Block roadside blight
To the Editor:
Colorado is blessed with magnificent scenery and progressive programs to reduce clutter from unsightly billboards. Yet, state legislation is being promoted by the billboard industry that would lead to more visual blight.
The Colorado House has sent to the Senate a bill that would allow "relocated" billboards. Currently, when highway departments improve roads and expand rights of way, billboard owners are paid a fair price and the signs are retired forever. House bill 1269 would allow the billboards to be "relocated" by the billboard owner, so the state does not have to buy it, just pay for its removal.
While the bill might save money in the short run, should the new location interfere with further highway plans, it may have to be bought again. This assumes the new location is allowed. In many jurisdictions around the state, new locations are prohibited, such as in Teller, Douglas, Jefferson and Larimer counties. Since El Paso County and Colorado Springs allow new billboards, we may become the dumping ground for "relocated" billboards from other parts of the state.
Another threat in the bill is to allow "tri-vision" billboards, which are currently prohibited in the state. These are like a Venetian blind with three faces that rotate every few seconds. If tri-vision billboards are permitted and must later be removed for highway projects, the expense of relocating such "high-tech" signs would be even greater than for traditional billboards.
The top priority legislative issue in the state is highways and the leading proposal commits billions of dollars to fund numerous projects. However, funds for billboard retirement, amounting to only thousands of dollars, would be pinched under proposed legislation to relax billboard rules.
Scenic Colorado hopes that in the drive to build more highways, greater care is taken to protect our visual environment, improve driver safety and use funds wisely by limiting the spread of billboards.
-- Larry B. Barrett
Mike's the man
To the Editor:
Mike Miles' article in the February 21 edition of the Independent offers a refreshing, new outlook on the process of selecting candidates for political office ["Reforming Political Parties," Your Turn].
It is not unusual for a politician to proclaim his intentions to serve the constituents or to promote himself and his qualifications, but seldom have the voters any evidence, in advance, of the accuracy of these claims. Mike, however, by his record, has already demonstrated that he not only talks the talk, but he also walks the walk. I have known Mike Miles as a fellow teacher at a local high school and I can be sure that his claims rest on a solid foundation. His credentials, to date, speak for themselves and shed some light on the kind of service we could expect from him if his bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002 is successful.
After graduating from West Point, Mike served in the Army. He also earned a degree in Slavic Languages and Literature from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University. He applied this knowledge to serve his country as a diplomat in Russia and Poland, protecting U.S. interests at the end of the Cold War. Making the effort to learn the languages and cultures of both countries greatly enhanced the effectiveness of his service.
Upon returning to the United States, Mike is once again putting his talents to use in the service of his country. First serving as a teacher, and now as a principal, he is dedicating himself to instructing, inspiring and motivating American students. It is in this capacity, as a colleague, that I had the opportunity to see Mike in action and to observe the results of his work. I can make the unqualified assertion that Mike was one of the most effective teachers I have met. He did the best job possible, making great demands on his students, but even greater demands on himself.
Mike's vast experience in the military, political, diplomatic and social arenas, together with his love of country and of human beings, enables him to be comfortable in the company of heads of state, as well as with teen-agers and adults from all walks of life. He should be an excellent candidate to represent the interests of the people of Colorado, the United States, and, by extension, the world community.
-- Gertrud Nuhn
A little patriotism never hurt anybody
To the Editor:
As I continually watch the actions of Democratic politicians both in the federal government and our state government, their unpatriotic and anti-freedom stance is most evident.
I will start with the recent state bill to order all Colorado schools to require classes recite the Pledge of Allegiance and to teach patriotic and civic responsibility subjects promoting not only Americanism, but how to be a good citizen. The measure was killed, naturally, thanks to Senate Democrats who claim we shouldn't force kids to be patriotic.
That is so wrong. I participated in reciting the pledge growing up in New York City during the 1950s. It did not hurt me. And what is wrong with being patriotic? State Democratic Senator Ken Gordon appeared on television debating Senator John Andrews, a Republican from Arapahoe County. Senator Gordon typically made a fool of himself on national television and showed his true anti-American colors and that of his party.
The same can be said for our state Senate Democrats regarding their push to kill a concealed carry weapons bill. These Colorado state legislators are no different than their brethren on the federal level. Here we find these Democrats in our state pandering to Tom Mauser and his anti-gun henchmen to deny law-abiding citizens their right to self-defense.
If I were denied this right and were attacked, I would bring a lawsuit against the state for denying me the right to carry a concealed weapon, which could have protected me. Similarly if I were a family member whose loved one lost their life when they could have protected themselves, I would sue the state if a carry permit was denied after proving the person was law-abiding and could have received a permit if Colorado passed a pre-emption law.
-- Steve Levine
We're here to serve
To the Editor:
Thank you to Kathryn Eastburn for her moving and thoughtful story regarding Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's disease ["Facing Alzheimer's," Jan. 17]. I wanted to remind readers that there is a local office of the Alzheimer's Association here in Colorado Springs. We offer telephone information services, counseling programs, support groups, and educational programs free to members of our community. Families and friends of loved ones with Down Syndrome and/or Alzheimer's disease are welcome and encouraged to use our services as needed. We are here to stand by you.
-- Susan Toth
Alzheimer's Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter
That's the spirit!
To the Editor:
I applaud Idaho's recent repeal of term limits for state lawmakers, while in the process overturning a veto by Governor Kempthorne.
While I agree incumbents often have unfair systemic advantages at the ballot box (which must be reformed on federal and state levels), I have difficulty "getting around" the implied message of term limit advocates: "Please stop me from voting for this same guy (or gal) over and over again!"
If voters want a different citizen representing them, then they simply need to vote for a different candidate! Advocates for term limits would better use their energy by campaigning for challengers who could defeat entrenched incumbents. That is the true spirit of our republic.
-- Steve Garufi