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The West Side whining session

To the Editor:

As the owner of a home two blocks from the proposed Urban Peak teen shelter on the West Side, I've been monitoring the opinions floating around the neighborhood about the embattled project. I have the utmost respect for Urban Peak, and wholeheartedly support them in their activities. So, I figured I would go to a meeting of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) and find out what's going on.

Wow, what an experience. I went to last Thursday's meeting, only to feel like a vegetarian at a pig roast. After a general discussion about how kids today are up to no good because they are fundamentally different from "us" (I stayed out of the discussion, being the youngest person in the room), the agenda finally turned to Urban Peak. I was prepared to let folks know why I wasn't opposed to the plan but, lo and behold, I couldn't get a word in edgewise.

Instead of discussing what position to take and what strategies to pursue, OWN leaders reviewed the information they had obtained from Urban Peak and talked about why it was all lies. Then we were treated to a presentation on how the evil Independence Community Fund and the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado were bankrolling the project, and how the "liberal establishment" of Colorado Springs had the city government in their pocket (I must have missed the memo that announced this fact). Then everyone groused some more about how bad kids are, especially homeless kids who are all -- of course -- drug addicts (again, I missed this memo).

I ended up leaving before the meeting was over because I realized everyone else in attendance had already made up their minds. In fact, it wasn't so much a meeting as it was a whining session. I just want to let the rest of the city know that OWN does not speak for all West Siders--in fact I doubt they even speak for a majority. But in case anyone wants to help out in a war effort and hasn't been able to enlist in the War on Terrorism, OWN is waging a war against homeless teens and I'm sure the teens would love some help.

-- Stephen Raher

Colorado Springs

Tearing down the house

To the Editor:

We at the Housing Advocacy Coalition were glad to see John Hazlehurst's column exposing the City Council in their attempts to limit free speech in our community by changing the law on appeals of City Planning Commission decisions [Outsider, Oct. 11]. It should be mentioned, however, that our organization's purpose in filing an appeal on the Utilities Rail Spur was to show that the city's actions were not in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan, the Downtown Action Plan, or the zoning code. At the City Council meeting, our speakers did an admirable job of showing this, even in the face of harsh treatment from the mayor and her colleagues. They had their minds made up and behaved very unprofessionally. The mayor, in particular, was quite rude and even publicly questioned the mental status of one of our members. Her conduct was unbecoming of a public official of her standing.

Contrary to Councilwoman Radford's statement that HAC was being "deliberately obstructive" and had "no standing in the issue," we were speaking out against the continued destruction of affordable housing and supporting one of our members who was displaced from the home that her family had lived in since the 1950s.

One of the reasons rents are so high in our community is because City Council continues to tear down low-cost housing without replacing it, for example as in the Lowell neighborhood, Confluence Park, and now Mill Street. This has amounted to over 1,000 units lost in the last two decades.

If our group is not allowed to speak out for affordable housing, then who will?

--Kristine Wallace

President, Housing Advocacy Coalition

Colorado Springs

That 'lonely, withdrawn kid'

To the Editor:

One of the first features we both turn to in the Indy is John Hazlehurst's column. He is an astute observer of our community, and although sometimes brash, he has our best interests at heart. His tribute to Don Haney from the "lonely, withdrawn kid" across the street was warm and beautiful. We also enjoy his art reviews. This is a man who knows his stuff, in describing both the Alice Neel and the Cos Cob Art Colony art shows at Denver Art Museum. Let's hear more about his growing up years in Colorado Springs. Sledding down Unitah Hill seems unbelievable today.

-- Caroline and Harry Vulgamore

Colorado Springs

A conservative con

To the Editor:

When Gov. Owens recently signed the bill that provided financial assistance for low-income women with breast or cervical cancer, I'm sure he expected to become the poster child for compassionate conservatism in Colorado.

The problem is, the only way this attempt could qualify as a genuine act of compassion would require that our state Legislature would have drafted and sent to the governor a bill that included financial assistance for all uninsured Colorado citizens needing life-or-death medical treatment.

The fact that this bill provides help only for a particular group, a group very much in the public eye (deservedly so) -- coupled with the knowledge that such things as matching federal dollars and the like will make the program comparatively cheap -- is proof that the governor and his conservative cronies in Denver championed this bill for one purpose: to secure a block of votes they could never have gotten otherwise.

Apparently compassionate conservatism is still the same old conservative con.

-- Larry Feasel

Ramah, Colo.

God is patient

To the Editor:

Let us bomb our enemies with prayers. In reference to "How To Be Tough on Terrorism" [Your Turn, Nov. 1], if a creator or God made us, the same force made the Palestinians, Israelite, Muslims, etc. Jesus said the "Kingdom of God is with you." Therefore, there is heaven -- here and now, not when you die. If the God of Creator is Love, why not love them -- our so-called enemies? We all must act like we are God's children. How much better it is to love, than to hate. It should not be "an eye for an eye." I know my God is patient and for centuries has wondered why we don't act in Love. Only then will there be Peace on Earth as Heaven is here and now, and we need to wake up and help others.

-- Kay Partridge

Colorado Springs

Poke in the eye

To the Editor:

Regarding your Best of 2001 edition [Oct. 18, 2001], I found a couple of your assessments disturbing. It always amazes me how the Independent feels a need, no, a compulsion, to poke a finger in the moral eye of Colorado Springs. Why was there an editorial motivation to add Best Porn Site, along with the Internet URL address? And, of course, what logically follows after promoting obscenity in this paper but a slam against religious people with convictions.

Regarding your supposed "Readers' Poll Winner" for Best Thing Colorado Springs Could Do Without -- and that being "Religious Fanatics," I find the follow-up description intolerant, religiously bigoted, and morally discriminatory. The person explaining the reasoning behind this poll is a definite theophobe. Get over it, MB Partlow!

I'm curious. In a town of over 400 churches, which ones are fanatic? The megachurches? The African-American churches? All the Baptists? With over 50 Christian organizations represented here, which ones are fanatic? Focus on the Family, the Navigators, Compassion International, International Bible Society? And furthermore, what constitutes fanaticism? I mean, next to a fundamentalist Muslim, a fundamentalist Christian looks liberal!

According to the editorialist of the Independent, taking a stand on certain issues and voicing one's convictions is fanaticism. Does this apply to Freethinkers and liberals as well? Is there a "fanaticism" to get their message out and publicly accepted? I think so. Just because some people do not agree with pornography, homosexuality, atheism, feminism, or abortion does not make them fanatic. These are worldview differences.

And finally, the writer signs off by saying "Bugger off." This alone is an interesting phrase. According to Webster's Dictionary, the word "bugger" means "a sodomite or a contemptible person." The word "buggery" is a legal term used in England for sodomy. In another culture, it's a way of saying "up yours" or "F-you!" If you want to talk about "antagonistic zealots," don't blame the "religious fanatics." Try looking in the mirror, Partlow.

-- Tom Pedigo

Colorado Springs

Ed. note: The author is the president of the Colorado chapter of the American Family Association. We appreciate his obviously rich imagination, but shouldpoint out that the Oxford Dictionary of Slang defines the American usage of "bugger off" as a phrase, coined in 1952, that is "often used to convey contemptuous dismissal."

Last of the Best Of

To the Editor:

As a fifth generation local, who has only recently returned to live in Colorado but find myself for the time being in Denver, I do my best to keep up with you online.

I've thought for years you were the sole bright light beaming out from my hometown.

And now, as the brightest yet, your item in the "Best Of..." edition: Best Thing Colorado Springs Could Do Without: Religious Fanatics.

Brilliant! And right on!!!

Carry on!

--B. Little


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