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Back-to-school thoughts, no to Kum & Go, and retail marijuana sales



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Finding the failure

As a new school year begins, can we please hear no more about "failing schools"?

Schools do not fail. Schools are buildings and grounds. They can fail only if voters who hate taxes fail to vote for the funds necessary to keep them up-to-date — so the buildings get leaks, get unsafe, don't have modern equipment, supplies, books. The school building fails only if the voter fails.

Most teachers don't fail, but a minority of their students do. The rest of the students succeed, some marvelously. The teachers themselves have succeeded academically, and have passed certification requirements. A minority of teachers do fail to teach well, perhaps by lacking personal skills, but most of those soon quit. Most humans don't want to stay in a job in which they know they are failing, and most can't stand the dislike and disapproval of their colleagues.

So let's take a reality check and laud the public schools for doing a fantastic job, even while being smeared by tax-haters. Check out where Colorado voters stand nationally in the funding of schools and students. Abysmal.

Schools aren't failing. Voters are.

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Get 'em into class

Can someone explain to me, why it is felt necessary to give students and teachers 12 weeks' (or longer!) summer vacation?

My three teenage children are bored beyond belief, their brains are atrophying, and my wife and I are ready to scream.

It will take a full month, once they are back at school, to kick-start their young brains back into action and make them ready, once more, to learn that which they need to learn.

Meanwhile, the teachers who teach at our local schools are also having a hard time. Many of them take summer jobs, some to make ends meet, but many just to stop themselves becoming bored and their brains from becoming that of dullards.

Just when the rest of the civilized world is planning on shortening summer holidays to six weeks or less, to make their educational systems more competitive, we here in the U.S. are stuck in an old and outdated system which no one really needs or wants, and is doing serious harm to our children and their abilities.

It's time for change.

— Brad Baum


A west-side blight

Just a couple of questions for Michael Krys ("For Pepsi and porn," Letters, July 31). Do you live on the west side or in the Old Colorado City area? Are you serious about Kum & Go being a great name? Do you work for Steve Bach, his lackeys or any gas or oil company? Finally, why in the world do you insult Old Colorado City businesses?

If you lived in the area where Kum & Go is planning to construct the gas station/convenience store, you would know that the vast majority of the residents and the business owners are against it. By my count there are at least a dozen gas stations and convenience/24-hour supermarkets within a mile of the proposed site. It isn't needed or wanted.

As far as the name, it is terrible and insulting unless you enjoy sophomoric/gutter humor.

Old Colorado City has a rich history and a well-maintained business district. It draws tourists and locals to its diverse stores, restaurants, bars, lodging, public facilities and many festivals. It is the home of the historic Old Colorado City Carnegie Library, one of the oldest farmers markets, Territory Days, and First Friday ArtWalk to name just a few of its many attractions.

So if you really want a Kum & Go in Colorado Springs, why don't you work on getting one built next to your home?

— Pamela Koscumb

Colorado Springs

Banning the cure

Global canna-tourists will have one less stop on their route when retail stores begin popping up next year. The ban on retail stores selling marijuana will be just one more reason to skip Colorado Springs and head straight to Denver.

On the cusp of our mayor's initiative to spend millions on his grand downtown stadium, Olympic museum, etc., we need all the tax revenue we can get. Instead, the conservative do-gooders have lied to the public and propagandized retail marijuana as "reefer madness." Mayor Bach argues that opening retail stores (aka small businesses) would be a job killer. The last time that I checked, small businesses are the backbone of our still-struggling economy and the No. 1 way to create jobs.

As reported recently in the Gazette, the Pikes Peak region has not recovered from the great recession as well as the rest of the state. Now, presented with a chance to increase tax revenues by millions each year, our City Council declined the extra income with a bold statement to voters. The votes of hundreds of thousands of residents just became null and void in a single afternoon. Five people deciding that they know better than the citizens who voted this law into effect? I love the smell of democracy in the morning.

The bottom line is that the mayor is seeking ways to increase tourism. What better way than to offer legal pot to tourists who will flock to Colorado from around the globe in the coming years? They will buy, smoke, eat, drink, and return home to spread the word of how amazing the marijuana culture is in Colorado. Like it or not, people will come here to smoke. They just won't be spending their money in Colorado Springs.

— JP Morin

Colorado Springs

He's not impressed

Typical Bernie Herpin: Says nothing, no substance, and no original thought ("Put the guns down," Feature, July 31).

We don't need another Doug Lamborn type of legislator — i.e., "I've only had one bill signed into law — with the help of Democratic Senator Bennet."

— Gary Casimir

Colorado Springs

Trees of woe

Anyone who imagines that our National Security Agency (and other alphabet soup of spy agencies) restricts itself to building "relationship trees" of domestic and foreign activists is (to be polite) ignorant of history.

For over a century the U.S. has consistently supported the most corrupt, right-wing tyrants this planet has produced ... as long as they play along with U.S. corporate and strategic interests.

In nation after nation in Central and South America, our CIA and military have taught our allies how to tap into telephone, written and email communications. Relationship trees are automatically built for any union activist, left-leaning teacher, professor or philanthropist.

When the U.S.-orchestrated coup comes ... the (slightly left) president is murdered. In the purge that follows, anyone listed on those relationship trees is tortured or murdered.

Does this sound overwrought? Read up on the exploits of the graduates of the U.S. Army's "School of the Americas."

— Joseph Mitchener

Colorado Springs

Rattling the cages

To Mike Edmonds, chairman, board of directors, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: When I took my young family, including two grandsons, on a long-anticipated visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the first thing we encountered when entering the gate was a large "gay and lesbian" sign, which I interpreted as a demand on the part of the zoo for its patrons to think about homosex before enjoying anything else that the zoo had to offer. That is not what we went to the zoo to experience.

I have been a neighbor and visitor of the zoo for some seven decades, and I never expected it to participate in advancing political agendas that have no relevance to what I have always supposed the zoo's "mission" to be: "to maintain a zoological park."

I sense a very deep cynicism in that any individual supporter of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is free to donate funds anytime. Here, however, the board of directors of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, a very public institution, has made the corporate decision to promote a very private political agenda, an agenda that represents the most divisive rendering of American society in modern times. One has to wonder, how much money did the zoo receive to persuade it to place that sign at the front door?

I have no standing, other than being a member of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's admiring multitude, to question anything the zoo staff or board of directors might decide upon. However, I see a shallow contempt on the part of the board of directors toward the visitors who might not share your pecuniary interest in this political agenda.

— Whitney Galbraith

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: According to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo public relations manager Erica Meyer, the sign recognizes the donation of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado to help build the African Rift Valley.

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