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Begin the healing

When Sandy Shakes and Eric Christen foolishly helped orchestrate the dismissal of Dr. Sharon Thomas as D-11 superintendent in June, they smugly suggested that if Dr. Thomas truly cared about the students of the district, she would give up the severance to which she was rightfully entitled after her unwarranted termination. Never in their worst nightmares did Shakes and Christen imagine that, two months later, they would face a recall election, but the D-11 community has clearly had enough of their disruptive antics.

In the last couple months, tens of thousands of D-11 voters have stepped up and said they would authorize a recall election, if that's what it takes to restore some semblance of sanity to this board. But Shakes and Christen can save us all that time and expense simply by resigning now. In the irony of ironies, they can now model for us all the very behavior they encouraged two months ago: They can make sure that the dollars otherwise spent on a recall election will instead be spent in our children's classrooms.

When first faced with the reality of the recall, both Shakes and Christen stubbornly insisted that they would not resign. That's probably understandable, given the heat of the moment. But now that some time has passed and emotions have waned, let's hope that reason and logic prevail. Even their most ardent supporters have publicly acknowledged that Shakes and Christen probably could not be re-elected in 2007, so surviving a recall in 2006 in the current atmosphere is unlikely, at best.

Serving on any board of education should never be about personal egos and agendas. Shakes and Christen should swallow what's left of their pride and resign now, so that the D-11 community can begin the healing and resume the important task of sustaining and improving our children's education.

Larry Seaver

Colorado Springs

Like Gotham

I agree with Brian L.A. Wess' assessment of the Cooper Tower project ("Soul of our city," Your Turn, Aug. 17). It will be completely out of place.

As a former San Diegan, who watched the city turn into a mish-mosh of Loony-Toon-type buildings and high-rises, I agree that this is what will be in store for Colorado Springs if this goes forward.

As a former three-year-resident of Colorado Springs, I understand the culture and architecture, and believe that although the city wants to "imagine" downtown, it should imagine it in a more reasonable way, with architecturally appropriate buildings.

Be more like the city of New York. Evolve and grow the city, but respect the existing architecture, culture and people. Don't just do it to bring about an evolution; do it right.

Tina Tole

San Jose, Calif.

Taking sides

The Pion Canyon Fort Carson expansion has been presented by the Indy as simply a land grab by the government, with cowboys, jackrabbits, coyotes and artifacts as the victims ("Targeting paradise," Cover, Aug. 10). Over time, the expansion will prove to be a complex and very important test for Colorado, the U.S. Army and We The People. For the benefit of your Indy readers, let me explain everything in very simple terms.

First of all, cowboys, jackrabbits and coyotes are not on the same side. For over a hundred years, cowboys have been shooting and killing coyotes, rabbits and any other wildlife they think is affecting their dollar. The Pion Canyon expansion will buy out those ranchers whining about not being able to profit in the beef industry, will slow the destruction of wildlife, and, by removing competitors, will boost the income of neighboring cattlemen and their suppliers.

More importantly, our nation is facing real and serious threats from enemies foreign and domestic. Two million acres of land is an insanely small sacrifice for the purpose of simulating and conducting war games against China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, etc.

In 2006, our military, in a balls-up display of confrontationalism, has chosen to ditch the bunker mentality, emerged from Cheyenne Mountain to face the real world and Islamic terrorism. By the year 2050, we can visualize Colorado grasslands and wildlife to the point where tourists viewing herds of bison, elk and pronghorn, historical sites or petroglyphs, would earn more money for the state than a few crybaby cowboys.

In such a vast area, our U.S. Army would be able to manage maneuvers and exercises in such a way that tourists would never interfere with military matters.

David Fernandez

Colorado Springs

What if?

I am a resident of Colorado Springs and a rape survivor.

It still pains me to think of that awful day. I will never be able to forget. I felt used, abused, and that my life was worth nothing. My husband at the time forced me to go to the emergency room to get medical treatment. I wanted to keep it a secret. At the ER, they took pictures of me; I was interviewed by the police and examined.

The exam was brutal, the questions were intense and extremely personal, and it seemed like no one really cared, but had a job to do. No wonder rape is the most under-reported crime.

With the FDA's approval of the morning-after pill, rape will increase in its under-reporting. The FDA has just granted the green light for a rapist to be "free" of all wrongdoings. It is a get-out-of-jail card, or, to be more precise, it is a never-be-charged card for a crime against women and young girls.

In my case, two men raped me. As horrible and intense as the medical exam and the personal and embarrassing questions were, the rapists were caught and are presently in prison.

If the morning-after pill, also referenced as Plan B, would have been available at the time, I believe my husband would have purchased it from the drugstore, and I would not have gotten medical attention and would not have filed a police report.

I hope for the sake of women and young girls who are at risk of rape, that the FDA reconsiders its position on the morning-after pill, and makes it available only with a licensed medical doctor's prescription.

Angie Austin

Colorado Springs

Destination: Third World

I support the idea of automatically raising the minimum wage every four years. My view on tying the minimum wage increase to a reduction in the estate tax includes keeping all workers above the poverty level and income scales in the United States. It will certainly boost our economy and keep us from becoming a Third World country where the minority of the rich get richer and the steadily increasing majority of the poor get poorer, which is where seems to be America is heading.

Sharlene White

Colorado Springs

Not that Trailhead

Just wanted to let you and your readers know that "The Trailhead Group" is not affiliated with The Trailhead outdoors shop in Buena Vista, nor its parent company, The Trailhead, Inc.

Several customers have asked us about The Trailhead Group's radio messages. We requested that The Trailhead Group add us to their disclaimer at the end of the messages. They refused. We have posted a disclaimer on our Web site at, and urge all our friends and loyal customers to help us make this distinction clear.

Keith and Evelyn Baker

co-owners, The Trailhead

Buena Vista

Fowler for president

I would like more Louis Fowler. Heaping, overflowing, oozing with Louis Fowler. He is the best film journalist on the market right now. He's catching on like wildfire even out here in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area scene.

Do us all a favor and just let Louis write the entire newspaper. Or at least have complete creative control of the arts and entertainment section ... or ... the world. Let's not waste more time reading anyone else's reviews. You were lucky to get him when you did. More Fowler, please!

Stephanie Christensen


Quoting Madison

Regarding Phil Stahl's letter, "Half and half," in the Aug. 31 issue:

One small point that Phil got wrong was his and to be fair, every other lockstep lefty's interpretation of the "general welfare" clause of the U.S. Constitution. James Madison said the following on the subject of that clause:

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

As you see, the man known as the father of the Constitution did not think that taxing Peter to pay Paul was a valid application of the general welfare clause. So I wonder where Phil gets his justification from. Or is the Constitution just a goddamned piece of paper to Phil as well?

Scott Graves

Colorado Springs

A career in fiction

Greg Hartman's hilarious letter lambasting the Independent's purchase of a church ("Evil Indy," Aug. 17) is pure flummery. Comparing paying fair market value (I presume) to preserve a downtown landmark with the Defense Department's never-ending thirst for more room is absolute hokum. He should write fiction.

Still, Greg has a right to his opinion, and I'm glad he cared enough to write you.

Finally, the question must be asked: Greg, if you don't like the Indy, why do you read it?

Michael Adams

Colorado Springs

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