I was stunned to see the level of ignorance about ecosystems Jill Gustafson displayed in her letter ("Wolves are killers," Letters, Feb. 10) Ecosystems depend on more than the food chain, and wolves play a vital role in their ecosystems. For example, when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, the aspen groves -- previously overgrazed by elk -- returned. Many animals are dependent on aspen groves, including the elk themselves. In a balanced ecosystem, wolves will not hunt other animals to extinction, and the check they provide on herbivore populations prevents disease and overgrazing. Am I really supposed to worry that wolves will wipe out the rabbit population? With the way rabbits reproduce, I'd be more worried that an uncontrolled rabbit population would wipe out our gardens and eat our crops.
As for wolves being killers, there has never been a documented account of a healthy wolf attacking a human in North America. Wolves are generally shy animals who avoid humans. Likewise, wolves are responsible for only a very small percentage of livestock deaths in North America. Humans kill far more animals than wolves, including each other, and often hunt other species to complete extinction -- are we useless predators at the top of the food chain who have no role in the ecosystem? Some might say yes, but I doubt Ms. Gustafson is one of them.
The widespread lack of understanding of basic scientific concepts is one of the things that worries me the most about the United States today. How can we expect to make informed decisions about energy, the environment, or medicine without the scientific knowledge to understand the situation? I fear Ms. Gustafson represents the average person's ignorance about wolves and how ecosystems function. I hope that anyone who can will go to a Mission Wolf ( www.missionwolf.com ) talk; it's much more difficult to fear wolves once you've met one and learned about their behavior from wildlife biologists, not urban legends.
-- Melissa Barton
Cauldron of toxicity
As a new resident, and as a person that works hard to not align myself with the stereotypical "left" or "right"-wing side of life, I've found your publication to be a bubbling cauldron of toxicity. It's mean-spirited, negative, and degrading to anyone that may disagree with any of its very skewed opinions. (OOOOOOOOOH, beware of crossing the big, bad, Independent ... and pity the normal, average, resident who doesn't choose to march to your exacting drumbeat.) Talk about intolerance ...
I've picked up several issues, and after reading it cover to cover, find myself discouraged, depleted, bullied, and wanting to take a can of Ajax and a Brillo pad to scour off the rampant negativity. I'm scared to even pick up your publication now, for fear of having to witness some bloody assault you're launching at some poor soul who crossed y'all.
Please take an honest look at your publication. Perhaps in the future, your magazine can be a better example of a spirit of tolerance (hey, practice what your preach) and kindness that could be a POSITIVE force for Colorado Springs and its residents.
Hey, great restaurant reviews, though.
-- Adele Mulford
A year of peace
A year of peace
Re: The good fight, Your Turn, Feb. 3.
Michael de Yoanna was most fortunate to have met Sonia Bawa. His opinion piece was not only good journalism but also a vehicle for Sonia to continue after her passing to touch many people with her positive energy. Too, it was inspiring and a clear reflection of the depth of your character. Gee, maybe 364 more "good fights" and we could have a year of peace -- been a long time coming, eh?
-- Paul Bertrand
Rich has a point
Rich has a point
In response to Greg Hartman's attempt at a scathing letter to you folks ("Inside the newsroom", Letters, Feb. 3), there are so many inaccuracies and misstatements, it's hard to decide where to start. I suppose we can start with his opening volley, the imaginary newsroom meeting at the Indy where you folks supposedly decided the SpongeBob controversy was a national story.
I guess the fact that James Dobson and Focus on the Family are local escaped his notice. Therefore, it's a local story, deserving of attention from a local publication. Hmm, an independent paper poking fun at a spiritual leader who's worried a cartoon character may be sending a message to children to become homosexual? Go figure.
And why this concern from the good Dr. Dobson? It appears that SpongeBob lent his animated talents to a public service message promoting (oh, here's that word again), "tolerance." Since the second letter of that word is an "o", and the second letter of "homosexual" is also an "o", we can understand why they make the connection.
Aside from the fact that the announcement was not a statement about homosexuality, but rather diversity, (another dirty word to the far right), he seems to forget that a democratic society is by definition tolerant of many things even a majority might not agree with. It's his right, for instance, to make an ass of himself while stating his (ahem) mind in a publication he loathes.
Mr. Hartman then goes on to whine that poking fun of an asinine statement by an asinine spiritual leader (does anyone remember Dr. Dobson claiming if Amendment 2 didn't pass, gays would be walking around with rights the rest of us didn't have and replacing us straight folks in the workforce?) is intolerant of us.
He concludes his rant by claiming the Rich Tosches article heaps "scorn and ridicule on the concerns and beliefs of others." How arrogant. Has Mr. Hartman conducted a survey and concluded that "millions" of people are concerned about SpongeBob, and are offended by Rich's tongue-in-cheek and cheek article? Or has Mr. Hartman simply decided what everybody with a conscience is supposed to believe and think? Rich's article could have been as nasty with name calling as Mr. Hartman's, but he chose humor instead. Perhaps Mr. Hartman should take a clue and lighten up himself, which was Rich's point all along.
