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Fracking, ugly cop cars, dogs off-leash, and the gun debate

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

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Time to listen

There has never been a more important issue facing Colorado Springs than oil and gas drilling and fracking, yet there has never been a full hearing on this issue.

City Council and its Oil & Gas Committee have relied mainly on the oil and gas industry, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission which is very pro-oil-and-gas, and the City Attorney's office for its information.

The City Attorney is hired and fired by pro-oil-and-gas Mayor Bach. Bach benefited during the mayoral election from $100,000 in TV ads paid for by Americans for Prosperity, started by oil barons David and Charles Koch, both of whom continue to fund AFP.

So a hearing is needed where all sides can be heard and especially independent researchers, scientists, lawyers and citizens already affected by oil and gas drilling. There needs to be time allowed for inviting speakers, and speakers must be allowed far more than three minutes to explain to the Council, mayor, citizens and media their findings and experiences related to this issue.

As Council President Scott Hente stated recently, Council is finding that the more you dive into it, the more information you feel like you need to have. Council, the mayor, we citizens and the media not only need more information, we need it from sources that are not just pro-oil-and-gas. Council needs to hold a full hearing where all sides of this controversy can be heard.

— Lotus, Eric Verlo, Karyna Lemus

Colorado Springs Citizens

for Community Rights

Testing, 1, 2, 3

The debate rages on about proposed regulations for oil and gas development. Some think this industry will be good for our economy, while others believe that due to the potential environmental and quality-of-life implications, such drilling shouldn't be allowed inside city limits at all.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, there are a few requirementsthat should be adopted as theminimum standards for companies operating here.

First, an independent air quality study must be commissioned immediately to establish the "control," so that we all understand what it is we are trying to protect. As in any science experiment, it is imperative to secure this baseline before the variables change. In this case, before the first well is dug.

A comprehensive baseline study, which would cost under $20,000, would give citizens, officials and the drilling industry a clear baseline to understand how, or if, fracking impacts the air we breathe.

Second, low-cost non-radioactive tracer tags, already being utilized successfully in Flower Mound, Texas, require operators to include a marker in its fluids that is unique to each well. If fracking compounds are found in groundwater, wells or aquifers (even miles away), the operator who caused the contamination can then be easily be identified.

Finally, we should demand that three designated water testing wells be drilled (with equal spacing) around each oil or gas well pad. This would allow for baseline testing that was not reliant on private water wells, and make ongoing water quality monitoring not only cheaper but much more accurate.

If the industry can stand behind their claims that air pollution, spills and water contamination are notlegitimate risks, they should have no problem accepting these minimal requirements as the cost of doing business in our wonderful city that is so heavily dependent on tourism.

— Laurel Biedermann

Colorado Springs

Ugly on wheels

I would like to say a word about our city's new black-and-white police vehicles. That word would be: ugly!

Other words like common or plain also come to mind. The police department defends the color combination noting that the vehicles are easier for the public to spot.

That's probably true if you left your heart in Newark or Detroit, but who wants to be mistaken for those places? If the color scheme somehow enhances the ability of J.Q. Doe to recognize a police car, then perhaps they should all be painted hunter-blaze orange! It's the flashing lights that get most people's attention isn't it?

Colorado Springs is a special place and we used to have unique-looking police vehicles, complete with the city crest on the sides. There could be no mistake as to the city those cars belonged to. Do we really have to prove that we're a grown-up big city by imitating some high-crime Eastern city?

Part of the allure of Colorado Springs is that it's a big city that has the feel of a small town. There is a certain comfort in that feeling, and anything that detracts from that zone also affects one's sense of well-being to a small degree. Reality says that this city is the nation's 41st largest, but sometimes it feels like Mayberry and I submit that's a good thing.

We are blessed with highly skilled, well-trained, courteous police officers. Let's give them rides that better reflect a beautiful city at the base of America's mountain, and not East L.A.!

— Len Bentley

Colorado Springs

It could be worse

I was born and raised in Colorado Springs and have lived here most of my 61-plus years. I attended Helen Hunt, South Junior and Palmer High.

While I am very sad and disappointed about the latest closures and students being shuttled to other schools in the district ("Making sure the kids are alright," News, Feb. 13), I have a new perspective on what commuting to school means after my son started teaching music at the Hopi Junior-Senior High School in Keams Canyon, Ariz.

A large portion of those students must travel by bus, every day, both ways, for two hours — four hours a day of commuting. Losing friends and having to make new ones is not easy, but think about the Hopi students and try to be grateful for what will be a relatively short commute each day.

As for Wasson High School students being threatened with violence (reference the "Don't See the Big Picture" letter in the Feb. 11 Gazette) I can understand the extreme concern of both parents and students, and something must be done to stop that in its tracks. The district must address this absolutely unacceptable situation and take steps to ensure the safety of every student who is being displaced.

