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Don't forget the organ

I read Cara DeGette's Sept. 18 Public Eye concerning the possible fate of City Auditorium and, being a former resident of Colorado Springs, I continue to have an interest in the city and in the Wurlitzers that resides there.

Your story confirms a rumor that a friend of mine in Colorado Springs told me concerning the auditorium. He also stated that the fate of the Wurlitzer is uncertain at this time. I'm sure that the local theater organ club will want to try to salvage it, but if they can't, it has been made known that the city will likely scrap the organ.

This would be a great loss to the community. This particular Wurlitzer was built in 1927 and is, in itself, a piece of history. It would be very unfortunate if this organ were to fall into the hands of the city dump or be cut up for scrap.

The residents of Colorado Springs need to be made aware of this historical resource if the auditorium is sold.

--Paul L. Gray, Jr.

Houston, Texas

A model of ag writing

Kathryn Eastburn's "This cattleman's got a beef..." [cover, Nov. 20-26] is a terrific story: balanced, interesting, well written.

I saw it thanks to Headwaters News, which posted it on their daily Rocky Mountain West digest, and forwarded it to our beef specialists and marketing people and, as a model of good ag writing, to my writer-editor colleagues here in Montana State University Extension.

Thanks for the great read!

-- Scott Freutel

Writer and editor, MSU Extension

Bozeman, Mont.

On the radar screen

COOL -- Country Of Origin Labeling is long overdue, not just for meats, but also for produce -- for instance, green onions, strawberries and raspberries. But as the sick and dead mount up, the battle may have been lost even in spite of rancher Mike Callicrate's lawsuit against the big meatpackers.

Last month, Lou Dobbs' U.S. News & World Report column -- "Population overload" -- outlined the dynamics. "The U.S. population is growing by more than three million each year and loses three million acres of farmland annually. Food and agriculture generate $40 billion a year in export income for the United States, but at the present rate, we won't be exporting food at all by 2025."

"Our population growth, driven in part by unchecked immigration, is already straining our healthcare and educational systems and, less noticeably -- but far more important -- putting a heavy burden on our land, food production, water supply, and the quality of the air we breathe," he noted.

Dobbs is hardly a fire-breathing xenophobe and neither are the 76 percent of Democrats that a recent Pew poll found to want immigration numbers reduced.

And by the way, you Coloradans may have a taste of California's lifestyle -- the crowded part, not the beach and surf part. Your population will double in the next 25 years. Most of your growth is from the thousands of our middle class who flee our chaos. While our growth is nearly 100 percent from immigrants and children of immigrants, the sheer number of your doubled population should bring population control and immigration reform up on your radar screen.

P.S. -- Looks like your story about selling the City Auditorium may prevent it from happening. Terry Shattuck's letter last week -- Paving paradise -- is a keeper! And now that you have exposed their deal, the city manager's response, printed in last week's letter to the editor section, is classic: "No decisions will be made without a full public discussion."

-- Barbara Vickroy

Escondido, Calif.

Questions to ask

Terje Langeland's article, "The best council money can buy," [Cover story, Nov. 13-19] is coverage badly needed in this town.

Our city councils -- forever as far as I know -- have never met a developer they didn't like. I'd love to see Terje dig into other areas that might reveal some ugly truths: How many former city and county planning staffers now work for developers (could that be the reason staff pander to them)? What is the extent of developer/builder influence on the city and county planning commissions?

One is almost afraid to ask these questions for fear of how sad the answers will probably be.

-- Dave Gardner

Colorado Springs

Deep pockets

After reading your article "The best council money can buy" and watching local newscasts, I have the following questions and comments:

Why did Council kill the view ordinance? It would have been no more a "taking" of private property rights than the covenant restrictions in some of the developers' "communities."

As to Council's consideration of selling the City Auditorium, I guess they have decided we don't need a venue for local folk to hold all manner of fairs, rummage sales, club gatherings, exhibitions and the like. No, what we need is to tear down historic buildings to make room for more overpriced lofts, especially since Colorado Springs has an overabundance of affordable housing.

Since the City Auditorium belongs to We the People, I say we make our views heard: No, City Council, you may not sell our auditorium, and yes, we want the grant money offered to repair this historic building.

It seems that Richard Skorman and Margaret Radford are the only Council members who actually care about this city in the long term.

-- Jaques Sears

Colorado Springs

Straight and white

I appreciate Cara DeGette's incisive columns, most of which tell us what's really going on around town.

I really miss Rich Tosches' columns. I used to work on the news desk at the Gazelle [sic] and do subscribe to the paper because I want to be informed about the town I've lived in for 23 years. The paper has never been a good one by common journalistic standards. It's run essentially for profit to the fabulously rich family that owns it.

