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What a waste

I have been giving much thought of late to the financial shortfalls that plague El Paso County. In view of the fact that the County Commissioners, the Republican Chamber of Commerce, developers, the Board of Realtors and the Republican Party appear to share the same brain, they would save much money by also sharing offices, equipment and staff. As connected as they are, it is wasteful for them not to do so.

-- Frank Whitworth

Colorado Springs

One scary lesson

I am writing because your cover story last week ("Railroaded: For domestic violence defendants, El Paso County's 'fast track' may not always lead to justice," Aug. 15-21) has hit home with me.

I was arrested for domestic violence against my ex-boyfriend in December of 2001. I was arrested in my home and never asked what happened. I did scratch my ex-boyfriend on his chin, and did draw blood from him. He was choking me at the time. I spent the night in jail. I did not immediately plead guilty, under the advice of a lawyer who I know from another state. I could not afford to hire an attorney and was told that I made too much money to be entitled a public defender. So, I took their plea bargain.

I have been taking the required domestic violence classes for the past 30 weeks. I haven't learned anything from them. I do fear relationships though. I'm afraid that the next person that I date will beat me and I will not call the police. I will not lift a hand to defend myself again.

All in all, this lesson is going to cost me about $1,100. So it is a lesson that I won't forget: If you are being strangled by someone who earlier said "If it wasn't a felony, I would love to stick a knife in your head," don't defend yourself if you have earlier had sex with them.

-- Name withheld upon request

Colorado Springs

A million dollar lie

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for last week's cover story exposing the domestic violence fast track travesty. It changed my life dramatically.

I have nothing but contempt and loathing for every single facet of it -- from the cops to the condescending Assistant DA's to the agencies offering the classes, ad infinitum. I doubt if I'll ever get past feeling physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually ill just thinking about how they (collectively) perpetrated me. I hope and I pray that Craig Cornish and Kevin Donovan -- and all the good people working toward reform and reparation -- have huge successes.

This industry Colorado created in the name of stopping domestic violence is nothing but a smokescreen -- a million dollar, job-creating, big fat scandalous lie that has done very little good and so incredibly much damage. It's got to stop.

So that Assistant DA was having a bad day? I've had hundreds since I got caught up in their abyss.

-- Joan M. Jett

Colorado Springs

Facts into fiction

Last week's Public Eye ("A lot to talk about," Aug. 15) re: Hanan Ashrawi's planned appearance at Colorado College completely missed the point.

Colorado College is a reputable institution of higher learning, and is certainly able to run whatever programs it wishes to help enlighten its students on world affairs. However, in this case the keynote speaker is well known for her use of words to change facts into fiction and the reverse.

We are told that students will be able to take this information and sort it out. However, Mrs. Ashrawi is such a talented wordsmith that her listeners will have a difficult time telling the difference. She has long espoused the idea that Hamas (the Palestinian Terrorist Group responsible for the suicide bombings in Israel) is an important, integral part of the PLO. This kind of thinking does not belong on our campuses or anywhere else in this country.

In the column, I was referred to as Pro-Israel, which I will accede to. But, in this case, I should be called a Pro-American. My eyes water every time I think of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, the thousands of innocent victims, the firemen and policemen sacrificing themselves to assist others, and the pictures of the Palestinians cheering and dancing at the news of those events.

Do we really want a representative of these people here in Colorado Springs? Do we even want her in this country? I think not. The best thing that Colorado College could do is to ask her to stay home.

-- Robert P. Fineberg

Colorado Springs

We are at war

I have lived in Colorado Springs for 70 years. My wife, son and I are past students and graduates of Colorado College. We have contributed to the college all those years and have friends on the college's faculty.

Dr. Lief Carter and the committee of the William Jovanovich Speaker Series have missed the point. On 9/11 America was attacked. We are at war. Our troops are in danger in every Islamic country in the world. We have soldiers at risk in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Balkans, Saudi Arabia, the oil emirates, Jordan and Israel. The students who are now in classes at the Air Force Academy will soon be sent to all these dangerous places. Our government is spending billions of dollars to defend us from the hundreds of terrorists who have already invaded our frontiers and live among us. Our lives are changed because we are asked to be alerted to any one or any thing that looks out of place or unusual.

Ostensibly, Hanan Ashrawi resigned from these terrorists groups in 1998. She is the most erudite spokesperson for the leader of Hamas, and all other terrorist groups headed by the lead terrorist, Yasser Arafat. How can anyone expect this woman to deliver a keynote speech that is supposed to be the opening of a "dialogue to end brutality and terror"? Her new title is Secretary General of the "Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy."

To quote Dr. Carter, "I can think of no better way of honoring those who died on 9/11 than to promote the kind of dialogue that can end terrorism and other forms of brutality, whoever perpetuates them."

Dr. Ashrawi is challenging the American schools, leaders, people and press to recognize their insidious lies and misrepresentations whenever and wherever the opportunity, such as this one, presents itself.

Be alert, Colorado Springs. We have a problem.

-- David Supperstein

Colorado Springs

A question for the senator

I wonder if state Sen. John Andrews and his intolerant allies would have been so opportunistic and patronizing to pro-Israeli donors if they had realized that Hanan Ashrawi is a practicing Christian.

Although she rarely mentions it publicly, it is my understanding that it is so.

-- Dale L. Kemmerer M.D.

Colorado Springs

Tears for the mothers

I very much appreciated your column on the upcoming symposium at Colorado College. So is this really going to be open to the community? I would like very much to hear these speakers.

Even CNN is so biased I'm hungry to hear people with opinions they feel they can defend on the Middle East. I don't have a strong opinion, just tears for the mothers of each day's new list of victims, and fear for a land where children have no hope but to be a terrorist themselves.

Thank you for trying to shed some light and supporting free speech. How else can I figure out where I stand?

-- Jeanne Higham

Woodland Park

This 'n' that

I just have a few comments, ideas, for your fine weekly pub.

The article on Cunningham's Deli [Appetite, July 18-24]: I really don't think the readership needs to know of specific problems between the owner and his employees or former employees. It is his business after all, and he has the right to run it how he likes. Your restaurant reviews generally focus on food quality, service, atmosphere -- things people consider important when choosing a place to eat out.

Also, I bought a fantastic book published last year, Fast Food Nation, based on a review or article I read in the Indy. A good chunk of the book talks in detail about the beef industry, and cites specifics about the huge ConAgra operation in Greeley.

I would love to see you guys interview the author about the (currently) second-largest beef recall in history going on now, especially to have the author weigh in on USDA policies under review, and the beef industry's historical fights against expanded E. Coli and other testing and regulations. Yes, I would love to see that!

I would like to see the Indy also do a story on handicap parking permits. I recently had hip surgery and got a temporary handicap parking permit. Now, I am taking notice on how many vehicles I see that have permanent handicap permits, with their drivers and passengers displaying no apparent handicaps!

How does a motorcycle owner get a permanent handicap plate on his bike, really? My brother in Albuquerque told me of a story he read where a guy -- just to prove a point -- got a permanent handicap permit ... for his cat. Literally, filled out the form, citing the cat's age as 3 1/2, named "kitty meow meow" or something like that, and got a permit in no time. I cannot help but think that there are many, many such permits issued.

Just some ideas, thanks.

-- Steve Blackwell

Colorado Springs

Ed. note: Thanks for your feedback, Steve. Check out our interview with Eric Schlosser in this week's issue, page 12. You can also see our 2001 interview with Schlosser on Fast Food Nation on the web at http://www.csindy.com/csindy/2001-02-15/cover.html.

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