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Vital to the nation

Last week, Irene Kornelly, president of the El Paso County Democratic Women's Club, urged readers to come out to the National Federation of Democratic Women's annual convention. I was inspired to attend so I could "discuss issues vital to the nation" because I agree that "issues should receive a healthy debate" and that people should be presented with "two perspectives on an issue."

My inspiration was deflated when Irene listed the issues the event would explore. Her six points all began with the word "Bush" and continued to highlight the failures, inadequacies and shortcomings of his policies.

The Bush administration has done, and will continue to do, a fabulous job of demonstrating its ineptitude. The conference, and the next five months leading to the election, ought to be a time for us to discuss our ideas and how we are going to improve things should the White House change hands. The Bush campaign is putting more effort into bashing Kerry than it is to lauding its own successes because they don't have a record to stand on.

Let's allow Bush to be his own demise and put our efforts toward discussing our ideas for better policies and presenting them to voters.

-- Robert Rhatigan

Colorado Springs

Forced off the road

In response to the June 3 letter "No excuse, ever."

Thank you, Tim Watkins, for writing. I, too, am a bicyclist. I am sorry for your friend. I am concerned.

I have been crowded, forced off the road, cussed at, hit and cut off by selfish motorists to the point where I think something needs to be done about these cars. They want the whole road. They won't share a ride. They pollute our air. They drive with their phones. They endanger other cars as well as bikes and pedestrians.

I live on my bike. I have a right to transport myself, my supplies, etc. However, because of cars, my bike was in the shop five months and I can no longer eat corn on the cob. I was lucky.

My point is this: Why do we (bicyclists) have to be harassed and punished for bicycling? I can understand the police ticketing us if we break laws, but otherwise we are just like anybody else. Only we don't pollute the air. Motorists have to share the road with us; it's the law. We just need to continue fighting for our rights.

I do not like someone going to the hospital for doing nothing wrong! I think motorists who do these things to us should lose their driving privilege and/or go to jail long enough to think about the rights of others and the (possible) results of their selfishness.

-- Doug Harvey

Colorado Springs

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White space

Isn't it time to tell Kenneth Cleaver to grow up and stop bothering working people with his adolescent prank letters?

Maybe one or two were funny in the beginning, but they're at the point now where I feel sorry for people who have to take the time to respond. I can't help but think that you must have a better use for that space.

I'd suggest expanding any of the columns from Hazlehurst or Tosches. Actually a blank page would be a better use of paper.

-- Gerald Shifrin

Colorado Springs

Fresh breeze

Thank you for acknowledging the Chinook Bookshop's historic journey with front-page treatment ["Promise of Spring Fulfilled," May 13-19]. Kathryn Eastburn's feature article on the subject is excellent. Colorado Springs and the rest of the world are poorer without the venerable Chinook Bookshop.

I was privileged to work at the Chinook for three years; I've never had a better job before or since. In the ensuing years, since moving to Denver in 2000, I've continued to instinctively "hand sell" Chinook to anyone who would listen. My stellar wife can affirm that I've spoken long and lovingly about the Chinook practically every day since we left Colorado Springs.

When I lined up for my first-year law school photograph in autumn 2000, I was proudly adorned in a navy blue "Readin' Rots the Mind" Chinook T-shirt. Now, as then, I consider my time with the shop's incredible collection of Chinookers and customers a badge of honor, a major component of my personal heritage.

Although Chinook's hallowed grounds are now dreadfully quiet, the legacy of Dick and Judy Noyes' dream is permanent in the hearts of all who were blessed to be a part of bookselling's best traditions.

Thanks again to the Independent for a marvelously vibrant tribute to the great promise of spring that graced the western edge of Acacia Park for nearly half a century.

-- Hascy Tarbox

Denver

Humble advice

Dear Ayatollah Michael Sheridan:

Might I respectfully approach your mighty throne and suggest two things: (1) that you stop issuing weekly fatwahs to your faithful followers; and (2) that you follow the example of the ayatollahs in Iraq by inviting retired Bishop Richard Hanifan to head an Interim Governing Council to retrieve the diocese from the intolerant theocracy you have created and transition it back into a modern church where parishioners have freedom of thought, the right to vote their conscience, the benefits of separation of church and state, equality of man and woman, and other freedoms commonly associated with Western democracies.

