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Make the case

Your survey about voters' willingness to back off TABOR (Editorial, July 23) was a great idea. What is truly needed to change things, though, is recognition of some key factors.

Many who voted for TABOR have been subjected to serious belt-tightening in their work environments. I know I have. I believed when I voted for TABOR, and still believe, that government should not be immune to the belt-tightening we've all (outside government) had to endure.

Few to no local government leaders have made the case that they have taken any real steps to make government more efficient. Why should we approve increases in taxes without a credible effort to make the most of the money we pay in? And the stormwater enterprise, bypassing voter approval for what amounts to a tax, rubs still more salt in the wound. Not to mention certificates of participation, another end-run around voter approval.

If voters approve some back-off of local TABOR, it will be because they hollered "Uncle" in response to arm-twisting by an entity that believes it is entitled to endure in its present form without recognizing the current fiscal environment. Not me, at least not yet.

What's really needed is for local political leaders to stand before voters and say, "OK, we get it. Here's what we've done to maximize the impact of your tax dollars. We sincerely ask you to match that."

Am I smoking something here? Am I alone? Can the Indy report on efforts to make our local government more efficient? Who will accept these challenges?

— Michael Maddox

Colorado Springs

Familiar argument

Here we go again. Fr. Bill Carmody ("Control issue," Letters, July 23) repeats the old propaganda that we who defend the right to abortion want to abolish poverty by aborting the poor.

While abortion can be a necessary medical procedure, no one wants surgery if it can be avoided, so the sensible way to reduce the number of overall abortions is to avoid unwanted pregnancies by the use of contraception. This would relieve the "poor" woman of the problem of another birth, which could mean less food and resources for siblings, or a pregnancy that might cost the mother her much-needed job or impair her long-term health.

Unfortunately, in the early 1970s when Roe v. Wade was decided, affordable birth control was unavailable for the poor, a situation addressed by Medicaid funding of abortions. As a result, poverty did, indeed, lessen, as did crime when that generation reached adulthood, since the children who were born were not neglected or abused. Unfortunately, the Hyde Amendment, enacted in 1976, removed this access for the poor, pushing them back into poverty.

Being poor isn't a crime, but keeping people poor should be. If Carmody, his church and the many members of Congress who have fought against both contraception and abortion would start supporting artificial contraception, families would be able to control their size in this weak economy. Poverty would lessen and welfare costs would fall, benefiting all of society, though it might mean the birth of fewer members for Carmody's church.

— Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

Real solutions

Albert Einstein said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

It was interesting reading Duane Slocum's criticism, en masse, ("What about Palin?" Letters, July 16) of all the Independent letter-writers published the previous week. While criticizing everyone, Slocum had not one suggestion for changing the way we do things to address the serious problems our nation faces.

I addressed our failing health care system and the huge costs it places on all Americans, while not providing care to many who need it.

I talked about my support for President Obama's comprehensive health care legislation that reduces costs, provides quality health care for all Americans and preserves our right to choose our own health insurance, including a public option that will compete with insurance companies to take their huge profits out of the equation. Obama's plan will for the first time in decades control health care costs.

Since Slocum had no suggestions to address the crisis, I assume his plan for getting better results is doing the same thing for health care that we've been doing over and over again.

If that is his thinking, it's lucky for Mr. Slocum that the new plan will also guarantee an end to exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

— Mike Maday

Colorado Springs

Living in the past

Responding to Duane Slocum ("What about Palin?" Letters, July 16):

1. Ronald Reagan is dead; there is nothing you can do to bring him back. Nothing you can do to bring back the world in which he lived. He was a mortal man who became president and, after retirement, died of Alzheimer's like a lot of other ordinary people. Move on with your life.

2. I think a company has a right to make a profit, but not at the expense of the public health or well-being. Environmental laws were made to try and keep corporations from poisoning us while making things, not to sabotage industry. American industry sabotaged itself by failing to adjust to the present.

3. Several of those companies and banks that accepted government money to stay afloat have paid it back. Ford was offered a bailout, and didn't take it. Look at the numbers of automobile companies that existed before 1929, and died over the following 15 years. Ever hear of an REO Speedwagon? A Hupmobile? A Franklin?

