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Open space, open minds, Doug Lamborn, Medal of Honor and more



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Don't be afraid

Thank you to the Independent for the editorial support, and to the 70 percent of all voters who said yes to county parks! The Trails and Open Space Coalition was delighted to lead the effort. We quickly learned it wasn't a hard sell. Once voters understood the problem, it was an easy decision: Should I take a property-tax credit worth two cups of coffee, or provide real money for our county parks?

No other county department has been as financially gutted over the past decade. Tax support for county parks was at a reasonable $2.5 million in 2003. It plunged to $300,000 in 2008, and will be at $1 million in general-fund support in 2015. County Question 1A will add $2 million to support parks projects and maintenance needs that will benefit all corners of the county.

Such overwhelming support for 1A should send a message to our policymakers: We value our county parks and trails and believe they deserve adequate financial support.

Larimer County voters also loudly proclaimed support for their parks in this election by approving a 25-year extension to their county TOPS tax. Eighty-one percent said yes to parks in Larimer County! That means more than $10.4 million annually, with half to be shared back to Larimer county's eight municipalities.

Here in El Paso County, let's complete these great parks projects promised in 1A and then find a way to provide adequate and ongoing financial support for our parks. Let's not be afraid in the future to ask residents to vote yes for parks.

— Susan Davies, executive director

Trails and Open Space Coalition

A head-scratcher

The Fifth Congressional District race offered a clear choice between a retired military person and one who has not served in that capacity. I think that the election of Doug Lamborn gives the lie to the proposition that we need someone with a military background to allow us to have an effective voice in Congress. I think that the position could have been better filled by Irv Halter.

— Bob Armintor

Colorado Springs

Safety first

It is sad to see in local media that Representative-Elect Gordon Klingenschmitt's safety has been threatened through a phone call and emails. I am glad the proper authorities are investigating, and I hope the guilty are caught and punished. We must be able to differ in our beliefs and opinions without resorting to violence. I find many of Dr. Klingenschmitt's statements repugnant and repulsive — and downright immoral — but he has a right to make them without threat to his safety.

Ironically, I was also disturbed to see today for the first time one of Dr. Klingenschmitt's videos in which he suggests that a transgender child should be treated with discipline by the parents, even saying, "Maybe give him a spanking." Punishing a child physically for his/her gender identity? Here Dr. Klingenschmitt has gone beyond his vicious verbal attacks on the LGBT community to advocate child abuse. Using physical violence to discipline a child teaches the very thing that threatens Dr. Chaps now!

Dr. Klingenschmitt did acknowledge, "Maybe I need to tone down my rhetoric." There is no place in our country for the physical threats that Dr. Klingenschmitt has encountered for expressing his opinions, however outrageous. There is also no place in our country for beating the gay out of kids.

I hope for Dr. Klingenschmitt's safety. I also hope he goes beyond simply toning down his rhetoric. I hope he reaches a place of compassion and understanding and acceptance of those different from himself.

— Gary Fornander

Colorado Springs

Architectural angst


That is the sound heard in the offices of the local Colorado Springs building-design professionals. And, it hurts.

The Oct. 28 Gazette reported that a New York-based architectural firm has been hired to design the soon-to-be U.S. Olympic Museum to be located in the southwest area of downtown. It also reported that a Denver architectural firm is to be the architect of record, "making certain the project's various elements are correctly implemented." What does this mean, and is this the way we get local representation?

Once again our leaders have shown that our local economy takes a back seat, in some instances, to some unspecified outside influence. Think of the millions of dollars that will go outside of our area in terms of wages, expenditures and profit because of this affront to our expertise and experience.

We have the local El Pomar Foundation donating $10 million, a local person adding a $1 million donation, and a local high-profile developer donating the land upon which the museum is to be built. This apparently is enough to satisfy the "local" involvement.

This decision and action demeans the integrity of the talent that Colorado Springs already has, and it goes against all of the earlier rhetoric by local leaders about boosting our local economy. It also could possibly undermine the notion that we are a great city that wishes to entice businesses and other professionals to join our growing economy.

The only saving grace is the selection of our fine local construction company, GE Johnson. I congratulate them for being highly regarded.

— Al Feinstein

Colorado Springs

Ghost dancing

Mr. Charles H. Guy's letter about the Medal of Honor ("Honors history," Nov. 5) brought to mind a little-known fact about the medal that I have known for a long time, that has become remarkably pertinent today.

Twenty Medals of Honor were awarded for heroism at the Battle of Wounded Knee. Soldiers who saved the American way of life from the imminent threat posed by a bunch of dancing Indians. The Indians believed that their Ghost Dance was going to make the white people go away and the buffalo come back. The white people were worked into a state of terrified frenzy by this imagined threat, and after a gun was accidentally discharged, killed a bunch of old people, women and children. For which 20 of them got the Medal of Honor.

According to what I heard on MSNBC, exit-polling showed the people who turned out to vote in this election were more afraid of a terrorist attack than any electorate since 2002. As a group, the people who voted in this Republican landslide were not as afraid as the people who voted in the election immediately after 9/11, but more afraid than people were in 2004, or any time since.

Are ISIS and Ebola and Obamacare really such big threats, or is it another Ghost Dance?

— Gina Douglas

Colorado Springs


Due to an editing error, the "Honors history" letter last week misstated the number of late military members who have received the Medal of Honor for their actions in 21st-century conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of 16 medal recipients, seven have died. We regret the error.

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