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Wake up, voters

Regarding "There goes the neighborhood" [Outsider, Nov. 27-Dec. 3], I must tell you what a take you have on the right-wing nutballs who have repeatedly bullied their way into the public education system in our little town. As a native educated in District 11, property owner and a child of a longtime public educator, I totally support your point of view here. Colorado Springs has lost so much more than it has gained in recent years; getting this issue on the ballot is essential! Wake up voters! It seems to be a question of balance! Thanks, John Hazlehurst, for using your fine mind to speak out for fairness!

-- Jean R. Sowell

Hillsboro, Ore.

Road improvements

Re: all the talk about getting rid of the City Auditorium.

I grew up in the Springs in the late '40s and early '50s, attending school. I took my basic at Fort Carson, and then returned from the Army and called it my home until 1968. We were fortunate to have an affordable place to attend events. I return three times a year and enjoy the area. In your future planning, please find a faster way to get through your city and to the mountains to an area that holds its history as a valuable asset that I can enjoy.

-- Troy Thomas

Barnett, Mo.

Let them eat fruitcake

Jose Gayton's letter last week made me think: Is fruitcake tossing a mortal sin? Perhaps. But is it the real culprit in world hunger? There may be something else going on, however subtle.

Actually, there seems to be enough staple food to go around. But there are distribution problems and the fact that some people hog more than their share. Greed is "more (much more) than you need." And whether it is for food, oil, land, power or markets, I propose that greed is a better candidate for "mortal sin" status. By the way, as a person who was baptized Catholic but has missed Sunday Mass for the last 1,437 consecutive Sundays, I am an expert on mortal sin.

One problem with greed is that if you add a dash of fear (religious or ethnic intolerance, us-and-them, etc.) you may find yourself with a war on your hands. In a war zone, it's pretty much just as dangerous to be a relief worker as it is to be a combat soldier. If getting food into the mouths of hungry children is difficult to begin with, war dramatically increases the severity. And ... sending my old fruitcake still doesn't give them any clean drinking water to wash it down with.

So, what would the world look like if we could defuse this pandemic fear, which has far exceeded its adaptive, informational usefulness? All I'm suggesting (at the risk of oversimplifying) is that if I truly wish to end world hunger, a good place to start is getting over my fear of fruitcake tossing.

P.S. Give free food just by clicking at www.thehungersite.com

-- Tom Gregor

Colorado Springs

Love thy brother

This year I'm giving thanks I'm not a Christian.

Two days before Thanksgiving our City Council backed off of a plan to offer health insurance to "domestic partners." Apparently, the concepts of giving thanks for our health and sharing are no longer politically correct in our ber-Christian village. Never mind that under the plan 100 percent of the premium costs would have been paid by those covered, not by the taxpayers. Apparently health for others is just not acceptable to the thousands of "Christians" who demanded the plan be killed. Is it any wonder so many today revile the name of "Christ"?

-- Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

Second-class citizens

I am disgusted with certain City Council members on the recent vote on healthcare benefits for city employees. Just when there was hope that we could move this city out of the social dark ages, the social conservatives and religious right have once again injected their agenda of relegating the Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgendered community to second-class citizenship and maintaining heterosexual privilege in our society.

-- N. D. Plume

Colorado Springs

The better solution

Regarding "This cattleman's got a beef" (cover story, Nov. 20-26): Thanks for the great article.

As a consumer, I appreciate that you not only presented a factual story, but you provided references and a list of local restaurants that serve the better beef solution.

Next challenge: chicken!

-- Jeff Riggen

Colorado Springs

Sippin' and shootin'

Attention, smokers.

I am a shooter. I like to shoot. There is nothing more important to me than my right to shoot my guns.

Shooting while I drink is very relaxing for me. While I'm drinking and socializing with friends at the bar, I like to take out one of my guns and shoot things. I enjoy just sitting and shooting my guns in a restaurant after a good meal. I enjoy shooting my guns while I'm shopping. I enjoy shooting my guns in busses, trains and planes.

If I want to play a little Russian roulette, that's my business. If I'm only critically injured and can't afford extended care, society has the responsibility to provide me with proper healthcare and must take care of me.

If some other men or women and children get seriously injured or killed by my shooting, so what? I have a right to shoot anytime and anywhere I want.

And, if I die, my wife and family can sue the gun and bullet manufacturers, the business owners, the city, the state and the federal government, because it's all their fault.

Surely, you don't think that I am personally responsible for my actions, that I should be held accountable.

