In response to last week's cover story, I am a white male, 50 years old and a little overweight. Recently I gave myself a haircut, resulting in some spotting. Last week a cap came off a front tooth. Should I fear alien abduction?
-- Biff Morehead
Call in the mayor
The Colorado Springs Symphony deserves national headlines, but not of the type it is now receiving. Under Lawrence Leighton Smith -- a former teacher of mine, and still my hero -- it is performing at a level few communities in the nation know anything about.
Now this great institution is threatened. I picture a dedicated group of volunteers pitted against a gifted group of musicians led by a gem of a conductor in defense of an orchestra -- and it is the wrong image. There are indeed villains in this struggle, but those villains should be called by their proper names: indifference, apathy, detachment and despair.
When we faced a similar crisis with the San Antonio Symphony five years ago, a group of business leaders, politicians and foundation heads came together to offer a total of $5 million as part of a workout plan.
They were not music lovers for the most part; they were community leaders who cared deeply about the future of San Antonio. It was an exceptionally generous offer, but the San Antonio Symphony is an exceptional asset to San Antonio. In fact, it is an irreplaceable centerpiece of the culture. The San Antonio solution was not a perfect one, and not all of that orchestra's problems are over, but it was a solution. It allowed us to keep our great orchestra.
Few orchestras have escaped serious financial pressures in recent times. Who should take responsibility for support of the Colorado Springs Symphony?
I suggest starting with political, business and foundation leaders. When orchestras have survived scares in other communities, this is the only way it has ever worked. As a few key leaders stand up and show their uncompromising determination to offer all they can -- and all that is needed -- pressure will mount on everyone to participate. In San Antonio the initiative was taken by the mayor, the head of the largest foundation, and the CEOs of the largest companies in town. This is what is required to get things rolling. Now is the time to see this happen in Colorado Springs.
-- Christopher Wilkins
former music director,
Colorado Springs Symphony
Signs of health
Signs of health
Contrary to the misguided claim by some business leaders that the recall of unresponsive and arrogant county commissioners is "bad for the economy," I believe it reflects a vibrant and concerned citizenry, a citizenry that cares about the preservation of democratic processes. It requires a government in which citizens have a voice in the decisions about taxation as well as the appearance of their community.
It shows that citizens in Colorado Springs and El Paso County are not asleep or indifferent to their responsibility to safeguard their right to vote and their obligations to determine the community values and guide the elected officials in fiscal as well as aesthetic community policies.
These are signs of a healthy community that can attract business and promote the well-being of the business environment.
-- Jim Alice Scott
Democracy in equal doses
I moved here six years ago, after my husband died, to be near my kids. I was a nurse before I became disabled. I always vote in every election. I thought I lived in a democracy where every vote counted.
In the last election I did not vote for a new jail. I realize prisoners need to be incarcerated, but thought it would be cheaper to buy a vacant building and utilize that. But it seems the county commissioners don't belong to the democracy. They went against the people's wishes and decided to build a new jail anyway. The beautiful parks and the wild animals in them can't voice an opinion when their budget is cut. The health care is cut for people who need it, and the public transportation system funds are cut again so disabled people will not be able to go anywhere.
Do the people who have two cars and the money for campaign donations ever realize what it would be like if they were denied the rights that the disabled and the senior citizens are going to have give up?
Having once been a nurse for almost 15 years and then finding out that I had multiple sclerosis was a great big shock. So I know the benefits of a two-car family. But I also know how beneficial good health care is. You never know what's going to happen tomorrow!
I hope the people get out and vote in the next election. Let's start over and elect all new people and ask to see credentials that show they have some political science education in their background. That way they should know that the government is "of the people, by the people, and for the people" -- regardless if they ride the public transit system, or have a two-car garage.
-- Iva Wolverton
disabled senior citizen,
One of the longstanding fallacies of left-wing dogma is the assumption that political revolutionaries are always the victims and American support for regimes battling insurgency is immoral, as evidenced by Jim Hightower's recent diatribe against U.S. support for Algeria's campaign against Islamic radicals.
