"What's more heterosexual than a newborn baby?"
-- From Colorado for Family Values December 1994 newsletter, on the miracle of Christmas.
"They shop together and shoot together."
-- Sheriff's Office spokesman Jim Groth, on the high number of husband-and-wife teams who obtained concealed weapons permits after John Wesley Anderson relaxed the process in 1995.
"Our policy is we don't maintain files on anyone that has not shown a propensity for violence or have violence in their backgrounds. We don't follow anyone who we suspect is involved in a peaceful activity."
-- Colorado Springs Police Cmdr. Kurt Pillard, who heads the intelligence unit, as quoted in the Gazette shortly after Denver police were caught having kept spy files on peaceful protesters there for years. As detailed in the Independent last Nov. 21, local police had indeed spied on local activists.
"I've never looked upon our police as being brutal ... and it just really kind of shocked me."
-- Dorothy Schlaeger, executive director of the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, after the Colorado Springs police tear-gassed peace protesters at Palmer Park this February.
"Our men are well-equipped, and they wear leather!"
-- This message was stamped on white rubber balls that recruiting Colorado Springs police officers handed out at the gay pride festival in 2000. Amused parade-goer Gary Clark reported the fist-sized balls, which were also stamped with the CSPD's official police seal, were the most sought-after souvenirs at that year's Pride Fest.
"Most of us came to Colorado Springs because of the beauty of the area. We look out and we see the mountains and the things around us and what we can do with this is protect not only our future during our lifetimes, but the future for our children and the people who follow us."
-- Jim Stewart, child-care center owner and member of the original Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) committee. Despite a landslide of editorial opposition from the Gazette, the group of business, community and political leaders, endorsed by the Independent, convinced city voters in 1997 to adopt a sales tax for open space preservation.
"Traffic in town is getting really bad. Lorena Bobbitt was in town and got into a wreck because some dick cut her off."
-- The joke that Channel 11 anchor Sandra Mann told to several hundred attendees at a police award luncheon on June 26, 1996. The station suspended her indefinitely.
"It appears only the slow wheels of bureaucracy saved us from complete annihilation."
-- Former Colorado Springs Councilman Bill Guman, after the city almost approved spending millions of dollars to double the size of the airport to accommodate upstart airline Western Pacific. Two weeks after the city administration recommended moving ahead, Colorado Springs-based WestPac declared bankruptcy. The near-disaster was detailed in the Nov. 19, 1997, Independent and, despite an expensive consultant's prediction that the airport would expand despite WestPac, the city's airport is still struggling.
"Performance evaluations are opinion, not facts."
-- Colorado Springs director of aviation Gary Green, explaining in 1997 his dismal job performance record over the previous decade, including reprimands for continuing auditing problems at the airport, a failure to collect $430,000 in airline and car-rental fees, and in 1996, flunking 15 of 17 job performance criteria. Green, who had pushed to double the size of the Colorado Springs airport amid WestPac's demise in 1997, retired this year with full benefits.
"If there's hate in this city, then they can take credit for it."
-- CFV chairman Will Perkins, referring to the Independent at a citywide anti-hate rally held at Centennial Hall on Nov. 29, 1995, following the shooting of three teenagers over a few months period.
"We'll now show the limits of this relative of the chimpanzee -- of humankind. What I'm hoping is that we'll be sufficiently embarrassed by not having any answers, that we will have a state of humility that will pave the way for some answers."
-- MacArthur grant winner, plant scientist Wes Jackson on the necessity of sustainable agriculture, in a March 13, 1996, interview.
"The ACLU, IRS, NOW, Planned Parenthood, Hollywood, NEA, News Anchors, the last two decades of College Professors, Peaceniks and Tree Huggers. Also, the Berkeley City Council. Add to the list the likes of Jane Fonda, Richard Gere, Phil Donohue, Rosie O'Donnell and Bill Clinton, and you will understand why we are in such a mess."
