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Fallen Starr

I enjoyed reading John Hazlehurst's Sept. 15 article about how the Springs has lost art masterpieces due to the short-sightedness of community leaders ("Going, going gone").

I agree with him that the city and region has suffered because of these failures. But one of the biggest losses that our area has ever seen was not mentioned.

The incredible wind sculptures of Starr Kempf were inexcusably let go without even a fight. These should have been important art acquisitions for the future of our city, but were, instead, another cultural failure.

These whimsical creations adorned the Cheyenne Mountain neighborhood for years, until the city bungled their removal. If it was necessary to move them, the leaders should have done almost anything to acquire these wonderful masterpieces. Instead, the city alienated the members of the Kempf family and did nothing to obtain these local art treasures. This was incompetence by our leaders, and now they are gone.

I know that there are always competing projects for limited funds, but this was one of the unique treasures of Colorado Springs. Since our city government failed to obtain these giant works of art, I challenge the Fine Arts Center and the Independent to investigate the possibility of bringing back the great work of a true Colorado Springs art legend.

-- Rolf Jacobson

Colorado Springs

Living in bubbles

Twice in Douglas Bruce's letter to the editor last week, he wrote of the money your family would "lose" if Referenda C and D pass.

I am here to tell Doug that I am voting for C and D, and that I will not lose any money at all if they pass. Apparently, Doug thinks we all live in our own little bubbles, and that any money that escapes our personal bubble is lost.

I live in a neighborhood, a community, a city, a state, a country, and on a planet. Resources are needed to support me at all those levels. So, while I whine about taxes just like everyone else, I understand that some of my resources are pooled for the common good. In Colorado, they are used for infrastructure, education, first responders, and the like. These are things that my family needs and that my fellow citizens also need.

So, I am glad to direct the tax money that I have already paid to support these needs. I don't need a small refund as much as we need state universities that contribute to the common good.

Something is lost, Doug. It is not your money, it is you. You need to join the rest of us. Much of life's value lies in our common wealth, not just the spoils we keep for ourselves.

-- Ted Schwartz

Colorado Springs

Rude is legal

I am compelled to comment on the Sept. 22 Your Turn column by Jerry Brunson ("King Bruce has no clothes").

He states in the first paragraph that Douglas Bruce attempts to be "above the law." To me, this implies Mr. Brunson is stating Mr. Bruce has broken a law for which he feels he should not be punished. He then gives examples of Mr. Bruce's rudeness and broken promises, but does not mention anything which is illegal.

I would conclude, regardless of one's feelings about Doug Bruce, that Mr. Brunson is quite careless in his original implication of illegal activities. I would like to expect a higher level of journalistic integrity from your publication in the future.

-- Mike Heidler

Manitou Springs

Trust him

I disagree with Miriam Schuster's Sept. 22 letter ("Just answer the questions").

John Roberts does not have to answer specific questions on controversial issues, and has precedent on his side. Other Supreme Court nominees have not. Let his record stand.

I doubt that his "so-called honor is at stake." He is an honorable man, with an uncanny knowledge of the law, and a first-rate mind to boot. Even the Democratic senators who voted for him recognized this.

-- Lorenzo A. Gurreri

Colorado Springs

Money to burn

Recently, the other newspaper in this town noted that "outside money" was being spent in this year's school board race in District 11. No surprise there, unfortunately -- except that the Gazette's reporters contended that the outside money wasn't being spent on behalf of the so-called "reformers" this time around, but by their opponents.

However, as is usually the case, the Gazette got the story only half-right.

Rest assured that there's plenty of outside money being spent on behalf of Bob Lathen, Carla Albers and Reginald Perry. And it's coming from the same source that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2003 school board race that gave us Eric Christen and his cronies: an organization named "All Children Matter --Colorado."

That special interest group and another named "Colorado Alliance for Reform in Education," are fronts for Alex Cranberg, a Denver oilman, and local real estate mogul Steve Schuck, among others. And their parent organization is based in Michigan and funded by Amway founder Dick DeVos, who proudly proclaims on his Web site how he spends millions nationwide to sway school board elections to elect pro-voucher, anti-public education candidates.

"All Children Matter" has already paid for a slick brochure, mailed from their Denver offices to the Colorado Springs homes of many registered Republicans. And "All Children Matter" is paying for radio ads touting the candidacies of the so-called "reform" candidates, who are actually seeking the destruction of public schools.

So shed no tears for the "reform" bunch; they have money to burn in this election. That's nothing new. What is new is that many citizens are incensed over their plan to hijack public schools, and those citizens are trying to fight back. They support the only pro-public education candidates in the race: John Gudvangen, Tami Hasling and Sandra Mann.

