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Land swap, conservatives and the Supreme Court, intolerance, and more 

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As the Trails and Open Space Coalition, we are generally shoulder-to-shoulder with other local conservationists.

The proposed land exchange between The Broadmoor and Colorado Springs is controversial. Our staff and board of directors carefully considered the proposal and decided we COULD support the exchange if a number of tough conditions were attached. (For specifics, check our website at trailsandopenspaces.org.) Public process and a conservation easement were two of our priorities.

As a result of our position, some members of the hiking community are angry with us. A few have threatened never to support us again.

Fact is, we are a growing community. We're also rapidly becoming a world-class outdoor recreation destination. People visiting or moving here will need trails to hike and places to play.

If this proposal goes forward with our conditions, there will be several more opportunities for the public to be heard. Strawberry Hill will receive more maintenance than it is receiving now and truly become a community asset for all to enjoy. There will be additional trail opportunities in North Cheyenne Cañon Park and elsewhere. In the end, more land will have been conserved for hiking and cycling.

The real story: People are passionate about their parks, and that's always a good thing.

— Susan Davies, Executive Director

Trails and Open Space Coalition

Conservative lesson

Regarding the Senate's aversion to confirming Mr. Obama's Supreme Court nominee(s), the students ask why the Senate "isn't doing their job ... why wait?" Why are the voices of the people that voted for Obama being ignored? ("Letter to the Senate," March 23)

The Senate is doing its job representing the legitimate voices of rational conservative people that voted to establish a Republican majority in the Senate. Those conservative voters expect the Senate majority to execute its Constitutional authority to withhold its "consent" for any nominee, exemplifying the balance of powers working as intended.

Considering Obama has seated two liberal judges on the court (Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) it is incumbent upon the Senate majority to "advise" the president that the Senate will "consent" only to a nominee that is appropriately conservative — as Justice Antonin Scalia was.

FYI kids, government schoolteachers are sometimes partial to the Democrats' socialistic agenda of government-controlled "free" health care, "free" education, wealth redistribution and other wasteful, intrusive programs — sometimes ignoring conservative perspectives.

Have you learned that congressional Republicans sponsored and overwhelmingly outvoted Democrats to pass the 13th Amendment (abolition of slavery), the 14th Amendment (citizenship without regard to race), the 15th Amendment (right to vote without regard to race), the 19th Amendment (right to vote without regard to gender), and the Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1964 (prohibition of overt segregation)?

Have you learned in your "government class" in your government-run school that the burgeoning socialistic government has mortgaged your future to finance the $19 trillion government debt? Perhaps you students should consider the possibility that your government-controlled school might not be teaching you everything you need to know about big government — or the Constitution.

— Phil Limon

Colorado Springs

The best judge

Wait, isn't Merrick Garland the nominee Mitch McConnell wanted? Surely the Republican ploy has worked. Didn't they refuse to consider anyone, before even hearing a name, as a way to get the president to nominate the most conservative nominee possible?

If not, then what? Could they really give the Dems this cudgel to use throughout the election year, to appease the most petty of their base? And if they don't offer advice or consent, are they setting a precedent forfeiting that opportunity?

Should there be a time limit on the nomination, say up to October? Maybe the Senate needs a new leader.

— Max Clow

Colorado Springs

Tolerant or not?

The Independent will champion all different kinds of lifestyle choices, sexual orientation, freedom to indulge in legal substance use (marijuana), etc. In the "In Good Faith" column it will publish the views and opinions of philosophers and all types of religious clergy.

Now compare that to "liking a sign that prohibits Jehova's Witnesses" (on private property), as published on March 9 (Slice of Life). Much of the toleration and religious freedoms that the Independent can profess can be traced back to Jehovah's Witnesses' hard-won legal victories in the courts.

In Third World countries, Jehovah's Witnesses teach people to read free of charge. In areas hit by natural disasters they will come to the aid of non-witnesses, again free of charge. They promote respect for authority in the home, in the schools, on the streets and in the courtrooms. They pay their taxes.

They offer a hope to all mankind that might be seriously considered by those who are discouraged with the present political solutions and failures.

So when the Independent glibly likes the sign prohibiting them, how fair and tolerant really is the Independent?

— Barry Spaeth

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: In Good Faith is an advertisement, not an Indy column.

Seeking more access

Recently, Park County commissioners passed a resolution opposing the effort to transfer or sell public lands to the state of Colorado or local governments. Park County joins seven other Colorado counties that have formally opposed the seizure of BLM and National Forest lands. That compares to just three counties that have made moves in favor of the idea. The ratio of counties in favor of keeping public lands in public hands mirrors the results of recent polls on the issue.

When presented with arguments for and against transferring public lands to the states, 62 percent of Colorado voters agreed that if national public lands were transferred to state ownership, the state of Colorado would "not have the funding to maintain these lands [and] ... Some places [would] be auctioned off to the highest bidder, limiting our ability and that of future generations to enjoy these places."

The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers agrees, and we're not only defending our federal public lands heritage, but fighting to gain greater access to State Trust Lands. Colorado currently provides access to only about 20 percent (485,000 acres) of its STLs, so BHA is working to advance legislation that would provide the direction and funding needed to expand public access. Colorado BHA is working with a coalition of other sportsmen's organizations to advance state legislation requiring the state land board to work more cooperatively to better serve the growing public interest for improved public access on STLs. But we can't do it without you! For additional information see backcountryhunters.org.

— David A. Lien

Colorado Backcountry

Hunters & Anglers

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