Ted's biggest sin
It seems that a lot of locals are again upset with former pastor Ted Haggard of New Life mega-church; both because of his homosexual liaisons, and his tell-all HBO program (see Ranger Rich).
Embarrassment over the evangelical, money-making pastor surfaced big-time to diminish the honor of New Life Church, the religious right and Colorado Springs, just when everyone was feeling warm and cuddly.
Many "New Lifers" once again have to explain why a person who they loved and trusted could so betray them. (The devil no doubt made him do it!) Haggard probably is trying to say, 'Judge not ...'
A family (church) is destroyed more by lies, hypocrisy and a cold heart than it ever is by homosexuality. The cardinal sin Ted committed was adultery, but it is being little or never mentioned. Sad.
I don't live in Colorado Springs, but I'm nonetheless watching with great interest as you come to grips with the prospect of Fort Carson suddenly bringing 45,000 new people into your community.
The classic definition of sustainable development "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." For all of its PR posturing about sustainability, it looks like the Army is forcing something upon Colorado Springs that is decidedly not sustainable.
Such an influx will strain your infrastructure to the breaking point. Some sectors of your local economy will no doubt benefit, but I doubt it will offset the burdens upon your social services, schools and medical facilities.
More than just future generations of Colorado Springs will pay the price for such thoughtless growth. All of Southeastern Colorado is threatened by an out-of-scale Fort Carson. The Pentagon will try to use an overburdened Fort Carson to justify taking ranch lands from fourth- and fifth-generation families in Las Animas County to expand Pion Canyon Maneuver Site.
All of this is unwise and unnecessary. I'm afraid we may all become "collateral damage" as Army posts compete to see which will become the biggest and baddest. If we are not careful, our land and lives will be gobbled up by the voracious military-industrial complex.
The rationale for the town hall meeting on Fort Carson expansion, sponsored by the Independent, is based on two false premises: 1. It is already decided. 2. It is a good idea.
Much of the growth is based on a "Grow the Forces" program that will add 70,000 troops and $70 billion to the Pentagon budget to pay for them. In the current budget crisis, this program should come under further scrutiny.
If 140,000 troops are coming home from Iraq, does it not take the steam out of the Grow the Forces argument? If the rest of the federal budget is facing cuts, why is the Pentagon slated for a 10 percent increase? It can and should be cut by 10 percent or more.
Locally, it's also a bad idea. Our service providers have said, over and over, their resources cannot possibly meet the needs of another 40,000 people at a time when they can't adequately serve their current clients amid budget cuts. If this growth goes through, it will create great pressure on ranchers trying to prevent huge chunks of their land from being annexed to Pion Canyon Maneuver Site.
Perhaps those of us who want to explore these questions and others not covered by the official agenda can get a couple of tables in the PPCC cafeteria to have our discussion. Anyone attending the town hall meeting would be welcome.
I was glad to read "Shattered system" (cover story, Jan. 22). I worked at the old detox and moved to work at the Lighthouse for several years.
The one aspect of this whole mess that wasn't emphasized enough was how many people I worked with at the Lighthouse who did genuinely want help and were helped because of the program there.
Very few people in this town realize quite what a unique place they will be losing when the detox part of Lighthouse closes.
Not just a drunk tank, it treated people with mental health and substance abuse problems together, an integrative approach that is very lacking in most cities. A huge proportion of substance abusers "self-medicate" to relieve other symptoms of serious psychiatric illnesses. They will not be helped by a drunk tank.
There are a huge number of people in pain, and Pikes Peak Behavioral Health Group has been there for years, unappreciated, running at a loss to help them. While Harbor House is stepping in to offer a much-needed aspect of this help for which they should be receiving support from everyone in this ever-growing city it is, as was mentioned in your article, merely a Band-Aid.
This city needs to wake up to just how we will cope with the growing numbers of people needing help. Does the city think this problem will decrease with the recession? We need this kind of support more than ever now.
'Hopelessness of kindness'
Four years ago, our local detox was my last stop of a 30-year downward spiral of alcoholism.