-- Office supply store owner Ed Bircham, in an advertorial published in the Gazette in the weeks following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks identifying those "traitors" he claimed are "just as dangerous as terrorists."
Top Ten Reasons the Independent Must Die
1. They're going out of business because they forgot to pay their taxes. (Reported in the 1999 April Fools Day issue.)
2. They have strong ties to the American Communist Party. (An accusation by "Jack of Manitou," a caller on KVOR's morning talk show in November '94.)
3. They're in cahoots with Focus on the Family. (A rumor repeated frequently on the streets of Colorado Springs and in Independent telephone calls from anonymous sources.)
4. They're sex-crazed, amoral sodomists. (Evidenced by the publication of an April '98 Tom Tomorrow cartoon depicting a Greek orgy.)
5. We don't need their kind in this town. (According to local businessman Ed Bircham who phoned the Independent office after our first edition hit the street, letting us know that Colorado Springs was better off without us.)
6. They're downright un-American. (Evidenced in their post 9-11 coverage suggesting (shame!) that the United States needed to accept responsibility for previous misdeeds in the Middle East and that (gasp!) not all Americans supported a war on Iraq.)
7. Along with city leaders Mary Lou Makepeace and Richard Skorman, Independent editor Cara DeGette and publisher John Weiss are bisexuals. (Reported on Indy fan Mike McKee's Web site (www.teslamuseum.org).
8. They're hypocrites who don't value life. (Letter writers complaining that the Independent accepts cigarette ads.)
9. They're anti-family. (Evidenced by their printing of Letters to the Editor from Planned Parenthood and the National Organization for Women.)
10. They're man-hating, male-bashing heterophobes. (According to numerous e-mail correspondences addressed to Kathryn Eastburn and Cara DeGette over the past 10 years.)
Top Ten Then and Now: 1993 and 2003
1. Number of acres of open space in the City (CS Parks and Rec)
6,508 then; 9,259 now
2. Average rental cost of a 2-bedroom apartment (CS Housing Authority)
$415.45 then; $637.31 now
3. Median home sales price (CS Housing Authority)
$71,000 then; $148,600 now
4. City population (Pikes Peak Metropolitan Statistical Area)
435,101 then; 549,456 now
5. Number of Mexican restaurants (QwestDex)
21 then; 38 now
6. Number of bars between 400 N. Tejon St. and 400 S. Tejon St. (City Directory)
5 then; 16 now
7. Number of registered Democrats in El Paso County (County Clerk and Recorder's Office)
49,956 then; 69,191 now
8. Number of registered Republicans in El Paso County (County Clerk and Recorder's Office)
83,394 then; 148,954 now
9. Cost of a lift ticket at Vail
$45 then; $71 now
10. Number of schools in Colorado Springs District 11
55 then; 64 now
Top Ten John Weissisms
Our publisher speaks with a fluid tongue, to say the least. Here are our favorite Weiss quotes from the past 10 years.
10. I just want to turn lemonade into lemons.
9. The squeaky wheel gets the worm.
8. I like things to be lamentated.
7. Little small pets with mustard (in reference to hot dogs).
6. There's a pony in the barn.
5. We don't want to let the genie out of the bag.
4. Kiss or get off the pot.
3. We're jumping from the fire into the saucepan.
2. I want you to be my bouncing board.
1. We're growing like hotcakes!
The Independent is sometimes accused of unfairly targeting Republicans. But on April 22, 1998, the local Democratic Party -- which at the time had no elected officeholder -- officially denounced the alternative weekly, claiming it does not give them positive coverage. Local Republicans declined to issue a similar indictment against the newspaper.
Our Sept. 26, 2002, cover story, "Wag the Dog," was accompanied by photographs of county commissioner candidate Jim Bensberg and state Senate candidate Ed Jones, who have, during their bids for public office, refused to speak to the media and the public. Those photographs were altered to make it appear as if they had no mouths. In fact, both men have mouths. The Independent regrets any confusion.