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The real blame

What happens next?

I was stunned by the unapologetic comments of Deputy Chief Steve Liebowitz. Pictures do not lie, but the same cannot be said for our city officials. One has to wonder what is left in the name of stopping anti-war demonstrators. What is next? Will Colorado Springs have a reenactment of Kent State (dont forget your live ammo)?

So what is the matter with these peace-loving hippies? You would think the citizens of Colorado Springs would have learned their lesson from 2003 when the police tear-gassed the anti-war demonstrators. Is this America? But if we are going to place blame for this ugliness, we should not stop with our keystone cops and their record of incompetence and disregard for constitutional rights. Nor should we blame our Mayor Lionel Rivera, who literally turned his back on the inhumanity; after all, he has his political career to think about.

No, the blame ultimately rests with the conservative majority of Colorado Springs: the morons who are so willing to give up their constitutional rights and their ability to live in a free society, if doing so favors their nearsighted political perspective.

We do not need to go to Iraq to fight terrorists. The terrorists are right here in Colorado Springs beating up our elderly. We pay the salary of the goons that committed this hate crime.

The fact is, unless the city of Colorado Springs intends to secede from the union, these goons in blue have broken the law of America in denying these citizens their constitutional right of free speech. At the very least, the police chief, deputy police chief and the mayor owe the marchers organization a public apology. The mayor owes a pledge to the organizations and citizens who wish to show their support for peace that they will be supported and allowed to march in peace.

David Esker

Colorado Springs

Rights unlimited?

Who does that St. Patricks parade promoter think he is, telling people his parade should be only about St. Patricks Day? Doesnt he know the First Amendment gives whiny protesters the right to falsify their application, then commandeer his event for their own agenda?

I think these geniuses are on to something, in fact. Perhaps they can follow up at this years sunrise Easter services with bullhorns and a nice loud No Blood for Oil chant. They could celebrate Ramadan this fall by burning Muhammad in effigy at a mosque. Come Hanukkah, they could barge in on some synagogues holiday potluck and serve ham.

Hey, its their constitutional right.

Greg Hartman

Colorado Springs

Bad birthday

This letter is in response to the story about the St. Patricks Day parade. I am celebrating my 53rd birthday Monday and was born on the street where the parade occurred. I thought it fitting to say a few words and think my dad would have agreed. We dont want any punk/coward cop wannabees playing Terminator on crippled senior citizens.

We prefer the Andy Griffith and Barney Fife mentality thank you very much. I am not even a trained fighter but I am certainly not afraid of anyone who would drag a 65-year-old woman with two hip replacements on asphalt.

Bryant Jones

Manitou Springs

Small's message

Here is an e-mail I received from City Councilor Larry Small on January 26, 2004, in response to an e-message I'd sent expressing my dismay about our city and utility fighting the rather modest renewable energy standard proposed for the state:

"Dear Dave, Your opinion makes very little difference to me. Sincerely, Larry L. Small"

Just in case any progressive thinkers are inclined to vote to re-elect Larry Small, I'd like to point out a few reasons he won't be getting my vote. Number one is he's been a part of the group-think council that fought against the renewable energy standard. This is the same group-think council that gave us Bernie Herpin. And the same group-think council that subsidizes new development in an era of shrinking water supplies and a need to consume less and pollute less.

Mr. Small also has a consistent track record of berating polite citizens (and even other City Councilors) who dare to disagree with him. You may have seen the TV-spots that show him berating Walter Lawson. Walter may be a thorn in his side, but he is always respectful. I don't stand in front of council and pretend to respect Mr. Small; I cannot be that dishonest. I don't suffer fools gladly. Still, it was inappropriate for Mr. Small to lecture me in a public council meeting that because I had not run for City Council like he did, that my opinion had less, if any, validity than his. This kind of arrogance flies in the face of representative, inclusive government.

If your criteria for a good city councilor are arrogance, hatefulness, a need for anger management, and a closed mind, then Small is your man.

Dave Gardner

Colorado Springs

Founder & Chair

SaveTheSprings

Barney at the wheel

Regarding "Reign on our parade" (cover story, March 22):

Anywhere, besides the twilight zone that is Colorado Springs, a difference of opinion could coexist as something less than a "threatening" situation.

