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High on Jermaine

I want to thank you for your piece on Jermaine Rogers ("Mr. Rogers' neighborhood," cover story, March 1). For years, I have owned a poster that he did for Radiohead back in 1998, and I never knew anything about the artist.

I am happy to hear that he moved to Manitou Springs. Hopefully I will bump into him one day.

Uriah Oxford

Colorado Springs

Pion points

While it is true that Colorado Springs officials are restating what the military is telling them, that "the expansion [of Pion Canyon] is vital to the expansion of Fort Carson," it is just not true. BRAC (Base Re-Alignment & Closure) reports indicated Pion Canyon is not needed even with the addition of the extra troops.

The military is trying to justify something by creating fear that "billions of dollars" are at stake. Colorado Springs will not lose anything. The military will stay in Colorado. The additional troops will still come to Fort Carson. There will be no billions of dollars lost.

This is not a fight withColorado Springs, nor is it a fight with economic development inColorado Springs. Why does the military want the last remaining intact grasslands, and grasslands ecosystem in theUnited States,when it already has 25 million other acres to use?

We do have a fight to keep our heritage and ways of life that include strong ethics and morals passed down through many generations. We do have a fight to keep intact our part of the unspoiled Colorado that remains. We do have a fight to protect our land and our country against an unnecessary and wasteful takeover by a defunct transformation project as outlined by the now-deposed Donald Rumsfeld.

His "dream" for this project advocated lethal, high-tech weapons development and testing while ignoring the real needs of our troops and our country. We all know how his leadership and dreams failed us up to now, so how can we justify continuing to pursue other actions dictated by the same failed policy?

Shouldn't we be dedicating our efforts and resources to securing protective gear and financial support for our soldiers at Fort Carson? Shouldn't we also encourage the chambers of commerce to put their efforts into leading the fight to provide mental-health services and better overall health and rehabilitation opportunities for our soldiers at Fort Carson? That would be a far better use of our energies and tax dollars.

Lon Robertson

Branson

Medina's story

I found your article on Ernie Medina ("Prison break," cover story, Feb. 15) fascinating and compassionate. I'm sure his unusual story and his determination will inspire others. The information about the Department of Corrections was placed well and did not distract from the human-interest tone. It gave me some of the necessary background that actually made Ernie's story more dramatic. Well done.

Elizabeth Martin

Grand Junction

History repeats

The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners recently voted 4-1 to refinance certificates of participation (COPs) to repair/rebuild/remodel our Criminal Justice Center and courthouse buildings.

The refinancing will cost the people of El Paso County millions more dollars than the COPs' original total in 2002. By refinancing the 2002 COPs, the current commissioners have just fallen back on the (original) groundwork of the (nearly) recalled county commissioners, Dr. Tom Huffman and Chuck Brown.

What is so different today about refinancing COPs that it doesn't generate the frenzy (in both the local political world and the press) that the original COPs generated in 2002?

Why is it OK today, when it will cost El Paso County millions of dollars more (in interest) than the originally secured COPs in 2002? And why isn't there any "backlash" from the likes of Jan Martin and Chuck Murphy against Dennis Hisey, Sallie Clark, Jim Bensberg and Wayne Williams the group of current commissioners who have sent us even further into debt (without a vote on the matter)?

What am I missing, and what is going on?

Addy M. Hansen

Colorado Springs

Limit the laws

There were many letters in the March 1 Independent that I, for one, agree with. The problem is that the writers expose the problem without offering a plausible solution. Yes, the system is broken, and yes, it needs fixed.

As a wise man once said, "Judge not lest ye be judged." Gee, I wonder what he meant by that? Did he mean that we are never to judge our fellow man as evil, perverse, etc.?

How do we the people fix the system? Easy. Stop thinking that society, government or corporations will ever do anything right, or that they can "protect" us. "Nasty, hate-inspired laws" would not exist if we simply embrace the principles held in the form of government known as a republic.

Among these is the principle that no one has any right to decide for another who they can and cannot marry, as well as imbibe in any substance on any day, just because your religion or morality says it is wrong. The only laws that would exist in a true, bona fide republic would be laws designed to assist the safety and security of others, such as the DUI laws.

Restore the republic, before we become "One world ruled by god" also known as "The Kingdom of God." (Boy, was that ever mistranslated.)

Dwayne Schultz

Colorado Springs

A two-front war

The Feb. 22 issue drew me to two letters of interesting misinformation.

In Steve Adams' "Raising Arizona" letter, he raised the 68-year-old canard that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. Raising the minimum wage costs no more jobs than when a business' utilities are raised or when the price of products they sell is raised. So many states have raised the minimum wage far above the federal level that the only importance of a federal minimum wage is that it establishes a national base for wages.

Republicans have been against a minimum wage since it began in 1938 at 25 cents an hour. Yes, 25 cents an hour! It didn't hurt the economy then, and it doesn't hurt it now. Hopefully, Republicans will still be against a minimum wage hike right up to Nov. 4, 2008, and the general election.

