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Blame the bureaucrats

I read with interest the letter titled "Dirty Tricks" in the Sept. 26 issue of the Independent regarding the disappearance and vandalism of my opponent's yard signs. At no time would I, or anyone affiliated with my campaign, condone such behavior.

The use of yard signs is a time-honored tradition of showing support for political candidates. I respect this tradition and the right for individuals to express their opinion. Further, I would request those responsible for this vandalism to please stop.

Several of my yard signs are missing or have been vandalized, as well. While this is unfortunate, my campaign does not assume that Mr. Merrifield is behind their disappearance.

In fact, the most likely culprit for any candidate's missing signs is Colorado Springs Code Enforcement, which regularly removes all campaign signs that are not properly placed.

-- Dan Stuart
Candidate, House District 18
Manitou Springs

Honor Chase Stone

Isn't Confluence Park a grandiose name to give the place where two small creeks meet? Let's be real: This is not the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.

Before etching in granite a permanent name, we should consider how we traditionally honor community founders and benefactors. Our parks, schools, libraries and hospitals bear prominent names such as Palmer, Penrose, Tutt and Stratton.

Like many before him, Chase Stone came to Colorado Springs to regain his health. When he recovered, he became a dynamo in the business community and dedicated the rest of his life to improvements for citizens of this region.

Chase Stone joined with a group of local business leaders. Together they labored hard and successfully to bring to Colorado Springs both Camp Carson and the Air Force Academy. He became a prime mover in the first incarnation of downtown urban renewal. For a generation, the plaza facing Cascade Avenue bore the name Chase Stone Center. Without explanation, one day the name "Palmer Plaza" appeared and "Chase Stone Center" disappeared.

Let us consider reviving and honoring the name Chase Stone. His good deeds and trust fund continue to benefit this community. Chase Stone Park would be a fitting memorial from the city he loved.

-- John A. Daly
Colorado Springs

Fourth-grade bully

Sadly, I had to agree with the views of Arianna Huffington in her Your Turn submission about President Bush that appeared in last week's Independent.

There is a preponderance of evidence that Bush is acting from an emotional rather than intellectual center and therefore a lower level of functioning. When he says things in reference to Saddam Hussein like "he's stiffin' us" or "he's thumbing his nose at us" or "it's the same old song and dance" over and over again, I picture a fourth-grader on the playfield rather than a statesmen of a major country, let alone our own country.

When emotion rules the decision process, wrong choices are more often made, as is a pre-emptive bombing of innocent civilians of a sovereign country like Iraq. There is so much wrong with Bush's rhetoric, turning a blind eye to intellectual resolution of the apparent problem.

Why is it that the U.S. government resorts to killing people as a means of conflict resolution? If we look back at our history, even our military leaders recognize the folly of war.

In 1945 at the end of WW II in Tokyo Bay of Japan, General Douglas MacArthur, addressing end-of-the-war ceremonies, referred to the utter futility of war as a means of settling conflict. He said, "We need a more equitable means of settling disputes between nations."

So here we are 57 years later, building a larger and larger military, becoming the world's police, and yet we have not gotten any better at resolving conflict through other means. In fact, President Bush looks to the world like the bully throwing punches on the schoolyard. Where is the intellect?

-- Martin Schroeder
Colorado Springs

Down a dangerous path

As a retired Army officer with 25 years of service and a Gulf War veteran, I think I understand, better than most Americans do, what the next Gulf War could be like. Before I provide my support to this administration's headlong rush to war, I'd like our elected/appointed officials to answer three questions:

Is there absolutely no alternative to the "Iraqi problem" short of war? Is there no better approach than the one that will almost certainly kill thousands, if not tens of thousands, of innocent human beings, most of whom will be destitute Iraqi civilians who have done us absolutely no harm? Is this the best approach that the creative genius of a principled, proud and free people can find to the world's problems?

I do not believe the American people want war with Iraq, but our elected leaders have engaged in a deliberate campaign to convince us that we must go to war. It is a powerful message crafted by professional opinion-makers supported by all the resources available to the government, and it is winning the day.

We are being led down a dangerous path, and we are about to make a mistake of world-historical dimensions with unforeseen and potentially disastrous consequences. In my view, this nation is preparing to initiate an unjustifiable act of illegal, international aggression rationalized by misinformation, half-truths and Orwellian-like doublespeak.

This "pre-emptive, defensive strike" is our only alternative, we are told, because it's either them or us. If we don't destroy Iraq, it will destroy us. Does anyone really believe this? Until such time as our government can show us clear and compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, I am opposed to war with Iraq. If showing us this evidence means compromising some intelligence sources, then so be it.

We have the right to know why we are being asked to sacrifice American blood and American treasure. If our leadership cannot show us this evidence, but still insists on going to war, I say the first "regime change" should be in Washington, D.C.

-- William Thomas
U.S. Army (Retired)

Man with a mouth

This year's election coverage in the Independent is leaving a bit to be desired. In the Sept. 26 issue, we have the "Wagging the Dog" article.

Nowhere is the Libertarian Party mentioned, even though we are contesting every single race that was written about, our candidates whenever possible attend forums and fill out surveys, we do not advise our candidates to ignore the public, nor do we duck the press.

Since becoming a candidate for State House Dist. 16, I have spoken with reporters from The Gazette many times, I have attended the Citizens Project forum as well as several political rallies in the area, I have filled out and returned every survey, even those whose political beliefs are obviously in opposition to mine, and I have even gone to a meeting of the local Green Party to speak with their members. However I have not been contacted once by the Independent, nor has my candidacy been mentioned in any story where District 16 is mentioned.

If the press release announcing my candidacy has slipped between the cracks, or if Cara DeGette has lost all phone contact information for the party and cannot get "Libertarian" to come up on a search of the internet, I may be contacted at whiteknight@pcisys.net or 570-0747, whichever is easier for her.

I would hope a paper that calls itself the Independent would be able to set aside the bias shown in the major media against the minor parties. Certainly a Libertarian majority may not come from this year's election; such things take time and effort. But one might think that we would be worthy of mentioning since we go out of our way to attend these forums, speak with the public and fill out the surveys that the Republican candidates ignore.

However it seems that just like many Republican candidates and representatives ignore Cara DeGette, she ignores those who run under the banner of the Libertarian Party.

-- Scott Graves
Libertarian Candidate
State House District 16

Editor's Note: The Independent did not contact Mr. Graves during research for the story as the focus of the story was, as Mr. Graves noted, the growing phenomenon of candidates who will not talk with the press or appear at public forums. The weekly has, for many years, incorporated third-party candidates and their issues in its news coverage, and will continue to do so.

____________________________________________

Clarification

Our Sept. 26 cover story, "Wag the Dog," was accompanied by photographs of county commissioner candidate Jim Bensberg and state Senate candidate Ed Jones, who have, during their bids for public office, refused to speak to the media and the public. Those photographs were altered to make it appear as if they had no mouths. In fact, both men have mouths. The Independent regrets any confusion.

PS. It should be noted that since the story appeared, Mr. Jones has decided to speak with the press after all. See page 15 for more.

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