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Could be better

Is it just me, or is this year's "Best Of" (Oct. 19 and 26, cover stories) virtually unreadable? I can't figure if it's the font choices, or the structure. The category font is much smaller than "Best" and "Gold" and makes it very difficult to locate the category I am interested in looking at. And combining them for multiple category winners is just confusing.

Where's the table of contents, so I can get to the category I want to view? I'm not going to flip through the whole thing to locate a particular category. Gasp I may have to resort to that other rag's "Best Of" to locate good eats. Please, don't let me do that!

Peter Billington

Colorado Springs

Warm fuzzies

I felt compelled to write you and give thanks for the "write up" in your "Best Of 2006" issue. It is a great honor to be voted "Best Sportscaster" in Colorado Springs by your readers. I am humbled and grateful to be recognized by the public. I also am flattered by the words printed in your publication. I truly love every minute of my job, from photography, writing, editing and reporting to anchoring. I take it very seriously, yet make sure to have fun every step of the way. To be recognized for hard work is a great feeling.

Keep up the good work by giving our public a voice in their community. Thanks again!

Jesse Kurtz, sports anchor/reporter, KKTV

Colorado Springs

Not so fast

In your recent article, "Not above board" (News, Oct. 5) the Indy has shown, yet again, that it won't let facts stand in the way of a slanderous story. In fact, it's about as truthful as the campaign the teachers union ran last November. The question is, did the Indy deliberately print false information, or were they duped by teachers union operative Gary Fornander?

The article details a complaint filed by Mr. Fornander against Bob Lathen, Reginald Perry and myself last March, five months after the D-11 school board election. His first claim for relief to electioneering communications was dismissed by the judge at halftime. We didn't even have to defend against it.

His second claim was that we failed to file correct or timely reports, and he is quoted in your article as saying we were "scolded for delaying disclosure of the source of our funding." That's an interesting take, considering that the judge dismissed that claim as well. Specifically, the judge's order says, "the evidence is insufficient to show that any of the defendants failed to report the costs of the mailers they were aware of, or were late in reporting the costs of the mailers once they knew of them."

Mr. Fornander claimed "victory" in your article. He also claimed we should have been fined $50 a day for our alleged failures to correctly or timely report which, at the time the order was entered, would have amounted to almost $13,000. The "fine" was $0. Victory? I think not.

Carla Albers, former D-11 school board candidate

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: While the candidates' paperwork error did delay proper reporting of their funding, the statement that the candidates were "scolded for delaying" its disclosure is inaccurate. Also, an e-mail reported as coming from Carla Albers to Chuck Broerman regarding payment of campaign volunteers actually came from the treasurers of the campaigns for Albers, Reginald Perry and Bob Lathen. The Independent regrets the errors.

Opinions misplaced

Re: "He says he wants a revolution," Public Eye, Oct. 26:

It stands to reason that election-related material would be prominent in this publication coming out so close to the Nov. 7 election. However, the Clerk & Recorder's publicly funded periodical should focus on the right to vote, how and where to vote, and how the office is going to ensure safe and accurate election results.

Bob Balink has, instead, taken this newsletter as an opportunity to address his issue of proof of citizenship for voter registration and identification at the polls. This publication is not a platform for his personal political views. Citizens Project supports a vibrant democracy where all citizens are welcome and encouraged to vote. Balink's position on this issue, if it were to become law, would actually exclude citizens from their constitutional right to vote.

Take, for example, the homeless veteran who has had all his worldly possessions stolen and can't afford to replace them; does he, then, forfeit his right to vote? Under Balink's proposition, it appears that he would.

Even more troublesome, though, are Balink's examples of what he considers evidence of "serious deteriorations" in our country: the changing of the term "Christmas tree" to "holiday tree" and the possibility of marriage no longer being defined as "a union between a man and a woman."

In the first instance, one can assume he is referring to the mention of a Christmas tree in a government venue. A holiday tree embraces the fact that not everyone in this community is Christian; there are other religions and cultures that have holidays celebrated during the same time of year. Not to mention the constitutional issue of state establishment of religion.

His second point could be interpreted as electioneering with public funds. Balink is surely well aware of current ballot issues concerning same-sex couples. For him to use tax dollars to say that this is evidence of America's "deterioration" is inexcusable. His personal values and opinions about this controversial social issue have no place in the Clerk & Recorder's newsletter.

Balink asks, "Where's the Outrage?" The citizens of Colorado Springs should be the ones outraged by this flagrant abuse of their tax dollars.

Christina Student

executive director, Citizens Project

Addressing the problem

Re: "Home bounded," News, Oct. 26:

If you're managing a transitional housing facility and the number of homeless people exceeds the number of "slots" available, isn't there a natural tendency to "cream" who you serve? The public, your board and your own sense of self-esteem willdesire the "success story." These successes, in turn, enhance morale and help garner funding.

