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Not safe at all

It was terrifying to learn that Kenneth Cleaver was at PrideFest ready to "punch them in the face" [Consumer correspondent, Nov. 13-19].

If not PrideFest, then where are gays and lesbians safe to be who we are?

This confirms my own experiences around Colorado Springs that "institutions" that claim to be a safe space for our community are not at all!

I fear violence every day!! Did you look at those pictures of Matthew Shepard (he was punched in the face and more, Mr. Cleaver, and there is nothing funny about it)? Matthew's only "mistake" was thinking he was "safe" with his new friends.

Where are gays and lesbians really safe to be who we are? Are you aware of how many times our facilities are vandalized and/or destroyed. Please educate your staff regarding advocating violence towards our community members. Please stop advocating violence! Please stop the harassment ... it starts with you!!

-- Karolyn Ellis

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Mr. Cleaver's lighthearted attempt at humor was not intended to promote violence of any kind but instead raise concern over Colorado Springs' deficient gay fashion sense.

Paving paradise

For years, the city of Colorado Springs has mismanaged the City Auditorium, and it has not produced the revenue that it is capable of making.

Now, under pressure from The Nor'wood Development Company, our carpetbagging city manager would like to divest the city of this century-old treasure, and let Nor'wood turn it into condominiums. Extreme pressure from citizens opposed to this move must begin now, and must be intense!

Here are some important facts

Nor'wood Development Company, through one of its many LLCs already owns a goodly portion of the square block upon which sits our City Auditorium. The developer's run-down piece of property would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more, if they could acquire the entire block and develop it to their liking.

To accomplish this, Nor'wood is commissioning a study to determine if the entire square block can be considered "blighted" and, therefore, qualified for Urban Development funds (welfare for developers).

If Nor'wood could get its hands on these funds, which have been extorted from you and me, it would cut their own redevelopment costs by tens of thousands of dollars.

Just a couple months ago, the Housing and Building Association, several developers, the Chamber of Commerce and others were kind enough to pay off the considerable campaign debts of several members of City Council. Now it's payback time.

Add these facts together and draw your own conclusions about who stands to benefit at the expense of us commoners.

Remember the song, "Don't it always seem to show, that they don't know what they've got till it's gone/They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Even though I am a realtor and am always told that whatever is good for the developer/builder bunch is good for everyone (good for "the economy"), I am sick of this fat-cat bunch running roughshod over the rest of us.

Please, do not fail to do everything you can, to halt this potential desecration! Whining about it after the fact won't cut it.

-- Terry Shattuck

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The following was submitted in response to a letter by Colorado Springs resident Patrick Jones expressing outrage over the City Auditorium proposal that appeared in last week's Independent.

City manager responds

I understand your concerns about the historical value of the Auditorium to the city. No decisions have been made regarding the future of the Auditorium. An inquiry to purchase the building was made by a developer and a study is underway regarding the entire block surrounding the facility.

City Council has also expressed their interest in both the historical preservation of the Auditorium and its ability to be self-sustaining into the future. No decisions will be made without a full public discussion.

-- Lorne C. Kramer

City Manager

Colorado Springs

Facts that could kill

When I heard the horrible news about the third trimester abortion ban, I said to my boyfriend, "How does it make you feel to know that if, during the third trimester of my (potential) pregnancy, a problem with the fetus arises that could kill me, that I just get to sit there and die?!"

Of course I was preaching to the choir, but man, it is so amazing to me that I have to now die if there is a life-threatening complication in the third trimester.

Very sobering.

I wonder how many of those old white men who were pictured surrounding the president as he signed the bill into law [Public Eye, Nov. 13-19] have bought abortions for their wives/mistresses. It's always OK for these people when they need it, but to hell with everyone else!

And another thing: I wonder how these old white men would feel if we took away the last chance, life-saving procedure for men with prostate cancer? Don't think they're passing any legislation on that right now.

-- Emily Frank

Colorado Springs

Distorting the truth

An issue that has been in the press a lot is this crazy notion that such a thing as "partial birth abortion" exists. Well, it doesn't. The truth is, anti-choice hardliners are lying and distorting the truth to restrict abortion access, plain and simple. This has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with helping women make medically responsible choices about their own healthcare and fertility.

The day that President Bush signed this bill into law was a sad and devastating day for all American women. The people who created and signed this bill into law do not trust women and want to control women's reproductive lives. Only information and prevention are effective in reducing abortion.

This ban is unconscionable and the politicians that drafted it, supported it and then passed it should be ashamed.

-- Crystal Harrell

Colorado Springs

It's about time

All I can say is, it's about time a president signed this into law! Nothing is more important in our day and age than moving away from the culture of death and rediscovering a beautiful culture of life -- where even the weakest is cherished and protected. A culture of life will flourish, the alternative will not.