-- Alan Sindler
What a hoot
Greg Hartman's satirical letter last week was hilarious. Pretending that any sane person could actually take Dobson's delusional attack on a cartoon sponge seriously was a hoot. He so perfectly captured the moronic mind of the religious reich.
-- Thomas McCullock
Leave SpongeBob alone
It still amazes me to see how much power Focus on the Family has, by reading Rich Tosches Jan. 27 column "SquarePants, SquareTown." Isn't that just like a religious right.
Do it my way or you're going to hell!
First of all, they need to leave poor SpongeBob alone. I don't see why he was chosen to be the main focus of all the ridicule. Did he do something that would portray him as gay? Maybe he touched Patrick inappropriately. He is a cartoon character! Come on Focus, get a life! At least I am relieved to know that Coffey and Alisha were given their jobs back at KVUU. They shouldn't have been removed in the first place. What's next? Is Focus going to pressure me to retract my letter?
-- Jeremy Moyer
Living on caviar
Scott Graves (Letters, Feb. 10) needs to take a Prozac. The taxes Doug Bruce is interested in are largely those on real estate which in this county, at least, goes for at least 10 times the minimum wage for a whole year! Someone who can afford to buy real estate is not going to be forced to live on ramen noodles if they have to pay an extra one percent in property taxes, especially, if like Doug Bruce, they are renting their properties out. There is no such thing as a free lunch, or a functioning government that runs on air.
-- Donald Pelton
Bringing us together
I almost couldn't believe my eyes as I read Rich Tosches Feb. 3 column about Doug Bruce. For the first time your paper expressed views consistent with my own. Congratulations to Doug Bruce in being able to bring members of both the right and left (or anyone that cares about our county and state) together in mutual disgust.
-- Ken Duval
The other eyesores
The other eyesores
Thanks to your Feb. 3-9 cover article, "Can you see me now," I now have something else to do while stuck in traffic: look for disguised cell phone towers. At least someone is trying to keep this area beautiful. Unfortunately I don't think cell phone towers are the real problems here. Perhaps we should work on camouflaging some of the other eyesores in this community, like Focus On the Family or Doug Bruce.
-- Byron Kottenstette
Run for the border
Run for the border
In response to the Feb. 3 letter to the editor about Cafe El Paso:
"To each his own" the parable goes. If Mr. Ramirez suffered a bad dining experience, he said nothing when it mattered most. We have been preparing fresh cooked food in this restaurant for four years. The people voted Cafe El Paso "The Best Mexican Food," not us.
Cafe El Paso serves the best in traditional Mexican cuisine of El Paso, Texas.
Nothing is out of a can.
I am surprised that you ran his complaint without first discovering the facts. Is he from a competing restaurant that has suffered because of our superior quality and service or just some nut with an axe to grind?
Whatever his reason, he is entitled to it.
And I hope he continues to enjoy his Taco Bell value meals.
-- Sandra Santoscoy Sherer
Owner,Cafe El Paso
Tip of the hat
Tip of the hat
Despite his levity, Mr. Tosches does the community a great disservice when he suggests that Colorado Springs Utilities is somehow not accountable to the Utilities Board. As a student of and advocate for Policy Governance, the governance model he lampooned in last week's Indy, I can assure the people of Colorado Springs that the Policy Governance system is both a highly effective and a widely respected governance tool. It places the responsibility for administering our utility company where it belongs -- with its CEO; and the duty to monitor and evaluate that performance where it belongs -- with the Utilities Board.
This is not a minor issue. Colorado Springs Utilities is not owned by a cartel, a consortium of investors or by various out-of-state interests. It is owned by us, the people of Colorado Springs. Mr. Tosches' cheap shot suggests that our utility company is somehow above accountability, showing a total misunderstanding of the governance system at Colorado Springs Utilities and undeservedly disparaging both the Utilities Board and Colorado Springs Utilities' administration and staff. More importantly, he erodes the public's confidence in its utility company through his misunderstanding of the facts, using his humor to hide the fact that he doesn't understand what he's writing about.
I have lived in countless communities and have been subjected to all sorts of treatment by scores of utility companies. I have never found one as professional and transparent as Colorado Springs Utilities. We owe a tip of the hat to its dedicated employees and their effective leadership.
-- David Ball
Fix the static
I really enjoyed your recent article on the creative class in this area. What the creative class could use around here is a good commercial radio station similar to KBCO out of Boulder. KBCO's format includes new rock, old rock, blues, alternative, hippie, fusion and reggae. Colorado Springs is a horrible radio market for a city of this size. Our choices are classic rock stations that play the same old tired songs, mindless pop, gangsta rap and country. I hope some enterprising businessman sees the potential here; most of KBCO's listeners are intelligent and affluent.
-- Neal Cully
Green Mountain Falls
The name of county commissioner Douglas Bruce's campaign manager was spelled incorrectly in last week's issue. Her name is Carolyn Myers. The Independent regrets the error.