It would be pretty tough to evaluate just how many people are in transitional housing programs who would have promptly rebounded, anyway. But I doubt there is a great incentive to house the real difficult to serve, "chronically homeless persons"; they simply do not avail themselves to enough happy antidotes we are all expected to tell.

I like the idea of just simply boosting the supply of transitional housing and quality shelter programs. Do that first, as a priority, and then work on strategies of long-term change. Too often we put the cart before the horse here. (It's doubtful that behavior modification techniques that use the withholding of potato soup will be all that effective anyway, though it could displace the problem to a neighboring community ... )

And just think, if we go with a "shelter first" approach, we won't need a HUD-sponsored supercomputer to "track" them. They'll have an actual address!

Phillip Young

Pikes Peak Community Action Agency

Open your eyes

I would like to respond to, clarify and correct some confusion regarding the Eyes Wide Open Memorial, brought to town by the American Friends Service Committee.

Bob Stovall's memory ("Bad rap," Letters, Oct. 19) has failed him! Committee member Cynthia Lang was, in fact, the very person who submitted the request to City Council to wave the fees for handicapped bathrooms and parking for disabled veterans to attend the memorial. This was met with insulting derision by the unelected Bernie Herpin, and rejected by the mayor, vice mayor and Council member Glenn.

We never heard from the majority of City Council on the issue. We did get this, published in its entirety on csaction.org, from the mayor, "We are currently awaiting our staff's recommendation."

After considerable delay, we got this from Mr. Stovall, council liaison: "Because you have already started this conversation directly with Council, it is inappropriate for me to step in with a recommendation to them."

Then, this from Mr. Stovall: "In order to avoid any further confusion, I am going to ask that all information be coordinated through me."

Then, days later, we received this from Mr. Stovall, "... Since you have already discussed this twice with Council, I can do nothing until I get direction from them, which I have not yet received."

This obvious bureaucratic delay and stalling tactic had, by that time, worked to keep us out of Memorial Park and the other three city parks we requested. We accepted defeat, and with the gracious support of the chaplain's office at Colorado College, moved the memorial there. It was a great success and attended by hundreds, of all political opinions, who all came together to honor the fallen.

Mark Lewis

Colorado Springs

"Time to move on'

A letter of gratitude: Thanks to all of you who attended my Magic Reality exhibit. It was by far the most incredible art experience of my life.

I am rejuvenated personally and as an artist. Sharing these paintings with this community under such extraordinary circumstance has energized my body, heart and soul. I also thank the Independent for its support over the years of my numerous "art guy" projects, businesses and endeavors.

From Thunderstruck Gallery to the BAC and my many personal art exhibits, I have greatly benefited from the Indy's participation in promoting my passions. And once again, that support significantly contributed to making this recent exhibition a grand success.

Though the time has come for me to move on to new horizons, I want to thank the arts community, Colorado Springs, Manitou, Pueblo and the Independent for all they have done for me. So in the name of "tata-sayonara it's been great time to move on" ... it is with my deepest gratitude that I say, "Do more art, see more art, buy more art, support the arts and hug an artist."

Rodney Wood

Colorado Springs

Is it over yet?

I have voted in every election for 40-plus years, for the least offensive, least disgusting, least hypocritical of the available seekers of offices that supposedly serve the people. Rarely, I have even been surprised that I voted for someone who actually did something good for the pay we give them.

The pandering and hypocrisy of most of the current slate of candidates for office in this election is a bit less terrible, because of voter dissatisfaction. But I wonder if anyone could beat a candidate named "Noneof Theabove," were they to run in any race?

It is high time to limit campaigning to a couple of weeks before the election and not allow campaign spending for an office to exceed the salary for the office.

David Barton Johnson

Cascade

The great disconnect

Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2006: Commander in Chief Bush states that we are winning the war in Iraq.

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2006: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld states that the war in Iraq is not militarily winnable.

Is there that great of a disconnect between Bush and Rumsfeld? If Rumsfeld is correct, why are our troops still in Iraq?

Leon Rodriguez, U.S. Army (retired)

Denver


Take Action

Become a lifeline to someone in crisis by taking calls on the Suicide Prevention Partnership Hotline. Free in-depth training for new hotline volunteers begins Thursday, Nov. 2. For more information on the training and the commitment required, visit sppppr.org or call 573-7447.

Enjoy breakfast at the DoubleTree Hotel World Arena (1775 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.) while taking an in-depth look at local ballot issues during Breakfast with the Chamber: Ballot Initiatives 2006. Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 3. Make your reservations by calling 575-4385 or visit coloradospringschamber.org. Tickets are $20 to $30.

Help keep a child warm this winter by donating new andgently used coats, hats and gloves to the Coats for Kids drive. The local chapter of Mothers & More is leading the drive this year, with collection bins at area King Soopers stores. Donations will be accepted through Monday, Nov. 20. Call Cami at 599-8905 for more information.

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