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Painful memories

Thank you, Independent for keeping our local citizens so well informed about our community.

One article I could have lived without, as it brought to mind a painful memory of recent events I was trying to forget. I am talking about that unconscionable organization The Pikes Peak Humane Society. I will always think of them as the Inhumane Society. In response to the article of June 17, I see a gushy letter from a Donna Arnink trying to do CYA for that ruthless outfit to which I say, what a crock of horseradish.

Two years ago I went out of town a few days and was delayed a few more days getting back. Meanwhile my friend, with whom I left in care of my dog BoBo, also had to leave town. To procure care for my pet he had the Humane Society come and get it.

When I got back they had had him for two days. I immediately called them and confirmed his well-being and made arrangements to recover him. That was on a Wednesday. As I was broke and they wanted $58 for him I made arrangements to pick him up the following Monday after I was paid. They assured me that would be perfectly fine. My dog had all his shots, a current license and they knew who I was, his registered owner, and when I would be down there to get him.

Come Monday, I left work early and went straight to the pound. I was told to go in the back and find BoBo. I couldn't find him. I went back to the front desk and asked for further assistance. The woman at the desk left for a few minutes, came back and said, "We euthanized your dog."

As I sat there in stunned silence trying to grasp the reality of what she said, after about 30 seconds she waves her finger in the air, and said, "The law says we only gotta keep them five days."

As a senior citizen, my dog was about all I had left to call family. He was my constant companion, and when that lying, pet-slaughtering outfit did what they did, they put a hole in my life that will take years to get over.

-- Al Harding

Colorado Springs

Gives her hope

I want to commend you for having Dr. Stanley Biber as your cover story last week. As a transsexual woman and a Christian evangelist to the trans and GLB community, I think it was very well done. Even here in Colorado Springs I have seen more acceptance of gay and lesbian persons than of transgendered persons. To read such a positive article gives me hope that we in the transgender community may get more acceptance in the future.

-- Rev. Cathryn M. Paradise

Colorado Springs

Tasty eats

Service, food and price: I second the review of Taste of India Express by Noel Black [Appetite, June 24-30]. For a Colorado Springs eating experience this is the first time I gladly give 10 of 10 stars.

I urge others to try and savor this place, the warm service folk and very savory food.

Rocky Mountain High, indeed. That downtown place is wonderful. Best eatery in town, I say.

-- Howard Johnson

Lake George

Keep 'em honest

It looks as though, due to miscommunications and a clerical error (how Kafka-esque), I'll be on the primary ballot in August as a Democratic candidate for El Paso County Commissioner District #3, even though it was my intention to withdraw from the race.

Who knows, maybe if I get any votes in the primary I'll run just to keep the bastards honest!

-- Tom McElroy

AKA Atomic Elroy

Colorado Springs

Welcome to Wal-Mart

Last week, the City Council voted to continue the arcane practice of discounting utility connections for new customers, funded through what amounts to an "economic development" tax in our utility bills. It's only economic development if the community derives an economic benefit, and Council has passed up what little economic benefit we might gain from expansion.

Our leaders seem to hold our city in low esteem -- determined to make us the Wal-Mart of locations, when we could be the Nordstrom and exact more appropriate fees from new utility customers. Giveaways to new subdivisions in this town are so extreme there would be no reason to lament the loss of new development Council believes can only occur if we "roll back" prices. These development subsidies mean citizens have to take up all the slack through tax increases, reduced levels of service and higher utility rates. And they wonder why we're becoming anti-growth!

Council killed the RTA with last week's utility decision to continue growing the city on the backs of the citizens. The 1 percent RTA sales tax was going to be fragile on the ballot this fall, and now it will be impossible for me, and many others, to support it.

-- Dave Gardner

Colorado Springs

Where's the uproar?

It doesn't really bother me that Dick Cheney used the "F" word on the Senate floor [Quote of the week, July 1-7]. It was inappropriate, but I'm not angry.

What baffles me is the lack of response from the "morality" crowd. If a Democrat used the same word, there would be an enormous uproar: calls for apology or resignation, letters to local papers, seething editorials, etc.

But when Dick Cheney uses the "F" word, there is deafening silence. It makes one marvel at the speed with which moral conviction ends and political expediency begins.

-- Thomas Wilson

Colorado Springs

Cloer's courageous vote

Colorado Rep. Nancy Spence has attacked Rep. Mark Cloer because of his courageous vote against school vouchers in contrast to the position of his party. She has gravely misrepresented the constitutional violations of each of her voucher bills.

First, the "narrow issue" that caused the Denver District Court and the Colorado Supreme Court to find her 2003 bill unconstitutional was the provision in the Constitution providing that local school board directors "shall have control of instruction in the public schools of their respective districts."

The courts have interpreted this to grant the school boards "substantial discretion regarding the character of instruction that students receive at the district's expense." The district court had no trouble deciding that her voucher plan "leaves no discretion to the mandatory districts."

Before passing another voucher bill, it made sense to await the Supreme Court decision, rather than spending public money on another lawsuit.

Perhaps Rep. Cloer understands that the only legal opinions that really matter are those of the judges making these decisions.

