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Pam Zubeck did a great job ("Crude awakening," cover story, Jan. 26) chronicling what a dubious corporate citizen Ultra Petroleum has been in other communities. I am dismayed to read that the El Paso County commissioners might think they need to "balance" the interests of this Houston-based Big Oil company with the health and well-being of we who live here.
No balance necessary — we are the constituents! Ultra and other out-of-towners aren't here to save us by creating jobs. They're here to take resources, make as much profit as possible and leave the rest of us with the wreckage.
I certainly hope the commissioners will aggressively protect the citizens of El Paso County by requiring from Ultra the strictest standards for oil and gas operations. If they won't defend us, we'd better elect some new commissioners who will.
— Steve Saint
Pikes Peak Justice & Peace Commission
Buck up, Doug
May I ask you to consider yet another letter about Congressman Doug Lamborn's behavior on Jan. 24?
Article II, Section 3, of the United States Constitution provides that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."
Why do we conduct the annual State of the Union address? For the same reason we do anything the Constitution says: "to form a more perfect Union."
Buck up, Congressman Lamborn, and do your constitutional duty.
— Di Graski
Pack up, Doug
Once again, our elected official, Doug Lamborn, did not represent his constituents when he boycotted the president's State of the Union address.
Mr. Lamborn and his cronies are exactly what is wrong with Congress!
As long as we have idiots like Lamborn in Congress, Washington will continue to be broken. Surely there must be a Republican or Democrat we can put into office who represents us and won't act like a belligerent, selfish 5-year-old.
Mr. Lamborn, you are disgusting!
— Elaine Brush
The real embarrassment
Boycotting the State of the Union address is not shameless, but tactless. What Mr. Lamborn should do is form a congressional committee to force Obama to step down. Two reasons: He's economically ignorant and a threat to national security.
Obama is analogous to renewing a bottle of pills, directions on the outside and empty on the inside. Being a smooth talker without substance is not being a courageous leader. He is drowning the U.S. into $4 trillion in additional debt in less than four years.
To be fair, presidents before him and a profligate Congress did the same. They get away with it because the vast majority of people are just as economically ignorant. That's how all these bums get re-elected, distributing other people's money. Ask yourselves if anyone is entitled to one second of another man's labor. If you say yes, you believe in slavery. This equation has nothing to do with helping the truly indigent. And writers like Ralph Routon keep the ignorant, ignorant. For shame!
Who cares how much money anyone makes? That's what America is about! Mitt Romney may pay 15 percent in taxes, but it translates into $3 million. That's a hell of a lot of money. Business people work 60 and 70 hours a week, create our jobs, risk their capital and drown in responsibility. Lay off them! We want our children to be successful, but not someone else's?
As far as the State of the Union address, our celebrity in chief is intoxicated with himself. He is an embarrassment to me and should step down!
Ralph Routon and Jim Hightower need psychiatric help. Perhaps they would be more content living in Cuba, China or Venezuela; their politics agree with those countries.
— Joan Christensen
Oddly enough, I just added "padlock" to my shopping list. Thanks to President Obama's State of the Union, I will buy a Master Lock because now I know that instead of putting out their hands for a tax break to take jobs overseas, they are bringing jobs back to the United States. President Obama is right when he says: "Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. ... It makes no sense, and everyone knows it."
Everybody does know it. Even the Republicans know it. But do they have the moral courage to change it? If it's good business to move overseas, go ahead, but don't ask for a tax break.
This is not class warfare, it is patriotism and common sense.
— Joan Jacobson
This headline about Joe Paterno was in the Gazette: "A Legend with Scars."
Let's find out what he really did. He was told by a person about a sexual act on a student by an adult. He reported this to his executives and left it up to them. He was not arrested for any crime because he didn't commit any crime. He couldn't testify in court because his information was hearsay.
The person who saw the act should have notified campus police. The executives should have notified the police. When it blew up in their face, the executives said Paterno didn't give them enough information.
Now the media comes into play, and somehow Joe has done an immoral crime. The college in turn, to satisfy the public, fires him without proof of him breaking a law. He never had a real chance to clear himself. Now he has passed away and the Gazette says "A Legend with Scars." The ones with scars are the media, and they have ruined a man who did a tremendous amount of great work his whole life.
— Rodney E. Hammond
Can't hate him
On Jan. 18 I had the pleasure of spending an hour or so with Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family. I know what you are thinking: How is this possible?
First, the Independent brought him into Manitou Springs, a place within my comfort zone and outside of Daly's. Second, he created an "experience" that would not normally happen outside of the Give! campaign.
It was immediately clear that, without a doubt, Jim Daly is very good at his job. He successfully navigated a room full of liberal Indy donors in a way that was fascinating to behold. He also made it impossible to hate him. Daly's background consists of family dysfunction and foster care, and that history makes him an approachable man. It also enables us to believe that he really does want us to Focus on the Family.
If his lifelong dream is to find homes for all of the foster children in the world, is it possible we can learn to accept the good and the bad that Focus represents for so many of us?
— Natalie Johnson
GM's unpaid debt
In response to Bret Gathercoal ("Memo to Mitt," Letters, Jan. 26): While I am certainly no fan of Mitt Romney, I find it ironic you talk about how the unions and their workers have "paid back every penny of the money we owe the American people" on the same day a report is issued that says General Motors stock would need to more than double in value for Americans to recoup the money lent to the failing automaker.
