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Another chance
Mr. Brad Stroh ("Bad odds," Letters, Nov. 8) goes a little overboard on his numbers. And as do many individuals trying to make a point, he presents them out of context. However, he does raise a valid point.

There is a social contract between those who commit a crime and society. That contract is one in which individuals are expected to serve their sentence and rehabilitate themselves, and in return, society is to provide the opportunity to demonstrate they have made a change in themselves.

The problem is that society no longer wishes to give individuals that opportunity to show that they have made a change. Instead, society does just the opposite, placing road blocks that prevent the ability of the individual to demonstrate willingness to live by society's rules.

Faith-based and community organizations have been in the forefront of helping in the transition of formerly incarcerated individuals back into society. It is a shame that the majority of these organizations do not see the need to make this a focus in our community.

At the same time, employers need to see the potential that these individuals offer by their desire to prove themselves, more so than the average worker. If they did, then even the numbers cited by Mr. Stroh would start to show a definite improvement.

Michael Dell
Colorado Springs

Local scene rocks
This letter is long overdue, but being a full-time student at UCCS with a full-time job ... time flies. I just wanted to thank the Independent for presenting the "Best Of 2007" to your faithful readers so they can enjoy the best in dining, entertainment and such.

I am very honored and very surprised that I, DJ Little Miss Sunshine of The Underground, took bronze in the Best Club DJ ("Party favors," Best Of, Oct. 18). Not only does that say a lot to me, but it says a lot about the evolving music scene. I'd like to start seeing more of our locals enjoy what downtown has to offer, instead of going to Denver to get what is so desperately needed: a good club(s) with variety and a place that isn't just a "pickup" point, but also a place to express one's self and have a lot of fun doing it.

I'm not the best at mixing. I don't have a posse of DJs I hang with. In fact, I have some hearing loss in my right ear (I can't hear the lower bass frequencies). God only knows how I do so well.

I started to DJ as a hobby. After years of disappointment and long drives to Denver, I swore to myself that one day I'd be a DJ and play the good stuff. For the most part, I try to do just that.

So thank you, Independent readers. House ain't giving up, trance isn't dead and techno doesn't define everything that has a fast beat. You've been waiting, and now we're here. So let's get the party started.

Michelle Jaramillo
aka DJ Little Miss Sunshine

Colorado Springs

Downtown disaster
I see another "builder" trying to build a 26-story high-rise at Kiowa and Nevada. What the hell is wrong with people? Don't they have any brains? This would be a terrible blight to the historic City Hall, historic City Auditorium and historic post office.

All the builder wants is money, money, money. No concern for Colorado Springs. I bet every commercial building downtown is barely half-full. These high-rises should be on Tejon, Cascade and south of Colorado Avenue.

How long will it be until the new building at Wahsatch and Pikes Peak is fully occupied? Let the Olympic Committee move into it.

I thought the fire department was only equipped to handle buildings 15 to 20 stories high. Please, people of Colorado Springs, let's stop this "monster" high-rise and keep this historic section historic.

B.D. Bryan
Colorado Springs

Breazell's response
I wish to thank those who gave me the opportunity to serve District 11 four years ago. While it was never made totally clear during the 2007 election process, I was the only candidate who openly and continually has supported school choice, including means-tested vouchers for income-eligible families to be used to pay for tuition at the public, private or religious school of their choice. I also support vouchers for those trapped in failing schools with eligibility based on the performance of individual schools.

I support tax credits that could also be used to encourage donations to scholarship-funding organizations. My highest priority will always be what is best for each student as determined by his or her parents, not by bureaucrats.

Currently, our district receives $6,700 per student. We can, and should, do a better job when over $200,000 is spent on each classroom.

Along with Sandra Mann, I set in motion a pay-for-performance proposal to reward outstanding D-11 schools. Predictably, the Colorado Springs Education Association and its allies did not react favorably, and organized the effort to remove me from the school board. When considering that 30 to 50 percent of our students drop out and drop into low-paying jobs and crime, it is difficult for me to turn my back on the challenge, regardless of what the union wants.

Certainly, parents must take a more active role in the education of their children. But so must the community. If the voters of D-11 do not want public-policy change that will dramatically improve student performance and back that up with a money-back guarantee called a voucher, then maybe it was better that I was not re-elected.

