Key word: "adoptable"
The letters you chose in response to your June 17 article on the humane societies only add negatively to the impact on the volunteers, support and donations both groups need so badly.
I encourage anyone with doubts about the high quality of the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region to volunteer for a year, as I have done, to see for themselves how efficient, professional and caring this facility really is.
Every effort is made to find homes for those that are adoptable. Dogs with behavioral problems are put into a "TLC" program for special obedience training to increase their chances, while outreach programs encourage adoption. As trained dog walkers, we evaluate each animal as to undetected injuries, training, temperament, etc., and that information is logged into a computer to alert staff to problems and help a potential "parent" better judge each animal.
Dogs are well fed, bathed and groomed, and given personal, loving attention by both staff and us volunteers. Dogs are kept for "as long as it takes" to adopt them as long as room prevails. I have seen so many "borderline" animals given a second chance by a caring staff ... a deaf, and wobbly old schnauzer, a very elderly lab with diabetes, a puppy with three legs, etc. It may take weeks of care and effort, but each has found a home.
My experience has been that compassion rules at the Pikes Peak facility, and I am proud to be a part of it.
-- Donna Arnink
Witty and interesting
Just a quick of thanks to everyone at the Independent for your consistent support and coverage of the local scene!
Thanks for your witty, interest-creating description for the Siggrapph Digital Salon at the BAC in last week's Ten Days to Live section.
Keep up the good work!
-- David Ball
Business of Art Center
Enriching the overlords
Instead of "Council kills developer fee hikes" (News Briefs, June 24), the headline should have read: "Council sustains massive fees on utility customers to ensure inflated profits for local developers."
Awhile back, the Independent reported that developers gave approximately $120,000 in campaign contributions to elect our new City Council, which also serves as our Colorado Springs Utilities Board. Next, we discovered that we are overcharged an average of $800/year on our utility bills to subsidize growth. These subsidies translate into approximately $1.2 billion in profits for developers.
More simply put, for each penny developers spent on City Council campaigns, City Council gave developers $10 in public subsidies.
Albeit shameless, buying politicians for pennies on the dollar is old news; but never has our City Hall ever given away so much of our money for so little. Adding insult to injury, Councilman Larry Small called CSU customers "selfish" for not wanting to empty their wallets to enrich his overlords.
In free markets, venture capital assumes risks and costs to reap profits. But in this case, the public is assuming the risks and costs while the profits are privatized.
They are serious
In reading the "Starr appeal" (News, June 24 issue), two names stirred up unwanted memories, each for different reasons.
First is Ken Starr, a low-keyed lawyer/zealot, who used tactics unbecoming his profession and religion to bring down a president and would have except for a steadfast U.S. Senate. What he did and how he did it is unforgettable and unforgivable.
Then there is Dan Njegomir, a former letter editor of our morning newspaper and a nemesis of mine, who took a letter page that was challenging, interesting and fair and made it unfair, uninteresting and vapid. Our city deserves better and luckily, it gets it on this page.
Couple of things you need to know about Dan. He told me (not in confidence), that libraries should be private (not funded by taxpayers). Even more unbelievable, he told me he would not have voted for the GI Bill! Must be nice to be a Libertarian and have it all and not pay for it.
Just knowing that these two guys support vouchers make me feel good that I don't, but in hiring marquee names like Starr, it shows how serious voucher advocates are. Hopefully, the judicial system and the Constitution will continue to prevail against the Republican-affected Legislature; it would be nice to defeat Ken Starr again.
-- Phil Kenny
Signs of panic
Local businessman Steve Schuck is showing signs of panic now as his efforts to manipulate the system to bring about a voucher adjunct to public education are failing.
The man perseveres -- his overt and somewhat shameful attempt to harness the backing of our governor along with the largess of his deep-pocket cronies in order to stack District 11's Board of Education with pro-voucher advocates paid off, but only temporarily -- we're seeing a softening of resolve among the "fearsome foursome" although one named Eric Christen threatens continued "guerrilla warfare" in the days ahead.
Schuck is concerned about the high dropout rate and less-than-acceptable levels of proficiency reflected in the test scores of minority students. So am I. Most of our so-called "failing" public schools are located in demographically challenged neighborhoods. In a nation where 63 percent of minority births are illegitimate, we have tremendous problems in securing the partnership that must be forged between school and parent.
Vouchers will not cure the negative dynamics that plague society and it's all too pat to lay those ills on the steps of public education and on the charters of teachers unions.
Schuck is losing his battle within the judicial system, which, to date, looks upon the voucher alternative as unconstitutional in Colorado, and he is losing his battle in the state Legislature where House District 17 Rep. Mark Cloer can only be lauded for showing his Republican contemporaries "true grit" in honoring his oath of office by saying no to a power grab that would exploit the plight of disadvantaged children in order to line the pockets of private school entrepreneurs by diverting public funds to their questionable and unstructured oversight. This robs Peter to pay Paul.