It seems to me that the Republicans are dedicated to seeing Obama fail even if it means losing everything. I can imagine them sitting in their tar-paper shacks, eating rats and cheering.

— Donald Pelton

Colorado Springs

Latinos' lament

I agree with most of J. Adrian Stanley's analysis ("In search of a movement," feature story, July 23). However, the biggest obstacle to Chicano progress here is our right-wing political environment and consequent devaluing of Mexican/Chicano presence, culture and contributions. The Latino group is diverse, and Mexican-origin Latinos are distinct from other Latinos.

The great majority of our Latinos are of Mexican origin, whether recent arrivals or second-, third- or fourth-generation. The vast majority of Chicanos/Mejicanos in Colorado Springs are working-class people.

Many of Mexican origin have assimilated or wish to assimilate, believing this will bring economic advantages. But the experience of Denver and Pueblo in creating strong community-based organizations shows that many need the help that only collective efforts can provide. You need people to join these groups who feel proud of a sense of difference. But the "laissez-faire" attitudes exemplified by Lionel Rivera and others in your article indicate how backward we are. The truth is that Hispanic chambers of commerce can be invaluable. Mi Casa and Centro de la Familia can be absolutely essential. And so on.

Your story faithfully reflected some leaders' opinions. It's sad to see many blaming the victims. Latinos blame ourselves for our failure to crack open the closed social and political systems. I have complained about apathy, but the real problem is too many people have knocked their heads against the brick wall for too long to no avail, and they've given up.

Just because we recently had five or six Latinos in high-profile positions was not significant. They did nothing to make their organizations more open and responsive to us.

We expected them to do just that, but they have disappointed us, especially our mayor. Can you imagine if Federico Peña had taken a hands-off attitude towards Latino issues as Denver's mayor? Peña's tenure was a huge step forward for Denver Latinos.

Mayor Rivera is an amiable man, but unfortunately, we can't say Colorado Springs Chicanos/Latinos took a huge step forward under his tenure.

— José "Joe" Barrera

Colorado Springs

Just a thought

How important are our improvements in technology if we don't improve our own internal lives?

— Brien Whisman

Colorado Springs


Clarifying points

Michael Augenstein ("It's a right," Letters, July 23) makes many key points. However, there are two minor discrepancies worth addressing.

First, he makes the claim that we live in a republic — the ideal form of government, by the way. Maybe he is confused. See, in a republic you would not need government's permission to work on your own abode. Furthermore, you would actually own your abode and not have to pay a yearly rent. Let's just say this is no republic. Not by a long shot.

Secondly, you claim our founding fathers put "In God We Trust" on our currency. Hmmm, that's funny, none of our founding fathers would do that after the reign of Henry VIII and Bloody Mary. In fact, the First Amendment says so, not ambiguously. But, still the same, I would love to have our republic back, even if it is more a socialistic republic.

— Dwayne Schultz

Colorado Springs

About entitlements

Re: David W. Gardner and his opinions on entitlement ("Robin Hood on drugs?" Letters, July 23): What entitles any person to the food off another's plate? What entitles one man to a life of ease and plenty while the people who make him rich are entitled only to bankruptcy, illness, hardship and having the wealth they generate siphoned to the executives who "entitle" themselves to every reward this backward society has to offer?

Would superior intelligence entitle one person to the food off the other's plate? Does the ability to contribute more money to a morally bankrupt economic system entitle one family to health and prosperity while the less monetarily rewarded families are entitled to disease, hardship and the privilege of having their labors exploited to keep others in their position of wealth and health?

A condition of wealth for one is always created and sustained by the poverty of another. In order for the super-wealthy to exist, the imbalance at the other end of the spectrum must also exist. That is the exploitative nature of the economic system in this country. And you dare to belittle the right of people who create freedom from hunger and disease for others, to be free from hunger and disease themselves?

You use the word "entitlement" as though you are describing a parasite that helps itself to the hard-earned rewards of others. The majority of the people now demanding health care and better pay are people who have always earned those things but have never been given their just dues.

Just one more clue for you: If everyone were paid the true value of his or her labors, there would be no profit, only equilibrium.

We would all have enough.

— Lisa Smith-Ruffin

Colorado Springs

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