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Empty chair

Indy [agent] provocateur John Hazlehurst is of course entitled to his misbegotten belief that last month's Colorado 100 won't resonate with the voting public regarding fiscal reform in our state (Outsider, Aug. 14-20).

In dismissing this groundbreaking effort as "a bunch of earnest, overeducated richies in good suits," John crafts a catchy turn of phrase but misses the point. Without fostering broad-based leadership, it'll be nearly impossible to inspire grass-roots support for resolving the fundamental constitutional conflicts that hobble our state's financial health.

Regardless, I cannot let slip John's assumption that Taxpayer's Bill of Rights author Douglas Bruce "was not invited" to attend the July 30 gathering. As one of Colorado 100's sponsors, our organization made a determined effort to bring Mr. Bruce aboard. Unfortunately, he declined. He underscored his refusal to attend in a Denver newspaper report shortly before the event. In it, he accused the Colorado 100's bipartisan organizers of inviting people who "they think will agree with them." If only he'd given it a chance.

There was a chair at the table for Mr. Bruce. A number of influential figures who share his core beliefs did sit in and shared their views forcefully. We reached out to prominent policy voices across Colorado's known political spectrum precisely because we knew the effort's success hinges on the breadth of participation and the ability to build consensus.

As Colorado 100 now enters its next phase -- sounding out policy makers at the regional and local levels statewide -- its participants look forward to broadening and firming up such a consensus in hopes of navigating our state's current and future fiscal straits.

-- Brenda Morrison

Associate Director,

Bighorn Center for Public Policy

Denver

Skimpy listings

What is going on with the skimpy Events Listings section? In the Aug. 21-27 issue, there weren't even any listings for concerts in Denver! I want to know what is going on!

-- Emily Pearson

Via the Internet

Editor's note: In an effort to consolidate our music listings, Denver concerts have been moved to the Playing Around section of the newspaper.

Get serious

Since moving to this city in August of 1996, I have been active in the local theater community and have followed, with dismay, your coverage of events and reviews of productions. I did not think it appropriate to write a letter, as I was personally involved in so many productions, but as I have taken a hiatus from acting to pursue graduate studies, I find I must take a stand.

The most recent travesty of journalistic style lies in the hands of John Dicker. Previous reviewers have merely fallen short of talent and knowledge. Mr. Dicker has found new depths of embarrassment for your publication. Let me first comment that Mr. Dicker does have some talent as a reporter of news stories. His research and reporting have won him awards. However, when it comes to reviewing film and stage, his apparent anger at not having succeeded as a film editor seems to fuel the insipid verbiage he passes as reviews.

Let it be known I have received favorable comment from Mr. Dicker (perhaps a thing of the past after this letter) and am not writing this out of personal revenge. The last review he wrote for TheatreWorks' Romeo & Juliet just pushed me to this action. It is so very tiring to read perhaps two paragraphs where Mr. Dicker attempts to relate what the story is about and tell us how he feels about the production by unnecessarily attacking actors ... a sophomoric action, to say the least.

As if this weren't enough to embarrass himself, he then writes more paragraphs than the review to torment the reader with rambling, banal, narcissistic, masturbatory attempts at witticism that only further exemplify his ignorance.

For the sake of the arts community, indeed, for the reputation of your own newspaper, give the reviews to someone of integrity.

-- Michael W. Preston

Via the Internet

Editor's note: Personal insults directed at Mr. Dicker will not influence his reviews one way or another. He is a consummate professional.

Ask any second- grader

Judge Larry Babcock's ruling against mandatory pledges of allegiance comes as welcome news.

No young child in the world can understand the structure, laws, obligations and benefits of the government he lives in by accident of birth. To force a child to recite loyalty to a government he cannot understand is nonsense. If you don't believe this, ask any second-grader what the word "allegiance" means.

The central concept of a free and democratic government, from John Locke and Thomas Jefferson, is that every person must give free, informed consent to the government he or she chooses. Children have not yet reached the age of informed consent, which is 18 in this country.

By that age it is presumed that citizens can assess their own nation's positives and negatives, look around the world at all other nations and their systems, and then personally decide, with no force or coercion. Every individual has the right and the obligation to emigrate to any other country he or she deems better. This is freedom.

Children must be educated about all their political options, not indoctrinated into one.

