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Dobson reaction

I read the Ryan Dobson article ("Dobson 2.0," cover story, Feb. 25) with interest and admired the Independent for fair time reporting. It was a good article and showed that acceptance has two sides to the coin. Having a difference of opinion doesn't mean hating people who believe differently, no matter what the controversy.

I have listened to James Dobson on Focus on the Family occasionally and have never heard him express hatred of those with different beliefs. He stands up for what he believes but in a loving way.

Respect is a two-way street.

— Marlene Downs

Colorado Springs

Economics lesson

Cara Koch ("The supreme error," Letters, Feb. 25) and I must have attended totally different economics classes. My introduction defined the role of corporations as providing products or services beneficial to the public or the government that required a risk level or capitalization greater than usual, or that were not available through standard business practice. In return, the corporation was granted special privileges, foremost being relief of members of the corporation from personal financial liability for obligations or losses consequent to the operation of the business.

Other privileges might include exclusivity of product or operating region (railroads?), monopoly status (the old AT&T) or service to a distinguished client. Amassing wealth was not among corporate objectives, although they were expected to operate in the best interests of clients and members (shareholders). Excess profits were to be returned to shareholders as dividends. Not so long ago, standard dividends of blue-chips were 5 percent and a slightly more risky entity returned 10 percent.

Unfortunately, access to power and money corrupts both people and the systems they administer. Some corporate executives have turned their organizations into cash accumulation machines while rewarding themselves and their boards of directors with outrageous compensation packages, using corporate assets as personal piggy banks and turning the phrase "business ethics" into an oxymoron. Some have been caught red-handed and are in jail (at least for the moment, or until the court hears the Skilling appeal). Others continue funneling multimillions into their pockets with a full air or entitlement.

So, in the end, I agree with Cara that enforcement of existing laws and standards and a return to ethical corporate codes is necessary for survival of our financial system and our country. Do shareholders really want their profits spent on unlimited political contributions and lobbying?

— Robert Rachlis

Colorado Springs

People still rule

It seems "progressives" (they don't like to be called liberals or left-wingers anymore) have found a new punching bag — corporations! Those evil places that hire people and try to make a profit so they can stay in business.

Progressives never take on the PACs or unions, which are their bread and butter for financing re-election attempts. Since the recent Supreme Court decision putting every political group into the same category, the whining and noise from gnashing of teeth has been deafening.

Every bad corporate group, from Bernie Madoff to AIG, has been hoisted onto a steel pike by the progressives. No mention of the AFL-CIO or Teamsters or service workers union. There are unsavory characters everywhere. We don't need to look much further than our illustrious politicians in Washington.

The only thing which really matters is what the voters think and want. Corporations cannot go into the voting booth and pull the lever. The sky is not falling as predicted by all the global warming nuts.

The same took place locally as department heads cried buckets of tears over helicopters not flying, tourists not coming, parks getting brown and the USOC leaving town. None of those calamities have happened yet! Colorado Springs' voters are smarter than politicians give them credit for. When there is trust and Council recognizes they aren't omnipotent, things will change for the better.

— Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Save City Aud

"For the use of the people and glory of the city" — this was the reason the City Auditorium was built. The citizens of Colorado Springs voted for an all-access auditorium that was multi-use and was economically available for everyone. While the citizens met with opposition from the City Council, the auditorium was erected in 1923.

Over the past 80 years, the City Auditorium has served the citizens of Colorado Springs well, housing everything from cat shows to metaphysical fairs to concerts to, yes, the circus. But never has this building been restored, preserved, or cleaned as well as it deserves to be. City Council contracted with an outside company to determine just what work needed to be done, but these plans have never been acted upon.

In my opinion, City Council never wanted this auditorium and continues to think it nothing more than a financial burden. Yet the Council is not the only entity to blame. The people of Colorado Springs are willing to abandon this beautiful, historic building if it means saving a buck for themselves, but the voters will cry "foul play" when the city wants to sell it if the economy is looking up.

Should we let the history of Colorado Springs crumble into oblivion, or should those historical-minded preservationists stand up for those things that have no voice? People should. The city should stand up and be proud of the second-largest city in the state, whose founder believed in the finer things in life and wanted to build a second London, whose culture and refinement would rival that of any city in Europe. But this will not and cannot happen if our culture-generating buildings are allowed to crumble into dust.

— Jessica Nall



Dispensing thoughts

Let me see if I've got this straight: On Feb. 23, City Council disregarded its own task force's three months of work to draft an ordinance regulating medical marijuana dispensaries, in favor of a proposal literally drafted overnight, at their direction, by a city attorney ("MMJ in the clear, for now," Noted, Feb. 25). Then they considered this hastily written proposal at the meeting — though it wasn't on the agenda.

While unsuccessfully trying to reconcile all this with what I'd learned about civics, it occurred to me that there may be method in their madness. The city has an excellent facility by which citizens may keep track of what City Council is doing. By going to the Web page for the agenda of a meeting, you can link to the actual text of any proposal on the agenda. Proposals not on the agenda avoid such scrutiny.

So I was stymied in my efforts to read the proposal and satisfy my own curiosity as to whether it was a resolution, as most news accounts described it, or an ordinance. City Council resolutions usually have no legal force; a resolution might thus serve as a convenient way to temporize, by creating the appearance of doing something, in order to allay constituents while better-considered action is still in process. Yet news accounts said this "resolution" might compel existing dispensaries to close and prevent others from opening.

