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Illegitimate comment

To the Editor:

The following is an open letter to KRCC station manager Mario Valdes: Many of us in this community are shaken by the murder of Jocelyn Sandberg. Those of us who knew her will agree that no matter what she did, be it usher for our theater productions, volunteer to help build sets, host a radio show, or bake a pizza, she did it 100 percent with gusto and enthusiasm. She would never look down her nose at others.

I was astonished, angered and completely disgusted with a remark made by you in the Sunday Gazette. The paper states: "Previously, she had worked in coffee shops, pizza joints and bakeries. She had a job making pizzas at Poor Richard's Restaurant for years." Then it quotes you as saying, "This is the closest thing to a legit job she ever had."

I think you owe about 80 percent of your listeners an apology since many of them work in those fields. I can't believe anyone involved with a nonprofit enterprise would think that anyone making an honest living could not be legit. Implying that people who work at Poor Richard's are somehow less legitimate is so wrong. Especially since that establishment is one of your financial backers. Your comment was rude, callous and denigrating to a great many honest wage earners.

By the way, Mr. Valdes, the pledges that Upstart Performing Ensemble has made during your donation drives the last few years was money mostly earned by me selling flowers on the street corner. Rest assured that we will not be making anymore donations or pledges to KRCC until I get a more legit job.

-- Tony Babin, Artistic Director

Upstart Performing Ensemble

Colorado Springs

Crying "Uncle"

To the Editor:

I had an uncle who would borrow money from me every year, although he had income from a theme park and several other investments. He was so involved in charity work that he never took on a job. He just borrowed from me and other family members.

In 1982, I was in the U.S. Army. Although my pay was low, I found that I could send my uncle a check for $51 per month. Within about 5 years, I had received a promotion. My uncle was still living off his investments and my donations, and he asked for an increase in my charity to $71 per month.

Sure, I said. I love my uncle and want to help him out. Again I sent a check. Eventually, I was sending my uncle over $1,800 per year! My wife asked what we were getting for our $1,800? So I asked my uncle what we had accomplished with all of my charity over the past 20 years.

Instead of getting a list of "good deeds," my uncle handed me a bill for $5,900! My uncle stated that in spite of my generosity over the years, he always had to spend a "little bit more" than I had given. And over 20 years, his credit card debt had grown from just over $1,000 to over $5,900.

I asked why I had to pay $5,900 toward his debt? He said it was not his debt, but my debt! But uncle, I pleaded, I believed in you! He merely smiled and said, "Pay up." And if I did not pay I would go to jail, my home would be confiscated, and my children would need to pay off his excessive spending.

To put this story in context, my Uncle Sam is the U.S. government. And I am the average American taxpayer. Just add nine zeros to the figures above and you have the reality of the American tax system. The American taxpayers "donated" $618 billion in 1982 and now pay over $1.5 trillion per year. In spite of receipts that are 2.5 times higher, our federal debt has risen every year from $1.1 trillion in 1982 to over $5.9 trillion today.

May I suggest a class-action lawsuit by all American taxpayers against the U.S. Congress? Better yet, throw out the Republican and Democrat thieves that put us in debt. Vote Libertarian this fall.

-- Biff Baker

Colorado Springs

More Libertarian rhetoric

To the Editor:

My response to Richard Hiatt's disgust at Gale Norton's leadership of the Dept. of Interior ("James Watt in a Skirt," Your Turn, April 18) is "What did you expect?"

For years, Libertarians have been trying to convince Democrats and Republicans that the federal government has too much power. This is a perfect example. When the feds used their force to do as he desired, Mr. Hiatt was probably quite pleased (at others' expense). But now that the tables have turned, he cries, "Foul!" Sorry bud, but those are Washington's rules.

Here's a thought: If we want the environment to be cared for in a manner to our liking, then let's voluntarily give financial support to groups that buy land and conserve it for us and/or tenaciously sue entities that hurt us when they abuse it. There is a lot less overhead and things actually get done in a timely manner. And if we ever disagree with their approach to land use or litigation, we just stop giving. How simple and efficient!

Oh, but wait. We have allowed the feds to take so much money in taxes that we do not have enough left to give to those groups. Oh, and the feds have gained control of so much land over the years, and they aren't about to release it.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Environmentalists have successfully lobbied government to dilute private property laws and increase land regulation so that even if environmentally conscious groups did secure land for our desires, we wouldn't really control it anyway. Such is the result of giving government too much power.

One last point: The contempt of court charge dangling before the Bureau of Indian Affairs is not of Ms. Norton's making as Mr. Hiatt wants to imply. This bureau has mismanaged this fund for decades.

The original court order to produce documentation began with the Clinton administration. Mr. Babbitt and his group dragged their feet up to the 2000 election. When Democrats lost the White House, they simply put the effort on the back burner until their tenure was up and dumped it in Ms. Norton's lap.

Finally, one brave and pissed off Native American woman took them to court and is winning!

-- Steve Adams

Colorado Springs

Root a toot-toot

To the Editor:

Sounds good when Councilwoman Judy Noyes says she has "no intention of creating a committee that would censor and control" what goes on at the City Auditorium [Letters, April 11-17]. Well, we know where the road which is paved with good intentions leads to.

I would like to ask her exactly where this "interest" in "encouraging more use of the facility for cultural activities" is coming from? With all the racket from this nonissue, I cannot hear the public outcry for more culture.

I hope my three minutes of silence, when I also applied for the council seat Ms. Noyes now holds, as an arts advocate, hasn't fallen on deaf ears.

All this could be me, just blowing my own horn!

Atomic Elroy

Colorado Springs

Battle of the billboards

To the Editor:

The purpose of this letter is to request that you and your readers urge Governor Bill Owens to veto House Bill 1269, which would relax billboard rules of the state and create more visual pollution.

Legislation to abandon billboard controls on "moving parts" has passed the Colorado House and Senate due to the clever arguments of the powerful billboard industry. Now HB 1269 has one last chance for defeat with a veto from Gov. Owens.

The most objectionable provision would allow "trivision" billboards with multiple rotating faces. Trivision billboards have never been allowed by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

There are three compelling reasons to veto the bill. First, trivision billboards would be an environmental insult by adding clutter and blocking scenic vistas. Second, trivision billboards would make highways more dangerous by distracting drivers even more than currently. Ironically, the Colorado Department of Transportation devotes significant resources to improve the safety and appearance of our highways and this bill would diminish those laudable efforts.

Third, trivision billboards, if permitted, would increase transportation budgets in the long run, since highway realignments might eventually force their removal at great expense.

The governor needs to recognize a veto would be popular. New billboards are banned now by over 60 percent of the 20 largest counties and over 80 percent of the 20 largest cities in Colorado.

Regarding existing billboards, as opposed to new ones, virtually all the key counties and cities prohibit billboards with moving parts, like trivision. While state legislation would not supersede local prohibitions, many parts of the state remain vulnerable.

Citizens should contact Governor Owens to stop visual pollution and Keep Colorado Beautiful. There are four ways to contact the governor; the easiest is to call at 303-866-2471. The assistant will ask your name, county, bill number and whether you support or oppose the bill. Why not call now? It will only take a minute, literally.

Next easiest is to send an e-mail to He has been getting copied on e-mails from Scenic Colorado that were sent to senators and representatives about this bill. He has also heard from some of you during the legislative process. He is now our only hope for defeating this bill.

The third way is to write a letter and fax it to him. The fax number is 303/866-2003.

Finally, a postal letter can be sent to Governor Bill Owens, 136 State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203-1792.

-- Larry B. Barrett

President, Scenic Colorado

Colorado Springs

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