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Broke, not broken

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I would like to offer my firsthand observation of the controversial October D-11 school board meeting on which the Independent reported in its Oct. 20 issue and on which John A. Cunningham commented in last week's Letters section.

Mr. Cunningham's reaction to school board president Sandy Shakes' comment ("Well, I would have said 'broken'") leads me to suspect he was not present at the meeting. To me, the content and tone of Ms. Shakes' remark, as well as her accompanying body language, sent a snide and disparaging message and thus were inappropriate.

Not only do I not believe Ms. Shakes' correction of director Willie Breazell's English was appropriate, but I do not believe her implied criticism of Breazell's usage was valid. When Mr. Breazell assessed some areas of D-11 as "broke," I took him to mean that those aspects of D-11 were bankrupt, that is, lacking in essential value. There is nothing incorrect about this usage.

Whatever our stance on Mr. Breazell's assessment of D-11, the way he expressed it, or Ms. Shakes' response, I believe all members of the D-11 community join me in hoping that our newly configured school board will provide a consistent example of civil speech and behavior even -- or, perhaps, especially -- when disagreeing.

-- Wendy M. Demandante

Colorado Springs

Paper mayor

I hate to be a pest, but John Hazlehurst's idea (from his Nov. 10 column) that Referendum C's victory could have an effect on local government is wishful thinking.

As long as our little town retains the city manager form of government, we will be at the mercy of the Powers That Be: the federal government, non-taxable charities and developers.

Isn't it about time we got rid of a paper mayor and the eight dwarves? Isn't it time for participatory government?

How do we do it? Beats me, but you do the research and start our walk towards true public representation and responsibility.

How about it, John?

-- Mike Adams

Colorado Springs

Praying for the cadets

Recently, the Air Force Academy's passionate head football coach Fisher DeBerry hung a banner declaring, "... Team Jesus Christ."

It clearly displayed a religious bias and a possible coercive element, but was this banner any more biased or potentially coercive than a compulsory class titled "Respecting the Spiritual Values of All People?"

Should the U.S. Air Force be teaching its personnel that sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ is something they should be ashamed of? Since such a course is clearly not neutral towards religion, the Air Force Academy cannot condemn bias and damaging coercive influence one day, and then make mandatory a class on religion the next day.

Perhaps the rules in Baghdad, Iraq should be a little different than the rules for Boise, Idaho, and no cadet or staff member should have carte-blanche authority to proselytize. But neither should the U.S. Air Force have carte-blanche authority to prohibit religious expression and/or proselytizing from any of its members or staff.

Will a cadet be allowed to ask her roommate to join her at the "gospel meeting" on Friday night, or the church service on Sunday morning?

Will a cadet or staff member be allowed to advertise and/or use academy facilities to accommodate his Bible study, or show movies like Jesus or The Passion Of The Christ to his classmates and staff members?

Will the five branches of the American armed forces have to start training "sensitivity officers" to make sure Toleration Orthodoxy is maintained (much like "political officers" were attached to units of the Red Army)?

In reforming the U.S. Air Force from an alleged Christian bias, it is beginning to sound like the cure may be more dangerous than the disease. Neither general Christian expression nor Christian proselytizing are criminal acts in the United States, even from her citizens at her military academies, bases, barracks, forts, etc.

-- Terry Hodson

Golden

Malevolent design

If we are going to open up the science classrooms for "alternative theories" to Darwin's evolution, why limit those alternatives to just intelligent design?

One theory I find intriguing is the theory of Malevolent Design. An Eternal and Omnipotent Being, who can do anything, and can never die, creates DEATH! It designs a system where every being must die. Death as the very engine that keeps the entire system running.

If there is a Creator, It might be pure Evil.

The longer Bush/Cheney remain in office, the more I'm convinced.

-- Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

Quiet in the backcountry

A mass of concerned citizens converged on a recent weekend in the town of Crestone for the "Quiet Commotion" Conference. Why? Because people who enjoy traditional activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking and skiing in the mountains are alarmed as their beloved backcountry becomes overwhelmed by dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, and other off-road vehicles (ORVs).

Citizens met, not to bash ORVs or to prevent reasonable access, but instead to figure out collectively how to deal with the serious damage to our wildlife, water and traditional lifestyle that results from unmanaged off-road vehicles.

Consider these statistics: Almost 80 percent of Forest Service and BLM lands in Colorado are open to ORVs, which, enabled by new technologies, can climb rock walls, forge creeks and travel at high speeds. Land managers, who can barely keep the pit toilets pumped and the campgrounds open, simply do not have the manpower to manage these increasing and potentially destructive machines; Forest Service recreation budgets are 20 percent smaller today than they were 25 years ago!

