditionally, USDA has catered more to the interests and profitability of the meat industry than health and safety concerns of American consumers. Consumer interests come into play only when large numbers of us get sick. Having the USDA protect consumers is like asking the fox to guard the chicken house.

The Obama administration must reallocate responsibility for consumer safety to the Food and Drug administration. In the meantime, each of us must assume responsibility for our own safety by switching to the rich variety of plant-based meats offered in local supermarkets.

— Claus Singer

Colorado Springs

The left-behind

An Eastern Colorado site called Fort Lyon has 25 people in it as of this week ("Refuge on the plains," News, Sept. 4). The stereotype of those they plan to serve are mentally ill and addicts. Homelessness happens for various reasons including the No. 1 omitted one, poverty.

These are what the 90-day super shelter is designed to hold: the homeless who are alcoholic and mentally ill. Lack of employment and income affect 96 percent. It remains silent on whether it will aid families. It is located on the plains of Bent county. People will be transported from and return to bigger cities, three times a week.

Taking the worst of the worst, the article failed to mention if families will be allowed. But unless there are outlying buildings for families, they will not be housed with the general population. In my opinion, after 30 years of dealing with the homeless in Maine, a design based on stereotypes is doomed to fail. Each homeless person is different. Teaching super-shelter users how to budget when they lack an adequate income is a folly.

— Jan Lightfoot

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Though the Fort Lyon program does not currently accept families, organizers say they hope to be able to accommodate them sometime in the future.

Hidden motives

It is truly difficult to doubt that our current proposed acts of hostilities with Syria represent a war of choice and not a war of necessity.

Beltway insiders are brandishing the phrase "national security" like a rusty scabbard, but it is impressive that they can do it with a straight face. It is estimated that each of the hundreds of missiles that we intend to attack Syria with costs around $1 million.

One has to wonder: Where are the deficit hawks? You know, the "courageous" ones that step up to the plate to make the "difficult choices" for fiscal probity, such as cuts in meals for needy seniors, cuts of school lunch programs for children, gutting our mail delivery, undermining pensions, letting cities go bankrupt. The ones that destroy our government's credit rating by balking on payment of debts already incurred.

The silence is deafening. It is challenging to avoid the conclusion that all the commotion about the deficit is a lot more about shifting income up to the .01 percent than it is about budgetary integrity. We should never listen to it again.

— Steve Milligan

Colorado Springs

Where are we going?

To Mayor Bach and City Council:

I was raised in Colorado Springs. I've lived all over the state and in northern California for a few years, but this is my hometown. These are my roots. But what is evolving with this city, with respect to some issues, absolutely befuddles me!

Why...

Do we need to install sidewalk ramps when the storm sewer drains on those same corners can't handle a normal rainstorm, let alone some of the deluges we have had this summer? I live in the downtown area and on a number of corners the water is so deep as to cause 20-foot rooster tails when drivers go through them. What's the point of a ramp if there is a lake there?

Do we need to cut down trees in this same neighborhood? One, still alive on one block, cut down, but another around the corner ... dead as a doornail still up?

Do we need a new $82 million sports complex and other new structures, but are willing to let go of a near 40-year-old Balloon Festival over less than $10,000?

Do we need $1.6 billion for infrastructure? Can't we make a dent with the $82 million from the RTA proposal?

— Amy Willard

Colorado Springs

Different ideas

Leave the ballpark where it is. Put in a water park like Water World or Pirates Cove in Denver. Something that would attract tourists as well as give local families a place to go.

If the Air Force Academy wanted a visitors center, they would have left the one they had where it was years ago.

— Steve Kurtz

Colorado Springs

Help is on the way

The end of a drought of venture capital funds for Colorado Springs startups and entrepreneurs may be in sight. For years we have seen millions invested in Boulder's innovators while our local community came up short.

A Denver Post report ("Former AOL chief Steve Case eyes Denver startups with $600 million investment funds," Aug. 23) may augur a brighter future for Denver and Colorado Springs. A man in Washington, D.C., who loves entrepreneurs will bring his expertise to Colorado this fall.

Co-founder and CEO of AOL, Case left that one-time Internet giant a decade ago. He has since devoted his energy to investment in industries with growth potential.

Having closed a $450 million investment growth fund in 2012, Case plans to launch a new $150 million venture fund, emphasis Colorado. In addition, he proposes to open Revolutionary Growth, an investment fund for ongoing businesses (revenue $10 million plus).

The $150 million venture fund will focus on promising early-stage companies, with investments in the $3 to $5 million range. This should be welcome news for companies like SunShare and Neumann Systems Group.

Case, who visits Denver every three months or so, has said he'll likely return more frequently now that his stepdaughter has enrolled at Colorado College. That should bode well for incubator entrepreneurs, inventors and startups in our area.

— John A. Daly

Colorado Springs

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