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Lamborn's new low
I'm shocked well, maybe not so much at the news that our congressman Doug Lamborn is threatening a couple who dared to write letters to the editor that were critical of him (see Public Eye), saying "there will be consequences" if they don't retract what they wrote. He even ordered the chair of the El Paso County Republicans to investigate them.

Mr. Lamborn has apparently forgotten that he was elected to represent us in D.C., not to become some sort of feudal lord over us. Mr. Lamborn has disgraced his office and should resign immediately. If he doesn't, the House Ethics Committee should investigate him for this appalling act.

Should Mr. Lamborn decide to threaten me for this writing letter, I suggest he just send it to the Independent, since that is where I'll be forwarding it anyway.

Thomas McCullock
Colorado Springs

Ignoring the law
I cannot believe what I just read and heard on the local news, about bar owners breaking the smoking-ban laws here in the Springs.

Are the bar owners in this town nuts, or what? They keep allowing smoking in their bars and get fined many, many times by the city. One bar, on the east side of town at Murray and Platte, was busted 22 times with $200 fines.

Either the city should run this bar owner and business out of town, or the city should stiffen the fines from $200 up to $1,000 or $1,500 per incident. His answer is to take a collection from the offending smokers to pay the fines.

Some people in this town just don't get it. Soon there will be no smoking allowed in the casinos. I will be glad when the state bans smoking in a car when there is a minor present under the age of 18.

Brian Lackey
Colorado Springs

Saving the Peak
It indeed has been a wet and wild summer on Pikes Peak, and your story ("Mountainous erosion," News, Aug. 30) did a great job in explaining the challengesof controlling erosion on the mountain.

However, as associate director of the Rocky Mountain Field Institute (RMFI),I was dismayed that our local nonprofit organization was not named in the story or given credit for organizing groups like the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to complete restoration projects on the peak.

As with all nonprofits, we struggle with raising funds and gaining recognition for the work we and our volunteers accomplish. RMFI has had more than 1,000 volunteer hours contributed to our efforts in protecting and restoring the streams and wetlands adjacent to the Pikes Peak Highway since 2003.

Through our volunteers and partnerships with the city of Colorado Springs, the Forest Service and the Sierra Club, we have successfully completed several restoration projects on the peak, restoring and controlling erosion along almost a mile of stream reach.

As your story mentions, the damage to the streams and wetlands is quite extensive. But with the help of our partners and volunteers, we will be able to make a noticeable positive impact in improving the peak's environmental health. For more information on RMFI and our volunteer programs,please visit rmfi.org.

Eric Billmeyer
Rocky Mountain Field Institute
Colorado Springs

Three perfect days
Twenty-five years ago, a small group founded the Manitou Springs Mountain Music Festival in an effort to showcase our downtown historic district and artistic community. On Aug. 24-26, under perfect skies, the free festival celebrated its silver jubilee in three lively and heartwarming days, providing a reunion for its co-founders.

Soda Springs Park was filled with diverse folk and world music, interesting people and well-behaved dogs. The festival, a largely volunteer effort remarkably produced on a shoestring budget, continues to be spearheaded by its principal underwriters, Bud and Donna Ford of the Manitou Springs Dulcimer Shop.

Bud's ability to introduce new talent to Manitou Springs was showcased again this year as audiences clapped, sang, laughed and cheered to performers from coast to coast, who gave so generously of their time and talent.

Classic folk artists including Bob Haworth (formerly with the Kingston Trio), Chilly Winds and Cripple Creek filled the stage and our ears with memories. Dakota Blonde, new to the festival with an enormous Front Range following, headlined Sunday afternoon. And the setting, not surprisingly, inspired a new recording collaboration between folk fusionists and world musicians.

I was pleased to return home as guest emcee and to experience the evolution of this unique free festival, an institution in Manitou Springs. I believe Charles Barsotti, a local longtime champion of downtown revitalization who passed away on the opening day of the festival, would have been proud.

Roxanne Eflin
Buxton, Maine

Liberals' harvest
Three letters in last week's Independent make me wonder if the left finally got it. In "Judge's error" by Mark Lewis, we read, "When one cop has to tell another cop to "calm down,' as he testified, that's evidence things have gone too far for America." In "Mistreated seniors," Joel Hudgins comments, "The police's excessive use of force was unnecessary and very possibly indulgent." Then in "Let "em sue," Peter Brebach opines, "Anybody who attacks harmless, law-abiding and innocent citizens for no apparent reason is a bully, and, as proven by multiple similar prior occurrences, bullies are part of this police force in apparently substantial numbers."

