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Empty smear job

I am a supporter of the Independent who looks forward to the annual article on the year's top censored stories ("See no evil," cover story, Sept. 14). This year, the list included a story, "World Bank funds Israel-Palestine wall," that was nothing but an empty smear job. I was going to let it go by, until I read a letter praising this very story. Now I feel I must speak out.

According to this story, the World Bank will establish a free trade area "on Palestinian land around the wall." The story then leaps to the conclusion that "the plan seems to translate into Palestinians paying for the modernization of checkpoints around a wall ... that will help lock in and exploit their labor." The key word here is "seems," which is a clumsy attempt to disguise the story's bias. To me, it seems that the Palestinians are getting a huge financial break to offset losses generated by the wall.

Furthermore, I fail to see how a wall intended to keep Palestinians out of Israel will result in locking in cheap Palestinian labor. This is like saying that Americans who want a wall on our border with Mexico, want "to lock in and exploit" Mexican labor. The hacks who authored this hatchet job apparently will say anything that comes to mind, no matter how absurd, as long as it bashes Israel.

Had they bothered to do any real research, they might have learned that Israel has taken to importing cheap Filipino labor "to replace the Palestinian workers no longer welcome beyond the green line" (source: "Border Crossing and Cross-dressing," Saul Austerlitz, Jewish Daily Forward, Sept. 1, 2006).

Harry Katz

Woodland Park

Killing fields

What a wonderful story about Sid ("Only fighting ignorance," Personal space, Sept. 28). There are many like him who have never been given a chance to prove what good dogs they can be. They are killed "just because of the way they look" in nearby Denver, as your article states. What nonsense, and what a tragedy.

Kory Nelson, assistant district attorney in Denver, and Doug Kelley, head of Animal Control of Denver, have created a "killing field" in Denver. Nelson has spread his venom through the United States with his "offer" to help any city or town propose similar legislation to "eliminate" pit bulls. I wonder if he does it in his spare time, or on the city dollar.

Nelson was quoted in the June 24 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, "Anyone who shoots a pit bull running loose is justified." What kind of statement is that from a city official and a district attorney, who is supposed to uphold the law, not encourage others to break it?

Sid would not be with us today to do his good works if he lived in Denver. If Nelson and Kelley had their way, he would be just one more notch in their belt.

I find it most interesting that Sid came from a "fighting" background. Many dogs are killed every day because of their supposed inherited temperament.

If this were really true, why would Sid and he is not alone be the kind, loving dog he is today?

Puppies are killed because of their parents. What if we killed or jailed the children of parents who are criminals?

Breed bans are wrong. They do nothing to "protect" the public, and they allow for the killing of innocent animals for no reason other than "the way they look."

Jan Dykema

Director, Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States

Hiding in closets

Colorado College political science professor Bob Loevy is half right when he says there is no reason for an incumbent to debate his challenger. To keep your political advantage, it's true. But to keep your leadership and moral advantage, it's 100 percent false.

Incumbent Republicans say they've been doing a good job that means they should be able to go to the public and list their many accomplishments. Incumbent Republicans will say theirs is the party of ideas then they should be willing to sell those ideas on their merits during each and every election. Incumbent Republicans will also say they are the party of "personal responsibility." What could be more responsible than discussing their ideas and accomplishments in front of a concerned group of our citizens?

But they aren't doing these things. The slogans these incumbent Republicans use serve one, and only one, purpose: to help get them elected. And when the rubber meets the road, those high ideals and principled views will be long forgotten by those incumbent Republicans you just re-elected.

Bud Gordon

Colorado Springs

A dog's life

I wanted to take the time to thank Matthew Schniper and your paper for his fabulous article, "Only fighting ignorance" (Personal space, Sept. 28).

It is appreciated by those of us who struggle and work so hard to change the public perception of the vilified and misunderstood pit bull breed.

Leisa Boysen

Director, Iowa Alliance of

Responsible Dog Owners

Exposing Trailhead

Re: "I am Trailhead, LLC" (Public Eye, Sept. 28):

Thank you for publishing the truth behind the scandalous GOP attempt to smear all Democrats in the state of Colorado. I am certain that this is the Republican M.O. all around the country.

"The Good Ol' Boy Network" (GOP) has finally been exposed for what it's really about: Winning at any cost, including a cover-up of child molestation to keep seats; denying our troops proper protective materials; pork-barrel spending; jamming the House and Congress with stupid horse-meat export legislation; Abramoff cronies getting off easy; special interests groups trumping legislation for the good of the common man; Tom DeLay's redrawing district lines for Republican gain; the illegal immigrant stalemate; allowing James Dobson to dictate politics to his followers, with a direct line to Karl Rove.

