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Negligence and greed

I have one question regarding last week's cover story, "Worked to death: Construction work in El Paso County can be lethal": How many of these workers are endangered because their companies are hiring undocumented (illegal) aliens?

Over the years my observation has been that non-English speakers can neither follow OSHA's safety rules by merely reading them nor do their employers care if they are injured or killed on the job. There are no work records with illegals proving they are working, all to avoid taxes and to avoid the fines levied against the employers for this felony practice of unlawful employment.

Yet each time illegal aliens are employed, they endanger all those working around them. Who loses? The families of the law-abiding residents and the taxpayers of the state in which they are employed. Some more food for thought and also worth investigating before more people are killed due to negligence and greed by these employers.

-- Marty Lich

Gypsum, Colorado

Sex out of context

Regarding last week's letters from Donna Arnink and Allan Burns:

I'll be the first to acknowledge that it was actually a typo in my April 21 published letter about millions dying of AIDS every day when, in fact, I meant every year. Still, the epidemic is horribly tragic, the numbers too great. And, though I was referring specifically to Mel White's comments, I would argue that any lifestyle that takes sex out of the context of a lifetime commitment in marriage between a man and woman can and does contribute to the epidemic of AIDS and many other forms of sexually transmitted diseases. The point of irony is that, while Mel White attacks Dobson (an advocate of the best form of prevention: abstinence) as a killer, he himself continues to advocate a lifestyle that kills. And the band plays on.

-- Paul McCusker

Colorado Springs

No respect

I really feel sorry for James Dobson, who never learned the meaning of the word "respect." I learned it young from my parents, my Sunday school teachers, my Girl Scout leaders.

As a longtime supporter of the Southern Poverty Law Center, I am distressed to read that he has attacked its suggested pledge: "to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."

And I feel sorry that he apparently hasn't been acquainted with homosexuals (who were born that way), some of whom have produced great artistic works, and all with lovable personalities.

I guess the pledge means that I have to respect Focus on the Family's beliefs, some of which will be very hard for this senior citizen.

-- Marilyn R. Blum

Colorado Springs

Divide and conquer

I wonder why religious leaders would risk their credibility by supporting a politician? If you ran a poll, you will find that the majority of Americans rate politicians on the same level as used-car salesmen. Most view them as liars and opportunists.

We are seeing this played out with Tom DeLay. What do the ministers say to their parishioners, especially the younger ones, when they support a political leader who lies, cheats, disobeys rules and breaks the law?

What we are seeing is a division in our country -- politicians and religious leaders dividing the country with two issues: a woman's right to choose and homosexuals' right to marry. Homosexuals have always been with us -- why are they considered dangerous now?

Roe vs. Wade was decided by a "conservative" Supreme Court judge -- a fact that the neos, who are in power today, do not want you to be reminded of! Judge Blackmun was a conservative justice appointed by Richard Nixon. He delivered his opinion on Jan. 22, 1973, with Justice Rehnquist dissenting and Justice Stewart concurring.

What I see with this administration is that they are using the old military strategy of "divide and conquer." Divide the nation -- continue to incite the citizens on issues that ignite the outrage of Christians -- then, systematically change Social Security, the bankruptcy rule, do away with the estate tax, make permanent tax breaks for the rich, take away the protections of our environment and wildlife, outsource our high-paying jobs to India and allow illegal aliens to take our low-paying jobs -- the list goes on.

This administration represents the smallest minority (the rich and evangelist Christians), but continues to tax the rest of us. Reminds me of a saying our forefathers had a long time ago:

"Taxation without representation is tyranny!"

-- Emily-Charmaine Evans

Colorado Springs

Poke in the eye

I am a longtime fan of your publication. In fact, I wrote you in February of 2000 to thank you for your article about local Libertarians in which I researched and registered as one, politically speaking that is. This does not define who I am, or does it?

I read through your "letters" every dang week and want to poke eyeballs out of a few of your readers. What gets my goat is that people label themselves liberal or conservative or, in last week's letters, "Eeeeevil Republican" came up. Why can't we just all get along without the labeling? I remember the same branding of people on the elementary school playground. Can't thoughtful, intelligent grown-ups learn to stop with the labels and be open to the ideas of others without pitching them into one group or another? You don't have to agree with me or my neighbor or the woman/man in Teller County, but can't you have some other way to convey to people your concerns?

The last few years (within politics and within religion even) people have been so quick to label each other; it's become divisive and sometimes prejudicial in otherwise sensible conversation. Can't one be a fan of the CS Indy without being labeled a liberal? Can't one be a Christian without being labeled a conservative?

-- Liz Oldach

Colorado Springs

Watering on Sunday

John Hazlehurst's April 28 op-ed in the Indy provided more facts and historical depth on Colorado Springs' water problems than all the Front Range papers during the last several years.

In short, our city council gambled with our water. Now the Southeast Colorado Water Conservancy District is reminding us that gambling has costs, risks and losses -- all of which are being foisted upon existing homeowners.

