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Hidden influences in elections, money for parks, 'unresponsive' Lamborn, and more 

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Spotting the stooges

What's happening in Jefferson County schools is what you get when you support a school board backed by the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council. Fortunately, the students are more intelligent than the conservative board members, the KB, AFP and ALEC combined.

We need to get a lot smarter when electing people to all positions of influence, or we can end up the same way here in Colorado Springs. We need to ask questions like: Do you support ALEC? Are you a member of ALEC? Are you being funded by AFP or one of the other Koch-backed organizations? What is your justification for supporting or receiving support from these organizations? Who will benefit by your election, the people or your financial backers?

The only thing missing is an open forum to ask these questions, because our local media (Indy excepted) will not allow such a forum to take place. The local media (Indy excepted) believe in "Mushroom management — keep the populace in the dark and uninformed, and feed them horse manure." The silo mentality is alive and well.

— Gary Casimir

Colorado Springs

A rare no-brainer

There are few ballot issues that are win-wins for everyone, but County Question 1A is one such issue. TABOR requires that tax revenues in excess of the allowed amount be returned to the taxpayers. This year, the excess comes to a little over $2 million. This amounts to an individual refund of a mere $8.41, which, rather than an actual refund, would be applied as a credit on the next tax bill.

The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners has voted unanimously to approve ballot issue 1A which, if successful, would apply the excess 2013 revenue to invest in the county's parks, trails, open spaces and fairgrounds.

The recent economic downturn required the county to use funds normally designated for capital expenses for routine maintenance and operations, and even then budget restrictions could not keep up with taking care of what we have. A successful ballot issue will provide significant additional funds for projects throughout the county, including Fountain Creek and Bear Creek regional parks.

Other projects include development of the new Falcon Regional Park, fairground improvements and acquisition of Wedgewood Farms Preserve (south of Fountain), not to mention projects to repair damage to Black Forest Regional Park and the Pineries Open Space due to last year's fire and flood events. The complete project list can be found at voteyesforparks.com. As an added benefit, the money can be leveraged as matching funds that would greatly enhance the value of the funds alone.

El Paso County enjoys recognition throughout Colorado and, indeed, the United States for its parks, trails and open spaces. Such outdoor opportunities enhance the quality of life in our neighborhoods as well as attract valuable economic development. Please join me in supporting 1A.

— James Mariner

Security

Un-Dougged

Never in my life have I had such an unresponsive U.S. congressman. I write him, I call him, I ask for his schedule — when he will actually be in public, maybe a town hall or something! I never get any satisfaction or answer of any kind. Doug Lamborn is thoroughly disconnected from his district, destructive in his refusal to govern, and is basically AWOL — he just doesn't show up.

Congressman Lamborn now refuses to debate his opponent because he fears telling us his unpopular views would make him vulnerable. Mr. Lamborn feels so entitled to his office, safe and comfy in his seat, he thinks he doesn't even need to try.

Last year, Lamborn led the fight to shut down the government, which wasted $24 billion and resulted in a U.S. credit downgrade. Lamborn was the only member of the Colorado delegation who voted against reopening the federal government after the shutdown last year. Almost 20 percent of the workforce in Colorado Springs is employed by the federal government, and Congressman Lamborn inflicted severe pain on many of his constituents to score political points.

Now Lamborn says he will shut down the government again! Our congressman is the poster boy for the dysfunction in Congress. If he doesn't believe in governance, he shouldn't be collecting his salary.

— Kris Ellisor

Salida

After the attack

I am writing in response to the Sept. 17 article "Attack of the monster homes." When did it become OK to disregard someone's view within the community and dismiss it all together because you thought the issue was irrelevant? If you as a homeowner attend every homeowner meeting since the aftermath of a community fire, are you not entitled to feedback?

I sympathize with Deb Zawacky. The city dropped the ball dealing with the rebuilding of the area after the Waldo Canyon Fire. If the neighborhood has a cottage feel, as neighbors state, then why would two-story home construction not be "worthy of triggering notification of neighbors"?

As for the appeal, as a neighbor how are you supposed to know when the building permit was issued for the 10-day appeal period if the issue was never discussed in meetings? You would only be aware of construction as it begins, which was the case in this scenario. Had it been brought up for open discussion, it wouldn't have turned into the problem it is now.

If it was me, I would be upset as well, since I paid for the same rights and privileges as the next homeowner in my neighborhood for them to be disregarded. Just because something is legal doesn't mean you should do it.

— Diana Molina

Colorado Springs

Better baseball, please

Do we have a Rockies hangover here in Colorado Springs? The local club has been on the decline for years, and I'm not talking only about team talent. Sky Sox management fell asleep long ago.

The team needs a good deejay to provide some decent entertainment. The mascot "Sox the Fox" is unimaginative and lacks good gymnastic skills and a decent sense of humor. And need I mention the food! It is absolutely the worst in organized sports in Colorado. I paid less for refreshments at a recent Broncos game, and the food was much tastier and the helpings more generous.

The Sox provide the same stale entertainment between innings. Who wants to watch anyone try a chip shot onto a "putting green" with a Wiffle ball? Just plain dumb and unimaginative.

Now that the woeful Rockies have dumped the local team, maybe fans should do the same until Sky Sox management delivers a better product.

— Glenn Perry

Colorado Springs

Don't turn back

Manitou Springs voters are asked, once more, if they want to go back to the failed marijuana policies of the last three decades or maintain the new course. The fear-mongers are using the same worn-out tactics and comparing the regulated sale of marijuana to cancer-causing chemical factories or accident-prone defective cars.

They want us to go back to the misinformation that puts our most vulnerable kids at risk instead of offering pragmatic education. Just say NO to ignorance.

They want us to go back to a growing prison system instead of funding our schools. Just say NO to more prisons.

They want us to go back to criminal street dealers instead of law-abiding businesses. Just say NO to drug dealers.

They want us to go back to a black market that targets kids instead of regulating sales to adults over 21. Just say NO to kids' access.

They want us to go back to spending our tax dollars on more police enforcement instead of collecting revenue from our new community businesses. Just say NO to more taxes.

They want us to go back to criminals hawking dubious or laced drugs instead of shopkeepers selling controlled and rated merchandise. Just say NO to dangerous drugs.

They want us to go back to imposing their beliefs and morals on us, rather than letting us make responsible recreational choices. Just say NO to Big Brother.

This attempt to go back to the failed policies of Prohibition is not a reflection of who we are as a town and as a community that chooses to be inclusive rather than closed-minded. Just say NO to the fear-mongers by voting NO on Question 2G.

— Francois Raab

Manitou Springs

Correction

"Hanging by a thread," a news story that appeared in the Sept. 24 issue, stated that the widow of a man killed on a fire escape downtown is seeking $150,000 in damages from the city. Her lawyers had only filed a notice of claim to reserve their right to sue; they have since decided not to seek damages from the city. We regret the error.

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