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The point

I am the person called "J" in the article about Full Circle closing, recovery, et al ("From hope to despair and back," Cover story, Dec. 22). I spoke at length to Ms. Eastburn about my life, post halfway-house, that day. She barely touched on it. Wait, that's not so -- she did not mention it at all.

It is a life worth living, to be sure. I have found a career that I love, I have renewed relationships with my family. I have a host of wonderful friends and I have all the material possessions anyone could ever want. More than that, though, I have hope and love and peace and serenity. I don't want for anything. I was disappointed (to a fault) that she left all that out. It is, after all, the point.

I could have also done without the "weathered face" comment. What the hell?

My M.O. was to help another person by sharing my experience. Please print the "rest of the story."

-- "J"

Pueblo

Help for homeless vets

Thanks for running the article ("Deathly cold," News, Dec. 15) on the dangers for homeless people by Michael de Yoanna.

I am the Homeless Veterans Program coordinator with the local VA clinic at 25 N. Spruce St. Homelessness is always dangerous, but even more so when the weather is as cold as it has been recently. We are very concerned about frostbite, and have seen several cases.

However, it concerned me that the veteran was quoted as saying, "and there's no help for me." The Homeless Veterans Program started in the Springs in March of 2001, and we have helped hundreds of veterans. We work closely with all of the agencies in town and receive daily referrals. For honorably discharged veterans, we provide medical care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, housing and employment services. We are the referring agency for Crawford House, which houses 25 veterans and has a great success rate of assisting homeless veterans in obtaining substance abuse treatment, employment and housing.

I think many people read your article and thought, "How terrible that homeless veterans receive no help in this town." As a social worker, I am an advocate for informing the public about important social issues. I would like to see an article correct the misconception that there is no help for homeless veterans in Colorado Springs.

-- Jack Freeman Colorado Springs

Rules of the road

I sent in a letter a couple of weeks back that was given the headline, "One less car" (Letters, Dec. 1). Scott Graves sent a response to my letter ("Take the back road," Letters, Dec. 8), and while I do not wish to turn the Letters section of this paper into an argument, I do feel the need to respond.

Mr. Graves mentioned the section in the Colorado Driver's Manual on speed control. Perhaps Mr. Graves was looking at the wrong document because, actually, there is a section on speed (Section 10.3, page 17), and when it discusses speed control, it is talking about not driving too quickly. The only place where the phrase that Mr. Graves mentioned, "not impeding traffic," shows up is in the section on bicycles (Section 16, page 29) and it refers to bicycles that are parked.

He condescendingly suggests that perhaps cyclists, in our effort to "save the world," need to sacrifice by taking the back roads. I think that when routes with less traffic are available, most cyclists probably use them. I know I do. However, back roads tend to be more icy in the wintertime and sometimes, believe it or not, we cyclists need to go places located on main roads. In this case, we do actually have to ride on those main roads.

My daily commute requires me to ride down Eighth Street. There is no back road I can take instead, without going miles and miles out of my way. However, when I am riding on Eighth Street or any street, I ride as far over to the right-hand side as is reasonable and safe. I do not impede traffic. Cars can easily pass by me, and traffic is never backed up behind me.

Buses often drive more slowly than other vehicles and make frequent stops. Should they run only on back roads and be forced to avoid main routes?

Mr. Graves says, "If you can't keep up, maybe you shouldn't play with the big boys and keep your little toy on the back roads, where you aren't a hazard to other drivers." I'm sorry, but I wasn't aware that the roads were intended only for "big boys." As a matter of fact, I checked, and both genders have equal rights to the road.

Thank you, Mr. Graves, for trying to make me aware of my responsibilities. I am afraid, however, that you have gotten the wrong information. I will leave you with what the official state driving manual has to say about your responsibilities. The following is taken from the Colorado Driver's Manual, Section 12.4, page 25: "Bicycles and motorcycles are smaller, harder to see and can move faster and stop faster than expected. Their control is more easily hampered by road defects and debris. You should watch for bicycles and motorcycles, use extra caution when driving around either and increase your following distance."

-- Melissa Bays

Colorado Springs

Statistical culpability

In his article, "A dream denied," (News, Dec. 1), Terje Langeland perpetuates the misconception that a statistical disparity is evidence of moral culpability. The mere fact that higher percentages of certain racial groups are denied loans than are whites is far from evidential that any racial bias exists.

The author acknowledges this by stating: "On average, white people earn more money and have better credit ratings than people of color," but then adds, "those factors alone don't fully explain the difference." Really? Then what portion do they explain? Fifty percent? Ninety-nine percent? I suspect the author has no more idea than I do, because he hasn't done the hard research of examining the mortgage applications to determine how much, if any, discrimination actually occurred. And if that's the case, then neither does he know if they "fully explain the difference" or not.