Then we have J. Ulrich's "Slow bleed" letter of misinformation. The phrase "slow bleed" was conceived by a left-leaning blog meaning a series of small steps by congressional Democrats curtailing Bush's power to make war in Iraq. It is obvious that Ulrich hadn't a clue what "slow bleed" really meant when his letter said Democrats want to defund the troops. The truth is, Democrats want to assure troops have combat training, are armed properly and none would have to return to Iraq in less than 12 months. If that's a slow bleed, please bring me a gross of bandages.

So, when I see a car sporting a yellow ribbon saying, "Support the troops!" I wonder if the driver supports the troops or Bush. There is a difference, you know.

Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

War and blood

Love the simplicity of concrete thinkers. But cognitive abilities of concrete thinkers are at their height of capacity at age 4.

This is to disparage the simple-mindedness of J. Ulrich's fingerpointing at the Democratic Party. The Dems "will surely have defaced our military, putting them at greater risk."

At how greater a risk are they, by this point, after six years of Bush's simple-mindedness: "We're America, we're always right with might!" with the rubber-stamping of his GOP party. Furthermore, how dare you make such a foolish comment: "Our own freedom came at a tremendous cost, far beyond what Iraq is experiencing."

How do you know? Have you visited Iraq over the past four years and spoken with Iraqi business people simply trying to feed their children and keep their homes habitable and safe? The "slow bleed" I hear trickling is not your blood or mine, but those that have been forced to survive a war that was illegal from its genesis.

I don't think I have to finger-point, unless it is to a 4-year-old, to figure out where the bleeding stemmed from.

Valerie L. Etter

Caon City

Talk to Iran

The recent deployment of the USS Stennis carrier group to the Sea of Oman, armed with a battery of Patriot missiles, should chill every American to the bone. Two carrier groups, off the coast of Iran, armed with short-range missiles, not usable against Iraq or Afghanistan oh yeah, and capable of being armed with nuclear warheads.

Kinda sounds like a buildup against Iran to me. Prior to this, the U.S. has never had two carrier groups in the same region outside of war.

All red-blooded Americans want to stop Iran's nuclear development and interference in Iraq. What we must remind our commander-in-chief is that military force against Iran has to be viewed as a last resort. Not a first option.

The name-calling and chest-puffing by this administration toward Iran are likely to accelerate a tragic slide toward war, a war we cannot afford.

We have little to fear from Iran, and there is a huge upside to successful conclusion. By working with the allies we have left, and using every diplomatic, political and economic option available, we can safely end this standoff before it's too late.

Jim Gibbons

Colorado Springs

Give us some pie

As a lifelong outdoorsman and former Air Force officer, I'm concerned about the few remaining wild places and wide-open spaces (i.e., roadless areas) in Colorado. A recent editorial from a Front Range paper said, in part, that Gov. Ritter's hesitation in adopting former Gov. Owens' roadless petition is "an attempt to overturn the apple cart on behalf of those who didn't get everything their way on the roadless issue."

First, public backing for protecting all of Colorado's roadless areas was demonstrated unequivocally by the outpouring of support for the 2001 Roadless Rule and in public comments documented by the 2006 Roadless Area Review Task Force (RARTF). In both cases, more than 90 percent of Coloradans requested complete protection of all roadless areas in the state.

So, most Coloradans were taken by surprise when they found out that in the Owens Roadless Petition fine print, low and behold, some juicy special-interest giveaways were inserted at the last minute: nearly 400,000 acres of industry concessions, primarily ski areas and coal mines. Now that Owens' giveaway language has seen the light of day, the public does not support it. Even our own Division of Wildlife (DOW) doesn't support it!

Along with the good folks at DOW, we hunters and anglers are simply trying to protect the last public lands outside of wilderness where we can walk away from the ugliness of development and the noise of OHVs to find undisturbed, high-quality hunting and fishing habitat. Yes, this is about "access."

As our public-lands backcountry becomes increasingly overrun with oil and gas fields, clear-cut logging and more new roads and trails, illegal as well as legal, we who are traditional, muscle-powered, quiet-use recreationists are having our access stolen. We are not fighting for ideals, but for survival and our fair share of the public lands pie.

David A. Lien

Colorado Springs

Try Australia

Phil Stahl ("Military debate," Letters, March 1) writes that the bureaucrats play their "terrorist" card to take away yet more of our freedoms.

Try Australia, Phil.

Our secret police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, can take me off of the sidewalk without charges, without a lawyer and without informing my family. It only takes a judge to sign the order. C'mon, judges who will sign that are a dime a dozen.

Don Smith

Brisbane, Australia

Correction

Because of inaccurate information provided by Colorado Springs police, there was an error reported in "External affair" (News, Feb. 22). There were no sustained allegations of excessive force among Colorado Springs police in 2006. The Independent regrets the error.

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