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Culture shock

Recently I returned to Colorado Springs after 10 years living abroad. Back in my hometown, I was excited to have the chance to get reacquainted with my roots. I got a job waiting tables at a well-respected restaurant to pay the bills, and, a few weeks in, I unfortunately am so shocked how negative and disrespectful people's interactions are with each other.

Yes, this is quite a generalization, but it is clear from my experience that there is a real trend that shows a lack of politeness in our society. I've witnessed a store owner and customer actually curse at each other over a parking misunderstanding. I have been treated like dirt as a server: People often leave insultingly small tips on large checks, customers interact with their server in a completely condescending manner, while others use sarcasm to the point of mockery!

I've rarely witnessed such self-righteousness and rudeness in a community. (And these unfortunate cases aren't due to my serving abilities!)

I have always defended my fellow Americans to foreign friends and acquaintances, highlighting our welcoming spirit and willingness to help our neighbor. But after perceiving this lack of respect for others, I've had to doubt this oft-referred-to "innate goodness" of our society, that supposedly hails "Christian" values and personal integrity.

Is my experience unique? Do others notice this? What has changed?

— Anna James

Colorado Springs

Don't hide, or party

I try to remind myself that these are just "growing pains" in a new city industry. I think medical marijuana regulation is a good thing, but bullying is not. As a customer, there are a few things I'd like to share with dispensary owners:

Several dispensary owners refused to disclose their names or last names in recent Indy articles. Why? Do you not want your neighbors or church members to know about your MMJ business? If you're ashamed, why should I spend precious money from my disability check at your dispensary?

I don't. I also ignore ads for places that put off a tie-dye-infested party atmosphere. It may work for some, but it's not for me. I'm trying to get pain relief, not a party. I want you to take my health as seriously as I do.

This is a huge shift in the way generations of people have been conditioned to think about marijuana — I get that. It's scary, but you'll be OK. Be assured that I don't medicate and drive. I don't become a raving lunatic looking to eat your children. I'm just an RN who was assaulted by a patient, now permanently disabled who has been able to substitute MMJ for the narcotics and other toxic chemicals of prescription drugs.

— Rebecca Walker

Colorado Springs

Veto the bill

To Gov. Bill Ritter: Please apply a check on the runaway legislative process that has hurriedly produced a horrible bill. This process has been too rushed. The resulting bill, HB 1284, is full of flaws.

The worst thing is that it hugely favors bigger businesses. Local small businesses are supposed to be the heart of our economy, and the situation now is a perfect example of how they are supposed to work. This is one part of the local economy that is growing and hiring and working. But this bill is going to put all the small businesses quickly out of business. Only the biggest dispensaries will be able to continue under this new law.

It also completely undercuts the free market. If only the vendors can grow, it's a huge limiter on supply, and the price will go through the roof, denying people their medicine.

The independent growers, legislated out of business by this bill, keep the supply of medicine high and the price low. The small independent dispensaries that buy this product provide competition in the retail market. This keeps the price of medicine low.

Getting medicine to sick people was the intent of the voters who passed this amendment to Colorado's constitution. The Legislature has frustrated the will of the people for 10 years, before passing this. We now have a situation that is great for patients, and difficult for government to oversee. The Legislature's solution, this bill, creates a medical marijuana environment that will be real easy for government to oversee and regulate, but terrible for patients.

Please be compassionate and veto this bill. Make the Legislature start a new bill and do it right.

— Gordon Riley

Colorado Springs

Our elected enablers

When parents want to teach their children to be financially responsible as they become teenagers, should they "cover" if their child repeatedly overdraws their checking account? Should they give their child a credit card without limits and just pay it when their child repeatedly goes on wild spending sprees? Of course not. Successful parents know their children need limits and consequences.

From the looks of things on Wall Street, however, it would appear that is how the CEOs were brought up. And now they seem to have transferred the role of "Big Daddy" to the government, which is now expected to bail them out whenever they spend more than they have.

Why have our senators — Michael Bennet and Mark Udall — suddenly lost their determination to stand up to these spoiled children by not voting for the Brown-Kaufman Amendment that would have been a game-changer in curtailing the irresponsible behavior on Wall Street? Only 31 senators were willing to vote for the "tough love" measures that would have changed the behavior of these out-of-control adolescents.

— Cara Koch

Colorado Springs

Looking for Teddy

Every so often there's a search for a look-alike celebrity. I say it's time for a "be-alike" Teddy Roosevelt.

He was a pretty brave guy, when you think about it, taking on the big corporations and busting up their monopolies. Say he was around today. No way Teddy would have stood for piddly, mild reforms or egregious lobbying. If you were too powerful and your actions hurt the economy and people in it, he'd take you on, according to Simon Johnson and James Kwak, co-authors of 13 Bankers. Roosevelt liked to act preemptively when it came to excessive power.

I don't think too many senators, if they were mentored by Teddy, would have pulled the lousy stunt they just did in voting against the Brown-Kaufman Amendment that would have reduced the size of those too-big-to-fail banks. Oh no, Teddy didn't cave in to corporate muscle like our senators do.

Are you listening, Mark Udall? And you, too, Michael Bennet, being challenged by opponent Andrew Romanoff? Now, Andrew bears more of a likeness to Teddy!

— Micheale Duncan


Looking for Lamborn

In response to Brent Buzbee ("Who's wasteful?" Letters, May 13), I think Brent's use of the descriptive "ironic" is being more than kind. I consider U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn's frequent, expensive mailers to be more along the lines of "waste, fraud and abuse."

After the latest of Lamborn's mass mailers (nearly as thick and twice as glossy as an album cover) touting his efforts to save taxpayer money, I phoned his Colorado Springs office to ask about this attack on common sense. I spoke with someone named Steven, who said "uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" ceaselessly while I explained my desire to receive these bulletins on newsprint.

