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Amendment 66, D-11's school board election and parks maintenance 

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Give kids a chance

Someone said the other day, "We deserve to have nice things!" And I agree for the most part that we do. Then another "deserve" grabbed my attention, but it wasn't just nice tourist attractions. It's what many of our poor children in Pueblo direly need just to have a chance in the world.

Whether we believe it or not, we are all connected in what some mental health professionals might call codependency, and this is not limited to the nuclear family but to the entire village. So now we must come together for the greater good and stop blaming each other and stop losing time and energy to the same old same old, raising our at-risk youth in the school-to-prison pipeline because we have turned our schools into zero-tolerance law enforcement institutions.

I would agree that we are far from perfect, and we still see young people not ready to take on college-level work despite our educators' best efforts. This doesn't give us a reason to accept generational poverty and incarceration of our most precious resource.

To engage our communities in a true partnership with our schools so that everyone takes responsibility will be the make-or-break game changer. Without the trust of our parents and community toward this mission, we are doomed to repeat failure.

How we build trust among our consumers and the service providers in a collaboration, cooperation and appreciation of each other's realities will almost demand that we turn our entire community into a school.

We all want to have schools that produce the new workers of tomorrow but also responsible adults and citizens we can be proud of. I support the Amendment 66 initiative and hope many more will do the same.

— Syl Arteaga

Pueblo

The better deal

Amendment 66 isn't perfect legislation but the citizen voters have a choice: Put the money into schools or put the money into prisons. The rest of the rhetoric doesn't matter.

— Gary Casimir

Colorado Springs

Board choices

As a longtime businesswoman and activist in Colorado Springs, I know how important it is to have a school district that is vibrant, progressive and pro-active for inclusion and protection of LGBTQ kids. We must elect those willing to work for all children to the school board.

We saw what happened when the religious extremists infiltrated the boards and implemented their ideology and mythology. It resulted, fortunately, in a recall effort here. We must also elect those that endorse funding from our tax base to keep the district vibrant. We have seen school closures and programming cuts due to a narrow-minded approach to funding. We must support Amendment 66 and elect those that will spend our money wisely.

I endorse Linda Mojer, Jim Mason and LuAnn Long for school board. This is a moderate lineup of individuals not beholden to developers and religious extremists. Please! Protect our kids, protect our money. Vote for Linda Mojer, Jim Mason, and LuAnn Long.

— Carolyn Cathey

Colorado Springs

A Mojer voter

I am voting for Linda Mojer for District 11 school board. I'm voting for her because she is a strong leader and, more importantly, she is committed to the success of all students. She cares about our kids! Linda Mojer's priorities include promoting outstanding student achievement, improving accountability and performance, and generating a talented workforce.

I have a third-grader in District 11, and I see how hard teachers work with our kids. I want school board members who are as committed to kids as the faculty is. Linda has many skills that will serve the district well: She is a small-business owner and has extensive experience in the nonprofit sector. She also brings the collaborative skills so necessary to work effectively on the school board.

She will bring these skills to her work on the board, supporting the system, providing quality education for all of our students and enhancing training for staff.

Please join me in voting for Linda Mojer for School District 11 Board of Education. For more information on Linda Mojer, you can go to lindamojer.info.

— Mary Lou Makepeace

Give! executive director, former mayor of Colorado Springs

Don't forget parks

We are delighted to see that the general revenue budget is back to where City Council has the ability to put more money into the maintenance of our trails, open spaces and parks.

These are key community assets. They directly contribute to our quality of life. They are a primary reason companies relocate here and why so many of us choose to live and work here.

Challenges remain. There is a $1.1 million shortfall in the 2014 budget. TOSC's membership and partners are less concerned about how City Council resolves this challenge. It just needs to be resolved.

Our best-known park, Garden of the Gods, is considered one of the top parks in the entire world. Currently just one ranger oversees that park, and he is assigned 16 additional parks and open spaces to manage. There's a proposal to use a small portion of LART money to provide increased staff for both Garden of the Gods and Helen Hunt Falls. Whether it's LART money or general fund support, TOSC backs any proposal that offers even minimal support for critical park staff shortages.

