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Open debate

Well, I was happy to see that my letter ("Misdirected blame," Jan. 20) stirred up the gentle liberal defenders of the faith and gave Indy readers like myself more opportunities for civil discourse.

In my opinion, Elaine Brush's response ("Richness and rhetoric," Jan. 27) was a real step forward in rational thought. While the statistics she cited made my eyes glaze over, and perhaps there was a teensy bit of sarcasm (or resentment?) that her pundit heroes made so much less money than The Evil Ones, at least she acknowledged that there is more than one side to the debate, which many liberals will not admit and continue to vehemently deny. So, kudos to Elaine for making the effort.

As to Bob Nemanich ("Time to reflect," Jan. 27), perhaps he is still a work in progress. As I said in my original letter, "just because you may fervently wish for something to be so does not mean that it is." His lecture was pretty vague on facts, though my eyes really glazed over to the point that I will probably take his letter to bed to help battle insomnia.

Though he names no names, I am guessing that figures like Lincoln, Reagan and Pope John Paul are not included in his "martyrs to hate speech." I ponder why, but since I am a bloodthirsty, knuckle-dragging ignoramus who isn't left so can't be right, the concept is probably too deep for me. And geez, I don't even have any guns or religion to cling to to help me out in understanding all this.

Anyhow, thanks to Elaine and even more thanks to the Indy for allowing its readers to discourse ... in a civil way, of course. It is therapeutic and valuable to us, regardless of which way we lean.

— Geraldine Russell

Colorado Springs

This city's anchor

The recent revelation that the Memorial Health System complex, when combined with the future debt load of PERA, is a toxic liability should surprise no one (especially Swiss banking executive Mayor Lionel Rivera). This liability is the "boat anchor" chained to all our pocketbooks that will drag down any hope for a prosperous future for our offspring.

What to do? Bankruptcy is the easy solution. Though legal and final, it would also leave us with tens of thousands of lost and forlorn (if not very angry) government workers. We are all going to have to take a financial hit to cope with the massive debt load that our local governments have miscalculated us into.

PERA should get ahead of this impending malaise by accepting early retirements (and a hiring freeze) along with stopping the abuse of the system that allows stockpiling of vacation/sick pay for the sole purpose of getting a fatter retirement check. PERA should invest the billions of dollars it controls in companies that create quality manufacturing jobs in Colorado. Investing in anything that does not bring prosperity to our own citizens only helps the fat-cat fund managers on Wall Street.

I believe we need some government, just not the ancient, slow, and un-fireable people doing time for the sake of their/our future unfunded liability.

— Karl Knapstein


Defending PERA

As a retired teacher of 34 years in District 11, the Public Employees' Retirement Association (PERA) has been my income for the last eight years as well as medical, dental and vision insurance subsidy assistance. As a beginning teacher in 1969 at a salary of $6,100, I did not realize how important this pension would be to me and my family.

I'm staying current with global economic conditions, especially in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Belgium, etc., and realize the "welfare state" cannot exist indefinitely. The world will pass 7 billion persons this year, placing even more tensions and stress on natural resources and programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, health care, Social Security, security and military outlays, education, infrastructure, etc.

PERA has tweaked the system over the past year to maintain the fiscal picture for new hires, those currently working, and retirees. PERA retirees did not pay into Social Security and cannot benefit from it.

Some of us did earn Social Security credits (part of mine occurred when, after one year of teaching, I served in the military in Vietnam) and are not able to receive full benefits because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). This windfall factor does cause those in private industry who would like to go into teaching to reevaluate education as a career.

Other factors:

1. Approximately 86 percent of PERA retirees choose to stay in Colorado and pay the required federal, state and local taxes on their pension incomes. Obviously, this money is put "back into the system" for those programs that the nation, Colorado and Colorado Springs deem important.

2. By retiring, I was able to open a position for a younger teacher at a lower wage.

3. Retirement gives retirees the opportunity to see the Colorado Springs community's needs and volunteer.

— Kelly Townsend

Colorado Springs

City role models

Colorado Springs can learn a lot from Tom and Sam. Tom Gallagher's main focus is job creation. Nobody takes a defunct downtown retail space and creates a platform for dozens of new jobs like Sam Guadagnoli. Tom has witnessed the success that Sam and others have enjoyed. Successes that have defied the national economic downturn.

