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Saving the animals

How delighted I was to read Kathryn Eastburn's story [Personal Space, Oct. 17] regarding Dana Seelye and Hillside Gardens.

As a rehabilitator of orphaned small mammals, namely raccoons and squirrels, with the Wild Forever Foundation, I am aware of the increasing need for persons who care about giving our Colorado wildlife improved habitat and a chance to survive.

As each year passes and more and more habitat is eroded, we realize the need for an intake center where injured or orphaned animals could be treated and then released in an environment to support their needs.

Presently, all of us who are licensed with the Colorado Division of Wildlife work out of our homes and it is time-consuming and expensive, especially for those rehabilitators who care for the many orphaned fawns, injured foxes, injured birds, coyotes and many other animals.

Last year, over 777 animals were saved. In a time of cutbacks in our city government, it is indeed tragic that the arts and the environment, and domestic and wildlife issues, always take a back seat to the endless road and transportation projects.

-- Joan B. Muir

Colorado Springs

Village held hostage

A village held hostage by a single daily newspaper deserves to be represented by local columnists.

The recent corporate decision by the Freedom Newspaper chain elite to fire local writers is a disservice to the Pikes Peak community. The awesome responsibility of a newspaper such as the Freedom-owned Gazette lies in its ability to be profitable while educating and representing the community.

Leslie Weddell, who was working diligently as the local editor for the Sunday Gazette book section, was let go after 20 years with The Gazette. We have had talented Pikes Peak authors featured (for example, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2002) and run to the store to look for the latest book reviewed by Robin Intemann.

Our growing city was a little more intimate and caring with Rosemary Harris' column.

The Freedom chain has deemed these, along with Warren Epstein's local movie reviews, dispensable and will rely on chain or wire reviews and commentaries.

As a community, should we respond by buying USA Today?

-- Carol Duster

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Last month The Gazette laid off columnist Rosemary Harris, book editor Leslie Weddell and Denver bureau reporter Barry Bortnick. The author of the above letter initially submitted her opinion to the daily newspaper on Oct. 10, but it was never published.

Cheering us up

Kudos. The Independent continues to inform the public on issues ignored by the other media. I'm a "native," so I have a feel for the names, society and politics you cover.

I read the Independent both in print and online, and enjoy the current political coverage. I encourage my students to read it also, as it presents a diverse set of opinions not "canned" by a PR machine.

Please keep up the good work, stay focused, and don't get cynical or burned-out; most citizens are decent people who need entities such as yours to expose stupidity, greed and corruption.

-- Mike Thomason

Pueblo

Lining the birdcage

First I need to identify myself. I switched to the Democratic Party a few years ago after the most disgusting political experience I've ever had -- being a delegate for the Republican Party. I will never trust the Republican Party again. I am a Mass Communications major at USC/CSU, and have had [classes in] journalism, editing and media law.

While I cannot vote for Ed Jones even though I believe he is a good man and possibly a good candidate -- I simply cannot vote for anyone Republican.

I need to say that the article written by Terje Langeland in the Oct. 10-16 edition of the Independent is the worst of the bottom-eating pieces of reporting/writing I have ever seen in the Independent or anywhere else. If the reporter wrote that article as a private citizen it would be different -- but it was written in the style of the worst sensation-creating tabloids.

I usually count on the Independent to bring to light information and ideas that other media cannot be counted on to bring to the public. I have counted on the Independent in the past to have unique points of view -- even when I don't necessarily agree with the slant, I generally appreciate the direction.

The absolute trivia -- parking and speeding tickets and inability to buy insurance while he was tending his dying wife (woo-woo with raised eyebrows) -- do not point out a hardened criminal to me. Anyone who's grown up in a diverse neighborhood knows that we acquire many different types of friends whose lifestyles, while we may not approve of, nor participate in, are different, unique and possibly not like our own. We learn to live and let live and let the law do its job when necessary.

I am disappointed the Independent hires people like this, lets this kind of trash go through editing to be published, and is going the direction of the tabloids only fit to line the birdcage with.

-- Collea Devi Goetz

Colorado Springs

Give us gas

In his recent speech to the nation, President Bush laid out his reasons for military action against Iraq. While these were all very compelling and well-researched reasons, I think that Dick Cheney put best American interest in removal of Saddam Hussein when he said, "Iraq sits on top of ten percent of the world's oil."

What more reason do we need? With the tree-huggers preventing us from exploiting our own oil resources in Alaska, Iraq could provide the much-needed life-blood for American SUVs.

As of now, I cannot afford a gas-hungry SUV, but with Iraqi oil safely under American control, my dream of owning an SUV could become a reality. Some would say that this is a callous reason to attack another country, but answer me this: Are the Iraqis using all this oil? No. They are selfishly keeping it to themselves while underprivileged Americans like me are forced to drive fuel-efficient Japanese-made cars. Saddam knows no shame; he simply cannot see the plight of the American SUV-driving public.