It makes the town look ridiculous when practically every city in America has learned to tolerate the discomfort of some of its citizens saying things from time to time that others don't like, and we have some weird, Nixonian reaction to what would have been a non-story.

It is embarrassing that we operate like a western Mayberry with some nervous Barney Fife at the wheel, all keyed up to "save" the citizens from all manner of perceived evil. The picture of the elderly man in a choke hold at this dinky parade made its way around the Web for days as the image of the town.

Can that seriously be worth it? Since it is time to elect some new leadership for Colorado Springs, how about someone (or several someones on Council) with a tougher hide who actually likes all kinds of people, or someone with a better sense of humor, to run things here?

Kay Johnson

Colorado Springs

Message rejected

Colorado Springs and all of the greater Southern Colorado area has its own special messages. Sadly, for the marchers, Colorado Springs rejected the message of peace. Were it pro-life, pro-war, or in support of any other major religious-right issues, it likely would have been allowed to march through the parade, because this is Colorado Springs, and Colorado Springs knows what Colorado Springs wants.

It'll be tough for the liberal, anti-war movement to move forward in this town, where the "Impeach Bush" sign on Cache la Poudre was up for only a few days. I still see the same conservative jargon, week after week.

It's a tough break, guys, but this is Colorado Springs, and your message is not a message Colorado Springs will endorse.

Tom Nelson

Colorado Springs

Plain as day

Nothing will ever justify the treatment 65-year-old ladies got in the streets of Colorado Springs during the St. Patrick's Day Parade, but let's look at the facts:

The Taser seen in the photograph is firing, and several people heard and saw it fired. If that's policy, the policy needs to be changed. If it's not policy, the officer needs to be retrained.

The choke hold used against Frank Cordaro is just that, and "the untrained eye" that backs us up in this contention is a federal corrections officer with eight years experience. Just because the thumb of the officer is also employing a pain, submission, pressure-point hold, does not mean the arm under the neck is not a choke hold. It is, and the photo proves it. Frank was picked up by his neck, and that was punitive as well.

Half the entries in the parade are promoting "social issues," and peace was not a violation of that in 2006, so we had no reason to think it was in 2007. The photos prove there was no hiding of banners' intent or agenda for more than an hour before the parade marshal told us to line up in the street.

There was no protest, unless you consider the Republican Party float a protest against the Democratic Party, and we don't. There was complete compliance with permits, payment and protocols. The Democratic Party was told a banner about Bush would have to go, so it put the banner away. We were not given that option, and would have complied immediately. Most of the banners we brought ended up in back of the Bookmobile, deemed inappropriate, by our decision, before the parade.

Mark Lewis

Colorado Springs

Reliving the past

While visiting Colorado Springs for the first time, I picked up a copy of the March 22 edition of the Independent and saw something I never thought I would see in your fine city: a young police officer brutalizing an elderly peace activist.

Being a son of the South, this picture brought back very bad memories. I hope it is not a common image in what I feel is a wonderful city that I hope to visit many more times.

Brian Miller

Helena, Ark.

We're still the same

I lived in the Colorado Springs area throughout the 1990s and moved to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, Talmage in Northern California, in 2000.

But I still read the Indy online. And I still remember the redneck conservatism, the hypocritical Christian fundamentalismand police state-mentality of Colorado Springs.

It was with great sadness but no great surprise that I read Michael de Yoanna's article. Some things never change.

I'd like to point out two things, in particular.

First, the photo on the front page that accompanies the article shows a Colorado Springs police officer subduing a presumably peaceful protester. The problem? The officer has the protester in what's known as a "choke hold."

The use of choke holds by police officers in California is strictly forbidden except in life-and-death circumstances. Police officers in California would be fired for choking a subject who is not resisting arrest. And then, they would be charged with assault. I would know. I worked for the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office for four years.

Second, Colorado Springs likes to brag that it's now the 48th-largest city in the United States.Colorado Springslikes to brag about its quality of life, its schools, its arts and culture, its up-and-coming cosmopolitan status, etc.