Job creation, especially downtown, is the best way to fight urban decay. Lowering business property taxes will only enhance a pro-growth economic climate. Tom will fight for these tax cuts. I bet Sam could turn that old Hibbard's building around.

Thirdly, and most importantly, Tom G. is a man of the people. You can find Tom and Sam most (well, some) weekday afternoons at the Red Martini. I appreciate accessibility to my elected officials. Tom understands what the people want and what services they will patronize. Thanks for jumping in and running for mayor, Tom!

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs

Bach can do it

In my career as a commercial real estate broker, I first came into contact with Steve Bach over 10 years ago, and we have worked on many transactions over the years. I have always found him to be a man of his word, completely honest, straightforward, and very loyal to his clients. Steve is perhaps the most tenacious marketer I have seen, and treats all of his listings with the same care. He has an old-fashioned patriotism and sense of duty that will guide and drive his actions.

All of these character assets will be most useful when he represents our city as a strong mayor, negotiating our position in all venues while attracting new businesses to our fine city.

In my judgment, the fact that Steve has not served on the City Council, or held an elected position, is a positive fact. Just as the country observed in the November 2010 elections, most of us would like to see new faces in our government, at the local and national level, electing good people who are successful in the private sector, and not career politicians.

Steve will be a quick study, and you can count on him not compromising our position. He can hold his own with our governor and legislators, and as evidenced by his leadership in the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., he will be an attractive first impression to businesses that he and his team will attract to Colorado Springs.

In short, Colorado Springs is fortunate to have Steve Bach as a candidate for mayor. We could not do better.

— H. Stephen Lewis

Colorado Springs


Words to live by

In response to ongoing need, here are Nicholl's Laws: Part 2...

• Always remember that if any "quick and easy diet" existed, there would be no fat people in the world.

• If anyone says, "Trust me!" run the other way.

• Always make your decisions by taking the option that can be calculated to produce the most constructive outcome, with the least destructive side-effects.

• Never forget that if prayer worked, there would be no doctors or hospitals.

• Get some perspective: Look at the stars.

• Never get greedy.

• Always live every day as if there's no immortality of any kind — you may be right.

• Always keep condoms handy — although you are a special, wonderful, unique person, the AIDS virus doesn't care and will gladly kill you.

• Never believe that "It always happens to the other guy" — you are the other guy.

• As long as it's being done in private, between consenting adults, don't give a second thought to who is boinking whom.

Follow these laws, live long and prosper.

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Question for Lambert

Dear Sen. Kent Lambert,

I recently learned from my insurance agent that despite the fact that I had a vasectomy over 20 years ago and my post-menopausal wife had a tubal ligation over 20 years ago, we are now required by Colorado law to have maternity benefits on our health care. As I understand it, that was signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter on his way out.

I wonder if you are having to pay for this coverage on your health care as well. Actually, you don't have to pay for your coverage at all. I do, as a taxpayer, if I understand things correctly! Am I paying for maternity coverage for you, too? I'd be curious about the particulars of your coverage.

Will you be doing something to change this law? Looking forward to your reply.

— Tom Grossman

Colorado Springs

No religion at Memorial

We should be very careful about making any change to the operation of Memorial Health System. Currently, it is the only full-service hospital in Colorado Springs, since all others are Catholic.

In a Jan. 26 article, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof cites a report issued by the National Women's Law Center that quotes physicians at Catholic-affiliated hospitals as saying that church doctrine sometimes compels them to "provide substandard care to women with miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies in ways that can leave the women infertile or even endanger their lives."

To make matters worse, the report shows that women denied certain medical options may never even be told that these options could improve their chances of having a healthy pregnancy in the future.

While the standard of care for certain ectopic pregnancies requires patients to receive the medication methotrexate, doctors in the study reported that their hospitals forbade the use of the drug.

Instead, patients were either transferred to another hospital or required to undergo unnecessary and invasive surgery to resolve their condition.

Please note if Memorial were to be religiously opposed to abortion, a woman in this situation would have to go to Denver.

In some miscarriage cases described in the study, the standard of care required immediate treatment. Yet doctors practicing at Catholic-affiliated hospitals were forced to delay treatment while performing medically unnecessary tests. Even though miscarriages were inevitable, and no medical treatment was available to save the fetus, doctors were required to wait until there was no longer a fetal heartbeat to transfer the patient. This delay subjected these patients to further risks of hemorrhage and infection.

Let's keep Memorial Hospital religion-free!

— Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

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