I've read with great interest, and disbelief, the letters about the county commissioners' term limits. I do not consider myself particularly well informed on the local political scene nor am I a rocket scientist, but I understood the question and knew that the commissioners served two terms, and I voted accordingly. I believe the Indy addressed this issue prior to the election, for those who read it and needed clarification.
It looks like a large portion of our disgruntled and confused electorate is going to get out their pitchforks and torches and go after the evil commissioners, and as is becoming more frequent, those constituents are refusing to take any personal responsibility for being informed before they eyeball the ballot. Some of the local radio show hosts apparently suffer this same shortsighted and irresponsible affliction, since this last weekend I heard some of them ranting about the wicked and devious commissioners lying to the public, and one of them even had poor Ms. Sallie Clark on his show to defend the wording of the initiative, though she wasn't given the opportunity to do so.
Where were these helpful pundits before the election?
This brouhaha reminds me of the poster on my wall: "There are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who WONDER what happened." Looks like much of our electorate falls into the third category.
— Geraldine Russell
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall is in the news again, strongly supporting expansion of military spending in El Paso County. As we know, he has taken the lead in promoting the addition of a Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Carson. Now he is pushing for an expansion at Schriever Air Force Base.
We are told the message from voters on election day was that the federal budget, including the Pentagon budget, is too big and we cannot afford to continue business as usual. We hear from the Chamber and Sen. Udall that we need to diversify our economy sometime, but not yet. In reality, Sen. Udall and the Chamber are saying one thing and doing another.
— Bill Sulzman
Let's not forget
This month, Colorado voters went to the polls and elected Michael Bennet to continue serving as a U.S. senator. I have spent time with both candidates out on the trail, and I want to thank them for encouraging efforts to help the world's poorest people.
Throughout the campaign, I attended events for both Republicans and Democrats to talk about progress made through American leadership. American efforts have helped provide antiretroviral treatment to more than 5 million suffering with HIV, put 42 million children in school for the first time and cut malaria cases in half. However, many challenges remain and we can't afford to let up now.
As Sen. Bennet goes back to Washington, I'm confident he will continue to support efforts like the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which saves the lives of those living on less than $1.25 a day. American leadership in the fight against extreme poverty will help end mother-to-child transmission of HIV, provide clean water, and distribute bed nets to protect families from malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
— Megan Marsh
Tortured by Bush
As a person of faith, I am outraged that former President George W. Bush said, "Damn right!" upon being asked whether Khalid [Sheikh] Mohammed should receive waterboard interrogation.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan wrote the U.S. Senate these words asking the Senate to ratify the Convention Against Torture (ratified 1988): "The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention. It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhumane treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today."
Perhaps President Bush believes that Sept. 11 changed everything regarding torture. I do not. Every country has experienced events in history when they could justify the "abhorrent practice" of torture, even against the will of the international community. The United States, as noted by President Reagan above, should be leading the way in abolishing torture around the world, not excusing its use.
Rather than saving lives, President Bush put our armed forces in additional danger. The use of torture has been shown to cause its victims to say anything to escape the interrogation — true or false. The use of torture made our people overseas a target.
I join with those of many faiths who insist that a commission of inquiry be established to investigate all aspects of the use of torture, with the aim of ensuring that U.S.-sponsored torture never happens again.
— Rev. Roger Butts
Duane Slocum's letter ("Election thoughts," Nov. 11), combined with veterans supporting Owen Hill against Sen. John Morse, took me over the top. All of those veterans were also Republicans, well aware the ads they took Morse to task for were 527 ads, not generated by him. To intimate Morse somehow "trashes the specific civility standards of the Colorado Senate" is ironic considering the blatant dishonesty evidenced by these individuals: Rayburn, Lambert, Cadman, Rivera, Schultheis, Gardner, Waller, Glenn, Hente, Gloriod.
These men knew they were misleading, but it was OK to advance another Republican. I don't know Mr. Hill, but I do know that all segments of society have their good, bad and ugly parts. That he went to the Academy by no means assures him of having more (or less) character than anyone else in our community.
However, if it is experience you're looking for, Morse has been a certified public accountant, a Colorado Springs police officer, a police chief, a chief financial officer and a chief executive officer. I don't think we could have an elected official with a greater, or a more appropriately diverse, background. Interestingly, the Gazette chose not to endorse Hill and instead remained neutral. I believe this speaks volumes.
Morse is one of the most honest people I have ever known. He makes every effort to do what is right for our community and our state. Republicans did this not as veterans, but as partisans from deep in the filthy bowels of pure partisanship, not representing those of us who are veterans. Try not to use the term veterans when you really mean politicians.
As for Duane, we actually probably don't deserve Sen. Morse, but we are damn lucky to have him.
— Bill Mead
Export to import
Bob Powell's column ("A broken region," Your Turn, Nov. 11) was the most intelligent discussion on the region's problems that I have seen in years. Since moving to Colorado Springs as part of the 1980s high-tech wave, I have been blown away by how badly the city's leaders misunderstood business in general and high-tech specifically.
