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Doesn't miss him

I appreciate Cara DeGette's update (Public Eye, Jan. 16) on departed District 11 Superintendent Ken Burnley

The consistency of his leadership and professional contributions show how underwhelming he has always been. Yet he had many who never saw that he was no more than the Wizard of Oz.

He has a penchant for surfacing where the resources and power are and the dictator's tendency to simply pillage while building a cadre of administrative sycophants feeding at the public's trough to assure minions to protect his version of affirmative action for himself.

-- Delia Armstrong-Busby

Colorado Springs

Flicking the lint off

The final line of the Public Eye column about Kenneth Burnley ("the paucity of the little people must be so difficult to grasp") hit the proverbial nail on the sore, hot head.

That was pretty much why the "Mad Mamas" and the subsequent Parent Empowerment movement came out swinging and wouldn't settle 'til the "Doctor" was out of here.

I once asked Burnley face to face, "How much is enough? When do you consider yourself paid enough, not squeezing more for yourself out of us?" He did not dignify my question with any response, instead brushed lint off his Italian suit.

When Ken first got to Detroit, he created a slew of executive directors for accountability -- $2 million dollars a year worth of scapegoats. The guy is better at ripping us off than we are of suspecting him.

Ken has gotten quite wealthy over the past 20 years. And the kids he ripped off to feather his nest were and still are those that stand to gain the most from a decent education. Oh well, guess he needed a top shelf something or other more than a child needed to learn basic skills.

Thanks for keeping us posted. Gotta go and get my blood pressure down; that column brought back a bunch of bad memories!

-- Toby Norton

Founding Director,

Parent Empowerment Program

Colorado Springs

What the Bible teaches

As a landlord, I strongly support the plan introduced by Rep. Bill Cadman to expedite the eviction process ["Power Play," News, Jan. 16-22].

Currently tenants who know how to play the game can stretch out the rent-free time for up to six weeks after being told that their rent is overdue. After obtaining a judgment, I go to see the sheriff and schedule an appointment two to three weeks out for a peace officer to be present at an eviction. Until that deputy shows up at the apartment four to six weeks after the rent is overdue, I have no legal right to reclaim my property. I do, however, maintain an obligation to continue my mortgage payments.

Eviction is a last resort for a landlord. I am faced with lost rental income, court costs and expenses to remove tenant belongings and to clean the apartment. I try to be compassionate, especially since my apartments are all rented inexpensively to lower-income tenants.

I understand the fragile state of the economy, and how a car repair or doctor bill could wipe out the money set aside for rent. I work with tenants to set up payment plans and turn to eviction only when everything else fails.

The Bible teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I will love the tenants, but not enable them.

-- Chris Fallis

Colorado Springs

Let's start over

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 to give up?

Having once been a nurse for almost 15 years, 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

Colorado Springs

Soiling our nest

The recent article ("Messing with frogs'" Jan. 16) by Jim Hightower, made critical revelations on the effects of atrazine, but didn't go far enough.

In fact, there are a plethora of estrogen-imitating chemicals polluting our environment, ranging from those (e.g., PCBs) embedded in the plastics we use every day, to other chemicals (e.g., bisphenols, organochlorines) that have similar effects. They are responsible for everything from multiplying hermaphroditic animals (alligators and many other species are affected too) to drastically lowered human sperm counts, and increased breast and prostate cancers. Many of these chemicals pass directly to newborns via lactation, as has been noted by Deborah Cadbury in her book The Estrogen Effect: How Chemical Pollution is Threatening Our Survival (St. Martin's Press, 1997).

As Cadbury notes also, the danger multiplies dramatically the more fat one carries since these chemicals are lipo-philic (literally "fat-loving"). Thus, they are more easily stored in fat to wreak their havoc. Another good reason to steer clear of high-fat junk foods.

The greatest danger of these chemicals to humans goes beyond infertility, impotence and cancers. It includes, according to Cadbury, "profound and severe abnormalities in brain development" in the very young. This can lead directly to diminished intellectual ability and social adaptability. The authors cited by Cadbury assert that over time, this can even alter the nature of human societies.

In other words, these chemicals make us so maladaptive overall that we may face an "insidious erosion of the human species."

It's time now to stop fouling our planetary nests, or live with the horrific consequences.

-- Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Three-legged stool

As a point of information to those who may not fully understand how a symphony orchestra operates:

Think of a three-legged stool: One leg is the board, whose responsibility it is to raise money; another is the management, whose job it is to manage, market and develop the organization. The musicians are the third leg; their job is to play the music.

If one leg breaks, the stool becomes unstable; if two legs break, the stool tips over. In the Colorado Springs Symphony, two of the three legs are broken. The musicians are the only leg of the organization that currently remains intact and unbroken.

-- Diane Merrill, President

Pikes Peak Musicians Association

Uncivilized times

An open letter to the Board of the Colorado Springs Symphony Orchestra:

It is clear that you have acted in a reckless -- indeed feckless -- manner. Your record is one of confusion, lack of leadership, resignations, hiring/firing and fiscal irresponsibility. You have (not permanently, I hope) ruined a superb orchestra, the major cultural organization in our city. You have insulted and injured the loyal audience and, perhaps even more important, the professional musicians of the CSSO.

The Board's attitude suggests an anti-union sentiment that I thought had diminished, at least in civilized communities. No professional orchestra in the United States operates under the conditions that you have proposed to the CSSO. Colorado Springs will rise up to support the musicians and their representatives, The American Federation of Musicians.

-- Thomas W. Ross

Colorado Springs

Show us the money

In view of the draconian measure the CSSO has initiated, i.e., filing of Chapter 11, effectively taking food off the table for many of the symphony musicians, they should make available to the musicians a full accounting of the income and expenses for the past year. This may shed some light on their actions, will provide an opportunity for meaningful input from those most affected, and they may find ideas from this input that will help to solve this crisis.

-- Allen Hermann

Colorado Springs

Fuzzy speechmaking

I find Daryl Hykel's naivet is par for the course in these ultra-patriotic times [Letters, Jan. 16-22].

Writer Bob Krejci hit much closer to the mark in last week's letter, "When it suits them."

Long-standing fallacies aside, an examination of U.S. actions since WW II demonstrates a pretty clear pattern. Unfortunately, a fine ideal such as democracy doesn't even make a blip on the radar screen in D.C. when dealing with foreign entities. It makes for warm and fuzzy speechmaking, but for little else. For example, our government's recent faux pas in celebrating, and possibly instigating, the short overthrow of Venezuela's democratically elected president, Hugo Chavez, by the military. For a synopsis of U.S. abuse of power, I recommend Rogue State by William Blum.

Ultimately, our actions serve less altruistic purposes, but rather, demonstrate a need for control and power over the wealth of the global economy, which, in turn, requires control over populations, and the elimination of competition and resistance (read: commies and terrorists).

Just as in chaos theory, where a very simple rule can lead to a mosaic of complex patterns, simple human motivations for personal gratification and security, distorted by obsession at the highest levels, leads to the complexity of world economic and political behaviors of our beloved government.

Rest assured, whatever transpires in Algeria, they are only a pawn in a much larger game.

-- Dan Marvin

Colorado Springs

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