So, was this proposal merely a sense-of-the-Council resolution, or another kind of resolution with real teeth? Or was it in fact an ordinance, as some news accounts described it?

Whatever it was, news accounts describe the proposal as restricting medical marijuana dispensaries to being more than 1,000 feet from any neighborhood or school — that is, treating them like convicted child molesters. Just out of curiosity, if such restrictions were enacted, where in town would they be able to set up shop?

— Kurt Foster

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Reporter J. Adrian Stanley says it actually was a resolution "with teeth" — because the reasons and mechanism for enforcement are already in place. There is no zoning code for medical marijuana in the city, so technically, the entire MMJ industry is out of compliance. The resolution would have given workers the go-ahead to shut down some operations, with or without a complaint, and to prevent new dispensaries from opening.

Jumping ship

I saw a joke on the news the other day. Stop me if you heard it.

There's this politician, a congressman, and he quits. On his way out the door he tells reporters that he's leaving because Congress is dysfunctional and voters should clean house and vote in "sensible people" in their place. One of the reporters yells: "You mean sensible people like you?"

It's funny because it's totally ridiculous, and if it happened in real life it would totally be scary. It's almost a Yogiism: "I'm leaving because this place needs more people like me." Like the captain and crew being the first to abandon ship and taking all the good dinghies. See it's funny. Because it's too scary to be real. Ha. Funny ...

Ahem, so how about those Olympics! Canada looks like a nice place to live, eh ...

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs

Chasing Amy away

I have been a faithful reader of your newspaper since I moved to the Springs area, despite the fact that I often find your Advice Goddess column to be offensive, sexist drivel. It is shocking to me that your editorial page has not been overflowing with criticism for this column, although I realize that this particular subject — advice — is not the most pressing, and I realize that items on a typical "Lifestyle" page of any periodical (formerly known as the "Women's Interest" page) are not the big sell. However, I believe that the integrity the Independent possesses and shows in its other pages should carry over to this column.

After a little investigation into this column's archives, and its author, I have learned two relevant items, which will bring me to the point: One, that this author is anything if not consistent with her misogynistic and generally hateful language, and two, that she is syndicated from California.

I propose that the Indy find a local Advice Goddess, one who will give thoughtful, applicable advice for the masses, and whose responses don't make an empowered or slightly intelligent person blanch. I think you could find someone local for the same or lesser price, considering giving advice generally tends to be a self-fulfilling, fun thing to do. I mean, I would even do it. I'm a local, a fan of Dan Savage, and a published author (of creative writing, at least).

Anyway, I just wanted to bring to your attention, perhaps, the disgust that your advice column presumably brings to some of your readers, and emphasize that it doesn't belong because your newspaper is exemplary.

— Lizzy Ball

Colorado Springs

One hospital, two paths

Late last month, the new Colorado Springs Citizens Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System (MHS) convened to receive its charter from City Council and organize for what may be one of the most important processes in recent city history.

As volunteer leaders of the MHS Board of Trustees, we welcome this opportunity for our community to examine future health care needs and the role Memorial Health System will play. As a community, state and nation, we are at a turning point for health care.

Some may say this commission is just a rehash of past panels and commissions. We disagree. This commission has the opportunity to define and help create the conditions for assuring the highest-quality health care for our community for the 21st century. Members of the commission will do so only with participation and thoughtful input of area residents. City Council has determined robust public input will be part of the process, and we look forward to that input and what we can learn from it.

The commission members have voluntarily taken on an important responsibility for all of us. In turn, the leadership and resources of MHS are available to support their efforts. And we encourage all of our fellow citizens to support this process, participating in public meetings as your time permits.

This is an historic opportunity for our city — one many communities never have. We have two paths to choose from. We can consider only the narrow question of "sell or don't sell" MHS; or, we can seriously examine the question of what we, as a community, should do to assure the best health care for our community in the years ahead. It is our belief that following the latter path will lead to an outcome with the greatest benefit for all area residents.

— Arlene Stein, chair

James Moore, vice-chair

Memorial Health System

Board of Trustees

Colorado Springs

Be happy martyrs

So lo and behold! Colorado Springs has one of the lowest cost of living rates in the nation. (Imagine that!) The progressive liberal front is now writing nationally of our woes. The list goes something like this: dead parks, darkened streets, homeless living in tents, no police or firemen to protect our poor forlorn masses.

Yet when I travel the streets of our fair city, I see a thriving city and the small business people I know are making it just fine. What gives? It is a political con game, as I see it. The pro-government force (socialists?) see their perceived powers waning and are using the "soccer mom" fear factor to scare up new taxes.

What we need are clean manufacturing jobs. Not more home construction jobs (temporary) or the scourge of the big-box retail center (also fleeting and low-paying). As the brown cloud in our sky seems to get worse every year, I challenge the leadership of our city to focus energies on this budget shortfall. Welcome it as you would a purgative or an enema to cleanse our government of the masses of dead weight in our system.

We, as a community, must think of ourselves as martyrs to a larger cause and help each other and our leadership to a future of low taxes and a streamlined government. I welcome the national bad press; it might slow the migration of riff-raff that is inevitable when we live in one of the best places in the nation.

Oh, and one more thing: How can we not afford water for the parks when we own the utility company?

— Karl Knapstein

Colorado Springs

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