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Tower of arrogance

I found last Thursday's meeting of the Board of County Commissioners to be frustrating, irritating and revealing.

The commissioners voted to approve the construction of an addition to the County Courthouse, which will obliterate the attractive mall between the current metro jail, and the existing courthouse, and hide the magnificent view of Pikes Peak from the west facade of the Pioneers Museum.

This action was taken in spite of reasonable appeals from knowledgeable citizens for consideration of alternatives to provide the needed courthouse space, or to consider possible changes to courthouse procedures. Aesthetics and downtown ambience were sacrificed to frugality and expedience.

In addition, the commissioners are considering ways to fund an addition to the Criminal Justice Center in spite of the overwhelming negative vote of our citizens just two weeks ago. The ballot issue for the CJC addition was defeated in 363 of the 370 precincts in El Paso County!

The will and vote of the majority seems to matter nothing to our commissioners. They are about to obligate the citizens of this county for the next quarter of a century to the largest debt in our history. In addition, they plan to severely constrict funds to county departments including parks and recreation, roads and bridges, transportation and health care.

The county commissioners certainly ignored the will of those who voted them to office, and whom they are obligated to serve. Their refusal to consider the appeals of informed citizens for consideration of alternative plans for the courthouse expansion borders on arrogance.

Is this the best government we can obtain in El Paso County? Is it possible to have cooperation between the County and the City? I urge the citizens to monitor the actions of the BOCC as well as City Council, and be prepared to cast intelligent votes in our own self-interest when electing our representatives.

-- Charles Merritt

Colorado Springs

Advantages of dictatorship

John Hazlehurst's column, "Score one for the Gipper," in the Nov. 11 Independent issue gave me a rush of nostalgia I've rarely experienced. I was back in college talking with friends and "solving" the world's problems over coffee.

When politics became the topic, the cynicism became intense enough to be divided with a butter knife, punctuated with disdain and brevity. At the start of the Kennedy administration, my colleagues, college students, were applying to the Peace Corps, canvassing and attending precinct meetings, and arguing complex issues.

My most heated and chronic exchange was with a friend who thought the most responsible thing he could do as a voter with low-quality candidates was to not vote.

The passion and excitement was there for us -- this was our government, our democracy. Then Kennedy's assassination -- the world stood still in hollow, stunned, grayish slow motion. I think I grieved for years. I and my friends drifted back into our ennui from which there has been but partial recovery. History and its ceaseless immersion in time have disfigured the Kennedy era in many less-flattering aspects. However, none of this subtracts from the inspiration and following participation many experienced in the early '60s.

In his column. Hazlehurst also mentioned friends with whom he had dinner on election night. He described them as politically savvy, but didn't vote.

I think this unvoting segment since 9/11 has made it easier for our federal government to threaten and challenge our civil rights.

Hopefully John's friends et al., will overcome the "whatever" barrier. One of the advantages of a dictatorship is the lack of inconvenience of voting.

-- Jim Sears

Colorado Springs

Scratching their backs

Yes, indeed. El Paso County commissioners give every indication of being corrupt to their very core. They certainly seemed that way when I lived in Monument, and nothing seems to have changed since I left there back in 1999.

Commissioner Duncan Bremer was the leader of that county "gang" when I lived in his district. Commissioner Ed Jones (who, unfortunately for all Coloradans, is now one of our state senators), and the other commissioners, were simply his rubber stamps. Baptist Road, site of the proposed Wal-Mart superstore that was referenced in last week's news story, "Monumental Battle," was Bremer's "baby" back then.

Lots of legal shenanigans appeared to have been going on in order to make it all happen the way Bremer wanted it to happen. I remember sitting in those commissioner meetings and shaking my head in disbelief at what I was hearing our so-called "leaders" saying and doing.

John Heiser (the county planning commissioner who leads the opposition to the Wal-Mart store) knows whereof he speaks when he predicts that, "Even if the Planning Commission were to reject the proposal, the developer-friendly Board of County Commissioners might overturn the decision."