Our small software company made the decision to move here based not on low cost, but rather high value — the "quality" aspect that Dr. Powell referred to. We were a classic example of "export" business, bringing money into the city through our worldwide sales of intellectual property (software). Unfortunately, I have watched the equation change from export to import and quality to low cost.
The city worked hard to court high-tech manufacturing by big companies that would never move their corporate [headquarters] here and would move jobs at will to save a few dollars. The city didn't understand intellectual-property companies, and had little interest in small companies that would grow and stay. We're now reaping the results of their misguided efforts. The big companies are gone, manufacturing has moved offshore, and the city has moved from a quality position to low cost: big-box stores, chain restaurants, call centers, military bases and nonprofit (mainly evangelical) groups.
Should it be reversed? Can it? These are discussions that the next City Council should get serious about. Our main industries are dependent on cheap land, cheap labor and cheap taxes. I much preferred the high-energy, high-quality potential of the city I experienced when I moved to this lovely location. It will be very hard to attract the kind of companies and talent to move from the low-cost value proposition that seems to be the city's main drawing card at the moment.
— Niel Powers
I applaud Darryl Glenn's proposal to review county ballot measure 1C regarding extending term limits for county commissioners. While I agree voters have a responsibility to understand the issues they're voting on, I'd also argue that framers of ballot language have a responsibility to state the issue in a forthright and honest manner.
Campaign flyers may obfuscate the issues. Ballot language must not.
— Sheila Wallace
In response to "Average, then some" (News, Nov. 4), Colorado Springs Utilities would like to provide clarification on our free Budget Billing program.
If you're participating in the Budget Billing program, you are not paying more for utilities than customers who are not enrolled in the program.
The 8 percent adjustment referenced in the article serves as an important factor to account for rate and/or consumption changes throughout the year. The percentage is reviewed annually to ensure that it is in line with any rate changes. By instituting this adjustment, monthly bills are balanced evenly and customers are protected from seasonal fluctuations.
Again, the Budget Billing program is free and is invaluable for customers who want to better forecast and budget their monthly utilities expenses, especially in tough economic conditions.
Visit our website at csu.org to find out more about Budget Billing, or call us at 448-4800 to sign up.
— Steve Berry
Colorado Springs Utilities
For two years the age-old Republican cry of "lower taxes" has been augmented by the nascent Tea Addicts movement; herbal junkies looking to reduce taxes and "paaaaaaarrrtay!" The guru is Ronald Reagan's mentor, Arthur Laffer, whose great contribution to economics was arguing that when taxes get too high, people will not want to work; they'll take their ball and go home.
Laffer's genius offers an elegant solution to our current mess. It will shock Teapublicans comfortable in blindly trodding the "lower taxes" rut, but the prescription derived from Laffer to best cure what ails our economy is a tax increase.
If we set the tax rate high enough after a certain income, people reaching this threshold would say: "I've made enough; I'm folding and going inside to have a beer and sit in the hot tub. Let somebody else have a shot."
Instead of working 70 hours a week, a greedy achiever could thus quit after 35 hours because his new marginal tax rate is 98 percent; that is, for every dollar earned after 35 hours he'd keep just two cents. By retiring for the week, this wise person creates one new job for a fellow citizen.
Instead of stashing excess income into gold coins and Old Dutch Master paintings or into Ponzi tax shelters, a previously unemployed income-earner would spend money on items that increase consumer demand. More jobs will be created. The economic freeze will melt.
At this point the Laffer tax hikes could then be retracted, but why spoil a good thing? Such tax cuts would eliminate the newly created jobs as greedy people try to regain their previous level of earning by stealing work from others.
This is how higher taxes will create jobs and why lower taxes would eliminate jobs. Hey, I'm finally laughing with Laffer, not at him.
— Steve Luera
'Tis the season
I got a holiday card from my sister that read: "What a glorious hope we have for those who put trust in him." So I opened it and boy, was I embarrassed.
I thought it was an Obama card...
— Steve Suhre
Stop the madness
As a 73-year-old, I have been paying attention to the terrorism caused by religious fanatics for over 50 years and observing for a fact that this is not conventional warfare, such as a country engaged in fighting another country. As a U.S. Army soldier stationed in France in the 1950s, I saw religious-fanatic terrorists bomb train stations, banks and many other places where innocent people gather. These madmen would inflict death and destruction and then sneak away.
I believe that civilized countries that are threatened by these madmen, such as Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France. Spain, Italy, Russia, England, Canada, Mexico, Australia and the United States, should band together and form a united anti-terrorist organization that could monitor, track down and bring these terrorists to justice and/or death no matter where they run off to hide.
We are wasting the lives of our troops and our national treasure in the uncivilized countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan. We must bring our troops home from these corrupt countries that have us in this endless war, which is profit-making for Halliburton and other big companies.
— Leon Rodriguez
In the Nov. 11 issue, the CannaBiz column incorrectly attributed a new rule change to the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners; the correct source is the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Indy regrets the error.