Every edition of the Independent, this reader is subjected to letters of banter written by ignorant, incorrect and just misguided authors armed only with a lack of general knowledge and maybe a thesaurus.
So to those of you who endlessly complain about how this city is being run and criticize our officials who have the courage to serve, I simply ask: What do you really want out of a city? As a citizen, do you participate in making our public spaces better? How do you contribute to making Colorado Springs a great place where people want to work, play and live? What do you do to make your neighborhood respected and unique? Do you support our retail and cultural areas?
Everybody in this town wants the services, but no one wants to help and no one wants to pay. So to you fault-finders, please stop pointing fingers and expecting everything to be fixed by the other person. Get involved, take pride in this city, and individually commit to making a difference.
Citizens of Colorado Springs, open your eyes and see what I see. I see a city full of opportunity with a superior quality of life. I see a clean, safe, friendly, diverse and better-connected city where education, health care and environmental initiatives are leading. This is a time for strong leadership, innovative thinking and personal accountability. It is time for citizen action and volunteerism.
— Lisa Czelatdko
Winfield Scott Stratton's story as carpenter, casual miner and generous contributor to community, especially the poor, is well-known among local history enthusiasts. One of his most significant purchases was the Colorado Springs Rapid Transit, transforming it into a major transportation source. He invested over $50 million (in today's dollars) to extend the system to all corners of the city.
How times have changed.
Several years ago the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority was passed with the promise of projects throughout the city. The roads and bridges portion has had a huge positive impact. Transit funding not so much, and many ask, "Why?" It's quite simple. Transit implemented a poor business model, copying Denver. But only 1/10 of 1 percent in the PPRTA tax was dedicated for transit. RTD in Denver receives 1 percent, plus other area taxes. Denver has tons of money. Colorado Springs tried to do too much with too little.
Many promises were made for PPRTA: increased bus service, transfer stations and service hours including holidays. Much of that has been recently reduced or eliminated. Stratton's vision of lifting up and sustaining the poor has taken the back seat in the bus.
Lastly, our bus fares are difficult to afford. We're comparable to Denver, but Denver offers 24-hour service on some routes, significant Sunday and holiday service and light rail. Our bus service hours per citizen are less than Pueblo's, and yet Pueblo's fares are almost half of ours.
I suggest City Council and PPRTA have the transit system independently audited for the waste expended, and corrections made to give us economical and efficient bus service. Mr. Stratton, where are you?
— Dan Francis
Our city has once again been treated to a three-day visit by the Air Force's F-16 Thunderbird stunt team. As we hear F-16s roaring overhead for the second day (Tuesday), with one more to follow, it is noteworthy that the four jets combined are using more than $10,000 per hour of fuel (that's about 5,400 gallons per hour).
So the three-day cost, not counting the fuel it takes to get them here and back, will be 40 to 50 grand.
Certainly, the Air Force Academy's graduation is expensive. One might say wasteful.
— Bill Sulzman
The price of death
Colorado recently came close to abolishing the death penalty; a bill that would have done so failed by an 18-17 vote.
How unfortunate this is became very clear when an El Paso County district judge ordered a new trial for Tim Kennedy, imprisoned nearly 14 years for a 1991 double murder. Kennedy was sentenced to life in prison for this crime. Fortunately, he was not executed because it now appears likely he's innocent.
DNA testing was in its infancy when Kennedy was convicted, so it could not have helped him, but recent tests point to his innocence. Additional evidence could have exonerated him, but it was not presented at his trial. The judge, citing the DNA results and the withheld evidence, ordered a new trial (although it's unclear if the district attorney will pursue this).
What if we had executed Tim Kennedy? I understand people are heartbroken and angry after losing a loved one to murder, and often they want to retaliate by seeing the murderer die, too. But our criminal justice system doesn't work well sometimes. So how can we put people to death knowing they might be innocent?
Is our need for revenge so great that we're willing to sacrifice innocent people so we can kill guilty ones? How many innocent people is it OK to kill? What's the proper ratio? Is it permissible to kill two innocent people per 10 guilty ones? Or three?
I say killing one innocent person is one too many. We need to abolish the death penalty.