The atrocities perpetrated against the Algerian people at the hands of these terrorists border on the unspeakable. Human Rights Watch observed that armed revolutionary groups have killed thousands of their countrymen at random and reports of guerillas "often abducting young women to be held in sexual slavery in guerilla camps" (http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/mena/algeria-election-0499.htm).
Perhaps Mr. Hightower would prefer that we withdraw support for democratically elected government of Algeria in favor of an Iranian-style radical regime (whom the people of Iran are still trying to rid themselves of) -- after all, that's what Jimmy Carter managed to do ...
-- Daryl Hykel
Pets aren't human
An open letter to Kathryn Eastburn in response to her Jan. 2 Domestic Bliss:
Don't do what I did.
When we think of our pets as human, or having human qualities, they suffer. When my old cat got sick, I called a vet, who gave her a steroid injection for that illness. She started romping and playing like a kitten, which she hadn't done in years, and I said that to the vet. "Oh, that's just the steroids giving her some relief from her arthritis." I hadn't realized she got fat years before because arthritis made it too painful for her to run around and get exercise. I had just thought of her as "you old fattie."
It breaks my heart to know that dear, affectionate, undemanding companion spent years in crippling pain simply because I thought of her as a fat old lady instead of an animal that needed to see a vet.
Kathryn, your cat is not an old woman, waking in the night because she's thinking of death; she's a cat, and she's suffering. Chances are good if a vet can't cure her, she can at least be treated, and if not that, the worst discomfort can almost always be relieved. The rest of you, if your old pet's behavior has changed, call a vet. There's almost always a physical cause, and these days, there's a lot that can be done about it.
While I'm on my soapbox ... spay and neuter them! The fights, shortened life spans, health problems, and warier, less happy temperaments that come with animal hormones aren't worth the few (if any) chances per year they might get to mate and produce more unwanted puppies and kittens.
(And Kathryn, see a doctor about your insomnia. It probably doesn't come from a major health problem, but chronic sleep deprivation can cause them.)
Thanks for the chance to rant,
-- Dee Levin
I just wanted to send a note of thanks to the Independent for kindly giving me (ColoradoGuy.com) publicity on the Personal Space in July.
I got a large and sustaining bump of hits from that plug and for what it's worth, I linked the Indy on my "Year in Pictures" page: http://stevegarufi.com/2002pics.htm. If all goes well (and that's my intention), ColoradoGuy.com will be going national in 2003 with a hilarious TV show based and filmed in beautiful Manitou Springs!
-- Steve Garufi
When it suits them
Re: the Jeremy Keymer piece [Your Turn, Dec. 26, 2002]:
So satisfying to read such rational observations! The United States government has been so successful ranting about democracy everywhere while supporting all the autocratic, totalitarian states around the globe when it suited them. Just where is Osama? Well, blood is thicker than water and we all know that oil is thicker still. The bin Ladens and Bushes are both partners in the Carlyle investment group, reaping millions in oil and defense contracting stocks. Poppy himself made $18 mil off of a $7,000 gift of Global Crossing stock while the media feasted on Martha Stewart.
The WTC bombing could have been averted the same way the Italians seem to handle hijackers -- by sending fighter aircraft to ground the jets. We had the radar, communications, and everything the Italians do, yet did nothing. Bush simply celebrated his "trifecta" and opened the damn floodgates of federal spending, building up deficits and looting the American economy again (in case we forgot S&Ls, RTC and Enrons).
I'm approaching 50 and I've lived my life through the manufactured fear of a bogus cold war with Russia. My wife grew up under Soviet occupation. Neither of us understands the ridiculous American psyche. When will the media start reporting some honesty?
By the way, the definition of fascism is a government controlled by corporations who value patriotism over individuality. Remember this.
-- Bob Krejci