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Metal detector
So often we confuse "transportation" with roads for the convenient movement of private motor vehicles. Transportation is mobility for all citizens, including, but not limited to, roads for vehicles. In the early 1990s, the Colorado Highway Department became the Department of Transportation, to broaden the transportation focus to mobility for all citizens.

In J. Adrian Stanley's wonderful article ("The bus stops here," cover story, Nov. 1) a paraphrase of Randy Purvis, Scott Hente and Mayor Rivera indicated they said "underused routes shouldn't be subsidized by tax dollars, adding there were more worthy causes for the city's limited funds." Take this perspective of subsidizing and mesh it with the 2008 budget proposal for streets of $22.9 million, up from $17.9 million in 2007. This $5 million, 27.9 percent increase would pay for rising fuel and asphalt costs, and additional sand/salt road treatment.

City Council wants to raise bus fares to cover some of the $1.3 million increase necessary to maintain the current level of transit service. That makes sense, as does raising fees for storage of private vehicles in public spaces, or parking. If you exist downtown, you know parking isn't free. Why should the city subsidize construction and maintenance of parking?

In Rockrimmon's Comstock Village, homeowner association covenants dissuade or prohibit parking on the street. That would mean parking lanes are underused, and underused routes shouldn't be subsidized by tax dollars. There are more underused streets; some we call cul-de-sacs. Since cul-de-sacs only serve homeowners adjacent to them, and dead ends don't serve the public, they shouldn't be subsidized. How many examples of streets or portions of streets are underused and shouldn't be subsidized?

I see quite a bit of subsidizing and opportunity for savings or additional fares when we objectively look at all underused transportation routes.

Al Brody

Colorado Springs

Take it from the neocons
Just had to reply to Kristin Lynch ("Hillary and history," Letters, Nov. 1). Hillary Clinton would not be the first female president in the free world. England and Israel had female leaders in the free world. Typical liberal twist on truth.

Please vote for the best-qualified person, not just because she is a woman. Yes, history will look back on "Vote woman" as the way liberals voted, and wonder why America declined. Yep, burn the bras, do away with husbands, families don't need them. Now this "vote woman" never mind about qualifications. Yep, history is being made, huh?

Will history repeat itself, just another nonqualified person as president, only this time it was a woman? Joy! Joy!

Please, people, look at the whole person to see if he or she would make a good president. What their stands are, past as well as now. Maybe history will reflect people voted for the right reasons, and that there is hope for humankind, that American voters lived up to their trust and used their minds and hearts to vote correctly. As all good neocon, pro-war combat veterans do now.

George A. Hutton

Fountain

No Mother Teresa
Kristin Lynch seems to believe Hillary Clinton is another Mother Teresa. I beg to offer a dissenting opinion.

Clinton has done nothing in her career as a politician that qualifies her to be president. She is, in my humble opinion, a small-time Southern political crook who has made the big time. This country simply cannot afford her proposed big-government brand of socialism.

Contrary to what people like Clinton think, someone has to pay for all those Big Brother giveaway programs, and that someone will be all of us in the form of significantly higher taxes.

Being a woman doesn't disqualify one from being president, but contrary to Lynch's thinking, simply being a woman certainly doesn't make one qualified to be president. God help us if she is elected; it will be four or eight more years of corruption and dishonesty.

Milton E. Woodham

Colorado Springs

Hope is overrated
Is the contractor, Rockrimmon Constructors, being penalized for not meeting opening dates for the Colorado Avenue and Bijou bridges ("Cimarron Bridge closes; others not fully open," Noted, Nov. 1)?

Delaying the full opening of these other bridges has an economic impact on the city, and these delayed openings are usually included in construction contracts. A dollar value is usually calculated for each day the contractor fails to meet specified opening dates; in this case, it would be the full use of these other two bridges for full access to downtown Colorado Springs.

The calculations would include lost sales-tax revenue due to restricted access to downtown businesses; the downtown businesses would not be compensated for reduced sales activity, but at least the city wouldn't have to take a loss. Weather delays can be used; however, these must be recorded during the work schedule monthly.

The "hoped they'd be ... fully operational" is not good city or contractor construction management. The managers should have been proactive, the city should have insisted on overtime work, and the contractor should have worked overtime to get them operational on time!

The "architectural railing" is an excuse; a local firm could have been subcontracted, as soon as the mistake was discovered, to supply a temporary safety railing substitute (not needing to be architecturally correct) until the specified railing could be delivered.

