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Apples and oranges
In your Aug. 23 update on issues with Memorial Health System and the Public Employees Retirement Association ("Lawsuit over PERA could delay Memorial lease deal," IndyBlog), our city attorney says the proposed Memorial lease and the firing of all Memorial employees is no different than "countless situations in the past when individual public employees, groups of public employees, or even entire departments of employees have left employment with the City and thereby have left the PERA system."
This is not true for at least two reasons.
First, I agree the City has fired and laid off numerous employees and reorganized operations and not had to make extra PERA payments. However, those changes were all in the ordinary course of business under the authority of City Council. The proposed lease would be an extraordinary transaction, not routine operations.
Under the proposal Memorial will be firing more than 4,000 employees — more than the City's total number of police, fire and general fund employees. And, the only reason Memorial employees will be fired is that City voters have decided to terminate operation of the hospital.
Bottom line: This proposed lease and its associated changes are so much out of the ordinary course of business that neither Council nor the Memorial Board could authorize them. Only the voters can.
Second, the financial impact to PERA from termination of Memorial's participation will have far more serious financial impacts on PERA than occur with the normal changes that employers make to staffing levels and organizational structure. It's time our City faces up to the fact that legitimate liabilities of Memorial to PERA should be paid out of the proceeds of the lease transaction.
PERA's concern that it be paid for the cost of Memorial's underfunded pensions from the proceeds of the sale is entirely legitimate, and this issue should have been resolved by the City and its partners before the proposal to lease the hospital was put on the ballot.
— Greg Johnson
What a great week politically! Republicans are angry at one of their own, all because he "outed" them. Now people have finally learned that the current Republican Party is no longer the conservative party our parents knew.
When Rep. Todd Akin expressed his radical views regarding abortion, the news media immediately switched to the Republican National Convention, where the platform committee was just passing a resolution containing that same extreme view.
It states, "The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed." It provides no exception for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
The party platform also supports the Human Life Amendment, another radical concept that would legislate a religious definition of "conception" as happening at fertilization rather than the current medical designation of implantation in the womb. Since the birth-control pill sometimes works within that period, it would be considered an abortion.
Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have supported the Human Life Amendment, although they now profess to allow abortion in cases of rape, but rape by their definition.
Both Todd Akin and Paul Ryan were original co-sponsors of a Personhood Amendment in Congress, legislation that was passed by the House, but luckily failed in the Senate.
Many of us remember when pregnancy was often an unwelcome surprise. The children born might be loved, but the stress on an already large family could lead to poverty.
Unloved children often suffered neglect or even abuse, filling our prisons. The birth-control pill, approved in 1960, made it possible to limit family size, giving those children more advantages and better educations.
Now, almost 12 million women in the United States use the pill, and during these difficult economic times, the last thing families need is to be denied its use.
— Janet Brazill
If there is a native defense built into humans to protect them against rape-induced pregnancies, wouldn't rapists have petered out eons ago?
— Steve Suhre
Akin and the abstract
Republicans are saying that the incredibly inane comments by Rep. Akin are distracting attention from the "real" issue of the economic health of the country, when actually their views are the issue.
The unemployment data is what it is (though we've made over 4 million strides in the right direction) and if Republicans had done anything in the last three years besides trying their best to blunt the recovery and job growth they would have some credibility. Their capacity to disregard anything, including scientific fact, that doesn't support their narrow views, puts the country at risk. Governance is not done in the abstract, which is where Romney and Ryan and Akin live.
There are real challenges to be addressed in the next four years, and ivory tower decrees from people who are and have always been insulated from real-life need and strife and fear for family is nothing short of dangerous, as we learned during the Bush administration.
— Max Lowe
Give him a break
Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment shows the depravity of the human race. It's not his comment, though; it's the reaction to his comment.
His claim that the female body safeguards against rape was shown to be incorrect, but how many people knew that violent trauma had not been shown to reduce the chances of pregnancy? Not all of us are biologists. In fact, the layman could seemingly link chronic stress, which does reduce fertility, to traumatic stress, which hasn't been shown to reduce fertility.
Speaking of his "legitimate" comment: In a world where we have Wanetta Gibsons and Norma McCorveys lying about rape (the latter case in an attempt to achieve an abortion), it's understandable for people to want to differentiate between "legitimate" and false accusation. After all, the false accusations trivialize the horrific experiences that people who are raped go through.
It boils down to Akin spouting something he believed to be true that wasn't. Every one of us is guilty of similar infractions.
