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Willing to distort words

To the Editor:

I'm writing in response to Professor Tomi-Ann Roberts' letter about her woeful tale of air travel and racial profiling, "What We Have Become" [Your Turn, Dec. 20].

Let's see if I've got it right. On Professor Roberts' flight:

All the light-skinned people were smoothly processed and walked on board.

All the dark-skinned people had to endure the indignity of an additional search. As this occurred, all of the light-skinned people were experiencing "bystander apathy" (she knows about this) and did nothing.

All the dark-skinned people stood with their eyes down, staring at the floor, enduring this injustice.

Professor Roberts was the lone spokesperson for justice and cried out against this abuse. Alas her cries fell upon the deaf ears of the corporate monolith.

I wasn't there. Maybe this really did happen. But pardon me if Professor Roberts doesn't sound like someone trying to exaggerate reality in order to fit her liberal paradigm and convince others that we're falling into a totalitarian state. No doubt the Republicans are to blame.

Since 9/11 I've flown four times. I've seen people selected for random searches on each flight and have been selected myself. Never have I seen the racial segregation Professor Roberts mentions. If I were boarding a plane and someone began ranting, like Professor Roberts did, about racial profiling, conspiracy, injustice, etc ... I would want that person removed, too!

I'm sorry Professor Roberts' view of America is now jaundiced. But to conclude that future security precautions will only impact people with colored skin and will be a new manifestation of racism seems unfounded. To conclude that the greatest loss from 9/11 wasn't the 3,000-plus lives but, rather, the loss of human rights and dignity for people of color is pretty disingenuous.

If Professor Roberts really believes that having to step out of line at the airport for an additional security check is a loss of human rights -- a loss of even greater magnitude than that experienced by the victims and families of the 9/11 terrorists -- then Professor Roberts is either incredibly insensitive or is willing to distort words and language to the point that any semblance of truth is completely lost.

-- Ben Fromuth

Colorado Springs

Power and courage

To the Editor:

Please convey to Tomi-Ann Roberts, professor at CC, my thanks for her powerful and courageous article, "What We Have Become," in the [Dec. 20] Your Turn column.

And thanks for your equally courageous paper in that bastion of militarism and the religious right.

-- James A. Erdman, Ph.D.

Scientist Emeritus, U.S. Geologic Survey


Would have missed it

To the Editor:

Very glad that I picked up a copy of the [Dec. 20] Independent while heading out at the airport. Would have missed the news about the homeless teen effort entirely if I hadn't done so. Wonder how this interesting story slipped below the Gazette's radar?

Thanks to you all!

-- Matt Parkhouse

Colorado Springs

Look at the other side

To the Editor:

I am shocked at the amount of anti-growth propaganda that is represented in the Independent and in John Hazlehurst's column [Outsider, Dec. 13]. Why is the anti-growth attitude shown as the "popular" opinion in this city? Your article clearly shows that we really have not made any positive progress in this city or state. In 1974 the City of Colorado Springs commissioned a development and land-use study, which gave us a rough blueprint for the "success" of our city. Unfortunately, 30 years later we are faced with the same issues of poor transportation, poor business structure, bad politics, and an even louder voice in support of "no growth." Why? Why does Colorado seem behind the times? Most people don't realize that statistically Colorado is the third most likely state in the country to face a very severe recession. By not allowing such projects as the Red Rock Canyon development to continue, we are that much closer to another bust economy. I think the Independent should look at the views from the other side as well.

-- Jecoah Byrnes

Colorado Springs

Behind the curtain

To the Editor:

With the recent advocacy of Colorado Springs business groups for a downtown expressway, we are only a step away from assigning a face to the invisible hand that has been guiding this project.

Only a few years ago, the Constitution corridor was set for acquisition by the City as a greenway. City staffers convinced Council not to approve the acquisition. Then a new Council passed a resolution against any downtown expressway. City staffers cooked up a citizen-focused "East-West Mobility Study" (EWMS) to address the issue, using SCIP funding, and then engineered an agreement between Council and the EWMS to include consideration of a downtown expressway after all. Now the EWMS has come out against a downtown expressway, recommending the logical solution of improving Fillmore Street. At least the citizens recognize that our city is the sum of its parts, and it is wrong to destroy a part for the "greater good."

The "east-west" problem these last decades has been a myth.

The fact is, you can travel with impunity at rush hour on Constitution, Platte, Airport or Fountain.

It is Powers, Academy and Circle that back up. What we do have at Austin Bluffs and north is a northeast-southwest problem -- in a word: Briargate. Since development of the Banning-Lewis Ranch was tied up, the Colorado Springs center-of-population is now in Briargate. As B-L Ranch develops, we can finally expect a real east-west problem in 20 years.

[What's] troubling is that these facts are ignored by City staffers and their Potempkin study. They would confuse our low-capacity infrastructure with large-scale traffic patterns in an effort to stampede development.

Why put an expressway 200 yards south of Fillmore? Our business coalition seems not to care for loss of businesses along Fillmore as it finally withers into total obsolescence in the shadow of a downtown expressway.

The only benefit to plowing $100 million worth of concrete through the North End is to the contractor, and we must respect the influence such a figure can carry among Council members who are paid less than $5,000 per year.

Isn't it odd that we have a new Interstate 25 interchange for the Constitution-Centennial extension, planned before Council OK'd even Centennial?

Add those forces to a City staff that can afford to wait for a sympathetic Council to approve their requests for an expressway, and you can see why we must pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

-- L.L. Williams

Colorado Springs

From the inside out

To the Editor:

I know what fluorides do to the human body. A 40 percent body coverage of pure HF is a write-off; they wait for you to die from the inside out -- then put you in a body bag. I worked with many deadly chemicals and have seen first-hand what they can do. As an Incident Commander of the Emergency Response Team for a local semiconductor manufacturer, I led a team in level A suits to fix a leak in a pump that supplied raw HF and two people went to the hospital after being exposed to fumes.

Hydrofluoric acid attacks the calcium in bones so they become brittle and break apart. Calcium shots are the only way to control the exposure and are very painful. Poisons should not be put in our water supplies!

-- Douglas Hansler

Colorado Springs

Playing politics with health

To the Editor:

Once again, the Colorado Department of Health and Governor Owens are playing politics with the health and lives of women in this state.

Thousands of low-income women in needy communities across Colorado will lose access to vital reproductive health care because of yet another interpretation of the Colorado Constitution by the politically motivated Department of Health.

As in 1999, Department officials have once again manipulated the fact and interpreted Colorado's Constitution to meet their political agenda.

The latest attack by the Department is not an attack on Planned Parenthood; it's an assault on women who are seeking the very services that prevent pregnancies and the need for abortion. In Colorado Springs alone, 1,302 women will be the targets of this irresponsible and wholly unreasonable decision.

Planned Parenthood has made the decision to put our patients and reproductive health care needs first and not to pursue legal action.

While Department officials are willing to leave these women out in the cold and while the governor appears to be turning his back on them, Planned Parenthood will not.

In a recent poll, 84 percent of Colorado voters support Planned Parenthood's receiving public funding to provide family planning to low-income women. The Department of Health is not, as officials say, supporting the will of the people. They have hidden behind a political agenda and they are hurting the women in our state who are most in need of their help.

Governor Owens and the Department of Health are playing political games with the health and lives of Colorado women. Thirteen thousand low-income women from across the state turn to their local Planned Parenthood for critical care. Where are they supposed to go beginning Jan. 1?

-- Barbara Jamesr

Colorado Springs

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