Whatever happened to separation of church and state? The scandals keep popping up, then are quickly buried in denial and double-speak. And now, discrediting State of Denial, a book by longtime administration ally Bob Woodward, for his simple reporting of the facts on the war in Iraq. It's a nightmare for freedom of speech and American core values.

Many kudos to Cara DeGette for exposing who and what is behind the "The Trailhead Group." It's truly disgusting to read how low these fat cats will stoop to keep power. What ever happened to "May the Best Man Win" policy? Now it's all about fundraising. I believe the writers of the Constitution would roll over in their graves if they could see what is going on in this country now.

Our soldiers are dying while the fat cats are dining. It's a crying shame. Literally!

Sad, but true, an ex-Republican,

Paul Laamann

Peyton Pines

One thing right

It's easy to criticize officials when they do the wrong thing. It's rarer to give thanks when they do right, but thanks are in order to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper for taking steps to confront discrimination against women and people of color in the city's business contracting programs.

The right-wing political attacks on affirmative action in recent years, with flames fanned by anti-civil rights politicians like Gov. Bill Owens and state Sen. Ed Jones, have led to the denial of broad scale educational and economic opportunities for women and people of color in Colorado.

The city of Denver's study of its contracting program revealed that despite the city's growing diversity, opportunities for businesses owned by women and people of color were shrinking dramatically. To his credit, Hickenlooper's administration has taken a bold step in introducing a new initiative to aggressively confront this.

We thank the mayor for his work to confront discrimination, and encourage the City Council to approve this plan. After all, women are a majority of the city's population as are people of color. Both pay their fair share of taxes. Shouldn't they and their businesses share in the city's prosperity?

Bill Vandenberg

Co-Executive Director, Colorado

Progressive Coalition

Siding with criminals

Colorado Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar voted for the Bush torture bill? I voted for him, and I now feel utterly duped and betrayed. He has sided with the war criminals of the Bush administration, enabling yet another successful attack on the most fundamental principles our country was founded on. Habeas corpus is but a memory now.

Thanks, Ken!

Mr. Salazar, you are "one of them" now, truly another Joe Lieberman. Maybe you'll be the lucky boy that gets "the kiss" from George at the next State of the Union. May you regret this vote the rest of your life. I will not forget it for the rest of mine.

It's not such a long trip, is it Ken, from the stage at Colorado College (where you campaigned in 2004 with Vietnam Vet and triple amputee Max Cleland), to the Dark Side in the halls of Congress?

Dave Duff

Colorado Springs

Ghost town

Mayor Rivera was interviewed on TV recently. He touted his conservative values. Are these the same values that brought chaos to School District 11?

That created a diversity board made up mostly of white men?

That stopped his support for Operation Just One's mental health services to soldiers and veterans?

Rivera's big campaign promise was to bring Southwest Airlines to the Springs. Southwest decided on Denver instead of here. I visited our local airport last Monday night it looked like a ghost town!

These are the types of issues that are causing more and more people to denounce "conservative" values. And I believe it will cause people to vote for moderates and Democrats in November.

Natalie Schlabaugh

Colorado Springs

Lack of awareness

Tuesday, I picked up the Gazette and saw the headlines about innocent Amish children murdered by a gunman in Lancaster County, Pa.

Last week, it was a principal in Wisconsin and a girl in Bailey, Colo., basically just down the road. So what does the Life section of the Gazette run today? "Shooting in style." Please! There was no timeliness to this article. There was no reason whatever to run something with that kind of headline, even in view of the incidents of last week, more than those of yesterday.

I have a daughter, who is a freshman at Doherty High School. I worry about things like these shootings. Whether or not I agree with the National Rifle Association or its supporters is not an issue. I worry about her safety. And when I see things like this headline on the front page of a section apparently glorifying shooting ...

I would encourage all readers to protest to the Gazette about their insensitivity. When the first shooting happened last week, they should have known to pull that article then.

Douglas Rule

Colorado Springs

Placing the blame

The National Rifle Association will doubtless grieve the recent shooting deaths at schools in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Bailey, Colo., for raising yet more inarguable proof that gun control must be pursued (in addition to existing laws) and enforced.

The NRA need fear nothing, though. Over and over again, the sacrifice of innocent people to the rights of an increasingly immoral, selfish and apathetic society will be for nothing, as gun makers, gun owners and the politicians in their pockets place the blame on factors that cannot soon, if ever, be addressed.

C.S. Odlin

Manitou Springs


A news story last week ("The debate debate") indicated that state Rep. Mark Cloer has refused to debate or attend public forums. In fact, Cloer maintains he will take on anyone, anytime and anywhere. The three-term incumbent has long been willing to appear at candidate' forums, and attended a recent event at the Hillside Center, sponsored by the Black/Latino Leadership Coalition.

Last week's "Dish" insert included an incorrect phone number for The Craftwood Inn; the number should have read 685-9000.

The Independent regrets the errors.

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