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For you, my friend

Regarding Councilman Scott Hente's sophistry that there is no conflict of interest since the same Council decision by which he stands to profit as a developer would also cost him as a utility ratepayer ("Turning the tap on," news story, June 10), please allow me to come to his assistance.

In order that he not suffer the burden of ever-increasing utility rates I would be willing to cover Mr. Hente's household utility costs. In exchange I would expect him to provide me with the difference between the $11,000 he currently pays in hookup fees and the $25,000 he should be paying for each lot he develops.

Thus, I will indemnify Mr. Hente against the scourge of ballooning utility bills for as long as he wishes to develop properties in our fair city and also provide him with much needed conflict-of-interest insurance in the process.

This way I will be able to show Councilman Hente the same good time he wishes to provide to all customers of Colorado Springs Utilities. I promise to be gentle.

-- Scott Foreman

Colorado Springs

Out of ideas

I am a big fan of your great newspaper, so please don't think that I' m just another uptight and humorless right-wing type who utterly fails to see the satire and the irony in the efforts of two of your regular columnists.

However, I have been forced after much thought to conclude that Kenneth Cleaver and Rich Tosches both need to shape up or ship out. Their writing of late has not measured up to the Indy's high standards. This is particularly disappointing in the case of Rich Tosches, who recently rode in on a wave of high expectations.

What's going on? Both of these guys seem to have run out of ideas. You know, there's really only one reason to publish Consumer Correspondent and As The Village Turns in the Independent -- to expose serious problems in society through sarcasm, satire and irony. But that's not happening anymore.

Ken, your letter last week to another one of your random targets is a prime example. It was just plain silly and petulant. It wasn't even funny, an absolute essential for satire. It lacked the bite and the hard-hitting critique of whatever vaguely stated social problem you were trying to expose by lampooning. Time for a change.

And Rich, your piece on the miller moths? Well, so far this year I have seen just one miller moth -- dead --fortunately. But that's not the point. Rich, the point is that your column, in spite of the original humor and great graphics, just doesn't grab our attention the way your efforts did when you were writing for that little paper across town.

Better for you, Rich, and for me and everybody else sick of the saccharine-sweet sentimentality of the Reagan funeral to have gone ahead and written the piece you really wanted to write. We could have used a little Tosches acerbic satire to cut the chokingly cloying adulation of Reagan crammed down our throats all week by the media. That space is for really irreverent lampooning, Rich. Forget the attempts at adolescent humor.

-- Joe Fence

Colorado Springs

New idea

My, oh my ... isn't Rich Tosches clever!! Perhaps when he dies, an unimportant journalist somewhere can begin to write about him (before he's even buried), but change his mind and write about the dung beetle instead.

-- Beverly Luedecke

Colorado Springs

Stay out of the way

As a "motorist" I would like to offer a few suggestions to bicycle riders in response to the June 10 letter "Forced off the road."

It is unfortunate that road rage is alive and well in the Springs. That said, lets face it bicycle riders: Cars have more sheet metal and outweigh you by at least 2,000 lbs. My first suggestion would be stay out of a car's way.

There are bicycle paths all over the city; perhaps you could use them? As a side note, perhaps when you are using the bicycle/pedestrian paths around our fair city, you could show some courtesy by not pretending it is a race and running us poor pedestrians over and cutting corners, etc.

My second suggestion would be to follow the rules of the road. Instead of cutting to the front of the line at a red light, how about just stopping behind the cars in front of you? Instead of passing on the left, or jumping on the sidewalk and then getting back in traffic when it suits you, or performing illegal U-turns, or using the crosswalks as your own personal freeway, perhaps all of us "selfish motorists" would not have a bad attitude toward all the bicycle riders that act like they own the road (and the sidewalks and paths).

As a motorist, I would appreciate some cooperation from the bicycle-riding population in following the rules of the road.

-- Jeff Hall

Colorado Springs

Repeating lies

It's almost 5:30 p.m., June 10, just before the local news on KKTV. Betty Sexton announces the teaser, a lead story about a war memorial put up at Ft. Carson. The comment goes something like, "Honoring our soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in The War on Terror."

The news begins, we get the story, and once again she refers to the Iraq war as a "War on Terror." Interesting. This is one of the lies that justified us going to war, a lie that a majority of the American public still believes. A lie that the Bush administration continues to spew despite the fact that its own officials have acknowledged that there was absolutely no connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein or indeed any terrorist organization.

There was a time when news organizations could be expected to exercise a little objectivity, to not mindlessly repeat the pernicious inveracities of dishonest politicians. Apparently, KKTV has little interest in reporting the truth and would rather repeat lies.

