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2001: A Look Back 

Our year in quotes

What a year it's been. The millennium kicked off with a bang, with Colorado Springs placed squarely in the national spotlight when those infamous Texas Seven escaped inmates were discovered living disguised as Christian missionaries in a trailer park in Woodland Park.

The year proceeded accordingly, when George Bush's appointment of former Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton as head of the Environmental Protection Agency prompted enviros to decry her as "James Watt in a skirt."

Closer to home, the Republican-led House of Representatives and the governor were rapped for refusing to adopt legislation to regulate rampant growth; here in Colorado Springs, open-space activists agonized over the future of Red Rock Canyon and the Black Forest Regional Park.

And, Colorado Springs was rattled with assertions that rogue cops were fabricating evidence when making busts while the City Council battled over the future of Confluence Park southwest of downtown.

Nationally, the dot com world, full of wild success stories, nose-dived. Whispers of recession became reality, as the economy stalled and thousands lost their jobs.

Then, Sept. 11 struck. Americans glued to their television sets watched in horror as jumbo jets smashed into the World Trade Center towers. As those symbols of the American Dream crashed down, killing thousands, so marked the end of a decade of innocence -- and the beginning of a war against terrorism.

The following is a year-end compilation of our world in quotes:


January

"Another year, another century, another millennium ... didn't we just have one of those last year?"

--Independent columnist John Hazlehurst

"We are still paying the price for having elected Reagan and Bush back in the '80s. Their court appointees have now performed one of the most valuable services imaginable for the president and the party that appointed them."

--Independent letter to the editor writer Patrick Lilly, weighing in on the Supreme Court's appointment of George W. Bush as president

"Art shouldn't be held in such high regard that you whisper in its presence."

--Acclaimed Manitou Springs artist Charles H. Rockey

"It was my understanding that Council members and staff were to keep an arms-length distance, and allow the process to remain a citizens' driven process."

-- Colorado Springs City Councilman Bill Guman, in a letter criticizing his colleagues for co-opting what was designed to be a so-called citizen-driven SCIP process that let voters select and approve public works projects. The Council's self-selected ballot proposal failed at the ballot box in April and their selections failed again (with the exception of new police and fire personnel) in November.

"If the Independent does not reappear at King Soopers, neither will I."

-- Colorado Springs resident Maya Soifer, in a letter to the supermarket's general manager, joining dozens of others in protest of their decision to briefly remove the newspaper from their stores after a handful of malcontents complained about the pape.

"So what color is your hair now?"

-- KKTV Channel 11 news anchor Eric Singer, smoking the last of the Texas Seven fugitives -- who had dyed their hair -- out of their hotel room. (The answer: "A kind of sandy-blond red color with real dark roots.")


February

"There are a lot of egos clashing in this building, and average people on the street don't feel comfortable coming in here, even though it is our building."

-- Bill Vandenberg, an organizer with the Colorado Progressive Coalition, opining on the bizarre atmosphere at the state Capitol when the Legislature is in session, and why many people find it citizen-unfriendly

"They are selling a defective product without giving the people who are attending the seminar the most important detail about his rsum."

-- Wayne Besen, spokesman for the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign, criticizing Focus on the Family's "ex-gay" poster boy John Paulk after he photographed Paulk socializing in a Washington D.C. gay bar. Focus continues to employ Paulk, holding him up as "proof" that homosexuality is preventable and treatable.

"It doesn't make sense for cops to say, 'Oh yes, it happens, but not here."

-- State Rep. Peter Groff, D-Denver, after introducing a bill that would require a statewide data collection system to determine the extent of racial profiling. A watered-down version of the bill eventually passed after law enforcement, notably El Paso County Sheriff John Anderson, objected to many of Groff's plans to track the race of people who are stopped for traffic violations.

"Imagine what a developer would put in a bill to protect his interests, and this is what you've got."

-- Susan LeFever, director of the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Sierra Club, of the so-called "developer's bill of rights" that was written by a lawyer representing the Colorado Homebuilder's Association. The bill ultimately failed, and the Colorado Legislature has yet to adopt any meaningful laws to curb sprawl, which citizens have identified as the state's No. 1 priority.

"For academia, suspension and/or arrest is a risk we are willing to take."

-- Sierra High School student body president Brandon Thomas, who helped organize a protest at his school against the state-mandated Colorado State Assessment Program (CSAP) standardized tests

"Having the book set in the West appealed to me, the part of the country that embodies the spirit of freedom and independence and self-reliance -- the qualities that the fast food industry is now helping to eliminate."

-- Author Eric Schlosser, whose centerpiece locale for his New York Times best-selling book Fast Food Nation is Colorado Springs

"As a common-sense conservative, Dave Schultheis is committed to reducing government interference in our lives."

