Ralph Routon's comments on the local election ("Maybe you knew, but ..." Between the Lines, April 16) brought some thoughts to mind.
Low turnouts belie the notion that local voters are strong believers in nonpartisan City Council and school board elections. To increase interest in elections I would suggest:
1. Pay City Council decent salaries to improve quality and quantity of candidates. Few are willing to commit the financial suicide necessary to sit on Council.
2. Move city elections to the fall. No candidate has enough time to campaign in the city's 296 precincts. It takes time to communicate with voters, and eight weeks isn't enough.
3. Make city elections partisan. Much more effective campaigns could be mounted with party organizations behind candidates. Candidates now have tremendous difficulty raising money, harvesting volunteers and communicating stands to voters. Council candidates attend endless forums with low turnout, grovel for checks from the Housing and Building Association or other developers, and play the endorsement game. It's woefully bad for both candidates and issues.
It would be a significant improvement if elections for all policy-making seats, like City Council and school boards, were partisan since the purpose of partisan elections is to present opposing points of view and philosophy to the voting public. Elections for county clerk, sheriff, etc., should not be partisan since those offices serve the public in a nonpartisan fashion.
Obviously I agree we have serious leadership issues in this county. Republicans are profoundly fractured, and their new county party leadership does not reflect anything changing. We Democrats will keep on plugging away, but breaking down "habits of thought" ingrained in this community is a slow, painful process. Maybe Sen. John Morse's elevation to Senate majority leader will add to the new perception that Democrats are not a joke in El Paso County.
— John Morris
The power fix
To all of those who think government should not be stepping in at this time and imposing regulations on businesses: How far out of balance do you think the market should become before action is taken? It is so heavily weighted against consumers that banks and credit-card companies are able to rob you almost at will. All they have to do is call whatever amount they zap right out of your account a "fee," and you can't do anything to them. Your agreement is no longer required and it is not legally called theft. You can't do anything about it.
The financial giants effectively at the reins in the world economy have become so corrupt that they would, and did, manipulate gas prices to historical highs without regard to consequence to you, your children, their own descendents and the world economy. Lehman Brothers is among the culprits who created an artificial demand that ran the gas prices to the point that broke many people. The only validation they needed is the power fix they get from acquiring all that they can. Taking even down to the last crumb from others and giving nothing back.
So those of you who don't want regulation, is it because you want to follow those examples? Or are you just looking for a few tax breaks for yourselves and think that the entire world should suffer for you to have it?
— Lisa Smith
Who is kidding whom? I have heard practically every argument from my right-wing friends who want to derail, disrupt, dispute or otherwise obstruct the HOPE movement for change led by President Obama rebuilding America. In their minds, everything is always Obama's fault.
It started with a myth that the stock market crashed because of expectations that Obama would be elected. Then they turned to screaming about the stimulus bill. They cried about Obama's economic medicine while only offering "NOPE" as their economic tonic, even suggesting more tax breaks for the rich. They have now resorted to tea-bagging.
Suddenly it is some purported nonpartisan, grass-roots citizen insurgency calling for a tax revolt, and yet the Washington Times reported that 750 parties across the nation had a total attendance in the tens of thousands, not the millions expected by FOX News.
This was supposed to be nonpartisan? How come I got two e-mails from cogop.org, promoting every tea party in Colorado? How come FOX News devoted exclusive 24/7 coverage, led by their self-admitted Republican water-carriers Glenn (the crier) Beck, Neil (the exaggerator) Cavuto and Sean (the blusterer) Hannity? How come Texas Gov. Rick Perry openly called for secession? Could this be the new voice in the party of NOPE against HOPE?
Someone named Jeff at Pensacola, Fla., gave the NOPEs a history lesson: In 2001 the Bush administration inherited a budget surplus that is now gone. If you want to blame someone, rest it squarely with the Republicans in Congress and Bush. Jeff was soundly booed off the stage. Lesson: Don't let facts get in the way of a veiled partisan rally.
Let us see if their purported movement is considering overthrowing the government because they don't want to be part of fixing it. Who is kidding whom?
— Bob Nemanich
Holding the bag
Considering the number of conservatives who opposed Barack Obama in Colorado Springs, it is not surprising that 1,500 of them could be found to assemble in Acacia Park to criticize the policies of the new president (who, lest they forget, was elected by the majority of Colorado voters).
