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Save the buses

Traveling on a local bus headed downtown, I was both surprised and disappointed to receive a flier outlining proposed cuts to eight bus routes in Colorado Springs.

Every week, a local newspaper carries a letter from a Springs resident voicing their concerns and anger over the problem of increasing traffic and air pollution in the city. This is a worldwide problem. In Europe, there is currently a frantic effort to address this problem. A solution is not simple, but the redevelopment and expansion of public-transport services is thought to play a crucial role. Understand, then, my surprise at the present reduction in service proposed by Colorado Springs.

As a visitor to the United States, I understood that America was the "land of the free." It seems, however, that freedom is only available for those who can afford it. Traveling on the buses, I have noticed that the majority of bus users in Colorado Springs fall into the following categories -- lower income, elderly, handicapped and students. Basically, in reducing the bus service, you are taking something away from those who most need help.

A regular and reliable bus service gives independence and mobility to those who are not in a situation to be a car owner. Yes, believe it or not, there are people out there who do not own a car.

So, why take something from people for whom life is already a struggle? Because they have less money? Less importance? Less voting power? I don't know the real reason behind the proposed cuts, but I think they're a mistake. An evolved society takes responsibility for all members.

For the moment, the proposed cuts are limited to certain services. This is a starting point which begs the question: Where do we go from here? Hopefully, back to the meeting room, where those cutbacks can be reconsidered.

-- Angela Skelton

Colorado Springs

A meeting to discuss the proposed cuts occurred on Tuesday, Nov. 30. For more information, call 385-6311. -- Ed.


True colors


To the Editor:

By now many local television viewers have seen numerous ads portraying cigarette maker Philip Morris Tobacco Company as a kindlier, gentler corporation that gives food to the hungry and wants to prevent domestic violence. Despite this warm and fuzzy ad campaign, Philip Morris remains the world's leading corporate purveyor of addiction, disease and death.

The absurd ads come on the heels of a Florida jury's verdict that ruled Big Tobacco was guilty of selling a defective product responsible for maiming as many as 500,000 loyal Florida customers. As more previously internal documents surfac,e detailing the tobacco industry's egregious behavior and reckless disregard for human life, the number of lawsuits against the company grows worldwide.

The ads reveal little more than Philip Morris' desperation. They are a vain attempt to recast Philip Morris as a responsible civic presence and to minimize its image as a company that distributes a harmful product to everyone, including people who do not actually use it. In the meantime, Philip Morris continues to market a product as addictive as heroin with nary a warning about this property on its packaging.

I think the Colorado Springs community is savvy enough to see through this ploy and will see Philip Morris for what it truly is: a corporation that puts profits before people.

-- Jessica Johnson

Southern Regional Associate

American Lung Association of Colorado


Naysayers responsible

for D-11 defeat

To the Editor:

From a wise mentor, I learned an old adage: When you point a finger at someone, you are pointing three fingers back at yourself. I recalled this upon reading "School Dist. 11 Ought To Point Finger Of Blame at Itself," The Gazette, post-election.

The Committee for Responsible School Spending, the D-11 board and supporters of the ballot agenda discovered after the election that we had been working literally on the ballot issues (if poorly written by the TABOR "czar"), while naysayers were working harder on the unwritten agenda, supported by news media, to get back at the board and administration for perceived, past policies and misjudgments. Certainly, the CRSS got poor-to-no press support for three to five days prior to the election. I am aware that many positive endorsements were written by diverse community persons, recommending passage of D-11 ballot issues, but they were never published.

Rather, we had a few sporadic features printed, and many negative editorials regarding past policies and practices, flawed and inconclusive test results, and "trivial pursuits" of the administration highlighted. In the three to five days after the election, nothing but punitive "I-told-you-so's!" and fingers of blame, faulting the seemingly futile efforts to achieve a "YES on 3J" for students, parents, educators and improved education in D-11. Those who worked for the passage of 3J regret the defeat for the sake of students, now and in the future. But they know they did their best for the common good and can look in the mirror without apology or aversion.

How did your press coverage (or lack of it) benefit education and the students of D-11? How will the Independent benefit, in the short or long range, from cuts of valued staff and curtailment of programs and services benefiting students? Shall you, too, experience loss of credibility and subscriptions?

Don't blame voters, don't blame test scores, and don't blame the promoters of 3J. Perhaps your mirror will reflect where the real responsibility (not blame) lies.

-- Flora M. Holmes

Colorado Springs


Tragic tradition

To the Editor:

My heart aches for the parents and friends of the young people killed and injured in the tragic collapse of the bonfire tower at Texas A&M. I have a close relative who is a proud Aggie, and I respect the school as excellent in many ways.

Nevertheless, I must decry the idiocy of its hallowing the bonfire, with all its wastefulness and danger, as a tradition necessary to school spirit. Would A&M spirit have degraded if the resources and student effort expended on this wretched excess over the years had been spent instead on building shelter for the homeless? On feeding hungry children? On cleaning up rather than polluting the environment?

It is true, American tradition has included overexploiting natural resources, worshipping extravagance, celebrating overindulgence, but on the eve of a new millennium, perhaps we can initiate new traditions, less destructive, more humane, more compassionate -- more respectful of our Creator and of the earth He (or She) has fashioned to sustain us!

-- Eugenia Birkhead

Colorado Springs


Cops block traffic to

question panhandler

To the Editor:

I'm so glad we've cleared the panhandlers off the street so they won't be obstructing traffic by the interstate. Now all we have to worry about is cop cars blocking the traffic lanes.

I kid you not -- this Saturday evening, getting off the Cimarron exit, the left exit lane was totally blocked so that two of Colorado Springs' finest could question a homeless "criminal" trying to earn a buck standing at the light. If the cops find that they have the time to make such worthy busts, at least let them do it out of the traffic flow -- DUH!

And now that Chief Lorne Kramer has been promoted and gotten a raise, I suppose we can look forward to more nonsense laws that infringe on the civil rights of the citizenry.

-- Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

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