The raw reality is that Colorado Springs has an ever-growing water problem because our city council issued 25,000 new taps while existing homeowners were forced to ration their water. This reckless policy continues as Colorado Springs positions itself among the elite few who are still rationing water.

To that miserable end, homeowners are forced to suffer inflated utility bills to subsidize growth. This shameless money grab exceeds $800 per year per homeowner and is especially harmful to senior citizens on fixed incomes. They're told to suck it up so that a small handful of land speculators can fatten their profits.

Adding insult to injury, half the existing homeowners must water on Sunday, during church services, so as not to drop water pressure during peak demand periods. But it's hard to pray for rain at God's altar when you're out watering your lawn. This is an immutable fact our City Council prefers to overlook.

The glass might be half full for our city council -- which performs well for the home builders -- but it's half empty for existing homeowners -- who see their half getting bigger every day.

-- Bill Jambura

Colorado Springs

Shoot 'em up

Respectfully, I disagree with April 14 letter-to-the-editor writer Bernie Herpin on the need, or even the desirability, of widespread gun-toting in the public commons.

I'm not suggesting a gun ban, or any limits above and beyond those already in place, or an abridgement of constitutional rights.

Current headlines notwithstanding, I'd speculate that the odds of being whacked in public by rampaging killers would rank statistically with being hit by lightning or winning the lottery. It would seem to me to be pathological to suggest that it is necessary to pack a loaded weapon at all times on the off chance that Cain and Abel might make an appearance.

Bernie, if you're that insecure and frightened, get help!

Do you think we have bad traffic and lousy drivers? Envision what would become the norm if every Tom, Dick and Mary were to start carrying a loaded weapon. I'd suspect it would turn out somewhat like our public roadways, where virtually everyone is given a free pass to a driver's license. Now think of this same crowd packing guns with about the same amount of skill, courtesy and judgment behind the trigger as displayed behind the wheel.

Would that make you feel safer? Frankly, it scares the daylights out of me!

-- Dan Marvin

Colorado Springs

Buried in debris

"We're spending our children's inheritance," read the sticker on the mammoth RV that passed my Toyota Prius on the highway recently. I couldn't help but smile at the whimsical message, then frown at its sad reality.

In a 1968 letter to Congress, President Lyndon Johnson wrote, "Our grandchildren ... will live in a different America from the one we know; but it will be an America we have helped to build. They will ... seek solace and recreation in parks and wilderness areas we preserve. So we must build well now. Unless we do, much of the wild and beautiful America that we know ... will be lost forever -- buried in the debris of our hurrying civilization."

A shortsighted, spendthrift administration and Congress are hellbent on maxing out the federal credit card, mortgaging the public lands and zeroing out the wildlands savings account of unborn generations in order to buy bigger gas-guzzlers today.

The currently debated federal energy bill, with massive taxpayer-supported development and pollution subsidies and a pittance for conservation, squanders our fiscal and natural inheritance. Unless reversed, it damns to destruction Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Colorado's Roan Plateau, and much more "wild and beautiful America."

-- John Stansfield

Monument

Taking a hit

Religious freedom has taken a hit with the failure of the state Legislature to override the governor's veto of HB 1042, which would have required hospitals to tell rape victims about emergency contraception and either offer it or refer victims to a pharmacy.

Colorado's Catholic Bishops campaigned heavily against this bill, declaring that the requirement to inform victims of sexual assault about the availability of emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy would violate the religious liberty of Catholic hospitals. Our Catholic Gov. Bill Owens agreed.

According to MergerWatch, religious hospitals rely on public funding for nearly half their revenue. Using "religious liberty" as an excuse to enforce Catholic policy is not fair to this taxpaying public.

And it certainly isn't fair to rape victims who should have the religious freedom to receive medical care free from religious bias. Victims unfortunate enough to be taken to a Catholic hospital -- often the only facility available -- are forced to share the Catholic idolatry of the fertilized egg, too sacred to destroy. While utilizing modern medical technology in other matters, the church's attitudes toward birth control are still mired in the Stone Age, calling artificial contraception unnatural and sinful. This condemns 21st-century women to live like primitive females, without any barriers against procreation.

The flock isn't buying it, however. A 1999 National Catholic Reporter poll showed that 72 percent of Catholics believe you can be a good Catholic without obeying the church hierarchy's teaching on birth control. And a survey by Catholics for Contraception reveals that 90 percent of Catholic women prefer a hospital that offers birth control.

Taking over hospitals where they can withhold all reproductive services is one way for the church to keep contraceptives away from these dissidents.

But it creates a terrible tragedy for victims of rape.

-- Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

Clarification

Last week's cover story listed the top 13 Colorado companies that have been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for violating major safety regulations over the past five years. The list included Denver-based Colorado Marble & Granite, Inc. That company is not affiliated with the Colorado Springs Marble & Granite company.

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