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Two minutes and counting

To the Editor:

I attended and spoke before the Wildlife Commission on Thursday, Jan. 11, against the proposed "study" of the effects killing off coyotes has on the mule deer population.

First, let me point out the strategy of the commissioners. The "mule deer study" was over an hour late in starting because there was no time limit set for those speaking prior to this agenda item. The commission then told us they didn't have enough time to hear everyone speak because they had an awards ceremony to attend right afterward and they couldn't be late for that. So they gave us each only two minutes. Afterward, the commissioners took less than five minutes to approve the study, with only minor concessions, like eliminating aerial gunning the first year and agreeing to assimilate baseline data before proceeding.

It became obvious to everyone in the room that the only purpose of the study was to slaughter coyotes. Nothing else was possible. No valid scientific knowledge would be gained because: (1) nobody knew what the actual mule deer population was, so it would be difficult to prove it increases when coyotes are killed off; (2) a variety of other factors were not taken into consideration, including habitat, weather, overgrazing, hunting, etc., and would inevitably invalidate any conclusions; (3) deer populations have always been cyclical; and (4) many such studies have already been done, proving over and over that coyotes do not adversely affect deer populations. Why southwestern Colorado would be any different defies common sense.

This study is an effort by hunters and ranchers, cloaked under the auspices of "scientific research" and at a cost of $2 to $3 million dollars, to try to validate the ongoing vendetta they have against coyotes or anything they perceive as threatening to their livelihood. (Actual statistics reveal that, of all cattle losses, only 1.6 percent are attributed to coyotes.) The only people who spoke in favor of the proposed study were two ranchers and an outfitter, and even the ranchers pointed out the lack of baseline data for the study. They just wanted any and all predators eliminated.

Mule deer populations may or may not increase as a result of this 10-year study. But hunters and ranchers figure they have nothing to lose. So, although hunters and ranchers constitute less than 10 percent of the state's population, they seem to have 100 percent control of our wildlife management policies.

-- Jann Nance
Colorado Springs

Amazed again

To the Editor:

It truly amazes me how many people blame unnamed "narrow-minded" groups for King Soopers' decision to pull the Independent from its stores. Usually these same people are quick to let us know how much smarter they are than everyone else -- a typical liberal mindset -- yet don't understand that accusations need to be supported by facts.

I happen to disagree with about everything the Independent publishes, but I still read it. (I'll miss the Freethinkers column; I need a good laugh now and again.) King Soopers should carry it as it does a lot of other questionable publications. But, please, Independent, show a bit of editorial judgment and don't allow people to use your pages to make wild, unsupported accusations.

-- Tom Neven
Colorado Springs

The other ninty percent

To the Editor:

January 22, 2001 marked the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in this country. This decision was a defining moment in our nation's history. It was a decision that, for the first time, recognized a woman's constitutional right to true privacy. It enabled women to decide for themselves when and whether to have children. It brought an end to unsafe illegal abortions and the injuries and deaths that resulted. It defined abortion as a medical and moral issue, not a political one.

Roe v. Wade did not create abortion. It simply gave women the right to privately decide whether or not to have an abortion. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is so personal, so private that the vast majority of Coloradans believe that a woman should be able to decide what is best for her, free from government intrusion.

Since 1973, Planned Parenthood has been recognized as one of the country's leading providers of abortion services. While that is true, it's just ten percent of what we do. Ninety percent of our work is devoted to preventing, through our responsible sex education and family planning efforts, unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion. On this 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are proud to provide abortion services and proud to say that we do more each day to prevent the need for abortion than any other organization.

-- Cindy Shealy
Planned Parenthood

Oh, please!

To the Editor:

The Gazette just can't help itself. Saturday's (Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2001) editorial pages were filled with all the relentless Clinton criticism and accusations it could fit in, except for one token Tom Teepen column. Nice try. The Gazette and all the Clinton haters will continue the negativity and demonization long after the last dog dies.

This country is divided and will not heal as long as the hatred and venomous criticism of Democrats, liberals, progressives, environmentalists, minorities, homosexuals or anybody who is not a Christian evangelical or fundamentalist is constantly regurgitated in newspapers, certain churches, religious and conservative organizations, and on the television and conservative talk radio programs.

Republicans claim integrity, dignity, justice, fairness, honesty, inclusiveness and unity -- oh, please! Conservative Republicans have shown their true colors with eight-plus years of meanness and relentless pounding, therefore Democrats, liberals, etc. should see through the hypocrisy and not cave in to the compassionate conservative pretense. Where were they with their mantra to unite in the last eight-plus years?

Now that Republicans have their Supreme Court--appointed president, their arrogance shows through when they expect everyone to follow like sheep just because Republicans say so. Oh, but GOP stands for God's Own Party, so that makes all well.

How will you ever convince me that Republican conservatism is compassionate and cares about all people?

-- Jacqueline Marquis
Colorado Springs

Norton's in the House

To the Editor:

Every once in a while, Demoblican politicians actually do something that is worthy of commendation. George W. Bush's nomination of former Libertarian Party member Gale Norton as Secretary of the Interior is such an occasion.

Although Norton was actively involved with the Libertarian Party for only a brief period from 1979 to 1980, she was one of two finalists for the position of Libertarian Party national director and she was the Colorado state coordinator for the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate, Ed Clark, in 1980.

As a member of Bush's Cabinet, Norton should have many opportunities to teach our new president and her fellow Cabinet members about the U.S. Constitution, our individual rights that it was intended to protect, and what needs to be done to restore our lost freedoms.

She should be capable of explaining to them why our government must immediately cease its villainous roles as a gun possession infringer, income taxer, retirement plan administrator, drug prohibition enforcer, education monopolizer, business regulator, arts endower, foreign intervenor, migrant labor restrictor, political activities financier, etc.

What's the probability that the Bush administration's career, statist politicians will actually learn anything from her and then take actions to significantly reduce the size, cost and intrusiveness of government? I'm certain that it's almost exactly the same probability as it would have been if she had joined Clinton and his gang instead. That's why I'm a Libertarian.

-- Steve F. Gresh
Libertarian Party of El Paso County

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