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Down on Lamborn

Colorado's Rep. Doug Lamborn is a disgrace to the state, as well as to himself. The congressman's idea of boycotting President Obama's State of the Union because he "does not agree with the President's policies," is simply ludicrous. The Colorado congressman is not boycotting the man. In reality, he boycotts the office. He is boycotting the nation.

— Euphemia P. and Dan Goor

Colorado Springs

Fitting tribute

To capture the spirit and the strength of Barbara Webb with words seemed impossible. She would beam with acceptance of John Hazlehurst's writing of both her life and her service ("Death at a funeral," City Sage, Jan. 19).

I wanted to extend my thanks for that which we all experienced and wanted to share with others. You provided that to the readers of the Independent. My great thanks and appreciation for your words.

— Bert Hayes-Davis


Scary fine print

At the end of 2011, the Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides funds our community depends upon. While the defense budget is pretty much business as usual, this act had provisions that should be troubling to anyone who values our First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of assembly.

This provision allows the arbitrary arrest and indefinite detention of any American citizen suspected of being a terrorist. (Think Gitmo for Americans — no lawyer, no presumption of innocence, no civilian trial.) This greatly expands the powers granted the president and the military in the Patriot Act.

How far are we willing to take our fears of terrorism? Do we really want our legacy to be one of suspending all the rights of citizens that our forefathers fought and died for and that our soldiers are still risking their lives to defend? If your answer is "no," then join me in asking the president and Congress to repeal this provision.

— Marsha Smith

Colorado Springs

Square deal

It's not about class warfare. It's not about punishing success. It's not about redistributing wealth.

Life isn't fair. I know that. When I would complain, as a child, that something wasn't fair, my mother would suggest I get my birth certificate and show her where, on that piece of paper, it promised that life would be fair.

A poker game is a good metaphor for life. You sit at the table, and you play the cards you're dealt. Sometimes you're dealt a royal flush; sometimes you're dealt a pair of deuces. I have been dealt a wide variety of hands over the course of my life. I know that with a bit of skill and some luck, you can turn a pair of deuces into a winning hand. I do not expect government or God to alter the cards in my hand. I am willing to play by the rules.

What I am angry about is that the dealer has been playing with a stacked deck. It is useless for me to play by the rules when the person (or corporation) dealing the cards doesn't have to follow the same rules, or indeed any rules.

I don't want special treatment. I don't want your money. I don't want to punish your success.

This is what I want: I want to start every hand with a clean deck. Moderate regulation that ensures transparency is a very reasonable place to start.

— Amy L. Sylvain

Colorado Springs

Memo to Mitt

Dear Mr. Romney,

On behalf of tens of thousands of assembly-line, dealership and affiliate employees, whose jobs were saved when President Obama chose not to "let 'em go bankrupt," and since we have paid back every penny of the money we owe to the American people, and since we are once again the world's largest builder and seller of automobiles, after teetering on the brink of oblivion a mere two years ago, and since we've accomplished all of this not in spite of, but to a great extent because of, our union brothers and sisters, we would like to warmly and cordially invite you to go f**k yourself.

Sincerely, General Motors

— Bret Gathercoal

Colorado Springs

Mixed messages

Driving home after midnight from a Wilco concert in Denver, without seeing one car between Sedalia and Palmer Lake, I turned on the radio in time to hear this observation from the host: "Imagine the reaction if President Obama came out tomorrow and said, 'Michelle and I have enjoyed a wonderful marriage that has allowed us to live and love as swingers over the past 10 years.'"

It made me think: Imagine instead that Obama came out tomorrow and said, "I want to share with you the fact that I have made millions on my Bain investments in offshore holdings in the Cayman Islands. I have paid 15 percent of the income I made there in U.S. taxes as American law requires, and the only purpose of my investments with Bain in the Caymans has been to attract foreign investors who do not want to pay taxes to the United States, or American pension and endowment funds that normally cannot participate in certain types of investments without facing tax penalties."

— Jonathan Reilly

Colorado Springs

Time for tweaking

Nine months into the "strong mayor" experiment, unintended consequences have surfaced for all to see. What are citizens to conclude when their principal elected representative has to schedule meetings for dialogue with City Council? Voters hoped and expected their mayor and Council would be on the same page, without "turf" contention. Instead, we are witnessing a relationship that is almost adversarial.

Is this a proper way to regain lost citizen trust in local government?