Attendees brainstormed on what can be done to stop this onslaught and return quiet to the backcountry. The conclusion: Create, restore, and manage Quiet Use Areas and place limitations on OHV use by locating them on designated routes in restricted zones and outside of traditional non-motorized areas. It's the only fair and right thing to do for our future.

To learn more, search "Quiet Backcountry" on the Web.

-- Aaron Clark

Westminster

Put 'em to work

The problem faced in our schools only reflects a problem faced in our society. The loss of agriculture, as well as an overreaction to the abuses of the Industrial Revolution, left children with no meaningful work, and therefore, no sense of importance.

To keep them busy, we made education a right instead of a privilege. This upset the natural order. It gave parents the idea that they can demand results from the teacher instead of the teacher demanding results from the child.

By putting the monkey on the teacher's back, we created dens of disorder that taxpayers are averse to fund. How do we fix it? Recognize that it would be good for children to have needful work, even if there is an element of danger. After all, no factory can be any more dangerous than a skateboard.

Be globally consistent by hiring American kids instead of Chinese kids. Accept that being a worker is good. And relax.

Given the option, most children would rather be in school with their friends. Discipline problems would vanish. Angela's Ashes, a true story of poverty in Ireland, demonstrates this. Author Frank McCourt tells of a testy young boy who was told not to return to class. Knowing his teacher had the good sense and the authority to cull troublemakers was all it took. Facing that sad prospect, the boy begged to be allowed to stay. Permission was granted. Involved in the issue were no principals, parents, lawyers or psychologists.

Education should be free, but only to those who achieve satisfactory progress with a proper attitude. Such a common-sense basis would make schools run efficiently because professionals would be actually teaching instead of constantly struggling with disobedience.

-- Jim Inman

Colorado Springs

Aim higher

How pathetically ironic. Bush and Cheney travel to Pennsylvania for Veterans Day photo ops in support of military veterans. At the same time, Congress decides, in the midst of war and for the first time in a half century, not to hear joint session testimony from the Disabled American Veterans.

Rather than continually shooting themselves in the feet, couldn't the leaders in Washington for once aim higher -- say, 6 feet -- and pull the trigger one time?

-- David Harlan

Divide

One monstrous lie

This war was built on the premise of the "mushroom cloud." President Bush made a dramatic presentation of the "mushroom cloud." Vice President Cheney and Condoleezza Rice made the same presentation on the Sunday morning talk shows.

Saddam Hussein had no delivery systems to create a "mushroom cloud" -- his missiles were for less than 400 miles. All his planes were given to Iran in the 1991 war. So Iraq had no delivery systems to attack us 6,000 miles away.

So the "mushroom cloud" was one monstrous lie.

-- Irwin MacLeod

Colorado Springs

Honorable men

I heard that Dick Cheney said that Scooter Libby is one of the most honorable men he knows. Well, maybe he is when the only men Cheney knows are Bush, Rove, Wolfowitz, Card, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and the likes of them!

-- Dorothy Chamberlin

Colorado Springs

Chowing down

I have been a reader of your publication for some time now, and read it almost weekly as I'm chowing down on a Chipotle burrito. I have finally felt the urge to write in and give you some thoughts of mine.

I was looking through the very extended Oct. 13 "Best Of" issue and came across an award stating how proud the editor was that the citizens of Colorado Springs came together to protest the hate speech of Westboro Baptist Church. I agree that it was good to see conservatives and liberals come together to fight this hate speech.

However, I read this award's blurb just after reading the "Best Of" award for public fool, all of which are well-known conservatives. I found it a bit distasteful that the Indy would attempt to promote a united Colorado Springs after attacking and belittling three conservatives by calling them "public fools."

Your tabloid constantly says that it attempts to promote intelligent debate in this town. You have points to make, but you want to make them in a dignified way, right? After all, John Hazlehurst recently bashed Douglas Bruce for always attempting to belittle his opponents in a debate. The odd thing, though, is that, in that article, Hazlehurst was doing the exact same thing that he accused Bruce of doing.

I am hoping, as you proclaimed to in the small section about the protests against Westboro Church, that we can all come together as people and get away from petty attacks on others simply because they disagree with us on some issues. The problem is that the Independent is often a source of these petty attacks. The editor is right that maybe there is hope for Colorado Springs to come together, but it won't be without some serious changes on the part of your tabloid.

-- Aaron Davidson

Colorado Springs

Bad behavior

Fix the broken nomination process.

President Bush believes that judges should strictly and faithfully interpret the law, rather than legislate from the bench. He has appointed judges to the federal courts who share his judicial philosophy, and his appointees have been rated the best-qualified of any recent administration by the American Bar Association.

No nominee to the federal courts of appeals had ever been filibustered prior to the Bush administration, but a minority of Senate Democrats has conspired to filibuster 10 of President Bush's judicial nominees.

President Bush will continue his efforts to end this obstructionist behavior.

-- William P. Middleton

Pueblo West

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