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It's no joke

The "new and improved" all-male, all-white additions to City Council have decided the most pressing issues in our fair city are reversing streetlight fees and domestic partner benefits for city employees. Talk about turning out the lights on progress!

Several good things did come out of the April Fools' Day election, namely the re-election of Richard Skorman, the overwhelming endorsement of parks and open space, and Dr. Eastburn's election-night comment, "pathetic."

I wish it were but an April Fools' Day joke.

-- Tom Halfast

Colorado Springs

Silly little stunt

Here we go again.

Our fair mayor-elect, Lionel Rivera, has made it a "top priority" to repeal the City Council's decision to include same-sex benefits in next year's budget.

The major argument against same-sex benefits is that a disease like AIDS would overload the city's insurance. There are a couple of things wrong with that statement: first, gay, straight, male, female, white, black, Hispanic, AIDS does not discriminate! Second, AIDS medications (as stated by President Bush in his acceptance speech) are getting easier to swallow, both in size and in cost.

Another opposing argument is that by allowing same-sex benefits, you are giving special rights to gay couples. This would not give committed gay couples any more rights than a committed straight couple. Period.

This should not be an issue for a mayor of a city of our size! Here's a bit of trivia to help you realize how much of a nonissue this is. How many city employees have applied for the Council-approved same-sex benefits? Answer -- fewer than 10!

This silly little stunt by our mayor-elect to heighten his status with the majority by preying on the minorities in our community holds the potential of tearing this community in two (much like Amendment 2).

Don't let this happen again. Appeal to our community leaders to drop this, or to vote to uphold the Council's decision to include same-sex benefits in next year's budget! Write to the paper, call your favorite radio show, talk to the members of your church. Don't just sit there like we did just before Amendment 2.

Let's not waste any more time on an issue that some companies and municipalities in the United States have already approved, some right here in Colorado Springs!

-- Bob Rebello

Southern Colorado AIDS Project

Can't handle competition

Cara DeGette (hardly considered a pillar of the community) has set aside this special time to kick someone when they are down -- namely Chuck Baker. I am not surprised -- that is a normal tactic of yours and your rag.

From your diatribe in the March 27-April 2 edition of the Independent rag, you show your true colors. You blamed Chuck Baker for just about anything bad that has happened since he has been on the air. If he really were responsible for all the trials of our time, how come you and your warped thinking didn't embark on a mission to take out someone who didn't agree with you?

Ms. DeGette indicated some glee that G. Gordon Liddy and Michael Reagan were also gone. Perhaps she can't handle the competition. Of course, it would be expected that she would also include derogatory remarks from others just in case hers weren't personally destructive enough.

Ms. DeGette said, "In the past, Baker has always been happy to return phone calls from the Independent ... but not this time." No kidding, Lone Ranger. If Chuck Baker had done a "hatchet job" on you like you did to him and have done through the years, whenever the chance arose, would you be "happily" calling him? Spare me! Methinks you protesteth too much. Get a grip on reality.

Your vile description of Chuck is typical of the diatribes against anyone who disagrees with your dysfunctional view of the world in general, let alone specifically. The Independent claims that they are tolerant (to a fault) but that is a lie. If you agree with them, they will tolerate you but not if you disagree.

I should enlighten you about your paper. I only read it because it is free and I want to see what the left-wing liberals are up to. If you start charging, I will quit reading it. I don't like paying for garbage.

I was in Los Angeles in the '60s and this "paper" appears as an illegitimate stepchild of the old underground LA Free Press. Hint: This is not a compliment. Pity.

-- Mary Goulet

Colorado Springs

Delicious and nutritious

I think the article "Unhappy Meal," by Barry Yeoman (March 20-26) was way off base to say the least. I have been working as a substitute kitchen helper for Harrison District 2 since late January. It has been a very rewarding experience for me.

The school lunch program takes great care to serve good quality, nutritious food and takes into account calories, fat and other essentials. The guidelines are very specific right down to the amounts of the food served on the trays. The schools also keep track of food allergies and other related problems for individual students.

