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The defense won't rest

In her letter ("Women in charge," April 11), Vikki Walton commendably writes in support of more women in public office, commenting on John Hazelhurst's article ("GOP: local women's club," City Sage, March 22). However, Walton quizzically ends this way: "I just hope we can get some [women in public office] that aren't lawyers."

While lawyer-bashing makes great sport, let's take a moment to recall the connection between women's rights and women lawyers, dating to Myra Bradwell. Ms. Bradwell fought for the right to become a Chicago lawyer in 1872, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court decision Bradwell v. Illinois in which the Court stated that "the permanent mission of a woman is to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother." Bradwell eventually won her battle to become a lawyer, giving rise to decades of anti-discrimination litigation and legislation.

One of today's best-known, anti-discrimination female lawyers is Gloria Allred, a tireless advocate for women's rights, and winner of many landmark, precedent-setting cases.

Be glad for Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. They did not materialize out of thin air. As female lawyers who have served on the nation's highest court, they continue to give voice to equal rights across the land.

While access to public office may be something women now take for granted, that is largely because women lawyers since 1872 fought for that access. Women lawyers have always been at the forefront of the battle against discrimination, even before Jeannette Rankin became the first woman in national public office in 1916.

— Sarah Christensen, lawyer

Colorado Springs

Racism among us

After hiking in the mountains of southern Colorado, I stopped in a local cafe for some breakfast. There were five or six older white men drinking coffee and loudly complaining about President Obama. After whining and bad-mouthing for 15 minutes straight, one of the men said, "We've got to get that n----r out of there."

There it was. The real reason for their anger. The real reason for their fear.

The real reason for their hate.

A black man is the president.

— Peg Rooney


More trails, less traffic

In "Fork in the road" (News, April 11), Brian Wess of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority's citizens advisory committee says "no one can credibly argue that even 1 percent of the city's population, which is 4,000 people, ride their bikes to work every day" — and he's right. How could they when the city's bike infrastructure has huge gaps that make crosstown transit by bike unappealing to all but the most hardened, dedicated riders?

More to the point, Mr. Wess ought to take a longer view of the trails' value as transportation to all system users. Is there any amount of road construction that could equal the impact of taking 4,000 cars per day off city streets?

In cities now renowned as meccas for cyclists, including Boulder, Portland, Minneapolis and even European cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, building infrastructure that made cycling convenient and practical for ordinary people actually preceded the popularity of riding for transportation they now experience.

Considering Colorado Springs' temperate climate and the popularity of cycling for recreation, building more trails with better connections would increase the number of people commuting on two wheels instead of four, easing road congestion and reducing wear on infrastructure.

While fixing dangerous bridges and roads must be a priority, spending transportation dollars on bike trails is a sound investment for the future of transportation in the Springs.

— David Emery

Colorado Springs

Pedaling on

Thank you, El Paso County Commissioners, for your willingness to consider adding trails to the county's Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority-2 capital improvements list ("County rethinks trail plans," Noted, April 18). That's the list of projects the county will complete over the next 10 years if the reauthorization passes in the November election.

Cyclists and pedestrians use trails to get places. Not just for recreation. Cyclists use trails to get to work, school, shops, parks, open spaces and a myriad of other destinations. Successful cities around the country integrate trails into their overall transportation plans. It's good for the environment and health of residents, and it's good for business.

We are grateful Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Green Mountain Falls have all included trails projects on their PPRTA-2 lists. And again, we thank EPC for reconsidering an earlier decision to exclude trail projects and holding a public meeting at 7 p.m. this Thursday, April 26, at Centennial Hall to give cyclists and pedestrians the chance to express their support for trail projects.

— Susan Davies

Executive director, Trails and Open Space Coalition

Old-time religion

Just when I thought things were getting back to abnormal in the Springs, they did it again. They broke up another major church over homosexuality, providing more fodder for our negative reputation.

First it was a mega-leader of a local mega-church, who nationally led the verbal abuse of gays everywhere, while himself dallying with the services of a gay sex-worker. This gave new meaning to the word, "irony." Ted Haggard did major damage to his church along with damaging countless gays.

Next in line was another big-shot cleric, Rev. Donald ("No Contest") Armstrong, splitting up his large local church due to dislike of homosexuals.

Now we have yet another huge local church, the Presbyterians, splitting up over the same bigotry. How're we doin', Springs-ites?

One wishes that God himself would show up and tell us all what he thinks about gays and everything else. We are tired to death of various middle-men, reverends, priests, imams, rabbis, preachers, ayatollahs, swamis, and bishops, all claiming to know what their God thinks. Let's hear from God himself, or forever hold our peace.

Religionists, of course, claim they know already, since it's contained in ancient holy books, written thousands of years ago by men who could not have known anything about modern science, and who obviously knew very little about human sexuality.

Compounding this latest assault on the Springs' reputation was the Gazette, which trumpeted this new rejection of gays with a color photo and major story on its front page. All this from an alleged Springs booster. Good god.

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

'Mental halitosis'

Such high praise and accolades afforded our commander-in-chief by Donna J. Arnink ("Hating the hate") and Phil Stahl ("Anti-anti-American") in the April 11 Letters.