Finally, we ask City Council and residents to remember that many of our trails, open spaces and parks were badly damaged during last month's floods. Repairs will cost millions, and while we're hopeful federal dollars will pay a large portion of the bill, there will be additional costs.

Each year "friends groups" raise thousands of dollars and save many more thousands by volunteering their time as they help maintain our trails. The best way to show our appreciation for their ongoing support? Provide the necessary dollars to repair damaged parks like North Cheyenne Cañon and Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

— Susan Davies, executive director

Trails and Open Space Coalition

The wrong vote

The local Health Board's decision to deny a needle exchange program is a grave example of how the process of El Paso County commissioners appointing the members, fails the public.

Most members acted like this topic was just being brought before them. Both Helen Collins and Victoria Broerman admitted to looking up some information the night before!

Ladies, this isn't a college cram session! You should have begun your research the moment this proposal was brought to your attention (2010). Perhaps then, you would have seen that programs like these actually improve the neighborhoods they are located in, and IV drug users are five times as likely to go into a rehab treatment program if they are involved in a needle-exchange program. (This information is available on amfar.org: the American Foundation for AIDS Research.)

Sallie Clark should be removed from the board for stating that the location would encourage homeless people to use public transportation, and that children use it for school, and she doesn't want them exposed to this.

Amy Lathen seemed to have a mental block on the purpose of the program.

Jill Law, the El Paso County public health director, should resign immediately from her position. A registered nurse should be the advocate for the homeless person, the under-insured. She should show compassion for the IV drug user and their families. She should be the voice of reason that leads these people toward protecting at-risk populations.

The board should consist of a director of services from both Penrose and Memorial hospitals, a member of Planned Parenthood, an AIDS advocacy group, a homeless advocacy group, a member of Mi Casa Resource Center for Women or similar, and four members of the community. This group would be more representative of my community.

— Debbie Avery, RN, BSA, CEN

Colorado Springs

Thanks for the note?

At a local Catholic retreat center, some anonymous person (I'm picturing a red pickup truck with an "Impeach Obama" sticker) left a note on my windshield, presumably in response to my "Celebrate Diversity!" bumper sticker: "To tolerate everything is to respect nothing. Celebrate Christ!"

Your inspirational message really turned my life around, said no one, ever!

Must be nice to have so much free time you can wander around parking lots searching for bumper stickers you dislike.

— Jerry Shifrin

Manitou Springs

Light frustration

I really enjoy turning south onto Broadway as I exit downtown Denver. If I somehow get a red light, I wait a few moments before the simplest, most wonderful thing happens. Every traffic light turns green simultaneously for as far as the eye can see! Before I know it, I'm in Sedalia.

Can we please synchronize all the traffic signals between 23rd and 25th streets on Colorado Avenue? Trip one, trip them all.

— Kenton Lloyd

Colorado Springs

Begs to differ

I laughed out loud at Kristen Ellisor's letter in the Oct 23 edition ("Step aside, Doug"). First, she quotes John McCain, who has proven himself to be a Democrat — why doesn't he just change parties?

And then her comment that "this is not your father's Republican Party anymore." Man, you can say that again. The Democrats want everybody to be Democrats. They're not satisfied with some of us being conservative Republicans. We should, instead, be "common-sense conservative Democrats." Sorry, Kristen, but I assert there is no such animal.

— Connie Mays

Divide

Corrections

In Volume 2 of the Independent's Best Of Colorado Springs coverage (Oct. 23), Logan Dickerson's name was misspelled. Dickerson is the manager of Blindside, voted Best Place to Buy Skis/Snowboards and Best Place to Buy Skateboards.

In addition, a photo identified as having been taken at Heuberger Motors, voted Best New Foreign Car Dealer and Best Service at a Dealership, was actually taken at Import Specialty Auto, bronze winner for Best Mechanic. Heuberger's service department is shown in the picture on the top right.

We regret the errors.

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