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A stitch a minute

This is a response to Mike Seebeck's letter titled: "Lessons in politics" (July 8-14 issue).

I could not stop laughing when I read that bookstores and the Internet eliminate the need for public libraries, and that libraries should be privatized.

He's joking! It is obvious that he hasn't been inside a public library lately. Doesn't he know that libraries offer Internet access, and that they have resources that you just can't find in a bookstore? People who use the public library generally are not privileged to have a job that pays $50K or more per year but pay taxes, therefore the library should not be privatized.

Mike also accuses Democrats of taxing, spending and wasting our money. If that were the case, then why was our nation in surplus during the Bill Clinton presidency and why were jobs abundant as well? Oh no! Does that mean he was irresponsible?

I have heard the joke that a Libertarian is a Republican who smokes pot. Good God, I hope it is a joke. Just imagine what were to happen if George W. Bush were to make a decision on what to do next in the Middle East while under the influence of marijuana ... THAT would be scary.

One more thing in defense of the Democratic Party: The Bill Clinton administration saw to it that pagans are protected from being penalized for practicing such religious beliefs. I should know because I am a proud pagan and a proud liberal Democrat, and will be until the day I die.

The Libertarian Party can put that in their pipes and smoke it!

-- Ed Billings

Colorado Springs

Saddened, not surprised

Thank you for your excellent July 8 article, "Easing the pain," on medical marijuana and El Paso County.

I am deeply saddened by Colorado Springs Congressman Joel Hefley's vote to allow the federal government to continue arresting seriously ill medical marijuana patients.

Although saddened, I am not surprised by Rep. Hefley's lack of compassion. In the time leading up to the Farr-Rohrabacher amendment -- which would have stopped the federal government from interfering with state medical marijuana laws -- Congressman Hefley consistently refused to meet with El Paso County patients to discuss his position on the issue. This appears to be a strategic move by the congressman, who avoided telling seriously ill patients to their faces that he would rather see them sent to federal prison than use the only medicine that works for them.

This leads me to wonder: Whom does Hefley truly represent? According to a Time/CNN poll conducted in October 2002, 80 percent of Americans support legal access to medical marijuana for the seriously ill. His vote is a slap in the face to the majority of Colorado voters, who, in 2000, chose to protect medical marijuana patients from the threat of arrest and prison.

Finally, his vote is dismissive to organizations that have endorsed medical marijuana, like the 2.6 million-member American Nurses Association, the 8 million-member United Methodist Church, and the editorial board of The New England Journal of Medicine.

-- Brian Vicente


Hitting the fan

Re: last week's news story headline, "Spewing sludge": Wow, that is quite the euphemism for "shit." Don't sugarcoat it buying calling it "sludge." It's human waste! You get billed every month so this kind of "spewing sludge" won't happen. The utility department must have unplugged the "circulating agitator" so the "spewing sludge" wouldn't hit it.

Please report it like it is!!

-- Timothy Bainer

Colorado Springs

What's really happening

As a recent transplant back to the Springs, one of the greatest pleasures of my week is reading the Thursday Indy. Thank goodness for John Weiss, Cara DeGette, John Hazlehurst, Rich Tosches and the rest of the staff who allow the moderate, thinking, tolerant folks of this city to have at least a small voice in our community.

How else could we possibly know what was really happening here? Please continue.

-- Jane Lyne

Colorado Springs

Reading with Rich

Yes, the Independent is, indeed, lucky to have Rich Tosches on staff.

Last week's article on library director Jose Aponte was particularly well done. Excellent writing, enhanced with tasteful and expressive photographs. Thank you.

-- Constance Davis

Colorado Springs

Cheating with peaks

Where in the world is Matthew Schniper ("Bag four fourteeners in a day," July 15-21) coming from? And why is he so behind on his reading? I climbed all four peaks in the Mount Democrat group back in the early '90s, and even then, I knew that what was once called "Mount Cameron" and is now properly called "Cameron Point" is no longer considered a separate fourteener. It does not meet the criteria for minimum vertical separation from Mount Lincoln, and, so, has been demoted to being only a minor summit of Lincoln.

Indeed, the drop from the top of Cameron Point to the saddle between it and Mount Lincoln is only about 300 feet. Most mountaineers consider 400 feet the minimum drop for a separate peak. While it's worth doing as long as one is up there, it's just a little rounded hump on the slopes of Mount Lincoln, and you only get credit for three fourteeners by completing the tour of this knot of mountains.

That is why there are now only 54 recognized fourteeners in Colorado, not 55.

What's more, a quick look at the map will confirm that by taking these peaks in the order specified (Democrat; Cameron, with or without Lincoln; Bross), one is moving in a clockwise direction, not counterclockwise as Schniper states. Unless, of course, one is underground, looking up.

The Democrat group is, indeed, a peakbagger's delight and an experience not to be missed in one's tour of the fourteeners. And they're fairly easy, on the scale of things. But you still get credit for only three.

Matthew Schniper only gets two.