The author follows with this statement -- presumably to support the above contention: "Last year in El Paso County, high-income blacks applying for a mortgage loan still were turned down slightly more often than low- to moderate-income whites." But, of course, income is just one metric used for vetting loan applications, and any number of other metrics could account for whites being approved "slightly more often" than blacks. Again, without the research, we just don't know.

The clear intention of the article is to have us believe that 11 percent of the time (or some significant portion thereof), when a person of color walks into a mortgage company in El Paso County, the loan officer they talk to is so warped by racial bigotry that he or she is willing to risk his or her job and reputation by blatantly denying the civil rights of the applicant.

The only conclusion the facts actually support, however, is that loan officers are vetting out riskier loans based on economic criteria. To suggest that the mere existence of a statistical discrepancy implies discrimination distracts from real socioeconomic issues in favor of a destructive and unsubstantiated presumption of racial animosity. This is insidious stuff and, at best, irresponsible.

-- Tim Beeson

Manitou Springs

Fighting for America

As one of the organizers of Camp Casey on Nevada Avenue, I would like to respond to Mr. Beatty's complaint ("Wrap it up," Letters, Dec. 1). First, of course, a thank you to his cousin for his service, on behalf of myself and a grateful nation.

Mr. Beatty states a very common confusion, and that is the difference between the honorable motivations of the person in uniform and the dishonorable motivations of the neocon infection in the Republican Party.

I doubt his cousin chose to serve his country in the military for the profits of the oil corporations, based on lies about the threat from Saddam.

I doubt his cousin or many in uniform joined to spread interventionism, imperialism and manifest destiny against Muslims around the world.

I doubt his cousin wants to wreck the economy and saddle future generations with the greatest deficit in American history.

Another confusion Mr. Beatty makes is this: The protest will not have "run its course" until our troops are home, our budget is balanced and the war powers are constitutionally restored to the hands of the Congress only.

And I would also make one addition to the list of those who have fought, been wounded and died for our freedoms: those of us that have worked for so many years against such great odds to keep our country from the hands of domestic enemies that would ignore the Constitution on the issues of declaring war, freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and redress of grievances to any administration that chooses to ignore "these truths we hold self-evident."

We are dedicated patriots and will not go silently into the night. Once again, America has been the beneficiary of our counsel and has woken from its sleep to agree with us, en masse, that this foreign policy is a disaster and against the very core of our values. We, the people, will continue to fight in many ways for America.

-- Mark Lewis

Colorado Springs

Not just an eyesore

I wish to commend the activists at their downtown encampment. I think they are providing a valuable service to us all. We should be addressing the root causes that led to their outrage, rather than blaming them for being an eyesore.

When our government is less than forthcoming about its actions, and has shown a blatant disregard for truth and full disclosure, it is especially important that activists stir up the pot, and remind us to think about what our government is doing in our name.

You can thank the Revolutionary War heroes and our Founding Fathers for a fine Constitution, and its first 10 amendments. And also thank each fine serviceman and servicewoman who has defended those rights.

But a special thanks must go to the activists, past and present, who also make a difficult and often unpopular sacrifice. Without them, social justice and equity would never advance.

-- Dan Marvin

Colorado Springs

Resolve to eat better

Today (Dec. 26) marks the tragic anniversary of the world's worst natural disaster, when a giant tsunami extinguished the lives of nearly 200,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and other countries on the Indian Ocean.

Yet, each year, seven times as many Americans die of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other chronic killer diseases that have been linked conclusively with consumption of meat and dairy products. Meat consumption also dumps animal waste in our waterways, destroys wildlife habitats to grow animal feed, and tortures innocent animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses.

Because of the many benefits it brings to us and our planet, let's make a New Year's resolution to replace meat and dairy products in our diet with wholesome, delicious vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains. With every supermarket featuring a large variety of these foods, as well a rich assortment of soy-based veggie burgers, soy dogs, deli slices, ready-to-eat frozen dinners, and soy milk and ice cream, it's got to be the easiest resolution we'll ever keep.

-- Craig Butler

Colorado Springs

First step

I want to thank the Citizens Project for publishing the informational section to understand the caucus and assembly system. For those of us interested in the democratic process within El Paso County, this is the first step. This is the voters' opportunity to participate in shaping the party and choosing our candidate. We will soon be choosing a governor; this is your opportunity for finding the right candidate and reshaping our platform. I want to encourage all Democrats to get involved in the process. If any Democrat has further questions on this process, please view our Web site at peakdems.org.

-- John Morris

Chair of the El Paso County Democratic Party

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