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Matter of taste

When I first saw the Consumer Correspondent I wasn't sure what the hell it was. Never saw anything like it. I immediately was engrossed, laughing, and watch for it in every issue.

Whether or not it's his own idea, Kenneth Cleaver is making it a very funny, irreverent spoof indeed. And I usually pick up a word or two for my own vocab archive.

As for the person who wrote in and complained in a letter to the editor, the humor isn't for everyone. Matter of taste. Case in point, I find the Meuller panel dull and witless most of the time. I guess the only thing Ken has to worry about is running out of people or companies to write to.

-- Jim Berry

Colorado Springs

Walking and chewing

In regards to the Jan. 15-21 article "Driving blind," and the tragic death of Vince Miller, I think Terje Langeland did a good job presenting both sides of the story.

It sounds like the bus driver, Mr. Harry Wallace, while far from being a perfect person, was someone who took pride in his job and was very helpful to people needing assistance on the bus. Mr. Wallace had nearly a perfect record while at work, and I don't believe his deferred sentence for driving while impaired (off the job) is relevant.

Driving a bus through the very busy streets of Colorado Springs is hard enough without also having to keep your eyes on all the passengers, and trying to see where they are at after exiting the vehicle. I think Mr. Miller had the responsibility to wait for the bus to leave the intersection before he proceeded to move.

While these accidents are extremely rare, you can give 10,000 people a stick of bubble gum and one person will likely choke to death. Unfortunately this was a very tragic accident, but I think after reading the article and going through the facts, I would give Mr. Wallace his job back.

-- Doug Roman

Colorado Springs

Mere pipsqueeks

Re: Last week's Outsider

I believe Mr. Hazlehurst has an excellent idea in demanding the super rich donate their money and/or possessions to the people of Colorado Springs. However, I think that he sets his sights too low. Why muck around with the likes of Donald Trump or Bill Gates? They are mere pipsqueeks compared to the United States Congress. Over the past three years they have been throwing money here, there and everywhere. So why not The Congress Auditorium ... The Congress Arts Center ... The Garden of the Congress?

-- David Kuehler

Sydney, Australia

Growth is taxing

City Council will likely approve a 5 percent-plus utility rate increase on Jan. 27. In conjunction with the 7 percent annual rate increases projected over the next five years, this can be appropriately called a growth tax.

This year's budget alone includes $27 million for electric infrastructure expansion to serve our growing east side. This growth tax should be considered in conjunction with some of the other costs our community (local residents) incurs in the name of growth.

For decades city and county leaders have made decisions based on what is now known to be a myth: There is an economic bonanza from community expansion. In doing this math, our community shouldn't ignore the cost side. A few examples: Colorado Springs Utilities' projected capital budget over the next eight years amounts to $17,751 per existing city household.

The estimated city/county road backlog is $5,000 per household -- $3,000 per household is estimated just for Powers Boulevard improvements.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. For too long we've ignored these costs, in effect practicing voodoo economics -- making growth appear to be a winning investment. Today, the evidence is too strong to ignore. It's critical we stop distorting natural market forces with our growth subsidies, as this compounds our infrastructure backlog and hurtles us faster toward a real water crisis.

This rate hike may be a done deal, but let's make it the last growth tax we approve. City leaders are starting to talk the talk about accurately assessing growth for its costs. Now it's time to walk the walk. From this day forward, let's require that new development cover its true costs to the community. Quid pro quo: our leaders step up to this challenge, and then we'll pass the 1 percent RTA tax to clean up a transportation infrastructure backlog that never should have developed.

-- Dave Gardner

Colorado Springs

Getting away with murder

Murder most foul is murder unsolved as far as our Colorado Springs police are concerned. No statute of limitations applies to murder yet; over the years, the CSPD's old homicide files "cold cases" have gathered enough dust to fill a mine shaft.

Whatever our police may say to the contrary, no one at the cop shop routinely investigates old, unsolved homicides and has not done so since Elvis gyrated to "Jail House Rock."

The appropriate decision maker in our city's otherwise excellent police agency ought to reread their fourth edition of the Standards For Law Enforcement Agencies published by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. (CALEA). This was the earliest edition of the Standards, published a few years ago to encourage police to form their own cold case unit. I know because I contacted the commission to suggest that cold case investigations be included in their upcoming fourth edition. As a result, page 42-1 of the fourth edition includes: "Cold case investigations can increase the agency's success rate, often with minimal resources. Larger agencies may staff a full-time cold case investigation unit for this purpose."

Every unsolved homicide is a tragic mystery crying out to be solved. Why our police heroes have not formed their own cold case unit -- as CALEA encouraged them to do years ago -- is a tragic mystery all its own.

