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Let the sunshine in
Pam Zubeck's recent cover story ("Sunblock," Aug. 7) about the city's failure to move forward with solar gardens in Colorado Springs, should serve as a clarion call to its citizens and to anyone who hopes for a more sustainable energy future. It appears that our City Council and mayor buy into many of the myths set forth in deliberate campaigns to spread disinformation about renewables.
This week, Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute debunked those myths in a sweeping post on the institute's website (tiny.cc/rmi-debunk), revealing the widespread disinformation campaign as fraudulent, dangerous and journalistically unprincipled. Lovins says: "This misleading coverage fuels policy uncertainty and doubt, reducing investment security and industry development. Disinformation hurts the industry and retards its — and our nation's — progress. As Germany has shown, investing in renewables can grow economies and create jobs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions even in a climate as 'sunny' as Seattle. We just have to get the facts right, and insist that our reporters and media tell us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."
Thanks, Independent, and Ms. Zubeck for bucking the trend and publishing a more balanced and informative "truth" than the anti-renewables propaganda that frequently dominates media coverage.
— Kathryn Eastburn
Pam Zubeck's article ("Halting Lamborn," News, July 31) captures Irv Halter's ability to recite the Democratic Party talking points and his lack of credibility. For example Halter is quoted as saying that "if we believe subsidies are unaffordable for renewables ... why are subsidies OK for oil and gas exploration? If we want to have a discussion on subsidies, let's get all the subsidies on the table."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration has published federal electricity subsidies per megawatt hour. The data shows that solar receives $776, wind receives $56 while coal and oil and natural gas receive 64 cents per megawatt hour in federal subsidies.
The table is set!
— Dick Standaert
Editor's note: The figures cited above are from the Institute for Energy Research, whose president is a former lobbyist for Koch Industries and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. The IER based its math on an EIA report requested by three GOP congressmen who handpicked the criteria. And by way of caveat, the report's authors devote almost two pages to just some of the energy subsidies that were left out. For perspective: tiny.cc/subsidy-hist.
How sad that when certain people see the words "Gay and Lesbian Fund" their minds immediately turn to what letter writer Whitney Galbraith referred to as "homosex" — as if gay, lesbian and bisexual people are giant sex machines and not normal human beings who sometimes or always fall in love with people of the same gender ("Rattling the cages," Letters, Aug. 7). The point of the Gay and Lesbian Fund's work is to remind people such as Whitney that sexual minorities contribute wonderful, valuable things to Colorado, such as the African Rift Valley at the zoo.
What a loss to turn that message into an obsession with sexual practices rather than an appreciation of human beings.
— Amanda Udis-Kessler
The cage within
In response to Whitney Galbraith's letter, I find it truly sad that he is so trapped within the cage of judgment and fear that he cannot enjoy a trip to our beautiful Cheyenne Mountain Zoo without letting a mere sign rattle his cage.
Whitney, I just want to say, it's not your fault. You may hold a belief system that precludes thinking of gays as a part of society. That we earn money, have families, engage in the world around us. That those of us who choose to live in Colorado Springs enjoy the same things that you and your family enjoy, such as a visit to the zoo.
I did not choose to be gay any more than I chose to be white, or a woman or 5-foot-5. Although I am not affiliated with the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, I am grateful, beyond grateful, that they exist and that their mission statement reads, in part, "The Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado was established in 1996 to reflect the fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Coloradans are committed to Colorado's great quality of life and its future."
Being gay is not a political statement, it's a fact.
I'm grateful that the Gay & Lesbian Fund donated money to our zoo, a zoo that receives no public funding, that belongs to the citizens of Colorado Springs — all of its citizens, the gays, the homophobes, all of us — but my joy is not that much about who donated the money. I'm glad they donated the money because that exhibit is phenomenal!
Unlock the cage within, Whitney, and just enjoy the most unique zoo in the country because it's ours. All of ours.
— Cris Stoddard
Editor's note: For more on Galbraith's letter, see "Public display of objection," Ranger Rich, here.
World of hurt
Shame on you, Rich Tosches ("A dispatch from Crazytown," Ranger Rich, Aug. 7). People living with mental illness have enough stigma to contend with without a reporter of our supposedly "sensitive and liberal" newspaper using language like "Crazytown" and "scanning for crazy people."
— H. Lea Gaydos, Ph.D., RN
I, too, had the unfortunate experience of having to go to the Social Security office three times recently — a waste of many hours. However, with armed guards and bulletproof partitions, it's much safer than going to any bank in town! Banks practically invite people to rob them.
I challenge Ranger Rich to go to the downtown bus station and to the Citizen's Service One Stop Shop on Garden of the Gods Road. Seriously! These places make the Social Security office seem like the Broadmoor. And I'm confident that there's enough material there for several columns.
I wish the mayor, Colorado Springs City Council and even the nameless, faceless Olympic Committee were required to experience these places and to take the bus to work for one week out of the year — preferably in February.
— Bernadette Young
Trail to nowhere
It was with a great amount of anticipation that I logged on to take part in the Indy's "Best Of" voting. I gleefully entered my favorites in the "Nightlife," "Daylife," "Personalities" and other categories, and then ... I was done.
But wait! "I must have missed a category," I told myself. Where was the "Outdoors" category? I went back and looked for it, but nothing! How could this be? No "Best City Park"? No "Best Hiking Trail" or "Best Mountain Biking Trail"? How about "Best Views" or "Best Outdoor Photo Location"? Nothing!
Colorado ranks as one of the healthiest states in the country, with one of the lowest obesity rates. In the state, Colorado Springs ranks as one of its healthiest cities. The outdoor recreational opportunities in close proximity to Colorado Springs make for one of the city's biggest draws for tourists and residents alike and yet, somehow, there is virtually no mention of outdoor recreation in the (of all things) Best Of poll? How does that happen?
I cannot imagine that during the discussion at the Indy's offices for what categories to include in the poll, "Outdoors" did not come up. Worse yet, this isn't new. To my recollection, there has never been an "Outdoors" (or similar) category in the Best Of poll.
The Indy should be ashamed of itself for ignoring one of this city's biggest attractions in its poll. I hope next year's poll more appropriately represents Colorado Springs' attributes.
— Bob Falcone
It's just a name
I find it amusing that Pamela Koscumb has a problem with the name of a gas station called Kum & Go ("A west-side blight," Letters, Aug. 7). Her last name contains similar letters, but I'm not offended at all and do not propose a ban on any business based on a name. It is after all, offensive in the mind of the person that chooses to see it that way.
That being said, I love the name ... it reminds me of our social activities in the rock 'n roll '80s.
— Matt McMillan
Last week's news story headlined "'Elephant' in the room" incorrectly reported Constitution Avenue's western ending point. It ends at Paseo Road. We regret the error.