In a safe and clean environment, a caring and compassionate staff checked my vital signs every 30 minutes through two nights of indescribable torment. Mild medications afforded sleep, held the seizure demon at bay, and kept my blood pressure just below rupture.
Last week I stopped by to ask if there was anything I could do to help in the fight to keep it open. I was told, "No, it's too late," by the kind woman at the front desk.
As I walked away, I realized the hopelessness of kindness, compassion and just the general love required to help the absolute lowest rung of our society against the police and fire, public works and the countless hordes of paper-shufflers.
They never had a chance. It's been proven in New York that it costs one-fifth as much to give a chronically homeless person an apartment, a check, food stamps and a weekly worker when compared to a box in an alley and monthly emergency room visits. What would Jesus do?
Put off the cuts
Ralph Routon's column ("The time to act is now," Jan. 22), is timely and on the mark. His solutions to our current economic crisis would work and should be adapted, but won't help us yesterday, which is when our town needed help.
Yes, as Routon suggests, convene a public meeting of City Council, County Commission and some chosen folks like us and come up with common-sense ideas for tax reforms, public safety, transportation, community projects and centers. We all know, though, that common sense isn't common, so if time is of the essence and it is then our leaders and the rest of us must compromise, meaning my idea isn't the only one and neither is yours.
So, let's do that and do it well, but until reforms take over, let's do this: Don't close up shop in any public service. Don't lay off anyone; reduce work hours/days according to needs of the city. Place an immediate 3 to 5 percent reduction on all city/county services. If any of this is being done, keep doing it and do more.
City/county workers will suffer the most, but that's where most spending is. Citizens will have to make do with reduced government services, but that's called shared sacrifice.
I'm ticked off at this cheap Republican town, anyway bunch of tightwads. They've never met a tax hike they liked or a government service they didn't like. Took voters three different occasions before our Pikes Peak Center finally got built. Public schools have a helluva time getting school bonds or levies through. These chintzy voters think K-12 public education is free, but I digress.
Our town ain't alone in this economic mess. It's nationwide, but it's ours to solve. Maybe some help from a Democratic president and Congress will trickle down, but it's up to us. Let's get on it!
On deaf ears
While I agree with the sentiment in "The time to act is now," I would take issue with your comment that "nobody could see how bad this would be today." Yes, there are folks out there who knew this was coming a long time ago, know what caused it and have many ideas for how to fix it.
The problem is, things don't seem to have gotten bad enough for people to stop listening to the same clueless leaders who have their entire "box" falling apart around them. It will first require wholesale retraining of the clueless before they can even begin to make progress toward solutions.
A number of us have been sounding the fiscal and financial alarm bells for more than a decade. I alone have written an uncounted number of letters to the editors, spoken in public forums, attended more meetings than I care to count, and raised these issues over and over again. All for naught, because the powers-that-be guffawed, then everyone went back to what they were doing.
When we raised these issues again last year through the Ron Paul campaign, we were dismissed outright.
So now it's all happening, and all the so-called "smart" folks are offering up more of the same ol', same ol' again.
If you have an idea how we can work together to bypass the current leadership establishment to start, I'd be happy to hear it. Believe me, it ain't going to happen if we have to rely on those who infest this city and county government. They're the problem, not the solution.
The shooting of Sean Kennedy ("Tragic lesson for all of us," Ranger Rich, Jan. 8) was tragic for both families involved. The Kennedy family lost one of their members, and the homeowner's family has faced the backlash and criticism over how they should have acted. May God ease your pain and bless you all.
Does anyone wonder how the homeowner felt at that time? Home invasions and break-ins are on the rise in Colorado Springs. Citizens should try to place themselves there. Imagine waking up to your window being broken in the middle of the night, and someone trying to get in.
As the only soul in my home, I'm not going to wait for a stranger to enter my home, to see what kind of danger I'm in, before I defend myself.
The Jan. 22 Audiofile titled "Flash Cadillac's rock 'n roll marathon" should have stated that the group's first performances with an orchestra were actually with the Colorado Springs Symphony in 1992, first at the Pikes Peak Center and later at The Broadmoor. The Independent regrets the errors.