-- John Holiday

Licensed Private Investigator

Colorado Springs

Leave us alone

An open letter to Colorado Springs District 4 Council member Margaret Radford:

Since your idol, lying George Bush, wants to send a mission to Mars, why don't you ask Bush to take you, Congress, his cabinet, and the rest of America's legislators with him so you and he can run and control Mars and leave us poor taxpayers alone to live our own lives here on Earth?

-- Ken Kretzschmar

Colorado Springs

Abusing the voters

An open letter to Colorado Gov. Bill Owens:

The nearly $80,000 worth of gifts and speaking fees you accepted last year are abusive to the voters of Colorado, and the reason I'll never vote for you again.

Obviously you serve special interests instead of the voters. It proves once again that you and the legislators are the wrong leaders for a state that brags of numbers of educated citizens.

As it was in California, Colorado's citizens need to do a recall too, it appears. In fact, several wouldn't do any harm to the state, but instead it would and could uplift the state and all its citizens if they are indeed the "nice, decent people" they claim to be. I just won't hold my breath on that score.

-- Stella Wells

Colorado Springs

Dinner is canceled

This is in response to those Colorado U.S. representatives, namely Reps. Scott McInnis, Marilyn Musgrave, Tom Tancredo and Bob Beauprez, who voted against the recent Downed Animal Amendment and in favor of upholding the brutal and unsafe practice of presenting sick weak, and likely diseased animals for slaughter.

As a voting resident of Colorado, I want my representatives to know that I do not support the cruel practice of beating, bulldozing or dragging cattle to slaughter. Nor do I support the irresponsible and economically devastating position these representatives took on this issue.

Immediately after mad cow disease was confirmed here in the United States, many countries, including Mexico, Russia, Japan, and Australia, stopped imports of U.S. beef. Last year, when Canada confirmed the disease in their cattle, estimates were at a loss of approximately $1 million per day.

After so much information and with the potential for so many deaths, what were our representatives thinking? What concern overrides Coloradans' public health and economic stability? Why would these politicians want to perpetuate the sickening tradition of mistreating these animals that feed us? Instead of treating these animals with respect, these representatives voted to keep them in unconscionable condition and were willing to risk the lives of our families.

Guess what I'm not having for dinner.

-- Gabriela Sandoval


Been there, done that

I've had time to think about this ... my mind is clear and my head is shaking.

Has President Bush been eating too many Tater Tots?

We're going back to the moon? For what purpose?

Haven't we been there, done that? Are we racing the Russians again? Are there moon rocks left to be collected? Are we finally picking up our moon garbage?

Big-ticket space contractors must be doing a double take. "We're going where?" I can hear them saying. "Drag out the old stuff, put a huge price tag on it. I told you it would be worth something someday. Do it, now, before he changes his mind."

Going back to the moon is like rediscovering the Santa Fe Trail. It's like repurchasing Louisiana as a territory. It's like rediscovering cell phones.

We're going where? The announcement smacked of a scene from Austin Powers, where he threatens the world for a million dollars. Has Bush been frozen for 40 years? Did he miss the one small step for man, one giant step for mankind?

Has he gone bananas? Has his hawkish popularity gone straight to his head? Does he feel beyond reproach? Is his Kool-Aid spiked?

I'm all for responsible space exploration. I've got an idea: Let's buy a better telescope, save a trillion dollars, and be over with this foolishness.

If it's economic stimulus we need, lets build a dam, a wind farm, or a school, or a wind farm and a school. Lets spend money on something more than a very long and pricey spin in the family spaceship.

Yep, we'll let your boys have the contracts, Mr. Bush.

Come on, we can do better than this.

-- Malcolm Allyn


The president's priorities

With all the real problems this country faces, it is almost unbelievable that President Bush proposes to spend at least $1.5 billion (that's billion dollars) on programs to promote marriage.

Just look at what only $34 million of that vast sum could do. This is the amount that Bush withheld from the United Nations Family Planning Agency, which promotes family planning in over 150 countries. The UNFPA estimates that the $34 million would have prevented 2 million unwanted pregnancies world wide, avoiding

800,000 abortions

4,700 maternal deaths

77,000 infant and child deaths

60,000 serious maternal illnesses

Such tragedies are obviously unimportant to George W. Bush when it comes to politics. The Denver Post makes his priorities clear when it quotes a presidential adviser. [The new proposal] "is a way for the president to address the concerns of conservatives and solidify his conservative base."

The article states that "the proposal is the type of relatively inexpensive [as compared to what? Star Wars?] but politically potent (ah, there's the key!) initiative that appeals to White House officials at a time when they are squeezed by growing federal budget deficits."

There have to be better ways to spend that kind of money. According to the Institute of Medicine, lack of health insurance causes roughly 18,000 unnecessary deaths each year. And thousands who have lost jobs have now exhausted their unemployment benefits.

Never mind. This president will see that jobless, ill Americans are still instructed in how to hold their marriages together. And he will do this because his voting bloc of religious supporters think that is the most important problem such people face.

$ 1.5 billion -- political pandering at its worst!

-- Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

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