As a business person, I feel the current economic climate has several very disturbing fundamentals: lack of transparency in our largest financial institutions, lack of accountability of our most respected business leaders, and the fact that the small-business owner and the individual will bear the brunt of consequences of poor business practices.
Imagine my surprise at learning we have similar issues here with the electric co-op IREA (see "Not so cooperative," p. 11). One of a co-op's strengths should be the ability to shop for the best price; however, that will no longer be true since, without consulting co-op members, our board purchased part of the Comanche 3 coal-fired plant for $366 million.
Our bills will eventually reflect the results of this ill-timed, ill-informed decision, because coal is poised to become the most expensive form of energy for two reasons: our supply of coal is diminishing, and the highly probable carbon cap-and-trade law will increase the cost of coal-generated electricity. This example is only one of the poor business decisions made by the IREA board without the bright light of oversight to expose faulty thinking.
What can we do? An election for a board seat is coming up. Please do not throw away the mail ballot (as I have done), but keep it and vote. My vote will be cast for Mike Galvin. He has served his community well on the Teller County Planning Commission and as principal of Columbine Elementary School. He believes in complete transparency and accountability qualities badly needed on the IREA board. Learn more at galvin4irea.com.
To state Sen. Dave Schultheis: Here at the Southern Colorado AIDS Project, we are acutely aware of how difficult it is to access enough funds to be able to serve the large number of clients we have, especially in this difficult time for all of us. It becomes increasingly difficult when individuals are disseminating information that is inaccurate and misleading. Most disappointing is when it is an individual in a position of trust or influence.
We won't presume to judge how deceitful or unseemly your comments were (see Between the Lines). We want only to reduce the ignorance evident in individuals. We want only to set the record straight on the subject of AIDS.
We would love to attempt to give you a thorough education of the history of HIV/AIDS, and the current status of the field. For now, a few facts:
The majority of women who contract HIV in our nation are infected by unfaithful partners, including husbands. The majority of these women had no idea their partner was being unfaithful.
Unborn children have no say in the actions of their parents.
HIV/AIDS is one of the leading causes of death for women between 25 and 44, and the No. 1 killer of African-American women between 25 and 34.
The children will be the leaders of our tomorrow.
We would encourage you to contribute to the organization that attempts to address the needs of those in your own community who are infected with and affected by this horrible affliction. Anyone is welcome to help our effort to educate those who would so disparage us. For every contribution, we will be happy to send a "thank you" to Sen. Schultheis.
Bill Mead, president
Richard Blair, executive director
Southern Colorado AIDS Project
Senator's death sentence
On Feb. 25, Senate Bill 179 was passed, and state Sen. Dave Schultheis was the only no vote on this communicable disease bill requiring pregnant women to be tested for HIV so that their babies could be treated to prevent transfer of the disease from mother to child. Require testing to spare babies the life sentence of HIV isn't this something every pro-lifer should support?
Not according to Schultheis. He explained to the Gazette that if babies are born HIV-positive, they will teach society about the risks of promiscuous sex. He also stated, "This stems from sexual promiscuity for the most part, and I just can't go there. We do things continually to remove the consequences of poor behavior, unacceptable behavior, quite frankly."
"What I'm hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS ... as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that," Schultheis said.
So, per Dave Schultheis, babies should be sentenced to death to prove his point and to punish mothers and fathers.
Ten years ago, then-state Rep. Schultheis told an employee of Southern Colorado AIDS Project that teenagers should not have access to condoms, because if they contract HIV that will be their own fault for having pre-marital sex.
It appears Mr. Schultheis would rather continue the spread of this disease than to use treatments available to us now to stop it.
Is this the kind of representation El Paso County and Colorado Springs want? Does this attitude reflect the values of our community? It is time for all of us to stand up for our values, our humanity, and elect representatives who care about all people not just the ones a state senator deems worthy.
Christy Le Lait
To Ralph Routon: I am not a fan of the Gazette for many reasons, but your article "Believe it or not" (News, Feb. 26) is really more of an indictment of the ethics of both you and your publisher than of your competitor's. Had I been your editor, I would not have permitted this attack on a competitor, not because of the truth (or falseness) of the material, but because of the damage it would cause to my own reputation for decency and ethical behavior as a journalist.
