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We call it home

To the Editor:

Enough already.

In recent weeks, my neighbors and I have learned that a new homeless shelter, day care center and possible railroad spur are slated for our neighborhood south of downtown. To be honest, I have so many thoughts, questions and emotions regarding all this, I barely know where to begin.

I have lived in my home for over 20 years and have seen many changes in that time. Our neighborhood elementary school was closed, the junior high torn down and replaced with a new police station. The surrounding neighborhood of mostly comfortable homes has virtually been destroyed and replaced with what? I see nothing but vacant lots and a few homes which are not being fixed up but are sitting idle and deteriorating. We've also lost many homes on Conejos Street. Slums, you say? Many of those homes were in decent condition and others provided a roof over someone's head who may otherwise have had none.

Now I'm told some of my neighbors to the west may lose their homes. Yes, it is true they are considering selling. Most do not want to leave but feel they have no choice. It is either sell now for what is hopefully a fair price or wait until these new developments bring down the value of their property. You say you are not "cramming anything down anyone's throat," Mr. Tollefson? That is exactly what it feels like. No one -- not the utilities department, Red Cross, El Pomar or anyone associated with these projects -- has initiated any dialogue with the people who live there to get their feedback. I find this unthinkable.

And can someone please explain to me the logic behind tearing down homes and replacing them with a huge homeless shelter? Seems like there's an oxymoron in there somewhere. If anyone bothered to ask the homeless which they'd prefer, I'm sure it would be a home. How about it El Pomar? Six million dollars would go a long way toward affordable housing to replace the many we've lost.

Believe it or not, many of us like living in this neighborhood. Some of us love it. It is ours. We're not asking for much -- just the respect and consideration we deserve.

-- Mary Quinn
Colorado Springs


Use existing buildings to shelter homeless

To the Editor:

The proposal to build a shelter for the homeless, west of Sierra Madre and one half mile south of Crissey Fowler Lumber yard, means displacement for many working-class, elderly, and disabled members of the community. As well as destruction of four blocks of historical centennial homes.

A better use of the $6 million dollar fund would be purchasing an existing facility, possibly one of the proposed schools District 11 is thinking of closing.

This school could provide many of the shelters needs:

1. A cafeteria for the soup kitchen

2. Offices for the management

3. Rooms for everyone to sleep (separating males, females, and families)

4. Parking

5. Bus availability

6. Easy access

7. Training center

8. A day care center

Colorado Springs is a community of caring and good intentions. However, with many of the recent proposals, i.e., the Memorial Hospital expansion and the homeless center, Colorado Springs seems to have lost the vision of the community to money and revenues. It takes communication and respect to meet the true sense of the word "community." Let us take some time and thought to look at what is best for our citizens and the children who are our future.

-- Rickie Stuart and John Hodgden
Colorado Springs


Battering by billboard

To the Editor:

How are we to interpret the New Life Church billboard on Nevada (north of Fillmore) which suggests that a rebellious son should be put to death? The Torah verse quoted literally says just that. But New Life's use of this quote is out of context, out of place and out of line. In a time and place where human life has been taken so casually by gun mayhem and domestic violence, New Life needs to study more and speak less.

The commandment to "honor your father and your mother" is basic to Judaism but the sacredness of life and the tradition of justice tempered by compassion are central as well. We strongly suggest that New Life remove the billboard and instead invest their energies in healing the families within their church.

-- Michael and Ellene Shapiro
Colorado Springs


Bunny suit workers unite

To the Editor:

This is in regard to John Hazlehurst's column of Feb. 10. John, I have always enjoyed your column and felt you were doing it all for the common man. I think I was mistaken.

Speaking for the 4,000 hourly workers at semiconductor factories in town, we are incredibly excited by the news that Intel is coming to town, to Colorado Springs -- I have been here for four years and know that this is the place where I want to die. Colorado Springs -- a place that has a high standard of living and low wages. Colorado Springs -- where I can't figure out how I can swing a home mortgage.

I and the other 3,999 hourly semiconductor workers should gross an extra $4,000 a year from Intel coming to town. If my addition is correct that is an extra $16 million in the hands of the blue collar (actually Bunny Suit collar) workers of Colorado Springs.

See, John, the good ole boys that run the plants in the Springs can get away with paying less than industry average because it is Colorado Springs.

But, John, the biggest, baddest mother is coming to town to fill up an empty building, and there are at least three boardrooms that are freaking out over this.

Lets talk about this empty building.

Making computer chips is a unique endeavor. The building has one use and only one use, and that is to make computer chips. There are two choices:

1. Make computer chips.

2. Demolish the building.

I guess Rockwell could demolish and sue the city for the monetary loss they would incur. Of course they probably would sue the City Council too. Hey, John, did you vote for the expansion four or five years ago?

Yes, John, " ... it's 2000 and we're in the middle of a riproaring boom ..." that is leaving a lot of people behind. I can't start a union in this state but I got the next best thing coming to town. I think you have lost touch with the common man and woman.

If you really want to continue to call your column "The Outsider," you better go get a laborer's job for a while and read all of Jim Hightower's old columns.

-- Alfred Gambel
Over the Internet


The other side of DHS

"injustices"

To the Editor:

In response to "God Bless the Child," Feb. 3-9, 2000:

Betty Beedy and Suzanne Shell have chosen a safe target -- DHS -- for their rants. DHS can't shoot back, of course, because of confidentiality constraints. Both women would do well to examine all sides of the "injustices" they like to refer to. The obvious fact that they choose to ignore is that court-ordered placements in foster care happen only after there is verified evidence of abuse. Parents have a side to tell, but so do grandparents, siblings, the evil teachers and counselors (as a counselor I rescued a couple of broken and bloody bodies), attending physicians and a number of other community members who are legally obliged to report abuse.

As I understand it, these women fear that children are being spirited away to a fantasy land maintained by DHS, just out of orneriness. (Idle Question: What do they think DHS is doing with these imaginary confiscated children? Idle Answer: Bring them up to be Democrats. Another Idle Question: What government department pays the $4,000 bounty for each confiscated child? Ms. Beedy will have to answer this one.) The very public agenda, however, is to save children from batterers while taking positive steps to change parental behavior: anger management, substance abuse treatment, positive disciplinary methods, to name a few strategies. Yes, this is intrusive and inconvenient for families. For a voiceless child, it can be a welcome intrusion.

With respect to Ms. Beedy's reliance on the Bible for guidance, the world has changed in 2000 years. Then, if a child was disobedient, murder was a possible solution. If God sent word that he was unhappy, he could be appeased temporarily by the sacrifice of a child. Today we are in some ways more enlightened, but too many children are still being sacrificed to lives of hopelessness, fear, deprivation and abuse. To wish to perpetuate it is unforgivable. I respect others' personal beliefs and principles, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot understand child abuse as a Christian act. I cannot imagine Christ, who invited the little children to come unto him, torturing a child.

The shrill Ms. Shell has problems far beyond a quarrel with DHS and county commissioners who would be better advised to let her finish her speeches, then without comment proceed to the next item on the agenda. (It takes two sides to make a Jerry Springer moment.) According to the facts cited by the writer, she allowed her son to be spanked by his stepfather wielding a "martinet" -- French for cat o' nine tails, according to my dictionary. In that context, it makes sense that she tries to exorcise her personal demons by putting someone else on trial.

-- Barbara Martin
Manitou Springs

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