When you apply that information to your argument, it becomes readily apparent the unions should take your advice to Mitt Romney and "go f**k themselves" as well.
— John Koch
Listen to the sage
John Hazlehurst is indeed a City Sage. He continues to write ("Downtown: Put a there there," Jan. 26) about abandoning the city's development model of high-rise buildings and converting the numerous parking lots throughout downtown into low-rise buildings with retail and office/residential uses.
I've lived in many great cities throughout the U.S., but very few have the excitement and potential of downtown Colorado Springs. I hope our new mayor and City Council take note of the advice of Mr. Hazlehurst. And, while they're at it, maybe something could be done to synchronize our traffic lights.
— Deborah Crowley
To Dan May, District Attorney, Fourth Judicial District:
I strongly urge that you fulfill your duties as an officer of the court. Drop the charges against Bob Crouse ("Occupy Crouse House," News, Jan. 5) and stop prosecuting cancer patients. Your job as DA is to prosecute criminals. Cluttering court calendars with fluff like this and dumping a load of grief on a cancer patient is wholly inappropriate.
If you think that you have a valid charge, please send me a copy of the charging papers. As a two-time cancer survivor, I sincerely would like to see where you are coming from.
P.S.: Should you fall victim to the "Big C," I sincerely hope that people will show you more compassion than you are showing Mr. Crouse.
P.P.S.: I must assume that you are aware of the curative powers of cannabis for some cancers. I hope that you will never need it.
— Malcolm E. McClain
City's real image
The anguish I feel in the pit of my gut at the total and absolute incompetence served up to the hard-working people of Colorado Springs by our leadership demands a call to action!
The Convention and Visitors Bureau spends some $80,000 to "brand" our city? Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't a city brand itself? The whole country believes we are a city of religious zealots who turn off streetlights and pee in the bushes! Nice.
Having owned a small business myself, and understanding the promotion required to stay alive for the first few years, I wondered what I would do with the 80 grand. Hire local photographers to take photos of our magnificent natural features and print 20,000 or 30,000 postcards. Buy some mailing lists within a thousand miles or so, and pay some middle schools whatever money is left to hand-write personal invitations with a waiver on sales or hotel taxes or something.
"We live in a postcard. Come join us!" No charge.
— Karl Knapstein
'It's a dump'
Seriously, what has to happen for a mayor to say something and stand up for something? I've been waiting for 25 years for someone with a backbone to be elected to office here, who is not afraid to work with the police chief and to open his (or in the case of Mary Lou Makepeace, her) mouth against the spread of gangland-style crimes in Colorado Springs, as well as the almost-daily child molestations and abuses that have become a signature part of the "Live it up!" lifestyle here.
Really, this place is pathetic. It's literally a dump almost wherever you look: trash, debris, refuse, garbage, littering almost every intersection and neighborhood; furniture and household junk thrown into every vacant lot. Crummy, ragged wood-slat fences, rotting, broken, spray-painted — it's really a mess here!
I mean, you can't continue just blah-blahing on your cellphones and ignoring the man-made, wall-to-wall garbage displays, the daily shootouts, bank robberies, home invasions ... and, best of all, the classy artificial-flower memorials attached to stop signs, commemorating drive-by victims.
Is it too expensive or controversial to spearhead an anti-dumping/beautification campaign?
Instead of covering up the natural beauty of the Arkansas River, why can't we interest Christo in covering up a few miles of South Academy Boulevard, North or South Nevada avenues, East Platte Avenue, Fillmore Street, lots of dumpy parts of the west side and the area surrounding Cimarron and Eighth streets?!
Seems like it's too difficult to address littering and dumping, so how can I expect any elected official to speak out against crime? I hope the Olympic Committee is proud to call this "home."
— Bernadette Young
After suffering through the umpteenth free infomercial — er, debate — foisted on the American public by the Republican Party, let me guess ... when it comes time for the general election, they will agree to no more than three debates, if that.
— Tom Rich
Be like NYC
As the crucial voting nears as to whether this Over the River project gets approved or not, I had to chime in. I had the extreme pleasure of being in New York for Christo's Gates. I was born and raised in that city, spending much of my youth in Central Park, my backyard. I still go back often but never have I experienced the overall feeling of joy and lightness as I did during that event.
The city was thriving, the energy great, the businesses humming, artists from all over the world thrilled with this new canvas to paint, photograph and draw upon for inspiration.
Any fears that had arisen prior to these events had been mitigated by the team Christo still has in place. One could imagine all kinds of frightening scenarios given the crowded and already highly charged city, but none came to pass. The opposite held true.
There's the old saying: "No guts, no glory." I say: Have the guts, go for the glory. It's truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Ask your questions, get answers, but don't put and hold fear at the forefront of your decision. There will be no truly justified cause for it when the plans are set.
Go for it. Vote for it. Enjoy the ride.
— Michelle Marx
Let art live
May the Over the River project flow as the water upon which she will engage us to and within a whisper of time.
And in that whisper, a significant transformation will enable the people to be together, collectively constructing and then reflecting on two of the most brilliant artists of our time's idea of beauty with nature.
Such as the flowing water lives, let Christo and Jeanne-Claude's art live, too.
— Bryan Lauch