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Take that!

To the Editor:

Property rights advocates like to talk about the concept of "takings." A "taking" is generally described as the lowering of the value of a property because of governmental action without just compensation.

An extreme example of a "taking" is a family buying a building lot that a month later is designated as an unbuildable wetland without any offer of compensation for the lot.

Some property rights advocates have argued that denying the owner of the Red Rock Canyon property annexation into Colorado Springs would constitute a "taking." I would argue that denying annexation, except on terms benefiting the people of the city of Colorado Springs, is definitively not a "taking."

Annexation is a privilege, not a right. Annexation into Colorado Springs is not a requirement of development. The property could be developed in unincorporated El Paso County or the developer could seek annexation into its other neighbor, Manitou Springs.

Not only is denying annexation not a "taking" but I would argue that annexation is "giving" of value to a property that must be earned. In the case of Red Rock, the developer is requesting annexation for a variety of benefits like utilities, fire and police protection.

City services allow a denser level of development thus "giving" a higher dollar value to the property. Additionally, the developer has proposed that the city buy a little less than 250 acres as open space through the TOPs (Trails, Open Space and Parks) program.

Much of the developer- proposed open space, especially on the west side of the property, is adjacent to significant residential and golf course development. While the open space is of some community-wide benefit, the highest benefit is "given" to the adjacent development.

Thus, annexation is a "giving" of great significance. Denying annexation of the property is not a "taking" because there is no lowering of value from its current condition. The city should make sure any annexation is based on a proposal that maximizes Garden of the Gods quality open space.

-- Lee Milner
Colorado Springs


Kerby's legacy

To the Editor:

On March 19, it will be two years our beautifu,l sweet, caring daughter, Kerby Casey Guerra, went to heaven ("No Way Out," Sept. 16, 1999). We would like to thank all of Kerby's friends and our neighbors and all the people who came forth to let us know how much Kerby meant to them.

In her short life, Kerby tried to get the message out that harassment and bullying has to stop in our schools. We will continue her fight as this is what needs to change in schools everywhere.

Thank you for remembering our daughter.

-- Donna & Larry Guerra
Colorado Springs


Real Democrats just say no

To the Editor:

I have been besieged with calls from Democratic Party organizations asking for a contribution.

Considering they have completely thrown us liberals aside, I think they have a lot of nerve calling us at home and asking for money.

Maybe when Democrats in Congress grow a backbone and stand up to the fascists, instead of saying "Yes, Sir!" to everything they demand, then they may deserve a donation.

But as long as they act like a bunch of Republican wannabes, they should not be calling REAL Democrats at all.

-- Thomas McCullock
Colorado Springs


Protect wild forests, Mr. Bush

To the Editor:

Starting March 13, the most pristine parts of our national forests should have been protected from destructive activities like road building and most logging. This includes 4.4 million acres of roadless areas in Colorado.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration has delayed implementation of one of the most popular and sweeping environmental initiatives in decades.

Almost immediately after President Bush took office, the administration put the rule on hold in spite of the overwhelming public mandate to protect our last wild forests. A record-breaking 1.6 million people submitted comments on the plan, the vast majority in support of strong protection. Over 27,000 Coloradans alone commented on this plan.

The process took two years to complete, during which time the Forest Service held more than 600 public meetings across the country. Delaying protection for these special places raises serious questions about the Bush administration's commitment to protecting the environment. Reversal of the policy would mean that more than 80 percent of our national forests would be managed predominately for use by the timber and other extractive industries.

The President should act swiftly to implement the plan that should have gone into effect two days ago, and he and Congress should oppose all efforts to overturn or undermine protection for our last wild places. Future generations will thank them for saving our natural heritage.

-- Robin Hubbard
CoPIRG (Colorado Public Interest Research Group)
Denver


It's magic!

To the Editor:

Well, here we go again. Last night (March 8) while watching the news on TV, one of the local channels here in the Springs opened with a story amounting to, "You haven't seen anything yet. ...Wait until you see how high gasoline prices go this summer..." Dj vu? Last year we were warned about high gas prices in the winter and when summer came -- voila! -- we were running around $1.65 a gallon suddenly. This story suggested $2.50 a gallon might be the going rate this summer.

The oil industry must employ psychics, good psychics, to see the future so clearly. Or could it be something much simpler than predicting the future, such as collusion and extortion? That is, collusion among the companies to raise prices, and extortion, by raising prices every summer until the general public finally throw up their hands and the oil industry gets what they really want: to drill for oil in any and all pristine places on Earth that they haven't already plundered.

This year, are we going to hear from them that it's OPEC again? Will another Mid-East crisis magically appear? Will we be told by the oil companies of a massive "shortage"?

I think it's magic. The stars are all perfectly aligned. Just look at the signs: 1) Last year we were set-up for this; we're getting conditioned; 2) Summer is rapidly approaching: vacation season, more driving; 3) We have an oil-company-friendly Republican in the White House. Does it get any better than this? We don't stand a chance.

Sound crazy to you? Here's a test. After this actually happens, when third quarter corporate profits are announced, tune in to MSNBC and hear again this year, "...Exxon, Texaco and Mobil all announced record profits..." I tell you, it's magic!

-- Stuart Atkinson
Colorado Springs


How to draw good bands to the Springs

To the Editor:

Thanks a bunch for the great press you folks bestowed on me and my band and our current CD (Playlist, March 1).

We really appreciate your recognition of our efforts and Michael Salkind's great taste in souped-up country music.

That ink goes a long way in helping lure D-town bands like us into your town. And what a nice town it is. At least a couple of good music rooms, a few grade-A brewpubs (Palmer Lake!), good bands (Lazy Spacemen) and friendly folks who dug what we do and invited us over for beers after the show.

To those folks we met at the Colorado Music Hall, thanks for the applause and the hospitality. Independent, thanks for the coverage.

We hope to see you all again soon.

-- Marty Jones
Marty & the Pork Boilin' Poor Boys
www.martyjones.net


Try it, you might like it

To the Editor:

March 20 marks the 17th annual observance of The Great American Meatout, a national grassroots campaign to "kick the meat habit, at least for a day, and explore a more wholesome, less violent diet." I invite Independent readers to explore ways to be proactive in a more healthful lifestyle for yourself, plus have a positive impact on children, animals and the Earth.

For yourself, kicking the meat habit will reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic diseases. Internet resources can answer your questions, provide tasty recipes, and provide additional links to information on the vegetarian way of life. Try www.vrg.org for articles on nutrition, recipes, travel opportunities and search links. Additionally, www.meatout.org is the source for great information about adopting a wholesome, nonviolent, plant-based diet.

-- Mr. D. Seelye
Colorado Springs


Compassionate unitering

To the Editor:

Many years ago one of my children asked me what was the difference between communism and capitalism. I guess I was on a roll that day as I quickly came up with the following: In communism the state is more important than the individual; in capitalism the dollar is more important than the individual!

Our Republican-dominated administration once again proves my point: Big business interests run our government to the detriment of the people it is supposed to serve. Our citizens suffering from job related injuries due to repetitive tasks will be denied any health benefits because our president has seen to it that the work of our previous administration is to be nullified, all in the name of Compassionate Unitering!

-- John DeRuntz
Colorado Springs


Thanks for the laughs

To the Editor:

I must express my admiration for Ms. DeGette's recent column (Public Eye, March 8) regarding our county's latest happiness boys. Toward the end of it, I almost felt that Liebling was alive and writing -- and what a grand thing that would be.

Thanks for the laughs.

-- Malcolm McCollum
Colorado Springs

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