Far away from respectful
I must comment in support of Tom Pedigo's letter in the Oct. 7-13 Independent.
After a brief stint back East (Massachusetts), I returned to Colorado. I was surprised to see that Rick Tosches now writes for the Independent. I enjoyed his column and found it informative and humorous without being overly crass or disrespectful.
I cannot say that about his column of Sept. 23-29: "Discrimination in every form." I consider myself a staunch independent politically. I'm voting for Salazar and still am undecided on the presidential election. I teach middle school special education, working with very low readers and children with emotional problems.
In short, I am not the typical Colorado for Family Values conservative. But I do value respect. This column was as far away from respectful as I've ever seen in the Independent.
-- Linda J. Holzinger (Randleman)
First of all, as per last week's Public Eye, I was interested in where your organization got its estimates regarding the number of people protesting Bush outside the World Arena. Don't feel too bad; every media outlet in town undershot the number of people who showed up at 7:30 a.m. to give Bush a warm Colorado Springs welcome. I was there, and at one point I counted approximately 150 people.
Also, I thought that your readers might be interested to know that the protest was organized in less than two days.
Finally, many people at the protest thought it was newsworthy that the Colorado Springs Police Department had officers driving up and down the street videotaping the protestors. I asked one of the department's finest why they were videotaping us, and he said: "We use the tapes for training exercises." It's a good thing that they were videotaping us for their training purposes, and not trying to intimidate people who were exercising their First Amendment right.
One more thing: The motorcade flew by at 75mph, and Bush didn't even give us a wave.
-- Lewis Hoffman
Give 'em back
Give 'em back
My 17-year-old daughter called me at the office the other day and asked if I had taken the political sign out of our front yard. I told her I hadn't and somebody else must have. A couple of days later I put two more signs in the yard and they were gone the next morning.
This is reprehensible. Nobody has the right to go onto private property and steal anything. This, pure and simple, is theft.
It is also cowardly, and symptomatic of the mood in the country today where close-minded people inflict their views on others. Rational discourse -- not toward the end of changing minds but in an exchange of ideas -- is not in their makeup.
To the person who stole my signs: Do the right thing. Bring the signs back and put them in my yard. And examine the effect of your childish behavior on my daughter and other impressionable young people.
It should be noted that these signs were taken from my yard in southwest Colorado Springs but the sign in front of my office building south of downtown has not been disturbed.
-- Mike Tracy
Electoral College confusion
I was disappointed to say the least when I noticed that the Independent was encouraging its readers to vote "No" on Amendment 36 [Endorsements, Oct. 14-20].
The most recent polls showing a virtual tie between Bush and Kerry, while encouraging, should not give us Democrats a false sense of security. Colorado is still very much a Republican state and the popular vote this year is certain to go for Bush. The Independent's fear that passing Amendment 36 will somehow cause Colorado to become the "Florida of national politics" is as unlikely as the suggestion that Kerry may win Colorado but lose the presidency.
It helps to remember that in 2000, Gore lost to W. by a mere four electoral votes. If Amendment 36 is defeated, the result will be Bush taking all nine of Colorado's electoral votes and perhaps winning the election because of it. Voting "Yes" on Amendment 36 is the only way Colorado Democrats will have a positive effect on the upcoming election.
-- Joseph Hough
A blank check for votes
It is time for candidates to begin flashing their endorsement lists in hopes of attracting votes. I understand that the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce will be letting people know that they endorsed the Republican for State Board of Education.
No surprise there. I wonder how many of their members know that they never even asked the candidate's opponent, Karen Teja, for an interview?
The "R" for Republican next to a candidate's name in El Paso County has become a blank check for votes, and it seems the Chamber of Commerce is writing the checks. On closer inspection, why wouldn't they want to support Karen Teja?
From what I read, Karen Teja supports local control and she has seven years of experience advocating for public schools. The Chamber's choice was a home-schooler who publicly supports private schools, and now sells Internet literacy programs for a for-profit educational company.
Karen's opponent does not represent the interests of mainstream Republicans in El Paso County, most of who send their kids to our public schools.