The contractor is legally bound to estimate construction times for proper contract bidding; if he underestimated ("low-balled" to win the bid) his scheduled construction length, it's his responsibility to make the opening dates at his expense, not the city's or downtown businesses' expense.

Robert A. Kalkowski

Colorado Springs

Report lost pets
I appreciated the story by Rich Tosches ("Sad day in real life," Ranger Rich, Nov. 1), but I couldn't tell if Mr. Tosches had reported his cat lost at the Humane Society or not. If he did, I can't find a record of a lost report in my database. I did look through all the pictures of stray black-and-white cats brought into the shelter since Sept. 1, and I didn't see one that looked like Warren.

This presents a great opportunity to point out that the Humane Society receives an average of 17 to 18 stray cats every day (about 6,400 expected this year). We will only reunite 6 to 8 percent of them with their owners only 450 cats out of 6,400 for the whole year! The number of stray cats has skyrocketed in the last five years, from 4,500 in 2002 to the expected 6,400 in 2007, an increase of more than 40 percent.

We have a wonderful lost-and-found program at the shelter. The heartbreak is that we have been unable to reunite most stray cats with any owners because the cats have no home, no one comes looking for them, and/or they have no identification tags. Cat overpopulation is a huge problem in this city, and irresponsible ownership is next in line.

I ask anyone who has lost a cat (or dog or other animal) to come to the shelter and file a lost report, look through the found reports, take our tip sheet on how to find your lost pet, take a tour of our areas where we keep injured or scared animals and, of course, look through the public kennels. The Humane Society uses a Web site to list all strays (with pictures) brought to the shelter (petharbor.com or hsppr.org), though we ask everyone to come down frequently in person.

Kris Dearden

Colorado Springs

Election clarity
Ralph Routon ("The sanctity of elections," Between the Lines, Nov. 1) states the Legislature needs to change current state law to specify that a vacancy in the General Assembly be filled by an election rather than the current, mandated process of using a vacancy committee to elect a replacement. The process of electing Bill Cadman to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Ron May is dictated by Colorado Revised Statues 1-12-203(1). That process was followed when the vacancy committee, comprised of all precinct chairs and district officers (about 180 people, of which 130 voted), met and elected Cadman.

Ralph suggests an election should be conducted and, if the timeframe isn't close to a general election, the political party of the person vacating an office must pay for the election. If the latter is the case, I suspect only Republican candidates will be considered, and only registered Republicans will be eligible to vote. In the current situation, any Republican living in a vacated district is eligible to run for the office before the vacancy committee. They only need to be nominated and seconded from the floor.

Indeed, it appears at least two people will run for Cadman's House District 15 seat. Since the results of a Republican-only election and a vacancy-committee election are likely to be the same, why waste money and time on a "full" election?

If Ralph is suggesting the vacancy be open to all parties, it certainly isn't fair to force the vacating party to pay for an election that might result in that party losing the seat.

This same process is followed when a Democrat Party vacancy occurs. And, contrary to Ralph's statement, "It might stink, and it might not be the intent of any law ...," the vacancy committee election is precisely the law.

Bernie Herpin

Colorado Springs

Bad odds
In response to Christopher Helton ("Hard to rebound," Letters, Nov. 1), I would like to point out a few facts: Over two-thirds of convicted offenders were re-arrested again within three years of their release. Nearly half were convicted of new crimes within three years. Half were re-incarcerated in prison for a new conviction and/or violating probation/parole terms within three years.

Conducting pre-employment background checks is a reasonable measure for businesses to protect assets and employees, as well as the public. Failing to screen prospective hires can be negligence for a myriad of legal reasons. For those in pharmaceutical, child care/elder care, social work, law enforcement/security, education and home service-based (plumbers, cable installers, etc.) industries, background checks are practically a necessity.

As a former police officer and private investigator with over 15 years' experience, I can say with confidence that across the spectrum of offenders, from property to violent criminals, a large percentage of offenses are committed by seasoned criminals who are consistently "in and out" of the criminal justice system, not first-time offenders.

While I am heartened to hear of Mr. Helton's rehabilitation and subsequent resolve to live a lawful lifestyle and earn an honest living, I would also like to point out that acts of crime have always been known in criminology parlance as a violation of the social contract. When you violate the contract as set out by our society, you have to live with the consequences.

Brad Marcozzi Stroh

Colorado Springs

Correction
In our Oct. 25 issue, the wrong photo appeared alongside Colorado Kite & Ski's "Best Place to Buy Skis" write-up. The photo that appeared actually was taken at Colorado Ski & Golf, which was voted "Best Place to Buy Snowboards." The Independent regrets the error.

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