Not only was Rich funny (God, don't we need a few laughs these days!) but he was almost as investigative as reporter Pam Zubeck, whose droning on about the Air Force Academy can only be meant as self-serving. Rich made waves, which often doesn't work in business.

DeGette's column is must reading for me, as is Red Meat. I'm straight and old (62) and white, but I'm glad the Indy is here for people who are different than I. Please don't think guys like me all are bigoted. I'm really not. Keep up the good work!

-- John E. Anderson

Colorado Springs

Let's make a deal

Thanks for printing the column in your Nov. 20 issue by Robert Reich warning of the oncoming blitz by radical religionists as they try again to elect their adored politicians in 2004 [Your Turn, Nov. 20-26]. Holy smokes -- here they come again.

As Reich points out, the evangelical extremists simply won't let the rest of us alone. They don't want freedom for gays to marry and be treated equally under the law in areas of spousal rights. They don't want freedom for women to end pregnancies. They don't want freedom for researchers to do stem-cell experiments for possible cures for Alzheimer's and other diseases. They don't want freedom for schoolchildren to study without the intrusions of a religious-political Pledge of Allegiance or one particular religion's commandments posted on the walls.

No one cares if they or their children pray all day long, in churches or silently, so long as they don't foist their views on the rest of us and so long as they don't try to use the public schools to proselytize the children of agnostics, atheists, and others who consider their beliefs to be superstitious nonsense.

Those who want their children to pray in school have plenty of "school choice" and always have had it. They can send their children to a religious school. Or they can home school. Let no one say there is no "school choice."

Let's make a deal. If the religionists refrain from going into the public schools to inflict their particular beliefs on agnostic and atheistic children, then atheists won't go into Sunday Schools and coerce the kiddies into chanting, "I pledge allegiance to the flag, and by the way, no supernatural gods of any kind have been proven to exist."

Sounds like a fair deal.

-- Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Founded on dissent

I get sick and tired of the war apologists, Bush defenders, radical out-of-touch conservatives and general idiots who continually bring up the "Love it or leave it" B.S. argument whenever someone has the courage to question this current regime.

Sorry, but if you want to have our leaders blindly followed, then grant citizenship to sheep. Questioning our government, which is our responsibility as citizens, is the only true patriotism.

And for those critics who would tell me to leave the country, I say to you that such a "go along or go away" attitude is rife with the intolerance and hatred that gave rise to authoritarian regimes in the past, and that it is you who fail to understand the greatness of this nation, and you should leave instead since you are not worthy of our nation's heritage of freedom.

This nation was founded upon the idea of dissent. To complain about such dissent and try to censor it is to be as un-American as possible. So rather than complain about the dissent, discuss it. Perhaps you'll learn something new, like what freedom truly is.

-- Mike Seebeck

Fountain

The war is over

In a recent news report from Reuters, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of the ground forces in Iraq stated, "The enemy has evolved. It is a little bit more lethal, a little bit more complex, a little bit more sophisticated and in some cases a little bit more tenacious."

Our soldiers and, in many cases, family and loved ones are over in Iraq fighting for their lives and trying to survive, but not in a war. President Bush said that the war is over and we were victorious. But ...

Soldiers are being told they are going to stay there longer than was originally planned (longer than the required tours in Korea or Vietnam).

Soldiers are being attacked 10 to 20 times a day.

More soldiers have died from attacks after the war than during.

What price do we have to pay to free a country and occupy it when we are not wanted there by the majority in the first place? We, as taxpayers, are paying for each of the soldiers over there. We, as taxpayers, are paying for destroyed equipment. We, as family and friends, are paying with the lives of our loved ones.

So, what is the government going to do about it? There is no fund for soldiers lost in "peacekeeping operations" as there was for the families of the attack on 9/11. Oh, yes, the government is also taking away the separation pay of the soldiers, and taking away the hazardous duty pay. What? I guess dying is less hazardous than just fighting.

How can we allow this to be done to our soldiers and their families?

-- Randall Gooden

Colorado Springs

Wicked, repulsive, sin

Sirach 4:30 --"Giving to the poor can make up for sin." Simply imagine how good you will feel by helping feed millions of starving people around the globe; tens of thousands die each day -- especially children. You could, or may want to, contact (at your earliest convenience) any charities, religious organizations, World Vision and/or Feed the Children.

On the other hand, the fruitcake tossing event held at Christmastime in Manitou Springs is wicked, repulsive and a mortal sin. Minimal qualification to participate in such an event is being selfish, unconcerned, irrational, atrocious and atheistic beasts.

-- Jose Gaytan

Colorado Springs

Correction

In the article "Fun Raiser" in last week's issue we mistakenly referred to the Antlers Doubletree hotel, which in fact is the Antlers Adam's Mark hotel and which donated nearly $5,000 worth of food to the charitable event. We apologize for the error.

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