I suspect that you are a man and a journalist with more noble aspirations than indicated by writing this piece. My career was in the hotel business, and I never stooped so low and with such arrogance as to do this type of thing against a competitor. Of course, you won't agree with this letter, but I would hope that, someday, if you stay in the profession, you will come to realize its wisdom.
The venerable Gazette is dying, slain by craigslist, its silly editorial policies and its angry, ill-informed columnists. It was downsized again recently, so the poor thing is now thinner (not to mention less reasonable) than the Indy. In its death throes, however, the Gazette has come up with a source of income that is breaking the law and trashing our neighborhoods.
This morning I again found a packet of advertising material, encased in an orange Gazette plastic wrapper, on the sidewalk in front of my driveway. The other people on my block who don't subscribe to the Gazette got one, too.
Because Colorado Springs City Code Section 3.4.103 requires all property owners to keep public sidewalks "in a clean condition free from ... litter ... ," the Gazette is making money by giving us the chore of picking it up and throwing it away. (You can recycle the plastic bag for dog waste, but the slick printed stuff is very hard to recycle.)
The packages thrown to houses where no one resides can linger on for weeks, often being blown into the street. When you see rectangular, orange packages littering your neighborhood, you can thank the Gazette.
Unlike a newspaper delivered to a subscriber, this is not solicited by the homeowner, so besides requiring each of us to pick up after them, the Gazette is violating Section 9.6.202 of the City Code, which prohibits littering, defined as "Dumping, dropping, throwing or depositing any litter or otherwise causing or permitting any litter to escape from a vehicle or otherwise."
Is this package of stuff litter? Oh, yes: Section 9.6.201 defines litter as "Any and all rubbish, waste material, refuse, garbage, trash, debris or other foreign substance, solid or liquid of every form, size, kind and description."
City's side business
The police department recently recommended against auctioning seized firearms. Maybe they fear the consequences of five fewer officers coupled with more weapons on the street. Why was Jan Martin the only Council member to agree?
Larry Small's justification for gun sales "I think that's an item that has value, just like the automobiles we sell" raises questions. Why not sell confiscated crack cocaine and heroin, too? "Just like the automobiles we sell."
Does the city really think it's a good idea to be in the munitions business? What message does this decision send about Council's commitment to public safety?
In response to "Case against TABOR" (Letters, Feb. 26), there is only one reason to repeal TABOR: We've decided to cease being a constitutional republic, as originally designed, and become that which didn't work in the "former" Soviet Union, a state-controlled socialist oligarchy. Doug Bruce, with all of his faults, did this city and state a great service of getting TABOR passed by a public vote.
Unfortunately, taking taxes away from government, city or state, does not mean the governing body will learn to live within its means, as we have seen. It will not "cut the fat" of spending, nor will a corporation government (see dnb.com) redefine its "needs."
If true land/home ownership is non-taxable, then my warranty deed is only "user" ownership, as I am required to pay a yearly rent, known as "property" tax that by design is always in arrears, or they take the house away and give it to someone who will pay the yearly rent.
Someone once said: "It is tyranny to force people to pay for what they believe is morally reprehensible." This is the stand I am taking. It might be lonely, but it is the stand that those who started the United States of America and the 50 republics that comprise this country also took.
Corporation governments ought to redefine the term "need" and refund our taxes, as TABOR was designed to do. We need people in office who will abide by it, instead of trying to find ways around it.
Coast is queer
With the current situation in California, I have to wonder why so many in Colorado and Colorado Springs want to copy what got California to where it is now: $41 billion in debt.
I'm conservative and somewhat old-fashioned. However, I try to at least look at the other side of an issue, and therefore I read the Independent when I get down the hill. Since I planned on writing, I did a little statistical counting of comments in this section. Out of 16 letters during the past two issues (Feb. 19 and 26), 11 were bashing conservative ideas or people who supported them. Two were obvious conservative writers putting forth their views. The rest were neither liberal nor conservative views.
I respect the Independent for printing the opinions not in line with the paper's agenda. It is refreshing to at least see that some balance is being presented. I also do not use personal attack monikers as others do when they obviously dislike immensely.
With all of the crying for increased taxes to fund every aspect of federal, state and local government programs, I have to wonder if those people ever looked at California. It is a nanny state that provides goods, services and entitlements to its citizens and illegal immigrants. The problem here and in California is that citizens have become accustomed to government providing services it can no longer afford to do.