What we should look at is the fact that he corrected himself and took responsibility for his infraction. Instead of vilifying him for political gains, perhaps we should forgive him for doing what each of us has. It doesn't mean you have to vote for him, but treat him with the dignity that every human deserves.
— Josh Divine
Rich Tosches is my new hero! He was spot-on with every single word he wrote about Todd Akin ("Obama's missed opportunity," Ranger Rich, Aug. 22). I would, however, like to see him write a follow-up article identifying the doctors Akin claims to have spoken with, and encourage an investigation by the AMA.
If these doctors really exist (other than on Planet Akin) they need to be held accountable.
— Mimi Vacher
I was both disappointed and surprised to read "New Hallmark at the G" by Rich Tosches in the Aug. 15 issue of the Independent.
I certainly agree that the Gazette leaves itself open to considerable criticism, if not mockery, and Mr. Tosches — whose columns I usually really enjoy — has used the Gazette as a whipping boy in many a column. But to use his column in a printed periodical to mock Aaron Kushner's desire to put more emphasis on the Gazette's printed product seems rather inexplicable and illogical.
My wife and I moved to Colorado Springs from New Jersey six-and-a-half years ago. We have both read the Independent and subscribed to the Gazette since coming here. I'm more than aware of the unfortunate changes that have taken place in the Gazette in these past years, and really dislike its ultra-conservative editorial stance.
I was brought up in Brooklyn and worked in Manhattan at a time when there was no television or Internet. You got your news from the radio or from the five or six newspapers published in morning and afternoon editions. I still read the Gazette daily in its printed form, as well as The Washington Post and The New York Times online.
Truth be told, a printed newspaper still beats an online version, at least for my wife and me.
I certainly would like to have a more substantial newspaper in Colorado Springs with a more centrist, even liberal editorial policy. I recognize the declining popularity of printed newspapers, but let's not make a joke out of a man whose goal may be unrealistic but still can be applauded. Have we become so cynical that we can no longer admire those who tilt at windmills?
— Harry Levy
A human matter
Last week the Colorado Springs police reported a man was found in a ditch. Dead. Naked. In a wheelchair. They immediately declared it "not suspicious," and "not criminal," even though they didn't know who he was, where he lived, when or how he died, or have an autopsy.
I'm guessing their rush to get this off the books is because he was in a wheelchair? Some people just aren't worth time away from the sacred donut shop?
What the hell is wrong with CSPD?
— Thomas McCullock
Help for a hound
I had just picked up my dog from the groomer and was walking him home (he's afraid of being in a car) when his rear legs gave out. So sitting in the middle of Arcturus Drive during high traffic, there we were.
I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and he is a Great Pyrenees — he can't walk, and I can't pick him up. What to do?
Just by chance, a team of firemen pulled up to see if they could help. They ran over to my vet who is nearby and two vet techs came back with a litter. The men helped put Hugo in the litter and then they all carried him to the vet. He is doing better, and I just wanted to say thank you to all of my heroes.
— Darlene Hamilton
Don't tell me the GOP is the religious right. They are really the Gang of Polluters.
They insist there is no such thing as climate change so they can keep using dirty energy. The Bible states we should be good stewards of the planet. It's in Genesis. Guess the Repubs don't read the Bible because they are such poor stewards.
They are no doubt in big oil's back pocket and reap the benefits of denying global warming. It is my opinion we should keep them out of government. They will no doubt increase the CO2 output of the U.S., thus increase the effects of climate change.
This horrible drought is no coincidence. It is a direct effect of climate change. Guess those evangelicals that support the GOP do not read the Bible either!
— Elfie Sunderman
I read Matthew Schniper's Bonefish review http://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/strong-bones/Content?oid=2547229 — thanks for being discerning and questioning the restaurant chain's sustainable practices. No one should be eating sea bass or imported shrimp here.
— Karla Crescenta
Another perfect job by the city's street crew. South Eighth Street was just resurfaced, and it is just beautiful with precise striping. I marvel at the job they do in blazing hot weather or miserable cold with cars whizzing by.
Do you remember that really awful dip at Pikes Peak and Hayman avenues, where I always thought my car would need realigning? Well, they evened it out very nicely a while ago and I have been remiss on my congratulations. My car and pocketbook are thankful!
Guns and insanity
Dear Mr. Coleman http://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/letters/Content?oid=2547273: I just read that the courts in Norway have found mass murderer Anders Breivik sane — he is the perpetrator of the July 2011 massacre there. So now what is your theory on senseless violence being perpetrated only by the mentally ill?
— Cathy Reilly