Where were these "tea-baggers" when President Bush was running up the deficit and expanding the size of the federal government? They hardly said a word then. I guess, in their minds, deficits that result from tax cuts are OK, but not from stimulus plans to put people back to work. Increased government spending for wars, defense contractors and military expansion is acceptable, but not to increase health care coverage for our ever-growing uninsured population. As a nation we gain more from working people who have health coverage.
The problem with the "tea-baggers" is that they don't have any counter-solutions. They prefer the same old (failed) policies of the Bush administration that got us into this mess, and then use these tea-party events to display their contempt for President Obama.
Most reasonable people recognize Obama inherited a deficit and a dysfunctional economy from the Bush administration. He is doing what needs to be done to get our country back on track, and deserves our support during these difficult times.
— Cyndy Kulp
Kudos to Kate Rachwitz ("An educator's letter to Obama," Your Turn, March 19)! She hits it right on the nose about money and relationships. You can throw large sums of money at educators and it won't make me (or my fellow teachers) teach "harder" or more effectively. We use the most recent research on multi-sensory practices to the point where we resemble a circus with our singing, dancing, chanting, arm movements and other resources to keep students' attention and drill concepts into those growing minds.
We care deeply about our students and do anything (legally) possible to help them learn and succeed in life. This includes forking money out of our own pockets for shoes, coats, alarm clocks, rides to and from school (escorted by another teacher/adult), and so on. Often, what students take with them when they depart our classrooms is the relationships.
When students contact you after they are long gone and tell you what a great teacher you are because you cared — that's worth every "creative" moment.
I know teachers all over the area and in every school district in town. I am proud of our public education system. We have wonderful teachers and great programs for our youth and families. I can speak firsthand on the collaboration and networking among teachers among districts. We share ideas and resources, and we get together at seminars, workshops and trainings.
If Obama wants to give us smaller class sizes, all-day kindergarten and more para-educators to help in the classrooms, then by all means throw more money at education. However, don't do it to motivate teachers/schools to get those test scores up. Motivated teachers isn't education's problem; it's lack of parent support, closely correlated to poverty. Politicians need to get "creative" and spend a year in low-income schools shadowing teachers.
— Lynette Jacobs
The recent story about the "monster" of TABOR ("TABOR tyranny," cover story, April 9) was very revealing. J. Adrian Stanley spent a lot of time putting it together. Instead of a figure of a robot, though, maybe you should have used a photograph of J. Adrian stomping feet in a temper tantrum.
I'm no big fan of Doug Bruce, but TABOR has blocked many entitlement handouts. Not one year has passed since TABOR was enacted that City Council hasn't demonstrated its willingness to play fast and loose with taxpayer dollars. Despite more than a decade to adapt, city leaders have failed to learn that most basic of economics lessons: One must absolutely live within a budget that cannot expand exponentially. Additionally, there is always one more group or organization that wants to pick taxpayers' pockets, acting like poorly trained children forever having another hissy-fit until they get what they want.
Check out operation6035.com, just one more group that possibly subscribes to the second law of economics: Use someone else's money whenever you can.
It is a good thing if government can prepare for the future. In this country a government is supposed to be elected by citizens who cast votes, not by businesses that provide the largest donations. Thus, City Council is elected by today's voters, not the voters of the year 2039. Most voters today could not care less if Lionel Rivera or Bernie Herpin eventually get a municipal building named after themselves. Foresight is an excellent virtue, but in hindsight, our City Councils of the past 19 years have failed miserably.
This city (and country) is in dire need of real statesmanship, not picayune politics du jour. Instead of more articles accusing voters of being too stupid to understand what they voted for, the Indy should devote more time to true bipartisan solutions.
— Steve Clarke
Kudos on TABOR tyranny by J. Adrian Stanley. Generally I do not read long articles, but this one had my attention from beginning to the end.
The people who say they would rather shop online, in Monument, Falcon or Denver to keep from paying sales tax to the city should read Section 2 of the article. I am sure they would be the first to complain when the police or firefighters didn't show when they had a need for them.
This should be required reading for every voter in the city, county and why not the state? I would like to see the author of TABOR move back to California to help that state with its problems.
— Court Sterk