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Invitation to Rivera

Apparently, judging by the front-page photo in the Independent ("Reign on our parade," cover story, March 22), the police who battered seven peace activists during the 2007 St. Patrick's Day Parade must have been trained in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention. I read in the Independent that Mayor Rivera told bystanders he was too busy to take action, a claim that may have been true to his experience at the time.

Whatever the validity of his previous statements to the press, I would still offer the sanctuary of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church as a site where Mayor Rivera could address the community and those persons who were injured during the parade in a safe public forum.

All Souls has a history of offering to address topics that are difficult for the community to deal with in other venues. I realize Mayor Rivera, to his credit, is not Mayor Richard J. Daley, but some of his officers clearly overreacted. The bloodshed shown in your Independent cover photo is prima facie evidence that some action is required from the mayor, even now, after the fact.

The late John Lennon said, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." As a religious person seeing the front-page photos from St. Patrick's Day and other fairly recent headline stories in the Gazette about religious leaders, it may be that Lennon was correct. The opening for Mayor Rivera to speak compassionately here at All Souls about the pain the community experienced on St. Patrick's Day is a standing invitation.

David W. Knight, interim minister

All Souls Unitarian

Universalist Church

Colorado Springs

Unlimited rights?

Who does that St. Patrick's parade promoter think he is, telling people his parade should be only about St. Patrick's Day? Doesn't he know the First Amendment gives whiny protesters the right to falsify their application, then commandeer his event for their own agenda?

I think these geniuses are on to something, in fact. Perhaps they can follow up at this year's sunrise Easter services with bullhorns and a nice loud "No Blood for Oil" chant. They could celebrate Ramadan this fall by burning Muhammad in effigy at a mosque. Come Hanukkah, they could barge in on some synagogue's holiday potluck and serve ham.

Hey, it's their constitutional right.

Greg Hartman

Colorado Springs

Read, reason, respond

Re: "The parade goes on" (News, March 29):

I don't really need to respond to the silly charge that we [the protesters] had signs that said "Bush Kills Babies," since the whole world has seen the photos, and they prove that's not true. I guess we can assume that [parade marshal] Peter Page saw a sign that said "Kids, Not Bombs" and thought it said "Bush Kills Babies." I guess we can assume Mr. Page saw signs that said "Peace," and thought they said, "Kill Americans." I don't know. I can't follow that reasoning.

I do know that this inability to read, reason and respond was a great part of the problem at the parade. They saw us in the street and assumed we had no permit. Wrong. We showed them the permit, and they said it was revoked. All they had to do to keep this entire incident from happening was ask us to put away the four banners that mentioned war. That simple and obvious de-escalation tactic was not part of the policy, just as reading a sign written in English wasn't. I won't waste time or ink wondering about people who would take offense at, "Kids, Not Bombs," and would choose to fund bombs and not children's education.

All the power to make the situation better or worse was in the hands of the parade marshals, until they called the police to physically remove us. We've all seen the result of that lapse in reasoning. Maybe it's too much to expect a person that concludes peace is "inflammatory" to do anything but inflame a peaceful parade. Maybe it's too much to expect that a person that sees a sea of peace signs and says, "These look pretty bad," to understand the concept of a peaceful resolution to a conflict.

Mark Lewis

Colorado Springs

Chance to vent

It has been some time since I last sat down to unburden myself via your lovely periodical. I have been a faithful reader from almost the beginning and still get a kick out of every issue.

By way of intro, I'm a semi-retired blues singer/full-time student and have been a westside property owner for 14 years. I live on Colorado Avenue, so I've seen many a parade. Not once have I witnessed anything even approaching the shameful, vicious display that ruined St. Patrick's Day for many parade-goers.

The police officers who have worked the parades on my side of town have concentrated on traffic control and parking. I have never seen one geared up with helmet and Taser. The cops on this beat are community-minded individuals focused on protecting us and helping people resolve their differences peacefully. Perhaps we should consider relocating future community get-togethers over here where it's not very affluent, but very neighborly.

I'd also like to congratulate you for featuring the sensible column from Ralph Routon. I found myself agreeing with him more and more point to point. Since the "irregularities" in the 2000 and 2004 national elections, I have been an observer for Common Cause at my polling place. I have been happy and proud to report smooth sailing for all for each outing. I resent the mail-in ballot being foisted upon us (I've never heard a logical reason for the change) and really think we should demand a return to our polling places. No sense fixing a thing that is not broken, you know?

As always, thanks so much for the forum and opportunity to vent just a little. Keep up the good work and the faith.

Anne Kennedy-Rackham

Colorado Springs

True support

I almost fell out of my chair when, at a recent City Council meeting, those who want peace were accused of not supporting the troops.