The noble thing, the truly journalistic thing would be for KKTV to report what it honestly knows: "Look folks, we're aware that most of you believe Iraq had something to do with terrorism but it just ain't so -- we were all lied to. We're not the smartest news station but we have some integrity and we're here to tell you that Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism, well, that is, at least not until we "liberated" that country. So we're sorry for repeating the lie and we hope you'll quit believing it."

Somehow, I seriously doubt KKTV has any interest in truth.

--Jim McQuiggin

Manitou Springs

Invisible woman

My friends have always told me they thought of me as a woman of many accomplishments, but I don't believe they ever considered invisibility to be one of them. However, when I read John Dicker's article of June 10, "Into the blender," I couldn't help but notice that not only my job but my entire department had disappeared.

This is incredibly bad news for El Paso County, since the treasurer's office is responsible for collecting all revenues for the county and disbursing those revenues to over 90 taxing authorities, including all school districts and municipalities within the county.

I'm also slightly concerned that, since I'm not on the Independent's list of elected officials who work with the Board of County Commissioners, they'll forget about me at budget time. On the other hand, since I attend most of the commissioner's meetings and they seem to notice me, maybe it'll be OK.

A listing of all El Paso County elected officials and their duties can be found at www.elpasoco.com.

-- Sandra J. Damron

El Paso County Treasurer

Editor's note: Last week's cover piece not only omitted mention of the county treasurer's office, but contained several errors. Specifically, Dennis Hisey, who is running for the board of county commissioners this year, ran against outgoing 15-year Commissioner Jeri Howells in 1992 and 1996, but not 2000. In addition, the official vote to require majority board of county commission approval before an individual commissioner can ask staff to perform research costing more than $100 was 3-2, not 4-1 as reported. The Independent regrets the errors.

All that hooting

What is all the hoopla about Ronnie Reagan? He tripled the national debt in eight years, armed Iraq with intelligence and weapons, financed and trained the mujahedin (now al Qaeda), and, along with Negroponte (now ambassador to Iraq), oversaw a wholesale slaughter in Nicaragua.

What is there to hoot about? The fall of the Soviet Union? Hardly. I had more to do with it than he did. That system was patently unsustainable and would have crashed sooner or later of its own weight.

No, the spin masters have latched onto Saint Ronnie and intend to align Bush with that memory and ride his corpse into the White House. To get any lower, these jokers would have to have Bush resurrect Cowboy Ronnie on the Fourth of July for pay per view. But, alas, it's early and time will tell.

-- Brent Koleno

Colorado Springs

Punishment from God

With increasing gastric discomfort, I hear the conservatives outdoing themselves to render the most complimentary eulogies to Ronald Reagan.

In the ensuing months we will hear even more lavish eulogies from Reagan's friends. There will be similar, albeit hypocritical ones, from his enemies. This, I suppose, because political correctness is necessary to prosper in today's America.

I, on the other hand, could not fathom the Reagan presidency nor can I condone it.

Since I had nothing but disrespect for Reagan and his brand of conservatism, which heralded the onset of the dark era of social conservatism America is now enduring, I am unable now to put a good face on his presidency or the lasting damage created by it. Nor can I assign any of the supposed great human efforts by Reagan to anything but the advancement of the rich and powerful and the denigration of the poor and minority communities.

Reagan did egregious damage to the economy of America, stole the hard-earned entitlements from the poor and disenfranchised and placed the health of the entire nation in jeopardy with reductions in AIDS funding and other cuts in human services. All these savings he passed on to the rich who virtually tripled their holdings in the eight years he was president while the poor and minority communities sank into a bleak and lasting poverty, the effects of which we see so plainly today.

It was Ronald Reagan and his henchmen who coined the idea that AIDS was punishment from God against the licentious behavior of gays.

I can only say that if that is truly the case, Reagan's affliction was also a punishment from God for the hate and animas against Americans disenfranchised by the white, Christian, heterosexual supremacist majority he enabled.

Although we are all diminished by any death, the only condolences I can manage to muster are given to Reagan's family. I have none for those who aided and abetted Reagan's attack on the real American values of tolerance, acceptance and equality.

-- Richard Baker

Colorado Springs

At the alter

An open letter to Catholic politicians and pro-choice Catholics:

Remember in whose memory the bread was broken and the wine offered. The Eucharist is not the property of the Roman Catholic hierarchy that can be withheld from those who displease them.

No pope, bishop or priest -- the wait staff -- has the right to deny someone a seat at the table. Jesus is the heavenly host. It's his banquet and he welcomes all, knowing that all are sinners -- clergy and laity alike.

My personal advice to bishops who think they can coerce by guilt: "Shut up and pass the body and blood ... Please."

My personal advice to those who allow themselves to be coerced by guilt: "Get off it already ... And perhaps those who are refused service should leave a tip."

-- John Pansini

Colorado Springs

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