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Downtown options

While I am not an opponent of progress, I feel that the current reckless renovation occurring in downtown Colorado Springs will have a detrimental effect on the city's homeless population. Last winter, we saw the destruction of the old liquor store at Pikes Peak and Wahsatch avenues, which destroyed an important "wetlands" area and replaced it with yet another faceless monstrosity to house more white-bread yuppies in yet another misguided "loft" project.

I have a loft in my barn that I would be happy to rent out for $3,000 a month, if you don't mind the horse manure and pissing cats.

Most of our homeless are now forced to travel two miles north to Weber Street Liquors, which is certainly not their natural habitat, and they run the risk of running into Colorado College students out for a night of "wilding." This is sure to have dire implications for all involved.

William "Bill" Walker

Simla

Numbers don't lie

Surely, Tom Nelson cannot be serious in his letter ("Seeking a golden age," Letters, May 3) that states, "Death by violence? Again, just a minimal number."

As reported in the May 11 issue of the magazine The Week, 29,000 people are killed in this country every year with guns alone (compared to about 100 in Britain and 168 in Canada). The rate of gun deaths among children under 15 in this country is 12 times that of the next 25 countries combined.

The fact that this problem is not being addressed does not mean that it does not exist.

Tom Fagan

Colorado Springs

Who's winning?

Inthe May 10 letter "Victory plan," Paul Smith cautions Democrats not to "cut and run" and cheers President Bush, citing his "clear plan for victory," his "clear strategy to win" and the "tremendous progress" we are making. I wonder where Mr. Smith got this information?

The situation in Iraq has deteriorated so badly and is so hopeless that a group of Republican congressmen recently met with Mr. Bush, Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, Karl Rove, Tony Snow and other top administration officials and pleaded with them to change course in Iraq. They demanded "candor" and "honesty" from the president, and told him he "no longer [has] any credibility" in regard to the war or its progress. Yes, these were Republicans!

The Democrats don't want to "cut and run." They have understood for quite some time that the Bush administration's Iraq war has been a failure, so they are proposing benchmarks to be met by the Iraqi government so the Iraqis can eventually defend their country themselves. Mr. Smith, too, would like to see the Iraqis fend for themselves, but it's obvious his hero, Bush, is incapable of making that happen.

At long last, it appears the Republicans are coming to grips with that sad fact and are beginning to join the Democrats in trying to redirect the president's efforts toward something sensible and productive. Let's all hope this will happen soon and we can begin to gradually phase our troops out of Iraq.

Fred Kormos

Colorado Springs

Agenda items

The Independent could be a good newspaper rather than using "yellow journalism" as your modus operandi. The Independent has an agenda and bias that is detracting from being taken seriously by anyone except the "radical left."

Why continue to rehash old issues and attempt to generate conflict between the city and the "other side," whoever that is? There are many issues that could be investigated.

Look at the salary structure of Utilities, the city departments, the county and other operations run by the city such as Memorial Hospital and the Airport. Determine how much money Utilities spends patting themselves on the back and on PR.

Investigate all the issues of Southern Delivery System, all the enterprise zones set up by the city, the certificates of participation and their cost to taxpayers, even the Colorado Education Association and its resistance to charter schools and school choice.

Being "independent" doesn't mean being biased or slanting every article to appease some special-interest group. Why not be truly independent and journalistic at the same time?

Let your opinion columns take whatever tack the writer wants. Become a newspaper reporting news not a slanted rag!

Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Stephens' response

Cara DeGette's recent overview of the legislative performance of El Paso County's elected officials ("Quick work for the Dems," Public Eye, May 10) was a catty and gross misrepresentation of what actually has taken place in Denver these last 115 days.

DeGette lifted a piece from the Rocky Mountain News, in a February Spotlight section, that highlighted Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien and other female elected wo men officials of both political parties in a lighthearted look at their "power wardrobes." It was meant to simply be a general interest story. DeGette inferred in her piece that my preoccupation somehow rested with wardrobe over legislative work.

What DeGette failed to mention is that I was the only El Paso County Republican legislator to have all of my bills pass with overwhelming bipartisan support, including a study of best practices of alluvial aquifers for the South Platte and Arkansas rivers, an overhaul and audit of our state Department of Education database systems and, most importantly, a crime victim bill that mandates crimes committed by illegal aliens be entered into the CBI database and time served before voluntary or mandatory deportation.

If DeGette would like to remain a partisan blogger, and the Independent continues to print her work, then it should be honest about her bias. But for the Independent to print DeGette's work under the guise of "journalism" does a huge disservice to the community and to the profession itself.

Rep. Amy Stephens

House District 20, Monument

Pion setback

U.S. Rep. Mark Udall has failed the people of Colorado by paving the way for the Army to receive funding in 2008 for its plan to expand the Pion Canyon training site in southern Colorado.

[By not condemning eminent domain, Udall's recently proposed legislation] is in direct opposition to the Colorado House and Senate, the governor, as well as the "will of the people" he serves!

My family has had an operating ranch near Trinidad for over 125 years; my father has been ranching for over 60 years and continues to ranch with my brother and nephews.

We and all of the people who oppose the Army's takeover of productive ranch and farm land, whole towns, whole communities, schools, churches, businesses, historical groups, conservationists, Native America nations, archaeologists, cattlemen's groups, private-property rights groups, labor unions, paleontologists, religious groups ... museums, scientists, artists, etc., will not sit still while our Army "bullies" its way into stripping communities and people of their livelihoods, roots, homes, schools, churches and history.

They have no right to take our land! Already, the Army helicopters are beginning to fly overhead! As many as 20 at a time!

Would you like someone to take your home without your permission? To seize your business?

To play war-games in your town, your schools and your churches? Put the shoe on your foot!

This has nothing to do with patriotism. Many of the people are veterans and have served their country! This has to do with taking over land and homes and communities!

There is lots of unused and unusable land in this country for the Army! Go play war games there!

We ask the people of Colorado to rise up with us and take a stand against eminent domain by the Army and against congressman Udall. Please write or call him today!

Kathleen Doherty Brooks

Agoura Hills, Calif.

Backtracking

Retraction is a college word meaning "eat crow," which is what I'm having for lunch.

My view on the beeping horns of construction vehicles ("Stop the beeps," Letters, May 10) was based on solid ignorance.

A dear friend who has spent much time in the building industry mentioned that he enjoyed my comments, but he also said it has been a safe thing for him on occasions to hear the blast of that loud horn right in his ear, giving him time to jump.

So, here's a view about myself on the subject of construction-site warning signals: This beep-beep letter writer don't know nuttin' about nuttin' on 'nat.

Jim Inman

Colorado Springs

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