One has to ask, who supports the troops? Those who want them to come home alive and well, or those who want them to continue dying to protect the ego of a failed president?

Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

Fool them all

Now that Congress has voted to withdraw from Iraq, there are less than 550 fighting days left. I urge all of you who support the Iraq war to share in the burden. If you're too old to join the Army, encourage your sons, your brothers, your nephews and your grandsons to join now.

Some proponents of the Iraq war say that by setting a deadline for withdrawal, we're telegraphing our plans. I say let's fool them all withdraw early.

Dave Cuthbert

Colorado Springs

Showdown time

It's great news that Congress is confronting the President on his failed war. Both House and Senate passed military spending bills that include benchmarks and timelines for bringing troops home. This didn't happen because they suddenly saw the light. It happened because they listened to their constituents, the antiwar activists once dismissed as unpatriotic; patriots whose kids are being forced to return to Iraq for multiple tours of duty; citizens who don't believe the administration's lies about why we invaded Iraq and why we're still there.

The task at hand now is to continue to push in every possible way for a speedy end to this illegal war, persuading more members of Congress toward swift withdrawal. As promised, President Bush will veto this bill. When this happens, we need a showdown, not a compromise, if we have any hope that this war will end before Bush is out of office.

Sharlene White

Santa Fe, N.M.

Police priorities

Ah, spring. Trees are budding, birds are chirping, fresh graffiti covers many buildings, and motorcycle speed traps are back.

Knob Hill businesses are tagged regularly, assaults and theft continue, police response times are increasing (if they respond at all), and their focus remains fixed on speeders. Why? Because it's easy work, and it's a gold mine. They sit and wait for the "criminals" to come to them!

The last time police received more money for more officers, they created the red-light patrol. Now we have officers sitting on brand-new bikes waiting for someone doing 38 in a 35.

Think about that the next time you wait for an officer to respond to your call, and remember it when police ask for more money for more officers. And no, I haven't gotten a speeding ticket recently.

Jacques Sears

Colorado Springs

Judge not ...

To Fr. Bill Carmody ("Regarding adoption," Letters, March 22):

Until you have raised children and married a spouse, no matter what gender they are, when it comes to family and the love in a family, you will not be qualified to speak of anything regarding families and their love with any credibility, just like every other unmarried or childless minister, regardless of denomination.

So for the rest of us who actually are married parents and know far much better than you, please quit adding your vocal waste to the greenhouse gases and just shut up!

Michael Seebeck

Riverside, Calif.

Calm over stormwater

In response to A. Chembe's "Remember stormwater," (Letters, March 22) I would like to say that this view is much like those of people who gripe about having to pay a few dollars a month for the betterment of our community. Then, when the streets are flooded and their cars stall, they berate the "politicians" for not doing something about the problem.

I applaud our city leaders for doing the gutsy thing that 22 other municipalities in our state have done: implementing a fee for public works to deal with the problem. For those who have voiced their opposition to this fee, I would like their ideas on how they would address the nearly $300 million problem!

Yes, it is legally a "fee." A tax goes into the general fund and can be spent on anything. But this fee for stormwater must be spent for exactly that, and customers will receive a report card at the end of the year showing what each dollar collected was spent for.

No, I don't work for the city. I used to work for the stormwater call center, until I was recently relieved of my duties for upsetting an irate caller by requiring him to divulge his customer ID number. I guess a few heads will roll over this issue, and if it has to be mine for defending the City Council's actions, then so be it. The 14 cents a day it will cost me to contribute to rescuing our storm drainage infrastructure is a small price to pay. I will just have to deal with the obstacle of finding work at age 58. Hopefully, my BA in English will benefit me in some way down the road.

G. Miller

Colorado Springs

Offensive comic

As a long-time, faithful reader of the Indy, I'd like to make a comment about the cartoons you regularly run. In particular, my comment is about "The City" by derf.

While this comic strip is interesting and different [mainly because of the grotesque style of the art], my question is: Do you actually look at the cartoon strip before you run it?

I'm referring specifically to "The City" strip in the March 29 edition. It's the last of the four panels that is really alarming and disgusting. It portrays Anna Nicole Smith's dead body [referred to as a "stiff"] being used as a mop, upside down, her hair used to clean the floor.

Believe it or not, even an alternative local newspaper's comicshave to have some class, you know? No matter how outrageous and cool the humor of "This Modern World" by Tom Tomorrow or "Red Meat" by Max Cannon, they don't cross the line. But really, don't you think that the Anna Nicole thing was really disgusting? Regardless of one's opinion about the way she lived her pathetic life, isn't this way over the line?

You might want to read the comics material you print before publishing it.

Rena Martin

Colorado Springs

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