Perhaps we'll soon finish the long and arduous voucher debate when and if Colorado's top court holds that Denver District Judge Joseph Meyer's ruling striking down a pilot voucher program last December was sound and meritorious. Should that happen, Gov. Bill Owens (perhaps unwittingly) stands in violation of his oath of office and Rep. Cloer stands vindicated.
-- Harlan E. Nimrod
Editor's note: Mr. Nimrod served on the Teller County RE-2 Board of Education from 1963 to 1981. This week the Colorado Supreme Court upheld Meyers' ruling, striking down Colorado's 2003 voucher proposal as unconstitutional.
By the numbers
I was quite disturbed by John Hazlehurst's June 17 column titled "People, people everywhere."
I had no idea that Latino immigration was to blame for Colorado Springs' alarming increase in population over the last 50 years. Those pesky immigrants. What other ills can we pin on them? How about the Springs' water shortage? I've heard that those greedy undocumenteds working in the hot sun drink way more than their fair share of water.
Maybe they're also the reason for the high price of gas. Those old, non-fuel-efficient cars they drive must be creating the problem.
John, how about doing some research and looking into the real reason for the Springs' population boom? If you look at census data, you'll see that over 200,000 people have moved here in the last 20 years from other counties, and over 85 percent of those people came from other states.
When I look at my own work group, over 60 percent of us (10 out of 16) moved here from other states in the past 10 years. I'm the only Latino "immigrant" in the bunch. But, I'm not the kind you're referring to, since my Spanish ancestors have been in this region 150 years longer than the United States has been a country.
So next time you want to use Latino immigration as a scapegoat, why don't you do some research, first determine a correlation, and then, at least try to prove causation.
-- Jo Anne Gonzalez
Show 'em the money
Show 'em the money
Before we get angry about the wave of immigration from Mexico and Latin America, we should consider that there is a reason for this.
First of all, many American companies move to such countries because they can get away with paying the workers a lot less than they would pay us. They see that when they come to the United States they can get more money.
Some enter illegally, and others obtain the proper visas. Now an issue will be on the November ballot to refuse healthcare to them when they are determined to be illegal aliens. There is no doubt in my mind the greedy employers in Colorado Springs and the rest of America are encouraging this in the first place.
These employers are quick to hire them because they may be too afraid to file for workers comp, attempt to form a union or complain to the Department of Labor when the employer is doing something wrong because they might be deported.
I also ask if they are refused healthcare, what will happen if they are sick and afraid to see a doctor?
The way I see it, illegal aliens may be subject to cruel and unusual punishment if they are refused healthcare; that could also have a negative effect on the rest of us.
The only way to stop illegal immigration is to target companies that outsource and pay less in the other countries and the companies in the United States that continue to encourage it. Think about what would happen if American companies were to be stopped from exploiting foreign workers in other countries and right here in America.
-- Ed Billings
Fahrenheit 9/11, regardless of which side the political fence you inhabit, should be a wake-up call to all Americans who have been spoon-fed the government's official story now for almost three years.
It is a devastating comment on how our largest media enterprises, which feed the heads of fully 70 percent of Americans daily, failed to provide us with anything other than hyped up Islamic hyperbole and shallow if not nonexistent investigative reporting. Whether you love Bush or loathe the man, no president should be allowed to hide so much for so long. And with the help of the mainstream media, who have much business with the FCC to consider, it's a slam-dunk.
We weren't attacked by al Qaeda, we were attacked seemingly by Saudi Arabia. As one who has followed the plethora of researchers on the Internet, there is now a preponderance of evidence that the entire 9/11 event was a setup. Allowed to happen. What's unsettling is that horrific events to galvanize public support have happened before in history. An endless war on terrorism? Who benefits from that? Ohhhhhhhh ...... I get it now.
-- Jim Berry
Michael Moore's movie Fahrenheit 9/11 exposes George W. Bush's dark evil secrets. No wonder the Republican censorship machine attempted to keep this movie out of theaters and is now trying to get its ads pulled off of television.
On the same day it was released, Karl Rove unleashed his well-orchestrated campaign in order to discredit Mr. Moore and his movie via his well-established line of communication to his friends in conservative media outlets. The blowhards and babbleheads on the 24/7 news channels tried to smear Mr. Moore's movie based upon what they perceive to be his biases, half-truths and outright lies. They did this by -- you guessed it -- using their biases, half-truths and outright lies.
The unsanitized footage in the film of the true sights and sounds of the war in Iraq depicting the horrific suffering on the part of U.S troops, Iraqis and all impacted families, while unpleasant, is necessary for the moviegoer to witness in order to make their own judgments as to the validity of George W. Bush's grand vision.
I encourage everyone to go see Fahrenheit 9/11. We all need to be made aware of the painful financial and human costs associated with the consequences of Bush's actions in Iraq.
-- Gary Dean
Editor's note: A review of the film appears on page 28.