-- Larry Seaver

Colorado Springs

They are ruthless

I read with interest your Sept. 15 article on the Iraq Veterans Against the War ("At War"). The only conclusion I could come to was that "it's not just crazy leftists who are against this war," it's also the crazy, misinformed veterans who are returning.

Some areas where Iraqi veteran Kelly Dougherty is misinformed are:

1. Walter Reed Army Hospital is closing; however, it is being replaced by an expanded Dewitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir.

2. "Some soldiers in hospital beds are reportedly being pressured to sign their discharge papers and, of course, they don't want to sign their discharge papers and lose their benefits." No one ever hands you discharge papers. If you are injured, a medical review board is convened to determine if you can perform your military duties. If not, you are given VA benefits prior to discharge.

3. "It just seems to me that the supposed goals of the occupation, which now are to bring the Iraqis democracy and freedom, seem contradictory. I don't see how you can have a free society when they're being occupied by a foreign military." I guess she never heard of Germany, Japan and South Korea, all of which are occupied to this day, but have managed to have democracy and vibrant economies.

4. "We've lost about 2,000 Americans and an estimated 100,000 Iraqis, most of them civilians." The number reported at iraqbodycount.com is 26,165 to 29,478, considerably less than 100,000 and considerably less than Saddam killed. Some other statistics: US-led forces killed 37 percent of civilian victims. Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9 percent of civilian victims. Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36 percent of all deaths. Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.

I am an Iraqi veteran. I believe in what we're doing. The people who hate democracy and freedom in this world are ruthless. We must struggle against them to truly have peace. History has shown us that only democratic nations truly value life, peace and prosperity.

-- Michael C. Cantwell

Colorado Springs

Stop the madness

As a decades-long member of the American Friends Service Committee, it breaks my heart to read about civilian deaths caused by my own country's military presence in Iraq.

It is a lie we are liberating the country, a lie we are needed in that region of the world, and a horrendous lie we need to remain there.

The mainstream media does not tell the whole story, but the American people are not stupid. Approval ratings for our current president are at an all-time low. I am fortunate to now live in a blue state, but I am a native Coloradan and was deeply saddened by the outcome of the last election in Colorado.

It is my hope we have some sort of change by the 2008 election, before my country continues down this path of barbaric warmongering.

-- Alison Whiteman

Tacoma, Wash.

Short 'n sweet

Thanks for being there to tell the other side of the story.

-- Robert Joseph Glaser

Colorado Springs

Is it art?

With regard to the controversy around the mural on the side of a tattoo shop on the west side, as detailed in the Sept. 22 edition ("Spray on"), many people are up in arms about the graffiti style of the mural. Some people are saying that it is not art, when in fact it is a work that could be considered to be on the cutting edge of the art world.

Graffiti and graffiti-style design have been considered a legitimate form of art for years. Artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol have long validated what some people think of as "gang tags" as a genre of fine art.

For those who are on the fence or for some reason don't think that the mural in question is a true form of art, you are now participating in a debate that has been going on for some time now in the art world.

The question being, "Is it art?" One can make the claim that when the Moore brothers sponsored the painting, they legitimized the artists' work, no matter what the style. Simply by having a public audience, they created artwork.

"Does work have to be done by an artist to be called art?" Did the artists have legitimate artistic training to do the mural? Who knows. Graffiti art has become so popular and is so stylized that the genre itself has created its own artistic vocabulary. Any artist can learn this vocabulary and participate in the genre. As is true with any genre.

I applaud the Moore brothers and their sensitivity to their community's feelings. I am just worried that the community's judgment about the artwork may be ill-informed.

-- Nathan Mapson

Art teacher

The da Vinci Academy

Colorado Springs

No surprises here

I was watching Fox News in my hotel room last week while I was in Ohio on a business trip. Humidity 98 percent; Terror Alert elevated. I had a tank top and my Glock, so I wasn't too worried.

Then I was in the airport, and I heard someone talking about how the Russians were behind the hurricane. "They beat us to it, they figured out a way to produce and direct hurricanes at will." I didn't believe it.

It got me thinking of who the real conspirators are. Here's my short list of who I think is involved: Fox News, Home Depot and OPEC. But mostly, it was Pat Robertson. Unfortunately, his hurricane veered off course and went north.

I saw an attractive woman in the airport in Dallas. Then two other women walked by, giving her the chicken bobble headshake, saying, "She ain't all that." I guess that's the difference between men and women. When a woman says "she ain't all that," she usually is "all that." In fact, none of the guys I know see an attractive woman and give her the chicken headshake at all.

When I got home, I called my parents in Houston. They were refusing to evacuate during Hurricane Rita. It didn't surprise me much; my mom has always been kind of a looter.

-- Patrick McConnell

Colorado Springs

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