It is a travesty that the city's CEO should have no voice in the affairs of the virtually autonomous, billion-dollar Utilities. His role is limited to signing contracts. To his credit, Mayor Bach did act to save taxpayers money by withholding his signature from a proposed self-serving Utilities contract ("Mayor ... may not," News, Jan. 12).

City Councilors wear two hats simultaneously. Ostensibly they represent the best interest of us ratepayers. At the same time, sitting as Utilities Board, Council members are called upon to rubber-stamp utility projects, rates and fiscal proposals. It is a classic Catch-22 situation.

In the best interest of taxpayers, a remedy should be found. One suggestion is a board of citizens for oversight. Another proposal would be a Utilities Authority with clout for ratepayers.

Probably better than any other citizen, Mayor Bach realizes the upcoming negotiations process to lease Memorial Health System will prove to be tough and complex. Taxpayer owners of Memorial deserve very active participation by the mayor ("Hurry up and wait," News, Jan. 12) on their behalf.

Long-range, the city's legal staff should study what needs to be done to beef up the position so we have a truly strong mayor.

— John A. Daly

Colorado Springs


Applause from PETA

As someone who deals with dozens of cruelty-to-animals cases every week, I applaud those working to establish an online animal abuser registry in Colorado. Exposing and remembering people who hurt animals will better guarantee our communities' safety.

Mental-health and law-enforcement experts know that the bullies and cowards who abuse animals will often cross species lines. The American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of animal abuse in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. The link between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence is undeniable.

The public deserves to know if there is a known animal abuser in their midst. To learn more, visit

— Martin Mersereau

Cruelty Investigations Department,

People for the Ethical Treatment

of Animals (PETA)

Norfolk, Va.


Get on the bus

OK, this is getting ridiculous. They cut our bus system, forcing people to figure out other ways to get to work when they don't have cars. They cut our street lights. They take away bathrooms in our parks, forcing people to urinate and defecate in places that are not sanitary for anyone. They waste money on high-powered cameras that were nothing but a pain in the butt. They take ridiculous salaries and give themselves bonuses and other crap while turning their backs on the people they are supposed to serve.

I, for one, am tired of it. I think the politicians and council members and anyone else in a position of power in this city need to just for one week, live off minimum wage, and take the bus to and from work and to run errands (i.e., shopping, paying bills, etc.). I believe just doing those two things for one seven-day week will open their eyes to what they put the rest of us through.

Go ahead. Take the challenge. Or do you people not have the guts? We as citizens of our fine city do this daily and have to deal with the ramifications of your greedy actions.

Put yourselves in our shoes for just one week. That's all I ask.

— Randy Sparks

Colorado Springs

When in Rome

For all the single-issue voters out there, it's amazing there aren't more for whom the main issue is the growing and vast disparity in income or wealth between the few ultra-rich and the evaporating middle class. While people like Mitt Romney are paying only 15 percent in taxes, we are slashing funding for education and school lunches. While Newt Gingrich is saying that he wants to teach poor people better work ethics, parents with young adults know there are very few jobs out there because the wealth that would fund those jobs is tied up in the third or fifth homes of the 1 percent.

There are also collateral costs to this, the greatest disparity in wealth distribution ever seen in this country. The lack of available jobs also results in an increase in despair, disillusionment and, in some cases, crime, which affects us all.

The right loves to characterize the "Occupiers" as people wanting something for nothing, when really all they are asking for is opportunity. They love to say those people are a product of their choices, but many have gone to college and worked hard at jobs only to have them shipped overseas. People like Mitt love to spout off about the value of hard work from the lap of privilege.

When you vote in November, remember that wealth disparity is not a single issue. If we can't afford to educate our children and provide decent jobs for the middle class, they will begin to give up and we will go the way of the Romans: they who gathered all the wealth among the few, and thought they could hire outsiders to man their armies and build their monuments, until the commoners could see little difference between being Roman or joining the invaders.

— Max Lowe

Colorado Springs

War for what?

Jim Hightower writes about opium poppies in Afghanistan ("Afghans still rely on illicit opium poppies," LowDown, Jan. 19). He misses the point that a high percentage of heroin that comes into the U.S. comes from Afghanistan.

This can be wiped out by a few napalm raids. The U.S., including the White House, knows where these plantations are. I feel that there are no plans to attack these plantations because there is too much money involved to keep the plantations safe from attack.

Are some of the allied troops in Afghanistan there to protect those plantations? I am of the opinion that if any officer approves an attack on the opium plantations, he will never survive to see the next sunrise. These plantations exist, not to help the peasants, but to provide profits for U.S. officials.

— Don Smith

Queensland, Australia

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