-- A campaign promise of freshman Colorado Springs Republican legislator Dave Schultheis, who, once elected, introduced a bill requiring parents to undergo a year of state-mandated counseling and prove to a judge they made a substantial effort to get along before they are allowed to divorce. The bill -- dubbed the "Dr. Laura Bill" after radio psychologist Laura Schlessinger agreed to testify in favor of it -- failed.

"It would be interesting to know how many of our American children have ever stood on the side of a trout stream. Or have actually been in a wilderness area far enough not to hear automobiles on a nearby highway. It wouldn't be many, I would guess."

-- Former President Jimmy Carter


March

"I've never been forced into a cop car nude and taken to a hospital nude and publicly humiliated like that in my life."

-- Colorado Springs resident John Winther, who sustained multiple abrasions when cops arrested him after a small hot tub party at his house got noisy

"Over there, there were four houses and another big house; they tore all that down. There was a church over there; that's gone now."

-- Shirley Mathis, a resident of the Mill Street neighborhood south of downtown, pointing to clusters of houses that the City has torn down. The City also forced Mathis out of her childhood home to make way for a railroad spur to the Martin Drake Power Plant.

"Traditionalists must do more. I've got to do more. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect, or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda."

-- U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, praising Southern "patriots" Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, in a 1990 issue of the magazine Southern Partisanand reprinted in a February 2001 FAIR newsletter. Ashcroft was endorsing a magazine that defends slavery, white separatism, apartheid, and KKK leader David Duke, and celebrates the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

"People with money usually don't feel they would ever be the target of police misconduct, but if we don't protect the [constitutional rights of] everybody, then everybody is vulnerable."

-- Colorado Springs Public Defender David Jones, in the wake of reports that rogue cops are not being uniformly disciplined for violating citizens' civil rights

"The greatest view I ever had of New York City was when I emerged from the Lincoln Tunnel on the New Jersey side and watched the Manhattan skyline recede in my rearview mirror."

-- Jazz guitar legend Johnny Smith, who lives quietly, gracefully and in anonymity in Colorado Springs


"If I am unpleasant, it is because I am reminding people of some unpleasant truths. I will continue to stand up and tell the truth and if people are uncomfortable with that then that is just unfortunate."

-- City Council candidate Tim Pleasant, responding to campaign critiques that he was not aptly named. Pleasant, who raised less than $3,000 in campaign contributions, narrowly lost the at-large race to incumbent Judy Noyes, who raised nearly $49,000.


April

"It was really news to me that I was in bed with developers -- they endorsed my opponent."

-- City Council candidate Sallie Clark, who beat her opponent, incumbent Linda Barley, in a landslide

"I was afraid that if an officer thought I was lunging at them with one of my leaflets, I might be shot in the head."

-- Attorney Bob Gardner, who was told by City Clerk Kathryn Young to stop distributing political leaflets in front of City Hall. He left when she threatened to call the Colorado Springs cops.

"We can't provide services if the people won't pay for them."

-- City Councilman Jim Null, after voters rejected a $787 million SCIP proposal to pay for improvements to the City's infrastructure and other projects

"I don't want to stand in the way of progress. On the other hand, I don't want to get screwed in that process."

-- Doug Berwick of Berwick Electric, discussing the City's effort to force out longtime businesses southwest of downtown through condemnation as part of the Confluence Park development plan. The proposal was defeated.


May

"I always wanted to have a house on the lake."

-- Colorado Springs developer Dan Tibbetts, who is conceptualizing a private, upscale gated community around the privately owned Big Johnson Reservoir, which would be buffered by $8.1 million worth of Colorado Springs taxpayer-funded open space that city leaders assumed would forever protect the area from development

"Why isn't Doug Dean in jail?"
-- Independent letter to the editor writer Michael Seebeck, after Colorado's Speaker of the House broke into his ex-girlfriend's house with a screwdriver, waited in the dark for her to return home, then chased her down the street, screwdriver still in hand, as she sought help from a neighbor. Dean was not arrested; he and his girlfriend have since reunited and married, and he has announced he will retire from public office when he is term-limited next year

June

"I'm just tired of the struggle after so many years."

-- Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum Director William Holmes, stepping down after 17 years, leaving a city whose residents have often been hostile to public funding for cultural services and the arts

"I've never had an editor do that before, ranting and raving; he just went crazy."

-- DeAnna Wolston, after attempting to write a letter to the editor of The Gazette and instead was attacked by editorial page editor Dan Njegomir for supporting smart growth, while at the same time refusing to print her letter in his newspaper

"It serves no purpose for the state and the criminal to outbid each other over death."

-- Michael Tripe, president of Together Against the Death Penalty, on the execution of Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted of killing 170 people in the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City

"In Colorado Springs, the perception of how well growth is being managed remains predominantly negative, and has become slightly more negative over the past two years."