I bear no more personal responsibility and am no more accountable than any smoker whose smoking may be personally fatal and whose exhaled secondhand smoke seriously injures or causes the death of innocent men, women and children.

Get it? It's an analogy, dummkopfs.

I hope and pray that all of you city council members and state and federal legislators understand.

-- R. Tullos "Dan" Hanchey

Ridgeland, Miss.

Growing pains

Colorado Springs has begun a study of rapid transit expansion options, as we must. A price tag of $800 million over a 25-year period has been mentioned, though I suspect if rampant growth continues, we'll end up spending even more.

I'm not against spending for transit, but I do want to point out that transit subsidies are one of the hidden costs of growth. If $800 million sounds like a lot of money, consider this: The Denver metro area is likely to vote next year to spend $4.8 billion over a 12-year period on transit. The transit component of area sales tax will be nearly doubled. A 3-cent-per-gallon fuel tax is also on the table to support the Denver traffic mess. A transit tax supporting a regional transit authority is likely to be on our ballots here in the Springs next year as well.

We can hardly afford to ignore the need, but just remember $800 million every time someone tries to tell you growth is necessary for our economic vitality. And think $4.8 billion if you want to imagine the Colorado Springs of the future envisioned by our developers.

The developers profit; we citizens continue to pay. Our water bills are scheduled to double in order to pay for future growth. We're considering building another coal-fired power plant, needed only to support future growth.

Developers will ask us to pay for infrastructure improvements to support a downtown baseball stadium, should we be foolish enough to let that one slide home. They'll ask us to bankroll much of the cost of a convention center (they already conned us into paying $50,000 for a viability study). They may even ask us to forego tax income in return for doing us the favor of removing "urban blight" by denying us the use of our historic City Auditorium, converting it to downtown lofts.

These are just a few of the costs of growth we all pay. I oppose rampant growth simply because it is destroying the very qualities that brought us to -- or kept us in -- Colorado Springs.

For more information on the costs of growth, visit www.savethesprings.org.

-- Dave Gardner

Colorado Springs

Tarnished image

It's clear to me that the more our country is admired internationally, the better it is for our fight against terrorism. That's why we should increase funding for programs addressing poverty, disease and hunger abroad. This is also why we should protect our civil liberties at home. Our freedoms are admired all over the world. If we restrict them, as we did when we passed the PATRIOT Act, we are not only hurting ourselves but also tarnishing our image abroad as the leader in the fight for freedom. That's why I favor the repeal of the PATRIOT Act and oppose any more laws that whittle away at our basic civil liberties.

-- Miriam Schuster

Colorado Springs

Listen to the people

Over 190 cities and counties across the country passed resolutions expressing concern about the original PATRIOT Act. And in Congress, there's bipartisan support for repealing portions of the PATRIOT Act.

Instead of fighting these efforts in Congress or proposing further restrictions on our basic civil liberties, the Bush administration should listen to the people -- and its Republican allies in Congress -- and join the reasonable and growing movement to restore freedoms that were too hastily thrown away after the horrific 9/11 attacks.

-- Terri Takahashi

Denver

1 in 133 people

On behalf of over 9,000 members of the Celiac Sprue Association, especially those living in the Colorado Springs area, thank you for publishing the article "We don't need no stinking gluten" in the Colorado Springs Independent (Appetite, Aug. 14-20).

It is always exciting when people take the initiative to use their skills and knowledge to support those who have celiac disease. It is even more exciting when the media makes note of that fact and presents it in such a positive manner.

Although once thought to be rare, celiac disease has been shown to be as prevalent as 1 in 133 people. However, since the disease causes nutrient malabsorption, the symptoms mimic those of other nutrient-deficient conditions such as anemia, lactose intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and the like.

The Celiac Sprue Association works to educate both the medical community and society at large, in an effort to shorten the length of time between the onset of symptoms and the correct diagnosis being given. The publication of articles such as this goes a long way toward supporting that goal.

-- Mary Schluckebier

executive director

Celiac Sprue Association

Correction

Last week's issue, Fallen Soldiers, contained some errors. First, the Rev. Al Sharpton presided over the memorial service of Spc. Darius Jennings in his hometown of Cope, S.C., not at Fort Carson.

In addition, a photograph of 1st Sgt. (retired) Ernie Mazurkiewicz misidentified him as a sergeant.

Finally, the cover piece referenced 31 soldiers from Fort Carson who had died as of press time in Iraq since the war ended. To clarify, that number included soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, as well as those from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team and the 43rd Area Support Group. All of the organizations should have been listed.

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