— Fred Kormos
When did testosterone become a bad thing? I must have been trimming errant hair growth that day. I understood the Women's Lib thing; it was a painful but necessary exaggeration intended to bring society even, and it's working. We've gotten through that, mostly, but now I find I'm a "carrier" of an unpopular and increasingly illegal hormone? Waaaa! Sorry, my emotions have been a little unstable lately.
Women can walk into a grocery store and buy Estroven, so where's my Testroven!
It's common medical knowledge that low testosterone is bad for men, but every new compound found to increase testosterone levels is quickly legislated away. Why? People abuse it. My mom asked me if I'd read about that Manny Ramirez sports fellow who used the drugs. I had to explain that they weren't illegal happy-pill drugs that made him feel good; they were just hormones that he believed would help him play better, and that they pay him millions to play well.
That's the real problem — all the money professional sports throw at people. It hits our high schools and colleges hard, sends mixed messages about what's a drug, and hormone abuse isn't the only problem it causes.
A tiny segment is causing an increasing burden on the rest of society, and we encourage it. It's a monster, and we're feeding it.
We need to start taming and training it. Testosterone isn't the problem; the money is! We're all shocked at the contracts rookies are getting just like we were all shocked when the Dow hit 14,000. The warning signs are all there. We ignored the Wall Street thing. Tick, tock, tick, tock ...
— Steve Suhre
Good vs. evil
Last week, the nation witnessed a unique event: present and former leaders making staunchly opposing speeches on national security. Media pitted this theater as a power duel, but the speeches were more about what constituted our current American conscience, our nation's soul.
Dick Cheney framed his words in the 9/11 underpinnings, mentioning the date over 25 times like some old bygone teacher using a proverbial pointer to smack inattentive students. Cheney reiterated the governing ethos he made on Meet the Press the Sunday following 9/11: "We'll have to work sort of the dark side ... We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly ... use any means at our disposal basically to achieve our objectives."
He still hasn't deviated one iota, seeing "no middle ground" in carrying out torture, perpetual imprisonment without due process (Gitmo) or secret decrees.
President Obama openly challenged Cheney's mindset, saying that after 9/11, "faced with an uncertain threat, our government made a series of hasty decisions. ... In other words, we went off course. And this is not my assessment alone. It was an assessment that was shared by the American people."
Obama spoke flanked by the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Emancipation Proclamation, legal pillars in our democracy. Cheney appeared at an unabashedly neoconservative think tank. Obama dispelled Cheney's absolute Machiavellian worldview that the end always justifies the means.
The American soul I once knew had a firm idea of what was right and wrong.
Ask yourself: Are we a nation whose soul is now made of Cheney's "dark side," or are we the country of Washington, Lincoln and the rule of law?
— Bob Nemanich
Recently the Denver Post printed Debra J. Saunders' Democrats' Dictionary. I offer a Liberal Democrat's Republicans' Dictionary.
Academic freedom: Full license to espouse the misleading inaccuracies of religion and the teachings of the John Birch Society.
Science: The world is flat and the world as we know it today was created in six days. There is no such phenomenon or reality in global warming. The authorities on real science are the Pope, Mormon bishops and television evangelicals, who have these discussions with God.
Deficits: Iraq war supplementals were not requested by George W. Bush, nor were Bush and John McCain responsible for deregulation of the banking industry.
God: God only recognizes white Anglo-fascists and members of the NRA. God does not allow blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, Native Americans or gays into heaven.
McCain: McCain never dumped his disfigured first wife for a good-looking rich chick. McCain never negligently crashed several Navy aircraft.
Middle class: No such thing, only rich and poor people allowed in America.
Liberal: A college-educated citizen bent on giving too much health care, education, jobs and protection to less-fortunate citizens.
Sacrifice: Republicans talking or discussing issues that affect all citizens with liberals.
Tolerance: Allowing blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, Jews and gays to live in America and allowing them to serve in the Armed Forces.
War on Terror: Bush's opportunity to avenge Iraqi insults to Papa Bush.
Dick Cheney: A kind, generous, intelligent man who prays to Rush Limbaugh daily.
— Leon Rodriguez