-- From the results of an $18,200 City-funded poll conducted by Boulder-based pollster Talmey-Drake, which reported 61 percent of residents polled believe that the City's leaders -- most of whom accept hefty campaign contributions from developers -- are not properly managing the city's sprawl


July

"The battle against corruption has collapsed."

-- Gary Ruskin, director of the Congressional Accountability Project and an outspoken opponent of Colorado Springs Congressman Joel Hefley, a Republican who chairs the House Ethics Committee. Hefley's habit of meting out weak punishment to his colleagues for ethics infractions has been widely criticized.

"The only thing we let Democrats do down here is pay taxes and buy goods."

-- Republican El Paso County Commissioner Ed Jones (who is running for the state Senate in 2002), appearing on the Boulder-based rock radio station KBCO to promote the all-Republican decision to rename the stretch of Interstate 25 through El Paso County the Ronald Reagan Highway

"This is a very conservative town and while some people did express pleasure at what I say, there is a small, yet powerful minority, that wanted me to shut up."

-- Popular KRCC public radio personality Jerome Davis, after he was fired from his job of five years

"It was this bitterly cold day, not much above zero. I happened to glance out the window while talking to my wife and did this complete double-take when I saw these two green parrots perched on our backyard bird feeder."

-- John Cunningham, who owns a house in the Hillside neighborhood southeast of downtown. Living copacetically atop a utility pole, the feisty Quaker parrots survived four years of Colorado winters, gawking neighbors and a lightning strike to their nest before the Colorado Springs Utilities deemed them fugitives and nuisances, captured them and sent them to the zoo

"I know what I believe. I will continue to articulate what I believe and what I believe -- I believe what I believe is right."

-- President George W. Bush, when asked after the G8 Summit whether the violent protests in Genoa, Italy influenced his views on the Kyoto treaty on global warming and other issues.

"As far as I'm concerned, anybody who sues the county is menacing. ... We're not here to play nice."

-- County Attorney Mike Lucas, rejecting opponents' claims that a road through the middle of the county's "Crown Jewel," the Black Forest Regional Park, would violate federal law. District Court Judge Mark Samelson has since ruled against Lucas and the county.

"It's been a special gift."

--Gazetteeditor Terri Fleming, on her journalistic efforts in Colorado Springs, as she abruptly resigned as the editor of The Gazette


August

"I have a wry, dry sense of humor (Twain, Monty Python, Robert Benchley, etc.). I'm well educated (recovering attorney -- quit years ago) -- strong but kind -- somewhere between tender and well-done -- honest to a fault."

-- Colorado Springs landlord and anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce (AKA Ward Cleaver), showing a softer side while looking for a wife online

"I was thinking of going naked and seeing if someone yells, 'The king has no clothes.'"

-- Longtime local gay activist Frank Whitworth, never shy to the spotlight, on his role as Grand Marshal and keynote speaker of this year's Gay Pride Festival and Parade.

"Most of Council thinks that is an inappropriate use of city equipment, to say the least."

-- Colorado Springs Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, after the City discovered that someone had accessed dozens of porn Web sites on City Councilman Charles Wingate's city computer. Wingate denied culpability.

"I was feeling no pangs of regret, and then I fell off the wagon."

-- Former state Rep. and recovering politician Marcy Morrison, on her decision to re-enter politics and run for mayor of Manitou Springs, a race she won in a landslide

"We must ... enforce the laws we already have on the books and vigorously prosecute those who break the law."

-- Republican Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, underscoring his tough-on-crime stance during his 2000 state of the state address. When a knee-high pot plant was discovered growing at the governor's mansion in Denver this summer, the Republican Owens laughingly dismissed it, suggesting it was 'planted' by his political enemies.

"I'd see him at political events but I don't remember seeing him with anyone in particular, any one person."

-- Republican state Sen. Andy McElhany, distancing himself from his onetime pal Randy Ankeney, after Ankeney, 30, a rising local GOP star, was busted for allegedly picking up a 13-year-old girl on the Internet, getting her stoned and drunk, taking topless pictures of her, fondling her and trying to coerce her into having sex


September

"It's such a beautiful morning, and I'm very sorry that so many of you have to be here when you ought to be in church.

--Nation columnist Christopher Hitchins, addressing a packed room of conservative Republicans on a Sunday morning to discuss how Congressman Gary Condit's affair with intern Chandra Levy has "affected" us all. The panel discussion was part of the GOP's annual Restoration Weekend at The Broadmoor hotel.

"It's over -- the easiest, sleaziest, richest, most meaningless decade we've yet known has come to an end, buried beneath the rubble and ashes and dust of the World Trade Center."

-- Boston Phoenix writer Dan Kennedy, immediately following the horror of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon

"News organizations must honor the principle of independence during these difficult times. We should not be swept up in the patriotism nor the criticism."