I have to say to them and their fellow travelers, "well, duh!" Power corrupts. Liberals have been granting enormous power over our lives to governments of all levels, and they are surprised and outraged when all that power culminates in brutal treatment of "civilians" by the police. I can only assume they haven't been paying attention.

Your type has been granting police all but unlimited power to tax us, fine us, arrest us and otherwise abuse us. When federal police burned more than 80 people in their Waco, Texas, church, the left cheered them on. When people complained, the left told us those families "had it coming." Only now that the abuse of power is directed toward the causes of the left do we hear them cry foul.

What's that biblical quote about reaping what you have sown? Get ready for one hell of a harvest. I don't think I'll be crying too hard when it's your side getting the jackboot-on-the-neck treatment.

Scott Graves
Colorado Springs

Military takeover
It was a disappointment to read about a potential betrayal of the rural folk who cherish their family farms and ranches and don't wish to sell to the Army at Fort Carson, and again last week in Colorado Springs when only pro-military leaders and the Chamber of Commerce expounded on the need for expansion. What a terrible hoax to think anything connected with war business could be considered a "crown jewel" and "national security keystone."

It is ironic that an area in Colorado, one of the most scenic and naturally beautiful states in the U.S., is being taken over by the military-industrial complex. Even though there was no chance to be heard last week, there are many folks, including former military, who question why a Fort Carson expansion should be considered necessary at all, much less for the health of our local and state economy.

What happened to tourism, health, fitness and agribusiness for which Colorado is a natural, and the great potential for jobs in the needed alternative-energy fields?

A moratorium on military expansion makes sense because of the growing sentiment that U.S. involvement in the Iraq war needs to end. With more taxpayers and legislators agreeing that we need to pull out of Iraq, isn't there a possibility Fort Carson could be reduced in size, rather than enlarged? Instead of more battleground experience, we need to have people trained in renovation, rehabilitation of infrastructure and individuals, health and human services and educational endeavors.

If fear of terrorism is predominate, have you thought of telling the war-machine lobbyists in Washington that you don't want your state to become a terrorist target by having so many of our strategic war components in such close proximity?

Kathy Verlo
Manitou Springs

Wrong to criticize
Just because the Independent offers an outlet for alternative ideas and liberal leanings does not mean individuals like Dwayne Schultz ("Religious questions," Letters, Aug. 16) can make numerous statements.

He begins by browbeating Debbie Brown's "religion of love" by calling her "daft." He is wrong in implying that "most of the atrocities committed throughout history" were perpetrated by Christians. He even has the gall to use Hitler as an example. Hitler adhered to various occult philosophies and rejected Christianity as an impediment to Nazism. In fact, Hitler said, "Christians were just the bastard children of the Jews." If anything, he used and duped the organized church for his own twisted purposes.

Of course, Mr. Schultz cites the Spanish Inquisition, Dark Ages and Salem witch trials. Hey, you left out the Crusades! And yet, what about the atrocities committed in the name of communism and atheism and totalitarianism?

Do Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Mao Tse-Tung and other dictators ring any bells about genocide? The writer's historical revisionism is typical of his ilk.

He then tries to mix Islam with Christianity, which is like trying to mix water and oil. Islam uses coercion; Christianity uses persuasion. Islam teaches force and violence; Christianity preaches free will and love.

He says Christians believe you must "either convert or die." Show me one verse in the New Testament that teaches that. Just one!

Jesus Christ was the epitome of love and compassion and is known as "The Prince of Peace." And yet Mr. Schultz has the audacity to question Debbie Brown's belief of a loving faith by saying, "Are you daft?"

Mr. Schultz, go ahead and rub Buddha's belly, stare at your navel, be one with the universe. And while you're at it, be at peace with loving Christians who live among you.

Rev. Tom Pedigo
Colorado Springs
National Alliance Against Christian Discrimination

Bad recyclers
This letter is to address those of you who think that it is OK to leave your bags of recyclables piled up next to the bin, specific to the 32nd and Colorado Safeway spot.

It disgusts me each time that I go to drop off my things to find that others have left things all over the parking lot. What you folks are doing is, I think, worse than just throwing it away in the trash. At least then it goes to an area designated for trash and not to polluting the area around Safeway.

Please dont misunderstand my statement; I feel that recycling is of the utmost importance, but whoever keeps doing this is just plain lazy and there is absolutely no excuse for it.

Here are some suggestions: Take it home and try again a different day or, goodness forbid, take it to a different recycling bin and see if it has room. Safeway will eventually follow through with its threat to take this area away, if you folks dont stop this, and I dont blame them. If they do take this spot away, please know that you (again whoever you are) have now made it more inconvenient for the rest of us trying to recycle the proper way!

Jessica L. Earley

Cascade

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