No matter what your position, I thank you for the opportunity to serve District 11 and our community.

Willie Breazell
Colorado Springs

Defining torture
According to the Bush administration's own definition, waterboarding is torture. Alberto Gonzales limited torture to only what causes pain equivalent to organ failure or death.

Recently, NPR interviewed a survivor of French torture during their Algerian War. He described beatings, electric shock and waterboarding. Waterboarding was the worst. He kept dying, and the French kept bringing him back.

"The Little Death Without Marks" was a euphemism for Gestapo waterboarding of French partisans and French waterboarding of Algerian rebels. Electric shock sometimes left burn marks. Waterboarding did not.

A victim of French waterboarding wrote: "I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me." A number of Gestapo and French victims died under waterboarding, some by heart failure, some by asphyxiation when the treatment was too long or too harsh, etc.

Modern medical research and the presence of medical personnel and crash carts have undoubtedly increased waterboarding's pain and decreased its death rate. But waterboarding produces confessions because it causes "pain equivalent to death." Thus, even under Bush's own definition, waterboarding is torture.

Ralph B. Palmer
Colorado Springs

Not listening
Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Charles Schumer inexplicably ignored testimony from attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey that would have shocked the nation years ago.

Of course, that would be before the Bush administration desensitized the whole nation to unconstitutional, criminal and immoral behavior.

Their vote for Mukasey, who not only refused to denounce the torture technique of waterboarding but said President Bush would not have to obey federal law if he felt that he had to take action to defend the country, has put them in the same unconstitutional, criminal and immoral category.

Their actions are managing to drive me away from the Democratic Party. They are not being accountable to the American people, or to anyone else in the world. They might as well be rigid, right-wing Republicans.

Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.

I don't want to get into the electoral technicalities of the fight between Ralph Routon and Bernie Herpin ("Election clarity," Letters, Nov. 8). Frankly, I'm glad Douglas Bruce is going to the State House the sooner the better. Douglas will do more to help Colorado Democrats, and hurt his fellow Republicans, than anyone I can think of on either side.

I write to object to Bernie's insulting use of the old Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich invention: "The Democrat Party." Those of us in the Democratic Party call it just that. And it's common decency, that apparently Bernie doesn't have much of, for others to call our party the Democratic Party as we wish.

If we want to get into a party-naming contest, I'm more than willing. From the recent actions of many of Bernie's compatriots, I could call his "The Party of Felons, Child Predators and Toe-Tapping Senators." Oh, and "Incompetent Congressmen."

But I have too much class to do that. Bernie could stand to get a little class, too.

Bud Gordon
Colorado Springs

About Hillary
I would like to respond to the letter by Kristin Lynch regarding Hillary Clinton ("Hillary and history," Letters, Nov. 1). It is very apparent that Kristin is very caught up in the feminist movement, and that is OK. However, to elect an unqualified person to be president of the United States is a far more important issue than just electing a woman.

Mrs. Clinton cannot provide leadership. When asked un-coached questions, she is a total failure, and she cannot give a definitive answer unless she has been provided the answer by Bill beforehand. She has accomplished nothing as a senator.

When one supporter was asked three reasons Hillary would make a good president, the response was, "She is a good mom, a good wife and she would be the first woman ever to be president."

That sort of mentality is very scary. Our nation needs more than a good "mom" to be an effective leader of the free world. If that person is a woman, great.

I want what is best for our country not the women's movement. If you find a highly qualified woman leader, I will stand in line to vote for her.

Dwight Underwood
Colorado Springs

Strange source
In the "Quote, Unquote" column of its Opinion section Nov. 7, the Gazette quoted Aleister Crowley. I am in amazement the Gazette would quote Crowley, prominent occultist, magician and, some claim, Satanist, on its opinion page.

I am aware there are many interpretations and applications of Crowley's work which may be positive; however, he is believed by many, rightly or wrongly, to have had the darkest of motivations and practices. Many have used his work as a philosophical foundation and a concrete set of tools for practices of Satanism, demonic rituals, or an antisocial, narcissistic brand of occultism.

Dona Riley
Colorado Springs

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