-- Patrick L. Lilly

Sovereign Individual

Occupied Cheyenne Canon

By the numbers

Re: The Letter written by Peter R. Brumlik ("Tragic but predictable," July 15-21). I would like to disagree with Mr. Brumlik's implication that the loss of the Pikes Peak Center as a county entity was due entirely to "low-rent usage and monopolization" of the Pikes Peak Center by the Colorado Springs Symphony. Unlike Mr. Brumlik, I will back up my opinion with actual statistics.

The last concert played at the Pikes Peak Center by the Colorado Springs Symphony was New Year's Eve, 2002. From Jan. 1 through Sept. 27, 2003, there was no orchestra usage of the Pikes Peak Center at all -- that's 270 days that were available for use by other venues.

The 2004 Philharmonic season was 237 days long (Sept. 28, 2003, through May 21, 2004). The Philharmonic rented the Pikes Peak Center 37 days, leaving 200 days during that period available for usage by other groups.

To sum it all up, from January 2003 through December 2004 (a total of 731 days), the Pikes Peak Center was, or will be, used by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic a total of 52 days, leaving 679 days available for other, higher paying groups to rent the Center.

I hardly think we can blame the demise of the Pikes Peak Center on the Colorado Springs Symphony, nor the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, which rarely uses the Center. The Pikes Peak Center is empty more than it is in use -- that is the reason it is in trouble.

Mr. Brumlik, as past chairman and artistic director of the Pikes Peak Center, I think it is time you take some responsibility for the Center's downfall and quit blaming the Symphony!

-- Sandi Holst

Colorado Springs

Proof positive

Robyn Raymer's July 8 letter "Californicating Colorado" struck a sensitive nerve with me. I'm proof positive that all the fleeing Californians aren't going to Colorado. Some have joined me in Arizona, some to Nevada, to Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and, of course, Washington and Oregon.

Robyn clearly remembers the environmental movement of 30 years ago, and our deteriorating environment has the same villain: the global business interests who demand a bigger U.S. work force through immigration (both legal and illegal) to supply the cheap labor to enrich their pockets.

We all remember a prime element of minimizing our impact on the environment: to avoid the environmental burden caused by uncontrolled population growth. That lesson seems to have been forgotten.

Even the Sierra Club is recognizing the burgeoning population levels fed by immigration (both legal and illegal) on the environment.

California's environment used to be beautiful until excess and unmanageable population growth (primarily illegal) overwhelmed everything. The current illegal population estimate is 6 million, with 1 million more coming every year.

It isn't industry that's ruined California; it's an out-of-control illegal population that demands more at the expense (literally) of the legal people.

-- Sandra Miller

Phoenix, Ariz.

Has had enough

In her July 15-21 letter titled "God help us all," Carolyn Cathey complained about the Senate Republicans rejecting the appeal to provide funding for battling the al Queda -- preferring instead to force a vote on the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, accusing them (I'm assuming she's referring to the Republicans here) of hating "us that much."

Personally, I'm a Democrat myself and so I hate to be the one to disillusion Ms. Cathey, but the fact is that us so-called "silent majority" have had enough of the gay rights movement forcing their beliefs on us. It's because of our efforts that the Senate decided to vote on the constitutional amendment rather than something else first.

According to my understanding of the Constitution, in this country, the majority rules, not a minority! Please correct me if I'm wrong.

My personal feeling regarding the gay community is that as long as they leave me alone, I'll do the same for them. Personally, I don't care if the gays marry because they can't propagate the species, but I certainly don't want to see them use their self-styled marriage to adopt children to be brought up to be gays also. This is the principal point that we members of the "silent majority" probably feel is crucial to the entire concept.

As far as Ms. Cathey's belief that Colorado Springs is the "bedrock of religious extremists," the concept of gay being a religion escapes me.

To what version of God do they pray, or do they? Being a transplanted Southern Californian, I have to say that the "bedrock" of all extremists is in Central California, notably in the area in and surrounding San Francisco!

-- Clyde Lapsley

Colorado Springs

The morals police

Well, we can all rest safe and secure knowing that Sen. Wayne Allard is on the front line protecting the country from the threat of ... same-sex couples enjoying the blessings of living in a free and equal society!

It's obvious to everyone that this segment of our population represents a much graver threat to our personal safety and economic well-being than those pesky little bomb-throwing terrorists!

I would hope that since our government is going to embark on the awesome task of regulating every citizen's personal morality and behavior, it will include a couple of practices I find particularly obnoxious: excessive alcohol consumption (18,000 lives a year lost from alcohol-related auto accidents) and tobacco use (over 300,000 lives a year from smoking related causes). According to the Surgeon General's office, the societal costs of tobacco-related death and disease alone approach $100 billion each year.

My proposal has a dividend that Sen. Allard's doesn't offer: the combined savings to the nation's economy from my plan could be used to give universal healthcare to all Americans. Now there's a real issue our Congress could take a few minutes to look at! If they could spare the time!!!

-- Jerry Newsom

Colorado Springs

Let the people decide

President Bush keeps saying that "people," not the courts, need to decide the issue of gay marriage. Funny, he had no problem with the courts, not the people, deciding the last presidential election.

-- William Stosine

Iowa City, Iowa

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