Oh, were I only able to achieve a similarly myopic nirvana, and thus feel compelled to lavish such richly effluent obeisance, but alas, I remain grounded in reality, faced with the serial incompetency of the administration.

Examples of his abject failures abound: Obamanomics (the financials speak for themselves), Obamacare (unconstitutionality aside, the fiscal obscurement and manipulation of this mandate is also truly shocking), the Fast & Furious fiasco, persistent apologistic pandering to foreign entities when authentic resolve and resoluteness was sorely needed, and the list of associates and administration members that he's chosen to surround himself with: Jeremiah Wright, Timmy Geithner, Saul Alinsky and the perennial poster-boy of ineffectual posturing, Joey Biden. (You both suggest Palin was woefully unqualified — at least she governed something.)

Multitudes of other examples abound, and I swear I'd embellish all this, but it's just too good as it stands. Dubya isn't going to be joining his local Mensa chapter anytime soon, but for you to laud Obama's "accomplishments" so profusely isn't just laughable, it's patently absurd, and anyone who would so loudly trumpet them must at least have their deductive reasoning skills called into question.

I implore you both; please provide me with the formula to your intellectual "Whiteout," thus allowing me the ability to avoid the harsh stings and mental halitosis of inconvenient truths. (The terminology is perfectly applicable here, Mr. Gore, don't mind if I do.)

— Jeff Faltz

Colorado Springs


Channeling Rush

In response to Joan Christensen ("Out with Obama," Letters, April 5), I would say the following:

From Rush Limbaugh's golden microphone to your keyboard, well done, Madame! In three short paragraphs, you managed to incorporate the majority of FOX News/right-wing radio talking points. "Spits on our allies," "was elected by affirmative action" and "embraces our enemies" were just a few of the accusations that made me giggle. (I would suggest asking Osama bin Laden if Obama "embraces our enemies," but he's currently rotting on the bottom of the ocean.)

However, the accusation that had me rolling on the floor with laughter was "class warfare is his national policy."

Ever since Ronnie Reagan made it fashionable to bash the poor, class warfare has been a staple of GOP rhetoric. But no, it's our current commander-in-chief and his core group of supporters, the Secular Progressives, East Coast Elites, Welfare Queens, Lazy Immigrants, Feminazis and Union Thugs who are engaging in the class warfare and dividing our country. As recently as the last decade, if you didn't display total fealty to George W. Bush during the Iraq war, you were deemed to be "Un-American."

If Ms. Christensen feels the need to live in a constant state of fear, that is her right. Personally, I'd be more afraid of a hyper-nervous control freak like Mitt Romney picking a fight with Iran, continuing the GOP fiscal policy of "Dine and Dash" economics, and putting Social Security and Medicare into the hands of his Wall Street homies.

— Dave Tintle

Pueblo West


Placemaking, or faking?

In response to "Rhode to renaissance" (cover story, April 18), there is much to say about this topic, but I shall point out only one concerning issue:

With spending cuts looming over the National Endowment for the Arts, the taxpayer-supported organization has become a clever vehicle to help recover the economy through "creative placemaking." Providing its own research and official reports to justify its existence, the NEA maintains a self-fulfilling prophecy to keep itself and its twisted moral image alive.

Subsidized art plays to the tune of its powerful giver — and it certainly is not to the song of the taxpayer.

Everyone has the freedom to be creative — that First Amendment right remains solid and is not the issue here. Instead, should local, state and federal funds be used for these "cultural community playgrounds" of self-discovery to the child-artist within? Who wants to see mediocre artwork that anybody can create at the taxpayers' expense? And when these "creative placemaking" districts fail with public disinterest due to the poor quality, the offensive expressions, the uselessness, or redundancy of the artwork, I am sure the NEA and its followers will find another project to spend our tax money on in the guise of art — oh, I mean to creatively govern culture.

— Carol Krick

Green Mountain Falls


I publish the Pikes Peak Region Living Magazine and was asked by my readers to go investigate the charges against Karen Magistrelli ("Targeted challenger," News, April 18), candidate for county commissioner District 3. Three of us spent four hours at the Magistrelli home going through extensive documentation, asking questions of the family, and taking pictures of the facilities, etc., to determine if there were any substance to the charges against her.

We believe the allegations first made 17 years ago are groundless. The documentary evidence we saw is convincing and quite strong. We have reports from police, county officials, doctors, teachers, case workers, state child welfare officials, etc. We toured the facilities and took pictures of the property to see where the children lived, ate, slept, played and, yes, were disciplined.

The evidence is overwhelming that not only were the Magistrellis behaving properly, but their results with these emotionally damaged children were exemplary and benefited the children far beyond what previous caregivers had been able to accomplish. Even a congressman went there to check the abuse charges and found no evidence of any misbehavior by the Magistrellis! The sheriff would not have returned the children to the Magistrellis if there had been evidence of abuse.

The evidence we observed was so compelling that I am going to write an article and publish it. The unfair, false accusations of the Magistrellis are not worthy of the people of this county.

— Helen Sabin

Colorado Springs

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