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Tent troubles

Big Top or big flop? Sheriff Terry Maketa's planned 14,000-square-foot tent jail (Public Eye, "Under the Big Top," March 8) is penny-wise but pound-foolish.

Having fragile human beings virtually dry-camping in a crude canvas calaboose assailed by fierce winds, large hail, blizzards, bitter winter cold and scorching summer heat is courting disaster.

Maketa ought to fold up his poor idea of a lean-to lock-up for close to 200 petty offenders, some of whom are ailing homeless veterans or mentally ill. Either Maketa breaks camp or costly lawsuits may show us taxpayers how expensive his bad "tentative" answer to jail overcrowding can really be.

John (Doc) Holiday

Colorado Springs

No sympathy

In "Under the Big Top," Cara DeGette is so sad how our vacationing prison inmates are being treated. No ice cream, no color TV or movies! Why, not even a place to wash their hands! Maybe pink boxer shorts, gasp! How dare they?

Un-human, un-American, maybe even un-Christian. Next, they may expect the prisoners to work on the roads picking up trash or even, gasp, work. One would think these inmates chose to be there. How dare the mean cruel courts put them there!

I put 21 years in the Army. We lived in tents, no ice cream or TV. Air conditioning? So where was your "support the troops" then and now?

You see the medical care your military people receive. Yet you do not cry out. You sure do, like most liberals, support the inmates ah, I mean the troops.

Oh yes, I put in three full tours in Vietnam. No hero, just a soldier keeping his country's word, "fighting for freedom." I'm a neocon, Republican, freedom fighter, President Bush fan and supporter of the troops and retired Army officer.

George A. Hutton


Downtown downer

I could not agree more with Ralph Routon's March 8 column, "Where's the leadership?" The downtown access situation is absolutely inexcusable, and there has not been any leadership by our City Council to deal with it.

The closure of the Bijou bridge and near-closure of the Cimarronbridge at the same time make it very difficult for people to access the downtown area from Interstate 25.

This is especially true for new customers. I actually asked a potential customer about their type of car in order to make it through the barricades! I think that they thought I was profiling them.

It surprises me that nothing has been done to promote the downtown area when it most needs the support. I am afraid that the free parking day is a poor effort to encourage people to visit the downtown area. There are so many other things that could be utilized to inform people that downtown is still open and needs business.

Thank goodness for the loyal "downtowners." It is especially disconcerting that our City Council meets downtown and seems to not really care about getting there. I would bet that none of them use I-25.

Chris Jones

Colorado Springs

Smokin' mad

As a third-year law student, I was outraged last month when I read the article last month ("Smokin' medicine," cover story, Feb. 8) about James and Lisa Masters. I expect more intelligent actions from government officials.

A number of seriously ill patients, many of whom have cancer and other debilitating diseases, have turned to medical marijuana only as a last resort and upon their doctors' recommendations. Many patients have no other way to get their medicine than with the aid of caregivers. Targeting caregivers harms patients by forcing them to look to strangers for their medicine.

It's hard to feel safe when there are actual criminals out there. Instead of cracking down on the truly dangerous element of society, our law enforcement and judicial officials are expending government resources to make sure that those who are sick and dying, and their caregivers, are behind bars.

Denver District Attorney Greg Long said in the New York Times on March 2 that prosecutors do not generally pursue cases in which the drug being sold is marijuana for certified medical use. Failure to follow that sensible path harms innocent people trying to obtain their legal medicine.

Fifty-eight percent of Coloradoans voted in 2000 to protect medical marijuana patients through the establishment of Colorado Constitutional Amendment 20. Current polls show 70 to 80 percent of Americans now supports these patients' rights. The misuse of government resources to target the Masterses is directly against the will of Colorado voters.

I can only hope that prosecutors come to their senses and dismiss the case against the Masterses.

