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Rather underwhelming

As both a member and former chair of the TOPS Working Committee and someone who has worked hard for a number of years for the preservation of the Red Rock Canyon Open Space, I was dismayed by some of the misstatements and innuendo in John Hazlehurst's "Outsider" column last week.

My dismay is doubled because I consider Mr. Hazlehurst to be one of the heroes of the struggle to preserve Red Rock Canyon.

This said, I believe Mr. Hazlehurst is off the mark in his current crusade to save the John S. Bock residence on the property and in making unfounded allegation of collusion between the city's Parks and Recreation staff and the "so-called" (Hazlehurst's words) TOPS Working Committee to achieve its demolition.

The committee did indeed pass a resolution in its last meeting in support of dismantling the Bock residence. This came out of a committee discussion following a staff update on developments at Red Rock Canyon, but was in no way prompted (secretly or otherwise) by the staff. In fact, I think we surprised them as well as ourselves by our action and unanimity on the subject. As Mr. Hazlehurst notes, the resolution is not binding, but it is an accurate indication of our thinking.

Far from being a "late-modernist architectural masterpiece" or our own Mesa Verde, the house is really a rather underwhelming, not particularly historical mid-60s structure in bad repair -- a view endorsed by a number of local architects.

The house was built by John S. Bock, who, being no dummy, placed it on one of the most spectacular sites on the Red Rock property. Should it be preserved, this fact would inevitably lead to conflicts between open space visitors and whoever occupies the house -- whether it is a caretaker or a friendly nonprofit.

So, while I credit Mr. Hazlehurst's zeal and understand that reasonable people can disagree on issues, I part company with him in this case. Back to the City Auditorium, John.

-- Kent Obee

Member, TOPS Working Committee

Colorado Springs

Standing their ground

A heartfelt thank-you to District 11 School Board Members Karen Teja, Sandy Shakes and Dave Linebaugh. These three courageous members of the District 11 School Board stood their ground and voted on Jan. 12 to keep Planed Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains as a teaching resource for health related curriculum in District 11 schools.

These three members made the difficult choice to stand up for what is best for the children of District 11 rather than give in to onslaught from the far right faction of the board, including Eric Christen, Craig Cox and Willie Breazell.

Directors Teja, Shakes and Linebaugh should be commended for putting the students' needs before personal ideology. Clearly they have recognized the importance of arming our children with all the facts and information available rather than a one-sided view of the world.

-- Jack Hunter

Colorado Springs

Point and shoot

I thought it was real amusing that after the City Council let guns into almost all aspects of community, that when Don Ortega started bringing in his shotgun, the council was uncomfortable and banned bringing guns into just their meetings.

Meanwhile, you can take any gun into a park where children are playing. Funny how our city council members, led by Mayor Lionel Rivera, care more about their own butts then the children's. Since Don is the only guy I trust carrying a gun around, I ask a favor. Can you start carrying your shotgun in parks, near where children play? Maybe show them how to point and shoot? This will show that when you do this, and our city council refuses to move on it, that Lionel Rivera and his buddies only care about their own butts, and they don't give a damn about the children.

Then maybe people will vote down their supposedly necessary pay raises (triple their salary). Nobody is on the council to make money, and everyone on the council already does other jobs. Increasing their pay won't bring in anyone new. If only more moderates would run ...

But the Focus on the Family would shoot them down over the puppets they have. Thanks Don! And yes, I am being serious, but anyone with a shotgun will do.

-- Geoff Kramer

Colorado Springs

Jai and the Hooter Girls

It's comments like that of Lauren Hill in last Friday's opinion section of the Gazette that fuel notions of hate and intolerance in this city.

First Hill's letter asked why she would have to explain "what or who" Jai Rodriguez, star of the popular TV show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy -- who recently appeared in a home show in Colorado Springs -- is to her children. How about "a personality from a popular and respected style show?"

Hill doesn't want to "expose" her children to the gay "lifestyle." Did Rodriguez "expose" that private part of his life during the home show? I doubt it. Of course the double standard of heterosexual behavior being "exposed" during a home or auto show has not occurred to her. How many times, at shows like this, are the celebrity guests Hooter Girls or scantily clad professional cheerleaders, and what do they have to do with home improvement? They are much more detrimental to my young daughter than a gentleman associated with self-improvement.

Furthermore, children are not born to make negative judgments of people; they learn that behavior. My husband and I chose to tell our daughter about gay and lesbian relationships at a very young age. We have many friends who are gay and wanted her to understand that they are a family just like ours, but just a bit different. This has not caused her psychological damage.

-- Gretchen Whitworth

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: For more on Jai Rodriguez's visit to Colorado Springs and Lauren Hill's letter to the editor that appeared in the Gazette, read As the Village Turns this week on page 14.