I say that it is high time to put this oil into the hands of its rightful owner, those of the American SUV driver. This country is based on freedom, yet I do not even have the freedom to purchase inexpensive gasoline. The influx of Iraqi oil would help to give me this freedom and would help usher in a golden age of the SUV. I have a dream: an SUV, nay, two SUVs for every American home! What are a few thousand Iraqi lives against such a noble and majestic vision as this? This is indeed a dream worthy of a nation as great as ours.

Once again Americans could be proud of their country and its place in the world. No other country could boast of a government so benevolent that it would gladly kill to provide its loving subjects with the oil they and their automobiles so desperately need. So, in order to preserve the glory of the United States, we must destroy Saddam and take control of his oil. There is no other way.

-- Ben Milano

Colorado Springs

Truth and advertising

Kathryn Eastburn's article "English Also or English Only" [Oct. 10] made some interesting references.

What amazes me is the proponents' willingness to try to use rights which will be destroyed by the amendment to support it. Ron Unz, the California financier of the proposed amendment, claims that the programs which will be dismantled "constitute a system of racially-segregated Spanish-only classes for Latino students, not all that different from those provided to most black students prior to Brown v. Board of Education."

The truth is that the amendment will replace all current programs, including effective, unsegregated ones, with the exact thing denounced by Unz, above -- segregated classrooms (this time taught in English only).

It will also remove parental choice and parental rights, the very thing that Montero, the other proponent, claims to want to protect. It will replace them with a single, mean-spirited, unfunded, one-size-fits-all, constitutional mandate. Vote "No" on 31.

-- Pam Jennings King

Bellvue, Colo.

Follow the leaders

Congratulations and thank you to Rep. Keith King and Gov. Bill Owens for supporting local control of education and publicly opposing Amendment 31.

Colorado is one of the few states that mandates local control of public schools through our state constitution. Ron Unz, a millionaire from California, thinks he knows better how to educate our children than do the local districts where they live. The Unz amendment would require all Colorado schools to implement a costly English-only curriculum.

With no provisions for funding, activities and programs will be cut in every school. A similar program in California has a 91 percent failure rate. Don't clutter our constitution with unneeded, unfunded and unsuccessful educational programs that can be more effectively managed locally.

Follow the example of Rep. Keith King and vote "No" on Amendment 31 in November.

-- Stephanie Seng

Fort Collins, Colo.

So much for democracy

I would like to remind fellow Colorado voters that even though the vast majority of us overwhelmingly approved the medical use of marijuana (in the last election), our elected servants seem determined to deny the people what they have so strongly and so democratically indicated they want.

Both Gov. Bill Owens and Attorney General Ken Salazar opposed the medical marijuana initiative right from the start. That's fair enough and these people are entitled to their private opinions. But, the initiative passed by an extremely clear mandate and is now Colorado law. It is not the public duty of these people to uphold and defend Colorado law as enacted by the democratic process?

Neither Salazar or Owens seem to think so. After this law took effect, Owens and Salazar sent a joint letter to the Colorado Medical Society warning that any doctors who prescribe marijuana risk the loss of their medical license. They then sent a letter to the U.S. (federal) attorney Richard Spriggs, calling on him to "enforce federal law" and asking his office to prosecute anyone (doctor or private citizen) that prescribes, uses or cultivates any marijuana for medicinal use (thus effectively bypassing Colorado law).

So much for democracy and the will of the people.

Regardless of where one stands on the issue of medical marijuana, I think most Coloradans would agree that democracy is kind of nice.

If you support either the democratic process and/or medical marijuana, please join me in boycotting the re-election of both Owens and Salazar. Luckily, there are several other well-qualified and less arrogant people to vote for. The Green Party has excellent candidates running for both positions. Both Ron Forthofer and Sunny Maynard are quite supportive of liberty and justice for all.

-- Mark Dalpiaz

Salida, Colo.

Doing the time

District attorneys have one last case to prosecute -- with themselves as the defendants. Their crime? Trying to escape Colorado's term-limit law, the one that Colorado voters passed 12 years ago and which we have affirmed again and again at the ballot box.

Referred Measure A on the November ballot would give district attorneys a free "get out of term-limits" pass.

This is a desperate and unconscionable attempt to do an end-run around the will of the people. And it would set a lousy precedent. If the DAs succeed in their mid-democratic special pleading, all other specific classes of elected officials would try to come up with excuses as to why they in particular should not be subject to term limits.

Incumbency confers special advantages that tend to dampen and eliminate competition come Election Day. That is why prospective challengers often don't even bother to throw their hats into the ring until a seat is "open." Term limits creates open seats on a regular basis. It is premised on the fact that no political officeholder -- from president of the United States to local councilman -- is indispensable. And that in a democracy, power is to be shared, not monopolized.

Everyone who agrees should vote "No" on Referred Measure A and Referred Measure D.

-- Margie Sawyer

Colorado Springs

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