We do not serve whole milk. Regular milk is skim and chocolate is 1 percent. We employees get to eat a meal and I must say the food is excellent and well balanced. It is not excessively fatty or greasy. The meat is very lean. Besides, children need more fat in their diets to develop properly. Many of these "health nuts," as I call them, will not be satisfied until we all look like refugees from a concentration camp!

The vast majority of kids I see are not overweight. If it weren't for the lunch program, some kids would not have a decent meal, which is shameful in our country.

I also see nothing wrong with the commodities program. It's better the schools use this food than let it go to waste.

The schools can only do so much. It is the parents' ultimate responsibility to care for their kids, making sure they eat well, turn off their computers and games, and go outside and do things and play.

Your paper offers an important viewpoint to this community, but not when it publishes poorly researched hatchet jobs like this article.

-- Mike DiRosario

Colorado Springs

The Holy Trinity

While driving down Route 83 recently I happened to notice that the usual array of world flags at the World Prayer Center had been removed, and replaced by a trio of flags in repetition around the building. These were the flags of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, the three main components in the Iraqi invasion force.

I wonder, are these three nations the only ones on Planet Earth that are now deemed worthy for the utterance of prayers to the Christian God?

-- Dan Salamone

Colorado Springs

In bed with the press

I am a proud, twice-wounded, two-tour, Vietnam veteran (plus a July 1950-July 1951 tour in Korea). My experiences have admittedly affected my attitude toward the institutional press (ask any of my contemporaries). I would be happy if most "combat" reporters were to be reassigned to covering Little League baseball games -- oops! -- my apologies to the wonderful Little League organization.

Now a new word has entered the lexicon of the press: "embedded." Embedded? Is anyone else tired of hearing that word used redundantly in reference to every in-country news reporter?

Embedded? Sounds to me like a downright sexual innuendo -- on second thought, maybe it's a more appropriate word for the press than I had realized.

-- John K. Durham,

U.S. Army (Retired)

Colorado Springs

Going for the gold

There's a dark cloud over the world, hardly a revelation, and as a U.S. citizen, I'm enveloped in our handling of Iraq. I see the pictures, I hear the cries, and as much as a nonparticipant can, I feel the sorrow and uncertainty.

Our president says there is but one choice. His baby-faced soldiers follow orders, in their crisp battle dress uniforms, with high-tech equipment, against an enemy not always in uniform, many times ill equipped, underfed, and in disarray.

The casualties grow, and our listed on television, in newspapers and on Internet sites like medal counts at a summer Olympics. The United States is winning by most scores, but we are cautioned against overconfidence.

I'm immensely sad and ashamed. I'm involved in a personal and perverse game of who's right and who's wrong. I catch myself wanting the Iraqi people to be repulsed by our actions. I do not want justification for this war. I do not want weapons of mass destruction uncovered. I want reinforcement for my anti-war position.

There were early accusations that coalition prisoners taken by the Iraqi military have been beaten and some executed. ABC shows Iraqi video of recently captured prisoners. The ones they show appear unbeaten, but scared to death. One wide-eyed American captive could be the girl who just waited on me at Wal-Mart.

I watch the pictures from my couch. There is little else to see these days on television. My son runs outside to play. He's been more aggressive lately, in a fight with a neighborhood boy. I think of my road-rage incident the day before, of my uncommonly short fuse, of late.

Baghdad will fall, I'm convinced, but will any of us be saved?

-- Malcolm Allyn


Don't let this happen

I would like to speak out about gun safety. This is just as important as a fire drill or tornado drills.

In March of 2002, my oldest son accidentally shot my youngest son, Tyler, through the head with a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun. Ours was one of the very few luck stories that have a happy ending. Tyler is alive and doing well in preschool. His teachers say he may be ready for kindergarten in the fall. Tyler still has an impairment but can walk. He is starting to use his right hand again. Tyler still has a lot of therapy to make him recover to a normal child. My oldest son, Andrew, is now 8 years old. Andrew is seeing a psychologist once a week with me.

If everyone felt as strongly about gun safety as they do a fire drill or weather drill we could stop this from happening. Lock up your guns and rifles in a gun safe, or put a trigger lock on your guns. Keep the ammunition separately.

However, most importantly, talk to your children about gun safety, and what to do if your child finds a loaded gun. Don't let this happen to your family.

-- Barbara Lennie


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