-- Cynthia Melstrom

Colorado Springs

Still on the table

In my recent letter to the Indy thanking you for bringing attention to a growing crisis in our community high schools -- dropouts -- I incorrectly stated that the District 11 Board of Education and administration had decided to disapprove CIVA Charter High School's request for growth.

I have been corrected several times since and feel it is only fair to write to you and ask you to publish my apology for having read into comments made at the Oct. 12 work session.

So, the request is still open, no decision has been made, and the public is more than welcome to show support of charter schools at board meetings or agenda-specific work sessions. Please do.

-- Toby Norton

Colorado Springs

Effectively dead

We have our very own Chemical Ali's in El Paso County. In a unanimous vote defying popular opinion and common sense, our county commissioners voted 3-0 to spray herbicides for weed control in Bear Creek Park.

They also agreed to demand legal waivers from the objecting Bear Creek gardeners, a group that has nurtured 100 organic vegetable plots supplying fresh produce to such nonprofit organizations as Care and Share and Silver Key as well as private citizens. By destroying the organic status of the garden, the project is effectively dead after 20 years in operation. Most association gardeners will not return.

And now the county has room for yet another parking lot, presumably to be used by other park users. One wonders how the hikers, athletes, cowboys and weekend picnickers will avoid being poisoned by the chemical spraying.

What about all the mothers with strollers? Will they all have to sign waivers, too? And how will that be logistically handled by the county? Will this require added expense to fence the park and have attended gates to get signatures?

Hiring the goat herd would in the long run be much more cost-effective than creating a controlled, gated park, especially since the garden association offered to make up the cost difference between spraying and goat rental. The commissioners chose to ignore that offer and proceed with their own chemical agenda.

This is more than a dreadful decision on the part of the elected leadership. It is yet another arrogant display of the "I am King" attitude that is so prevalent in politics today, one that does little to serve the public good.

Call the commissioners today to voice your concern. Every Colorado Springs City Council member also needs to get involved since their constituents use the park daily. And if you get no good answers, let them know who they work for at the next election. You. Your power is at the polls. Use it. That's assuming you haven't gotten sick or died of herbicide poisoning by the next election.

-- Danielle Greer

Colorado Springs

Life in a dictatorship

Never before have I so despaired of the future of this country. If you're powerless, vulnerable or poor, you're no longer considered of value in this political climate.

Certain rights and protections we have hitherto taken for granted have been diluted, abrogated or are in peril. This applies also to previously well-demarcated boundaries between church and state, to the right of abortion and to the protection of federal lands.

Now is the time for profit at any cost if you can afford to buy the government that most benefits you. If your business is coal, you're encouraged to blow off the tops of mountains without undue concern for poisoning the surrounding lands and streams, and for impacting human and wildlife inhabitants.

If you're in the timber industry, you may soon log with virtually no restrictions. Highly protective wetlands, less than half remaining from a century ago, which are among the richest of ecosystems for wildlife and whose value extends to flood protection and water purification, are being sacrificed to developmental, commercial and agricultural interests.

The national parks are on the ragged edge of being McDonaldized and Disneyfied. It appears that no more land is being considered for wilderness protection. The Endangered Species Act is under assault. The Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency would like nothing better than to turn these federal lands over to the states to be used or sold as they desire. This abomination is being conducted as quietly as possible while the public's attention is being diverted by terrorist possibilities and past and impending wars.

For all of these blessings we can thank the Bush administration and all its like-minded congressional and judicial colleagues. Do we really want an oppressive and dictatorial one-party system (found in so many developing countries)? Are we perfect enough to force our will onto other peoples of the world?

-- Anita Brown

Colorado Springs

Democracy now

The House and Senate both passed an amendment that lessens the punishment for travel to Cuba. But now, extremists in Congress may stop the amendment from ever reaching the president's desk.

What an irony. We say we want democracy in Cuba, yet we aren't allowing it to work in our own country. It would be an embarrassment if President Bush never gets the chance to even consider the Cuba amendment.

For the sake of democracy, and the poverty-stricken island of Cuba, Congress should allow the amendment to move forward.

-- Mr. Andrew Patt

Lakewood

Americans and Cuba

When it comes to Cuba, U.S. citizens seem to have more sense than their government policy would make you believe.

The vast majority of us -- like me -- support lifting all travel restrictions to the poverty-stricken island. But our laws still forbid us from spending our own money there. How un-American!

I hope Congress and the president find the common sense to sign the amendment into law that will remove penalties for spending in Cuba.

-- Ms. Lindsey Housel

Broomfield

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