It was a commissioner-developer back-scratching boondoggle then, and it sounds like it's an even bigger commissioners-developers boondoggle now.

When Al Norman (a Massachusetts activist who leads a national movement against sprawl) said that the deal was a typical Wal-Mart ploy to secure "public welfare," he also knows whereof he speaks.

Self-serving El Paso County politicians can only retain their parasitic existence by feeding off the taxpayer. Developers not only know that, they depend on it.

-- Jan Jackson

Florissant

Expose the charade

I love it when you print letters from right-wing cranks. Two in last week's issue -- a bonanza! My feeling is that, the more of this vituperation and frothing at the mouth that thinking people are exposed to, the more likely they are to investigate those who are derided and the more likely they are to see that those people make some reasonable points. That's a source of change.

As we found with the war in the late '60s and early '70s, all one needs to do is get people to start questioning why the government is pursuing a given course of action.

When enough people start asking questions, the charade is eventually exposed. In the case of the Vietnam War, the question eventually faced by the American public was simply, "What is gained from the deaths of several hundred young American men in Southeast Asia every week?" There was no good answer and the public ultimately saw through the charade. The same thing will sooner or later happen with the internal and external policies that the U.S. is currently pursuing. You can bet on it.

Keep up the good work. Great paper.

-- Lowell Morgan

Monument

Opinion fine, facts better

My response to Doug Dollar's "Moaners and Whiners" [Nov.14] will not refute his letter in a general sense -- that is, my party or my guy is smarter than yours -- but rather focus on his well-meaning, but incredibility absurd statement that "President Bush is being principled in his application of foreign policy." I promise not to delve into Bush's unprincipled personal and business past.

On almost every foreign policy issue, Bush has changed his mind.

Terrorism (Osama bin Laden), according to Bush, was the No. 1 enemy; now it's Iraq (Saddam).

In the Middle East, Bush wasn't going to get involved; now he is, sort of.

He was going to pull troops out of Balkans; now he isn't.

He wasn't going to talk with North Korea; now he is.

He was going to fight Iraq alone, but Democrats and Colin Powell changed his mind. In a sidebar about Iraq, Bush lied or was confused when he said Iraq could fly unmanned aircraft over the U.S. and Iraq could have a nuclear capability in six months. Both of these have been refuted by responsible agencies -- Bush hasn't mentioned either since.

Finally, I give Bush credit for not changing his mind about China and Russia -- he emulated Clinton's policies.

On Homeland Security, a kin of foreign policy, Bush was at first against it; eight months later he was for it (then he blamed Democrats for delaying it -- go figure).

On 9/11, Bush was against investigating it; now he's for it.

Changing one's mind isn't always a negative, but changing it so often reflects indecisiveness and reveals Bush's lack of knowledge that is startling and critical.

My comments about his lack of principle in foreign policy come from facts as reported. Dollar's comments are mostly opinion. Opinions are fine -- facts are better!

-- Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

Dialing for Dollar

This letter is in response to Doug Dollar's "Moaners and Whiners" insights as of 11/14/02. Mr. Dollar, can you tell me what the following numbers have in common:

252, 262, 267, 271, 298, 452, 465, 471, 484, 487, 497, 573, 592, 605, 607, 608, 636, 641, 672, 673, 681, 726, 799, 904, 1073, 1322, 1402, 1403, 1405, 1435?

Well, sir, these are all UN resolutions in which Israel is currently in violation.

So, if Iraq spat in the face of the UN, Israel is pissing all over Kofi Anon's breakfast. If attacking Iraq on these conditions is truly your idea of "principled application of American foreign policy," while at the same time cranking the blind eye up to 10 for Israel, I think we would all be much better off if you kept your half-baked jabbering to yourself.

-- Brent Koleno

Colorado Springs

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