Think again, Colorado Springs. With thugs for police officers, you're no more livable than Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia.

Your slick tourism and promotion people, and your busy marketing people, won't change a damn thing, Colorado Springs. Perception is reality.

John Sakowitz

Talmage, Calif.

Sad clarity

Thank you so much for the story "Reign on our parade" and how well-written it is. Especially in comparison to the brief and vague coverage in the Gazette. This story represents very well what happened.

As a witness, I was shocked and appalled by the way the marchers were treated by the police. At no point in time were the protesters disrespectful or being anything other than peaceful.

I am too young to have witnessed any of the war protests of Vietnam, but based on historical media, I felt that this event was quite comparable. As if the police officers stepped into a time warp. They began choking, dragging and pushing people around. No questions asked!

Shame on John O'Donnell! If you didn't want them waving their banners and signs, all you had to do was ask. No need to start beating the crap out of people! Just a polite reminder to put their signs away, and none of this would have happened!

What a dark and sad day that won't be forgotten by the people who care enough to work for peace!

Thank you again for the article. I was moved to tears. Although I witnessed it firsthand and felt rotten all week because of the incident, it was the first time I actually mourned the event as it should be mourned.

Bekah Short

Colorado Springs

As Einstein said

Reading about Nikzad Hashemi ("To be Iranian in Colorado Springs," News, March 22), rejected by Americans for being an Iranian and rejected by Iranians for being a Jew, reminded me of a quotation from Albert Einstein.

He once said, "If my theory of relativity is proven correct, Germany will claim me as a German, and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German, and Germany will declare that I am a Jew."

Harry Katz

Woodland Park

Martin's answer

Unbiased reporting?

In "Concrete contributions" (March 15), the reporter discussed a land conversion deal that Falcon 49 supports, which will bring over $4 million into our schools. She implied that this deal was a political buyout and despite my explanation of the situation, failed to include it.

In the three years I have been on Falcon School Board, City Council and County Commission approved many land conversions from commercial to residential, with no consideration of the impact on the district. So, we made a policy to protest all conversions as they went before planning. Our district protested the land conversion proposed by the Morleys and to our surprise, it worked. City Council denied the conversion.

The Morley Company then came to the district to ask what it would take to compensate the district. We worked out a reasonable cost, which was an additional $2.2 million on top of the approximately $2 million that will come from $1,500 voluntary impact per home. This is a contribution never seen by our district in response to impacts.

This contribution alone would build half an elementary school and despite the article's report, it would compensate for the students in that area.

In three years, I have secured more private funding for schools and athletic facilities than the 15 years prior well over $10 million. I guess I assumed that saving taxpayers' money and relieving overcrowding was my job and the job of every school board member whom also voted for this deal.

My position requires tough choices and constantly pushing development to provide for the children of this district. I was not endorsed by the HBA for this very reason. But, this reporter failed to report that or any other activity done by the HBA in this campaign.

Dave Martin

Colorado Springs

City council candidate and Falcon school board president

Tarnished gold

Would Fr. Bill Carmody ("Regarding adoption," Letters, March 22) please inform my daughter that her family is not gold standard?

Please advise her that in spite of the fact that she is one of the most empathetic, intelligent people that I know, that she is attending one of the top five liberal arts colleges in the nation, and that she has a sweet, long-term relationship with a wonderful young man, that her family is not up to par. Please let her know that in order for her family to attain "gold" status, one of her parents must be a man.

The idea that a family consisting of two heterosexual parents is in some way superior to that with two same-sex parents is not only erroneous, but insulting.

Before Fr. Carmody or anyone else judges families of any kind, perhaps they should meet some of the amazing offspring that have been raised by families that he considers less than "gold." I know many of these kids, and perhaps because they have grown up contending with such offensive attitudes, they tend to be people who are wise beyond their years, humorous, openhearted and, contrary to Fr. Carmody's assessment, uncommonly well-adjusted.

Unconditional love and respect are, in my opinion, the most powerful ingredients in creating success in any family. Imagine what this world would be if families were supported and commended for promoting those values, instead of being insulted for not fitting a narrow model of how those values should be embodied.

Amy MacKenzie

Florence

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