Setting an example
Ah, leaders ... can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. And we all have so much to learn from our area leaders.
Take for instance new County Commissioner Douglas Bruce. Commissioner Bruce, a lawyer whom we assume follows and obeys laws, had a disabled/non-operational vehicle parked on the streets of Colorado Springs, in front of his home, that had just been sitting there for who knows how long?
One day a few months ago, an on-the-ball city employee from our fine Colorado Springs Police Department put a ticket/notice on Commissioner Bruce's vehicle saying that he needed to move it off the streets of the city within 72 hours or it would be towed away.
Commissioner Bruce, come to find out, either didn't see the ticket/notice or just simply chose to ignore it. And why shouldn't he? He is, after all, a county commissioner, and don't all elected/appointed officials of this city and this county have special privileges?
So, rather than take responsibility for his inaction, he chose to fight the city of Colorado Springs and make them the bad guys. Yes, the city of Colorado Springs has nothing better to do than to pick on poor Commissioner Bruce.
Everyone should feel sorry for Commissioner Bruce. And apparently, City Municipal Court Referee Til Zeller felt the same way. Why, Mr. Zeller believed that the city had, in fact, not given Commissioner Bruce fair notice, so he just let him go scot-free. No fine, no reprimand, no nothing.
I want to go public and make my own position very clear to all city and county law enforcement officials: When I decide to disobey the rules, the law, and not be responsible for my own actions, I expect to be let go scot-free, too. Just like Commissioner Bruce.
After all, aren't our leaders supposed to set the examples for the rest of the citizen population? And what better example to follow than our very own Commissioner Bruce.
Anybody else feel that way?
-- Addy M. Hansen
Rich Tosches astutely observed in his July 7 cover story that most Colorado Springs residents aren't yet using America the Beautiful (ne Confluence) Park.
However, his report failed to note that community leaders are actively encouraging public use by scheduling fun family activities in the area all summer long. Every Saturday morning, the Gasworks parking lot next to the America the Beautiful playground is home to the only farmers' market in Colorado Springs where local family farms bring the freshest produce directly to consumers.
Please help spread the word that "America the Beautiful Park" is the happening place to be this summer!
-- Steve Harris
Editor's note: In addition to the market at the Gasworks parking lot, several other farmers' markets in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area also offer local and regional produce. A complete listing can be found on page 48.
Scales of justice
It was with interest that I read your July 14 lead article on juvenile offenders being treated as adults by the state. Being a conservative, I rarely find much I can agree with within your pages, but I wanted to hear your cut on this problem.
It is a no-brainer to agree that the Dietrick Mitchell case was mishandled and a miscarriage of justice. It is not a stretch to agree with Rep. Lynn Hefley that sentencing guidelines for juveniles need an overhaul.
What is amazing to me, though, is the information from the MacArthur Foundation on adolescent development. The quote that "juveniles are not technically competent to stand trial by the standards set forth in American law" is a slap in the face to all teenagers (a couple of mine included) who have gone through their teenage years avoiding trouble and making respectable choices.
I agree that American teenagers are generally more immature than those across the globe. In most non-Western cultures teenagers can be married, employed full-time and parents by the time we allow ours to vote and/or drink legally.
What is it about Western cultures that nurture the idea that high schoolers are incapable of being responsible for their actions? We allow 17-year-olds to join the Army and kill or be killed in conflicts far from home. We allow 16-year-olds to drive, many of whom end up killing or being killed on our freeways. We can't walk through our malls without seeing teens smoking and/or showing the results of being intoxicated. But in the end, there is a majority of teenagers who understand right and wrong, despite the Supreme Court unwittingly agreeing that "the ... immaturity and evolving brain development explain(s) juveniles' diminished culpability." And those fully capable teens make choices every day to avoid trouble and do what's right.
Bottom line: It is not good for anyone to have teenagers serving long terms of incarceration with adult offenders. On the other hand, it is absolutely necessary for teens to face stiff penalties for criminal acts, and for the system of justice to act with fairness and decency at all times in administering those consequences.
-- Bryan Boyce
Rehab, not jail
I do volunteer work with the Pendulum Foundation. I just wanted to express my gratitude to Kathryn Eastburn for writing the article on juvenile offenders.
It is always nice to know that there are other people out there who believe in rehabilitating juveniles even when they have committed terrible crimes. Thanks again!
-- Allison DeNicola
Fascinating how Steve Schuck dismisses every point of view that differs from his, like smart growth and fixing the existing schools, and says that '60s and '70s ideologies are "pathological," "meaningless" and "shallow."
His pipeline for receiving and processing new information must be narrower than the space he leaves between the houses that he builds. Sounds exactly like his friend in Washington.
-- M. Dorey
Jericho Center, Vt.