Steven explained to me that the reason these mailings were so frequent and beautifully printed was that each representative is allotted a certain printing budget, and that if it was not used up, the money would be "returned to Nancy Pelosi."

Wow. He promised to pass my concerns on to Washington. I'm wondering, with that sort of thinking, if Lamborn might not be more easily reached on a playground somewhere.

— Timothy Fairfull

Colorado Springs

No GOP leaders

Considering that current Antichrist (Barack Obama) has accomplished what the former one, FDR, didn't, it'd appear the members of the discombobulated GOOP (Grumpy Ornery Old Party), the Teabaggers and conservatives in general are wandering in the wilderness without a Moses to lead them, and possibly will for the next 40 years.

You see, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, John McCain, John Boehner and Jim Bunning ain't no Moses and couldn't fill the sandals once worn by the real one even if they managed to benefit from the Egyptian plagues of obstructionism, racism, partisanship, stubbornness, hypocrisy, greed and rumors of rumors of death panels.

Still, the wilderness is paradoxically kind to them as a place where they're tortured by the truth and find more than plenty of liquid to waterboard the rest of us with lies, but not enough to flood out their weapons of mass deception. Compassionately, though, the wilderness also provides them with Katrina-sized bags of hot air. But due to a lack of lakes, they might want to lick their wounds — then go jump in a teabag.

— Ralph Stevenson


A gulf in reason

There has to be something safer than oil, coal and nuclear-powered energy. I'm led to believe it would take too much time, effort and money to engineer a United States that runs on safe and renewable energy, but we are currently watching exponential amounts of that time, effort and money wasted in the Gulf of Mexico every day.

Any large-scale conversion to renewable energy will not be easy, and it will take time, but it's not like an oil rig that drills a mile under the sea just fell out of a box of cereal one morning. We need to work hard to make sure we can power not only ourselves but also posterity, and I'm sad to see our efforts wasted cleaning up one mess after another when those efforts could be positively spent creating a future powered by renewable energy.

— Brandon Davis


Bush's books

Regarding "Defending Rove" (Letters, May 6), I cannot believe that Eric Mason thinks George W. Bush actually read 95 books in a single year. It's good to know Bush was at least doing something while he was in the White House. But 95 books, come on, man! Surely not even Rush Limbaugh would believe that. I wonder if Bush got the titles of any of them, or it's just another example of trying to build a new image for a bad ex-president.

We are all still waiting for his war to end, or at least for the Iraqi oil to pay for all that we have and are continuing to spend. Maybe the ex-president can get a part-time job at a nursery feeding babies; he sure was good at spoon-feeding the American people about the war and all the "unfound" weapons of mass destruction. I will check and see if Yale offers a course in spoon-feeding. If they do, I'm sure that he aced it.

— James Farmer


Suthers' screwup

Another spending spree! Colorado Attorney General John Suthers feels that pandering to the neocons with gratuitous legal challenges is the right thing to do for our state? We're all struggling — cities, towns, small and large businesses alike — yet a "fiscal conservative" and a conservative in political policy chooses to take a legal challenge to the federal courts!

Suthers' challenge to national health care is a fiscal outrage! It's an obvious attempt to pacify his teabagger pals, far-gone fundamental conservatives and the ever-vocal, right-wing media that keep driving the GOP!

This is almost as idiotic as the attempt to outlaw abortion in Oklahoma, prompting long, expensive legal battles. From the outside, it would appear that the worse a state's economy, the more the conservatives want to fritter away funds. People, abortion, women, and blacks voting — these kinds of things are fought. Instead, health care ... done! It was the right thing to do and, like it or not, it's here!

Neocons, you'll take a long time to fade away. You hasten your ideological demise with each act that slows our growth, each attempt to thwart someone else's rights. We will not be dragged back to 1959!

Oh yeah, and to Mr. and Mrs. Religious Right, Neanderthal DNA was and is found in modern humans. Sorry, there goes that whole 5,000-year-old Earth thingy that you all hold so dear! If ignorance is bliss, conservatives must be so happy.

— Justin Profit

Colorado Springs


SDS: bad move

I was surprised by the Gazette's April 25 editorial stating the Southern Delivery System is a "must-have" for Colorado Springs. The newspaper lost its objectivity on this issue.

Utilities' Web site says: "The Southern Delivery System (SDS) is a regional water delivery system that will provide a cost effective, environmentally responsible and dependable way to deliver water we need for our future."

If Utilities really cared about cost-effective water delivery, it would recommend new construction close to Pueblo Reservoir, maybe in Pueblo West rather than Banning-Lewis Ranch. Pumping water 1,700 feet uphill is environmentally irresponsible, foolish and expensive. Pump stations, additional electric generation capacity, and many miles of very large pipe would not be considered a dependable or secure choice by most rational people.

Currently half of Colorado Springs' water is consumed by irrigation, mostly for grass. Motivate citizens to have less grass and we will have adequate water supply for decades of growth.

Simply put, the $1 billion-plus SDS likely will cost each water customer $50 per month for the next 40 years. Actually getting water from the pipe will be in addition to that. I have yet to see an estimate of the electric cost to pump the water and lift the wastewater to and from Banning-Lewis Ranch. Once SDS construction is under way, CSU will have to drop the bomb that the existing water delivery system is beyond its design life and requires major overhaul or complete replacement. Got another $50 per month?

If we applied the approximately $300 million spent on the pre-construction SDS, we could have solved every financial issue Colorado Springs has dealt with during the past decade.

My prediction is that most ratepayers will feel the pain of significantly higher water rates for the next half-century.

— Al Brody

Colorado Springs

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