Creepy crawly things

I read your paper, and it's the only local paper I read. I read a little of the first few pages, skip to the back listings, and then go back over everything throughout the week.

The weekly feature "Personal Space" is usually of limited interest to me; however, in response to last week's piece I am interested in visiting this so-called "museum of tropical insects." Please, if you find the time, could you forward the contact information to me, along with a phone number?

Consumer Correspondent Kenneth Cleaver is another personal favorite that I never fail to read. I could go on and on ... but I'll stop here, or maybe here?

Or how 'bout ... here.

-- Lisa Sinsane

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The phone number for the May Natural History Museum, at 710 Rock Creek Canyon Road, is 576-0450.

Enough already

Weeks after the distribution of the New Testament in the Gazette (Public Eye, Dec. 16-22), the complaining via letters to the editor of the Independent continues. Why the fuss?

The readers of the Independent are a diverse culture. In a culture that celebrates diversity, it is necessary to accept that others will follow paths you do not agree with. To continue complaining about the Gazette's distribution of the New Testament would be like someone complaining about the Independent advertising tarot readings and New Age beliefs.

Would there be the same outcry if the Gazette distributed tarot cards and smudge sticks? You bet there would but I'd bet there wouldn't be a peep here. Let people seek their gods in the manner they choose.

If you don't want a New Testament, don't read it. Personally, I too am offended by modern fundamentalism, but could never be offended by a guy who used to heal the sick and feed the hungry. Chill.

-- Eric Johnson

Colorado Springs

Cultural wasteland

What's happening to 32 Bleu? I heard it is being turned into a country-western bar --

please tell me that was just a dirty rumor! When I moved to the Springs two years ago I was so happy to find out that indie-rock stars like Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, and Damien Jurado came to our little village and that I didn't have to drive to Denver to find a good show.

Not that the owners of 32 Bleu won't bank off of a cowboy bar, but how could they deprive us of the one decent club in this town -- the one place we could go to avoid military brats, frat boys/sorority girls, suits, Botox-injected divorcees and bad music?

It seems to me this is one more step toward solidifying our town's status as a cultural wasteland -- so gas up your cars music-lovers, looks like it's going to be a long drive to Denver!

-- Julie Hudgens

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: 32 Bleu's decision to switch to a blues and country and western venue was detailed in last week's issue. Read the news story online in last week's archives at www.csindy.com.

The sign in the window

Closed. "32 Bleu is closed as of Mon. Jan. 10 ..." reads the sign in the window. This was the club that recently received high praise for finally bringing to Colorado Springs national bands, and a great place for local acts to perform. It was also a great place for the younger crowd of locals to hang out and see friends. 32 Bleu had style, a great sound system and a lot of potential. Well apparently it didn't have enough potential, because now it's closed, only to change into a country BBQ joint. Which seems almost the antithesis of what 32 Bleu was all about.

It seems like any place where young, creative and bored Springsonites find an outlet for their boredom and creativity is short lived. There is a bustling community of poets, artists and musicians whose talents are homeless. Sure there are some downtown places where you can display your art or get a low-paying gig if you're a band, but 32 Bleu was the closest thing we had to a local venue for the rich-minded to thrive. (Granted the place can be just a bar, but it can be as much as a theater as it wants to be).

My hope in this letter is that readers will recognize the need for a venue in Colorado Springs that attracts national acts, as well as provide a stage for our own talented neighbors and will stick around long enough to make a name for itself.

-- E. Mapson

Colorado Springs

Familiar adage

The sky is falling! Just ask Chicken Little, or maybe it's President Bush.

Fear is a great motivator, but I don't think we should be fooled twice. No WMDs, no imminent threat, despite "reliable intelligence," only to be followed by "Slam Dunk" George Tenet receiving the Presidential Medal of Honor.

Today, and for the next several years, Social Security is not in trouble! It certainly could use a little tweaking -- like raising the retirement age, limiting payments to the very wealthy, and increasing the earned income amount that is subject to employment tax. But urgent (recognize the theme?) all-out reform of Social Security? The sky is not falling.

I'm reminded of the familiar adage: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." And I must admit I wonder if all this commotion about Social Security is to distract us from the disaster that we've created in Iraq. Come on Americans, we're smarter than that!

-- Audrey Brodt

Littleton

Deadly distortions

As a Christian, I think it's great that the president has developed a personal relationship with God.

As a thinking person, I wish he'd also develop a relationship with the Acts.

Why is it that as soon as he says, "I pray every day ..." the majority of Christians stop listening to the rest of what he says? And more importantly, refuse to see what he does?

The Bible says, "By their fruits you shall know them." I invite all Christians to look past the "spin" and honestly see the fruit of this president ...

His lies and distortions would be laughable, if they weren't so deadly to innocent people.

-- Bob Smith

Colorado Springs

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