Just a humble suggestion,

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-- Greg Walta

Colorado Springs

Church revival

Last week, I went to a City Planning meeting and a church revival broke out.

The meeting was conducted by Larry Larsen and was to allow public input on the proposed expansion of a medical clinic, in a C-5 zoned area of the west side of town.

The area to be discussed has many businesses real estate offices, medical offices and a lot of retail stores, including a large convenience store/gas station one block away.

This was not advertised as a meeting to discuss the mission of Planned Parenthood. Although Mr. Larsen opened the meeting by stating that the discussion should be restricted to land use issues and should not include personal feelings about the nature of the clinic, the majority of the people who went to the microphone spoke about their religious beliefs, and they were allowed to do so by Mr. Larsen.

Even a prospective county commissioner felt compelled to add her "sanctity of life" comment to her lengthy prepared statement. Especially disturbing was a young man who brought his adopted baby to the podium and allowed the 2-year-old to drool and talk baby talk into the microphone. One woman stood and said that Planned Parenthood doesn't need to expand, as they have the full use of "every classroom in every school" in the city to teach kids to "do bad things." An elder from a nearby church compared the health clinic to a "strip club or a biker bar." Representatives from four different churches spoke about their personal, religiously based beliefs, rather than land use.

Several people, including an extremely melodramatic, weeping young woman, invoked hell and judgment on others.

A civic matter should not be discussed or decided on the basis of religious belief but should be discussed and decided using only mutually agreed-upon public values, which in this case would be city ordinances and the common good of the neighborhood. The threat of hell should not be discussed at a community meeting.

I don't know where a person has to go to hear a full discussion of land use issues without unwelcome Bible lessons preached, but it apparently isn't a Colorado Springs City Planning meeting.

-- Marsha Abelman

Colorado Springs

Indy goes mainstream

Welcome to the "creamy main streamy" Colorado Springs Independent. I was shocked when I opened my paper last Thursday to find a full-page ad promoting the city's war celebration on June 6. In the details of the event on the backside of the ad, the paper even repeats the latest Bush propaganda line about the war by calling it part of the "Global War on Terrorism." Whoopee, even a tank on Main Street!!

What a far cry this is from the gutsy reflection on the causes of 9-11 published shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center. One would hope the Indy would return to its senses, remembering the title of a book written by regular columnist, Jim Hightower, about what one finds in the middle of the road. The old Indy might even have printed a counterpoint op-ed piece on the subject.

-- Bill Sulzman

Colorado Springs

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War on errorism

I would like to thank the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission for coordinating with law enforcement and the Air Force Academy to secure a location for a peaceful demonstration against President Bush during his visit to the AFA graduation on June 2.

Those opposed to Bush's appalling policies were required to gather at the AFA South Entrance while supporters were allowed to gather at the North Entrance, where Bush's motorcade passed by. Nothing like insulating the president from his critics.

An AFA graduation symbolizes an incredible achievement for cadets and is a special occasion for their families. Certainly all Americans can be proud of these outstanding men and women. Even those opposed to Bush administration policies wouldn't want to spoil this special day.

However, it is possible for citizens, even those in El Paso County, to be supportive of our military and vehemently opposed to unjustified and counterproductive policies that place these brave, committed individuals into unnecessary and unwise situations.

By not speaking up, we are condoning the policies and actions of the chicken hawks and war profiteers who currently run this country. Despite the Bush attack machine, we must continue to fight the war on "errorism."

-- Gary Dean

Colorado Springs

Media stereotypes

I went to the Air Force commencement last week, where Bush was to speak. I joined the demonstration. It got boring. So, I decided to see who the media were interviewing. As any reporter can tell you, who you choose is a good indication of your biases. So, without further ado ...

KKTV chose this clown ...

The Denver Post talked to a decorated WWII vet ...

A Rocky Mountain News photographer focused on this Gen XYZ slacker ...

And while I didn't meet a reporter from the Boulder Daily Camera, I think I know who they'd have flocked to ...

-- Gavin Ehringer

Colorado Springs

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