In this case, "R" is a smokescreen for extremism and the funneling of our community's public education tax dollars to out-of-state corporations with no accountability. Business as usual for the corporate backers of privatization. Voters can make a difference. Karen is endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats, something the Chamber seems to want to ignore.
-- Adrian Abineri
Liability boosts costs
While I often disagree with your political endorsements, I still look forward to your unique observations on the various political candidates and issues. I'll even admit you got it right in some of your Oct. 14-20 issue recommendations.
However, I believe you did your readers a disservice in your recommendation on Amendment 34 regarding construction liability. Simply stated, the passage of this Amendment would have disastrous long-term implications for our state, for individual homeowners, and for any hope of affordable housing.
In the interests of full disclosure, I am a builder and developer here in Colorado Springs. While one would probably say, and I freely admit, that makes me biased on this issue, it also offers me a unique perspective on the significant implications that this amendment would have.
I was elated to see that you acknowledged that "most developers are honest." I agree, but this bill would make all of us (and eventually our customers) pay for the sins of a few. Using my own company as an example, in one year alone our liability insurance costs went from $8,900 to over $100,000. And, I should mention, my partners and I have never had any legal action taken against us.
Like any business, I have to recover my costs so those additional premiums are passed directly on to my customers. I also believe this proposed amendment will have a chilling effect on affordable housing. As Habitat for Humanity official Jim Vetting put it, "If Amendment 34 becomes law in Colorado, we will be forced to build fewer houses."
Legislation passed in 2003 put in place a system whereby a builder would have an opportunity to correct any deficiencies before legal action could be taken. It does not, as some have suggested, prohibit property owners from collecting damages caused by faulty construction.
If you like what our litigious society has done to the cost of health care, you'll love what Amendment 34 will do to the cost of housing. Please vote no on Amendment 34 -- Colorado can't afford it.
Editor's note: The author is a Colorado Springs councilman, but is writing as a private individual.
Spurred into action
I am equally appalled and disgusted by the actions of the right-wingers in this town as of late. Not only are trucks driving around with aborted fetuses on them, but now they are illegally posting similar pictures on light poles around town.
Not only that, but Farm Crest gas stations will no longer be receiving the Independent, due to complaints from "older customers."
And lastly, CBS is pulling all stories of the president due to their "two memos" scandal. This just goes to show how much CBS is in the pocket of the Republicans. They have hundreds of memos proving Bush got preferential treatment, but because two were fake, they are refusing to run anything critical of the Republicans.
And the sad thing is, us progressives are sitting back and letting them. We need to quit being punching bags, and actually do something. Anytime I see one of these flyers on a pole, I will pull over and rip the illegal things off. I encourage every progressive to do the same.
I am also boycotting Farm Crest until their policy changes, and likewise encourage that.
And no one should watch CBS anymore, since they are so blatantly biased. Come on people, get angry and tell yourself, "I am not going to stand for this crap anymore!" Change only comes when enough of us will do something about it.
-- Geoff Kramer
Where's the Indy?
Every Thursday I look forward to the walk on my lunch hour to the Farm Crest store at 30th and Centennial to get my Indy. I was recently told they no longer carry it. Several nearby businesses expressed their disappointment in that. I was told they are trying to be a "family store" -- what's that about? Is it a form of censorship or someone's political agenda? Where's the next nearest store I can get my copy on Thursdays? The Loaf and Jug (Garden of the Gods/30th Street) doesn't carry it either. I thought we lived in a democracy and diversity was a good thing. This makes me sad.
-- Cheri Gamble
Publisher's note: the Independent, distributed in more than 750 locations across the city, is currently attempting to work with Farm Crest to reinstate distribution in its four Colorado Springs stores.
Several errors appeared in last week's issue.
Colorado College President Dick Celeste is 66, not 71.
Ralph Nader would need to secure 5.56 percent of the vote, not 10 percent, to get an Electoral College vote in Colorado under Amendment 36.
The phone number for Charlie's Pit BBQ at 2819 N. Nevada Ave. -- which won a bronze award for best barbeque -- is 636-2200.
The Saturday Colorado Farm and Art Market is not yet year 'round. This year it will close Oct. 30.
The Independent regrets the errors.