Jessica Spangler


Here's the beef

Memo of the obvious to Phil Kenny ("A two-front war," Letters, March 8):

If raising the minimum wage doesn't cause job loss, then tell us why two local restaurants, Nemeth's El Tejon and the Conway's Red Top at 5865 Palmer Park Blvd., both closed down, putting their employees out of work?

Oh, yeah, according to their management, the minimum-wage increase would harm their businesses. Obviously raising the minimum wage does cause job loss.

Case closed. Miss them both.

Michael W. Seebeck

Riverside, Calif.

Waging rebuttal

I feel compelled to respond to Phil Kenny's "A two-front war" letter stating that I provided misinformation about the minimum wage. In his letter, Phil calls my assertion of a relationship between minimum-wage increase and job loss a "canard." He also states, however, that "Raising the minimum wage costs no more jobs than when ...," thereby contradicting his earlier statement and validating my assertion.

History is replete with this relationship, from maids and low-skilled workers being laid off from hotels in Washington, D.C., after the implementation of its local minimum-wage law in 1938, to the unemployment increase of nonwhite teenagers from 14 percent to 24 percent after the 1956 minimum-wage increase, to the Clinton administration's labor department showing the elimination of at least 20,000 jobs (other sources say it was much more) after the 1996 increase.

My contention was not that our economy will suffer, as Phil implies. Our economy is resilient enough to deal with cost increases. My point was that the easiest way for businesses in competitive markets and with small profit margins to survive is to simply eliminate jobs, especially low-skilled jobs. I stated that I expect this to happen in Colorado because that is what history tells us, and because it is exactly what the small-business owners in Arizona said they were going to do.

While I believe Phil is wrong on the issue of the minimum wage and disagree with him on almost all issues, I applaud his courage to defend the liberal position in this community. By the way, Phil, I'm not a Republican.

Steve Adams

Colorado Springs

Too much information

I just wished to say that Michael de Yoanna's story on anorexia ("A hard place," News, Feb. 8) was particularly informative in exposing the gaping hole in our health-care system as it pertains to the treatment of eating disorders. I can only extend my heart and my hands to Lindsey Purkett.

However, I was distressed that you included her weight and eating habits. I survived having an eating disorder that crippled my life, and it was the most difficult thing I have ever done. It is difficult to leave those memories behind. When I read the numbers of another girl's weight, or the disordered habits of her eating, I automatically wonder if she is more thin than I was, if she is eating fewer calories than I did. (I know the answer, too.)

Please, for future reference, when you cover eating disorders, do not post the weight and habits of your subjects. For all of the girls reading the article who either have eating disorders or have recovered, we want to empathize.

We want to extend our hearts and hands to each other. But it is difficult to do that when we can do nothing but calculate the BMI and calorie intake of the girl on the page.

Penelope Morgan

Colorado Springs

Greed and green

I am not a person quickly prone to anger. I tend to stand back and observe, reflect and question. But no words are powerful enough to express the utter sadness and outrage I feel when I look to the future.

I find it difficult and certainly unacceptable to understand the decades of denial in terms of what we have done to our beleaguered planet in the name of progress and greed. Many of those people in power, who have scorned the "tree-huggers" and "crazy environmentalists" and ignored sound and compelling science, have grandchildren and children, as do I, who will ultimately be faced with a very challenging future.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released Feb. 2, states that the causes and reality of dramatic climate change are "unequivocal." Some of its authors stated, "No one could honestly point to any remaining uncertainties as justifications for further delay."

Yet a response by Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman tells it all. He opposes limits on emissions, stating, "We are a small contributor to the overall, when you look at the rest of the world, so it's really got to be a global solution."

My reaction is mixed: nonsense and precisely!It is absolutely false and misleading to say that we are "small contributors." We make up only 5 percent of the world's population, yet we contribute 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. But, yes, it is a global problem. As a nation, we must lead a massive effort to slow the pace of climate change, and we must do it today! It is a moral imperative.

Mary Crade

Woodland Park

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