— Georgia Moen

Colorado Springs

Four-legged menace

I read Ms. Hunter-Larsen's letter ("Unleashing heartbreak," Feb. 6) with dismay. Unleashed dogs are becoming a menace in the community. Owners invariably assert that their "dog isn't vicious" and was "just trying to play"!

I live in a senior high-rise near Shooks Run. One of the tenants in the building was walking this fall on the pedestrian walkway. He was attacked and knocked to the ground by a pit bull whose owner left him off-leash. He was severely enough mauled that he required hospitalization and daily care for several weeks after his release.

Owners of several large dogs in my neighborhood allow their animals to run unleashed and "play together." Another nearby resident has a pit bull he keeps chained in behind a three-foot fence. He lunges violently, barking furiously at any passersby. He has broken the chain and run free for hours.

Last summer an elderly woman was knocked to the ground and attacked by several large dogs. She, too, required several weeks of medical care.

I use a wheelchair outside the building and could never outrun a large dog that was off-leash.

Tenants have called CSPD when large dogs were running loose, but they are busy and a "loose dog" complaint is often referred to the Humane Society (the privatized substitute for an Animal Control Department), which can't respond in a timely manner.

We must find a way to enforce our leash laws! Owners of unleashed animals should be made to pay for any injuries or damage their dogs cause. For the seniors I live with, these costs have been shifted either to the Medicare system or Memorial Hospital. That means that the damages for unleashed animals are being paid for by all of us.

— Sharon King

Colorado Springs

Bad dog owners

Regarding the letter from Jessica Hunter-Larsen: I was truly saddened to read about the devastation and loss of your puppy to the arrogance and inconsiderate behavior of the owner of a mean and violent dog in Monument Valley Park. Several times my dogs have been charged and attacked by dogs running off-leash whose owners all too often respond, "Oh, my dog is good with other dogs," or "Wow, my dog never does that!"

Within the boundaries of several city parks, (Red Rocks Open Space, Garden of the Gods, Monument Valley Park and Sondermann Park) we have encountered dogs off-leash. Although some were kind and truly gentle, several became vicious to the point of attack. We, too, have paid vet bills for encounters with dogs off-leash in city parks.

It is truly time for park rangers, officials, veterinarians, vet hospitals and clinics to come to the front and actively and vocally promote the urgency for owners to obey the leash laws within city parks. I have consistently and constructively tried to remind dog owners about the leash regulations and have been rebuffed, demeaned and even threatened by thoughtless and careless runners, hikers and cyclists with dogs off leash. And picking up the poop is yet another huge, if not messy, controversy.

There are appropriate parks for dogs off-leash. Please use them!

— Tim Davis

Manitou Springs

 

Guns by the numbers

Regarding Max Clow's "Are we there yet?" (Letters, Feb. 6): Where did you get the 30,000 gun deaths figure? I have checked reports from the FBI, Centers for Disease Control and United Nations and found nothing close to that.

You can get FBI crime reports going back to 1992 that show a high number of murders, from all sources, of 24,526 in 1993 and declining every year to a low of 14,612 in 2011. However, another FBI report shows total murders of 12,664 in 2011. I'm not sure why the difference.

The CDC has information on 10 leading causes of death. Most of are health-related, and are many times more than those from guns. And what about the number of children killed by abortions, and the number of people killed by medical errors?

We will never know how many lives have been saved because a security guard or law-abiding citizen with a gun was able to stop a shooter. Some sources estimate that number to be several times more than the number killed. I don't know how that can be calculated, but the news media virtually ignores that important aspect of gun ownership.

The Founding Fathers recognized that we have a natural God-given right to protect ourselves. The Second Amendment did not give us the right to bear arms — it says that the government shall not infringe on that natural God-given right to protect ourselves. That is the same Constitution that gives us the right to write these letters.

Finally: why is it that when the Department of Homeland Security wants to buy 7,000 fully automatic rifles they are called "personal protection" rifles? But a similar-looking civilian rifle that is semi-automatic is called an "assault rifle"?

— Bill Moss

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 31,672 firearm-related deaths in the U.S. in 2010 (cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm).

Meteoroids

North Korea shrank this week (as if they had any size to lose) when the solar system tested a 500-kiloton device over Russia. It's not as if we don't generate enough of our own man-made disasters, we really don't need any help in the catastrophe department. When we don't have enough trouble, we seem to make what we need.

This is probably a question for the IT department, but have we backed up the planet lately? Now would be a good time, as much as we move stuff around it's still early and we can get a reasonable factory copy of the modern world of man, such as it is, and all the globe's life in its native locations. DNA sequencing can already reduce the world's bio diversity to data strings — we'd just need to develop a basic cloneable biomass and we could reinstall the planet, if need ever be.

It's disturbing that the backup will contain malware like Rush Limbaugh, Iran and Ashton Kutcher, but frankly it's too big a mess to clean up right now. If we need it some day, we can do a selective restore at that time.

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs

Correction

In "Den of controversy" (News, Feb. 13), scoutmaster David Rice was mistakenly identified as Tim Rice. We regret the error.

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