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Lamborn votes to give away public lands; the homeless, CSU and more

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Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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Stealing our lands

I'm a hunter, an NRA Life Member and, like over 70 percent of hunters in the western U.S., I hunt public lands. Hence, it's of great concern to me that less then two days into the 115th Congress, the House of Representatives (including U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs) voted to give away America's public lands and waters, recalculating the costs of public lands transfers and easing current restrictions for shifting their oversight to individual states or private interests.

"Some of our elected officials are wasting no time in paving the way to steal our outdoor heritage," said BHA President/CEO Land Tawney. "Buried in a litany of other measures is language ... that would make it easier to give away America's public lands. For sportsmen, this provision sticks out like a sore thumb. If it's a fight they want, they've got one coming — and I'm betting on public lands hunters and anglers."

Steven Rinella, author, hunter and host of the Sportsman Channel's Meateater, called the idea of land transfers "downright stupid ... [leading] to more gates, more industrial disturbance, and less wildlife. However, we're also encouraged that president-elect Trump, along with some courageous House and Senate Republicans, have broken from their party on this issue."

In the words of Randy Newberg, host of Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg (on the Sportsman Channel): "I'm not R or D. I don't belong to any party. Well, I do have a party: It's the Party of Hunting, Fishing and Public Access. Screw with that and I will direct the focus of my platforms your direction."

For more, see: "Our Public Lands: Not for Sale" from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (backcountryhunters.org/images/Public_Lands_Report.pdf) and Sportsmen's Access (sportsmensaccess.org).

— David Lien

Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Views on the homeless

Congrats on a job well done. I enjoyed the excellent articles re: the homeless population in Colorado Springs ("The things they carry," Dec. 21). The articles present them as real human beings, not just someone you want to hurry past on the street.

I was homeless five months last winter. My son and I lived in our cramped car with our dog. We felt lucky to have some shelter. I also worked for several years in programs sponsored by my church, aimed at helping homeless people.

Many people are on the streets and suffering. Homelessness, substance abuse, disability, poverty and mental illness are a sad reality of life. Many fine organizations provide services for people in need, such as food and clothing banks, help with substance abuse and mental illness, help with rent and utilities, haircuts and showers, etc. To name a few: ESM, Westside Cares, Marian House, Springs Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Urban Peak, etc. Please consider making a contribution or volunteering.

The new SRM shelter is a blessing. Many thanks to those who helped make this happen. I hope they get the resources they need for the planned welcome center, day/resource center and expanded kitchen-dining area.

I do want to bring up panhandlers. There are decent, compassionate, well-meaning people who give them money. Unfortunately, most of that money goes toward alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc. This feeds addictions. Bring someone a hot drink on a cold day, or a cold drink on a hot day. Or a hot meal. A simple gift of basic toiletries is appreciated. And socks, hats and gloves wear out quickly, living on the streets.

The bottom line is, everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.

— Catherine Marshall

Colorado Springs

CSU contradictions

During the last Utilities Board meeting, management gave a presentation to inform the board about attainment of emission standards. However, the data presented by CSU Health and Safety Officer Dave Padgett directly contradicted what CEO Jerry Forte told the board. Forte claims that CSU views air quality regulations as a minimum and aims to exceed requirements, emitting less sulfur dioxide (SO2, a lung-damaging gas) than allowed by law. But Padgett's data clearly showed that CSU plans to barely squeak by, emitting 99.75 percent of the allowable 2,000 tons per year.

Is this what Forte means by "exceeding?" He needs to be clear. Exceeding the regulated limit by such a tiny margin seems to indicate CSU in fact plans to do only the bare minimum.

Padgett's data is backed by the permit CSU requested, to emit 1,995 tons of SO2 per year. CSU will use its new $200 million Neumann Scrubbers to reduce its emissions from the 2015 total, 3,959.5 tons. Yet CSU claims these scrubbers can reduce emissions by 90 percent, emitting just 396 tons of SO2, far below the 2,000-ton limit. CSU clearly has the capacity to limit their emissions to a fraction of their goal — but are choosing not to. So how can Forte claim that his organization is exceeding the legal requirements? Is he lying, or just ignorant?

Either way, CSU is keeping both the public and their Utilities Board in the dark. Everyone deserves more information about why the publicly owned utility is choosing not to improve air quality for its citizens.

— Wendy Lindsey

Colorado Springs

Putin love

Gosh, doesn't it just warm the cockles of our hearts to see the loving relationship between the president-elect and Vladimir Putin? How sweet to hear that D.T. thinks Putin's decision not to retaliate after the U.S. imposed sanctions is smart and a "great move." How inspiring to see D.T.'s loyalty to Russia rather than the United States, his willingness to blatantly defy President Obama, to act as if he's in power before he is in office.

Trump's behavior is that of a traitor with the mentality of a 5-year-old, who seems to think he's a god who can say and do whatever he chooses, regardless of the harm to our country. I will never think of this disgusting person as president and I only hope he opens his ignorant mouth one time too many and is out of office ASAP.

— Sally Alberts

Monument

Mencken's theme

Perhaps we should delegate the final word on the 2016 election to the immortal H.L. Mencken: "Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule — and both commonly succeed, and are right."

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it, good and hard."

— Norm Bangeman

Pueblo

Hillary's prize

I have been reading the post-election letters in the Indy. The authors are hurt, scared, shocked and extremely disappointed.

I have a suggestion that might help. In keeping with the liberal thought process, we should give Hillary a participation trophy. There now.

Feel better? Want an orange slice?

— Bob Nicoll

Colorado Springs

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