Even if the voucher proponents found a way to provide vouchers without violating local control, the bills would still be unconstitutional based on the prohibitions in the state Constitution against state support for any religious institution or school whatsoever.

In addition, the voucher bills were completely lacking in standards for curriculum, qualifications for teachers, and school measures of achievement. Supporting them is an abdication of our responsibility to educate the children of Colorado.

-- Pat Pascoe

Former State Senator


Buying the legislature

Another puppet challenges Rep. Mark Cloer.

I must admit to his credit, Mr. Steve Schuck contributes to a lot of wonderful programs throughout Colorado Springs. And though we don't see eye to eye on school vouchers, I do respect and even applaud Mr. Schuck's passion and tenacity for what he believes.

But, why does he have to buy legislatures to satisfy his personal agenda, disregarding all other issues that are important to those who vote?

With that said, Mr. Schuck is supporting candidate Linda Stahnke to challenge Rep. Mark Cloer -- Why? Because Mr. Cloer didn't support vouchers. Mr. Schuck said he's acting as a representative for those in Cloer's district that were angry over the voucher vote. So, I'm volunteering to act as a representative for those in Cloer's district that elected and re-elected him for what he believes. He has represented his constituents with distinction.

In the words of Bill Cosby, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." Mr. Cloer doesn't try to please everybody and that's what sets him apart from other legislators.

-- Randy J. Rickards

Colorado Springs

We need options

I'm writing to talk about the current primary battle in District 17 between Mark Cloer and Linda Stahnke and to express support for Stahnke.

Cloer's supporters attempted to get Stahnke tossed off the ballot after she walked the district and got her signatures. Thankfully that was shot down. But Cloer, as a Republican, is playing into the hands of the left wing, the Democrats and the teachers unions.

It's time that stopped. He doesn't represent the conservatives that elected him into office. He's representing his own interests now.

Stahnke is a prime advocate for school vouchers, which is of big interest to those of us in the district, including Harrison District 2, which carries some of the weakest test scores in the state. Parents need more education options and the schools and teachers unions are not getting the job done. We need options for parents who want to send their kids to parochial schools (or home school -- which is an option grossly omitted).

We can't wait for the CEA to "make things better" for our kids. They're growing up fast; they need that good education now. You don't keep dumping money into something that's failing; you exercise alternatives. Cloer is just going to keep caving to CEA and that is not what D-17 needs.

-- Rick A. Butler

Colorado Springs

Lesson in politics

Memo to letter-writer Phil Kenny and other voters:

Dan Njegomir may advocate some libertarian philosophical positions, but not all, and he is not a member of the political Libertarian Party.

As for public libraries, they should be privatized, because of one simple and glaring reason: Bookstores, new and used, and the Internet have made them unnecessary and obsolete.

As for the idea that Libertarians want it all without paying for it, that's just plain wrong. Here are the basic mantras of political parties:

Republican: borrow and spend and waste money irresponsibly

Democrat: tax and spend and waste money irresponsibly

Green: tax and regulate everything and waste money irrationally

Libertarian: don't tax, don't spend, pay as you go, don't waste money, be responsible

Now, here's the memo, and take it with you to the voting booth this fall and ask yourself, which is best for me, my family, my budget and my future? Me, I'll watch my waste and vote Libertarian.

-- Michael Seebeck

Riverside, Calif.

Californicating Colorado

In the early 1970s I left my hometown, Los Angeles, to attend Colorado College in pristine Colorado Springs. When I came out of my dorm, Loomis Hall, each winter morning, my smog-acclimated lungs were assaulted by a rush of icy, clear mile-high oxygen.

Later I moved to Denver to work as a crepe cooker at Larimer Square's Magic Pan and was amazed to find that Denver, too, was plagued by smog caused by cold inversions and urban sprawl. As a Californian, I remember being ashamed of my state when I saw those "Don't Californicate Colorado" bumper stickers.

Though I left Colorado 30 years ago, I always assumed that environmentalism continued to flourish there. So I was mystified when the Mountain State went for Bush rather than Gore back in 2000. However, at that time, we couldn't have known how devastating Dubya would be on our environmental treasures.

Robert Kennedy Jr., in a recent magazine article, stated that "George W. Bush will go down in history as America's worst environmental president. In a ferocious three-year attack, the Bush administration has initiated more than 200 major rollbacks of America's environmental laws, weakening the protection of our country's air, water, public lands and wildlife.

"Cloaked in meticulously crafted language designed to deceive the public, the administration intends to eliminate the nation's most important environmental laws by the end of the year. Under the guidance of Republican pollster Frank Luntz, the Bush White House has actively hidden its anti-environmental program behind deceptive rhetoric, telegenic spokespeople, secrecy and the intimidation of scientists and bureaucrats." (Rolling Stone, December 11, 2003)

If Coloradans are still as environmentally conscious as I remember y'all being back in the '70s, I hope you'll dump the Dubya this November. Please don't continue to Dubyacate Colorado, California and the rest of our precious land.

-- Robyn Raymer

Albany, Calif.

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