-- Bob Steele, media-ethics expert at the Poynter Institute, on the need for dispassionate reporting

"There's no doubt [that] there will be some serious discussion about limiting civil liberties, including speech and press."

-- Paul McMasters, First Amendment ombudsman for the Freedom Forum, immediately after the attacks. Since then, with little debate, Congress approved the broad anti-terrorist bill, and the Bush Administration has unilaterally installed numerous policy changes, including allowing the secret detention of hundreds of people, allowing government to eavesdrop on confidential attorney-client conversations and broadening the use of military tribunals. In addition, the administration reversed a Clinton-era open-records policy, directing government agencies to operate on a "presumption of secrecy" with regard to access to public records.

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"

-- Rev. Jerry Falwell, on national television immediately after the Sept. 11attacks. Falwell later claimed his comment had been taken out of context.

"Initially [the police] did say that they didn't have the manpower to be present during our services."

-- Farouk Abushaban, past president of the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs police initially refused to provide protection after numerous threats were made against the city's only mosque, but sent an officer after the mayor and several members of the City Council agreed to attend services.

October

'We have to look at the conduct, as painful as it may be, of our own government.'

-- Ron Daniels, director of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, marching for peacewith thousands of others on the nation's Capitol and in cities around the country

'Jesus does not want the monorail. We work for Jesus.'

-- Jon Caldara, president of the Golden-based Independence Institute, a libertarian think tank that opposed a statewide proposal to research the feasibility of a monorail through the mountains west of Denver. The measure was defeated.

'It feels like we're awake as a nation for the first time in a long time.'

-- Author Terry Tempest Williams, on America's post-Sept. 11 consciousness of global issues

'We're awfully nice people.'

-- 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney, advising the United States to recruit advertising and public relations experts to launch a campaign to show the world how kind Americans are in an effort to sway our enemies into loving, not hating, us

'We have access to nothing.'

-- Sarah Sheldon, spokeswoman for Republican Colorado Springs Rep. Joel Hefley, two weeks after anthrax closed down Congress. Hefley, the last member of Congress to offer a Web site, is one of few holdouts in the U.S. House of Representatives who does not provide his technology-savvy constituents the ability to contact him via e-mail.


November

"[It] seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan."

-- Walter Isaacson, the chairman of CNN, in a memo ordering his television news staff to remind viewers why the United States is bombing Afghanistan when reporting on the war, and to "balance" images of civilian devastation there. "We must redouble our efforts to make sure we do not seem to be simply reporting from their vantage or perspective," Isaacson wrote to international correspondents covering the war.

"I feel indignant. I'm a law-abiding citizen, wrongly accused, degraded in public [in a situation] that traumatized my kids."

-- Colorado Springs resident Norberto Villanueva, after he was targeted as a shoplifter. The Puerto Rican-born Villanueva was seached after Mike McKee, the controversial anti-gay, minority bashing former radio talk-show host turned undercover Albertson's security guard, falsely fingered him as a shoplifter. After no contraband was found, a Colorado Springs cop convinced McKee to file harassment charges against Villanueva for asking McKee if he felt like a "dumb-ass" for accusing him of stealing.

"Government is not the province of the old and the grumpy."

-- Local musician and Independent contributor Malcolm Lucard, after he was criticized for bringing his two small children to a Colorado Springs Planning Commission hearing. Lucard was there to support Springs resident Rob Gordon, who was targeted by the City and several Skyway Homeowner Association board members who wanted to shut down house concerts that attract prominent folk musicians. Gordon prevailed.

"[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."

-- Local office supply owner Ed Bircham, identifying those "traitors" who he believes are "just as dangerous as terrorists," in a prominent advertorial in The Gazette.Following the ad, a Colorado Springs man announced his intention to create a bumper sticker reading, "Doing my part to piss off Ed Bircham."

"We don't know how many lives are wasted because we fail to address this issue."

-- State Sen. Penfield Tate, D-Denver, on Colorado's failure to address drug problems. Nationally, the state rates second in severity of substance abuse and 49th in the amount of money spent on drug rehabilitation programs.


December

"The fact of the matter is, man is a warlike being."

-- Retired General Howell Estes, former head of the U.S. and Air Force Space Command, and now a Colorado Springs--based aerospace consultant, on efforts to expand U.S. militarization into space. The nation's newly revived Star Wars program is headquartered in Colorado Springs.

"The aerospace corporations are the new pharaohs of our age, building these pyramids to the heavens. And we, the taxpayers, will be the slaves."

-- Bruce Gagnon, on the multi-billion dollarStar Wars program, which promises to be an economic boon to politically powerful aerospace contractors

  • From the curtly quirky to the revealingly verbose quotes by which to remember 2001.

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