Indoctrination traps children; education frees them. Dictatorships and theocracies indoctrinate children; democracies allow all choices, including free emigration.

If this nation is truly as great as patriots think it is, no forced allegiance is needed among children or anyone else. They will choose America if they think it is the best the world has to offer. Meanwhile, our job is to make this country worthy of choice.

-- Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Mud holes

Last month I had the opportunity to see a couple of our water reservoirs. They are mud holes.

This municipality's approach to the water management issue is so fundamentally flawed as to be ludicrous. We should look at our water storage/water use situation as if it were reality. It is glaringly obvious that we cannot continue to build thousands of new houses yearly unless more water is secured to supply those new houses. That is the reality.

Instead of conserving the precious little water we have now, those who "plan" for the future of this high and dry prairie are, in effect, bulldozing canals from empty reservoirs to feed the sea of new homes. Meanwhile they ask us to conserve more water under the threat of higher rates.

Whether more water can be secured remains in serious doubt. Whether thousands of new houses will be built is in no doubt.

-- David Lovin

Colorado Springs

Secret speeches

Well, it looks like the No. 1 lawman in the country is off on tour. The "PATRIOT Act Defense" tour, as I like to call it, should be sold out across the country, but it won't be. Why? Because it is closed to the public.

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft will not have to field one single question from the public that this legislation is affecting. Granted, anything he does that keeps him from singing is time well spent in my book, but, no, he will be addressing state and local law enforcement concerning the merits of the ill-named PATRIOT Act.

I wrote the big guy and demanded that these "speeches" be open to the public, but I suppose his roadies are too drunk on illegal detentions and denying due process to answer. I'm not from Missouri, but if this PATRIOT Act is such a spanking piece of legislation, he'll have to show me. Oh, by the way, hats off to the people actually from Missouri for recognizing that a corpse would make a better senator than John Ashcroft. Show me indeed.

-- Brent Koleno

Colorado Springs

Mother of all spenders

The election of 2004 will most likely be decided on the economy (no surprise) and President Bush will be running on his record. Although many Americans are probably aware what the president has said, most are probably not aware of the actual results of President Bush's economic policies.

On Bush's Web site we're told, "The president's economic growth agenda creates jobs. His economic plan is focused on job creation and helps working families with immediate tax relief ..."

Interesting claims by our president, considering that Bush has presided over the first job-losing presidency since Herbert Hoover. During Bush's tenure, we have lost more than 3 million jobs. The unemployment rate has passed 6 percent, with 8.8 million Americans out of work. Under Bush, the economy has lost an average of 69,000 jobs a month. Under Clinton, the economy gained an average of 239,000 jobs per month.

Likewise, the projected deficit for this year is upwards of $455 billion (source: OMB). Remember the surpluses we had under Clinton? The Cato Institute, hardly a liberal outfit, calls George Bush "the mother of all big spenders." His tax cuts have so bankrupted the government that long-term interest rates went up 1 percent since June, a shift to be expected when record deficits are being run, but one that is unwanted in a recovery. In fact, The Fed has begun wondering about deflation, something not spoken of since the Great Depression.

Giving the president his due, he can certainly make lofty claims about his economic policies. Unfortunately, the results say something entirely different and millions of Americans are affected by the real effect of those policies.

-- Jim McQuiggin

Colorado Springs

The lowest bidder

I have paraphrased a tragic quote to make my own point:

"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, but I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me."

-- Martin Niemoeller [Berlin Lutheran pastor arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Dachau concentration camp in 1938.]

Now, the 2003 version:

When that steel manufacturing plant closed and moved operations to Japan, I didn't speak up because steel factories pollute the environment. When my sister's job got downsized because her boss said someone in Honduras would do the same thing for $10 per day, I didn't speak up. When my friend's programming job got sent to Singapore, I didn't speak up because I wasn't a programmer. Then that telemarketing place shutdown; I loathed telemarketers so I didn't speak up. And then ...

How many lost jobs, shuttered commercial buildings, and minimum-wage dead-ends will it take before Americans wake up to the fact our self-serving politicians, Wall Street traitors, and hordes of boot-licking middle-management morons are selling America off to the lowest bidder, all in the name of a global economy?

-- Steve Clarke

Colorado Springs

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