Editor's note: The above letter is in reference to an extensive profile of Colorado Springs developer and school voucher proponent Steve Schuck that ran in the Feb. 1, 2001 Independent. It can be read online at
Both wearing sandals
Two men, both wearing sandals, were present at the Sunday, July 17 Colorado Springs PrideFest.
One walked down Tejon with the 1st Congregational United Church of Christ group. Me. The other man wearing sandals I shared a warm greeting with. He carried a wooden cross and had a long robe.
He and I shared our sense of being, calling and values. Neither of us had horns or a halo.
He may have more a sense of salvation focus than I. Salvation means very little to me. Savoring life, yes. I could and would walk side by side with him or Jesus. I would never expect him or Jesus to be my disciple, or expect either to lead or follow me.
This participation in PrideFest was heartened by the number of people congregating.
I tend to feel the "marchers" reached "watchers" on many and various levels. Often I raised my palm toward others to signal good will and a sense of humanity, with perhaps a touch of divine mutual awareness. A mutual sense of dignity.
PrideFest h(allow)ed our sense of what "neighbor" means. May we be more united in our diversity is my hope, my goal, my mission.
-- Howard W. Johnson
It's hot in here
I am compelled to continue to detail passenger conditions on Springs Transit.
Unlike others who may be less fortunate, I could very easily get in my car and drive to locations in the city. I choose to pay for, utilize and support the city transit system.
On July 21 the Academy Route 1 inbound arriving at terminal at approximately 4:35 p.m. had no air conditioning. The temperature was 96 degrees. The bus was almost full, with maybe four empty seats. The Cascade Route 3 outbound to home did have air conditioning functioning well.
I was told by the transit manager that the Route 1 vehicle (#9912) has an air conditioner, but the engine performance diminished and/or overheated and it was turned off. "That's the first thing we do."
The transit manager said that the replacement buses in the garage did not have air conditioning systems.
The lack of air conditioning in 90-plus degree temperatures is unsafe for drivers. Poor conditions lead to poor performance. I believe the drivers and passengers are at risk.
-- Joanne Peterson-Falcone
Ticking time bomb
A pack of coyotes roaming Bear Creek Park attacked and nearly killed my Dalmatian three weeks ago. A large coyote lured my dog into a "trap," where he was set upon by at least five other coyotes. He sustained more than 20 individual bites that required stitches.
Increasingly, this pack of coyotes has gotten bolder in its advances toward people and their pets. The pack has approached within yards of the horse barns at the adjacent Penrose-Norris Equestrian Center. They have brazenly pursued walkers and their dogs on the trails of Bear Creek Park, and can be seen prowling the outskirts of the neighborhood just north of the park.
El Paso County Parks & Recreation, when advised of the public safety concern, said there was nothing they could do. Essentially, their hands are tied until the animals actually attack somebody, or attack a horse.
I've been around horses and animals all my life, and I am fearful that this pack of coyotes, which has all but totally lost its fear of humans, is a ticking time bomb. If the coyotes are not dispatched or captured and moved to a more remote territory, I can almost guarantee that they will set a trap for someone else's pet or horse, or perhaps a child. We should not wait for such a tragedy to happen when prudent action now can prevent it.
-- Simone Windeler
Holy time bomb
Once again our elected leaders lead with the mouth instead of the brain.
If what Tom Tancredo said last week about bombing holy sites is supposed to be a deterrent to force the Islamic "regulars" into keeping the "extremists" under control, why not suggest bombing the Vatican or the Crystal Cathedral to rein in the Christian extremists like Operation: Save America here in the United States? Or Jerusalem, to rein in "Jewish extremists?"
Mr. Tancredo and his neo-con running buddies are an insult to the intelligence of the citizens of Colorado.
-- Charles Skinner
Not much of a prize
Not much of a prize
In addition to the threat of reduced Congressional funding is another problem of a different nature.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a quasi-private non-profit institution that is tasked by Congress to distribute funds to public broadcasters with a view toward balance. CPB, under new chair Kenneth Tomlinson, is pressuring public television officials to produce more conservative programming and to rein in shows it perceives as liberal.
But Tomlinson has presented little evidence of any pervasive left-wing bias in public broadcasting. In fact, his only specific criticisms appear to be aimed at the highly regarded program "Now", which was hosted by Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers until his December retirement.
Tomlinson was instrumental in developing and funding the "Journal Editorial Report," a program that features the "Wall Street Journal's" hard-right editorial board and was supposed to be a "balance" to "Now" (although unlike the "Editorial Report," "Now" frequently has guests whose views differ from the show's producers).
For this "balance," Tomlinson allocated $5 million in tax money and another $10,000 to hire a contractor to monitor "Now" and report on its supposed political bias.
The CPB's ideological influence has increased as it has become increasingly staffed by White House-friendly board members and officials. As I see it, the only thing wrong with "Now" (besides its being cut from 60 minutes to 30 minutes) is that it reports the truth, a value not much prized in today's political climate.
-- Anita Brown