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Victim of 1981

The article about the retirement crisis in the air-traffic system ("Turbulence ahead," cover story, Aug. 2) was thoughtful and well-researched. I am one of the 10,438 controllers fired during the "infamous strike" in 1981, and appreciated that you ran the story on the 26th anniversary of that event.

The controllers retiring now served as strikebreakers, whether intentionally or not. This does not justify the FAA's appalling treatment of its workforce, which has steadily become worse over the years. Thank you for covering the story.

CJ Jenni
Colorado Springs

Eminent arguments

It is extremely irresponsible and ridiculous for anyone to continue saying the families with homes at risk within the Pion Canyon expansion proposal "object to the expansion" or are unpatriotic. These people are objecting to losing their homes, not the expansion itself. Several of these families have children in the military how much more patriotic can you get?

I believe we all would strenuously object if our homes of several generations were at risk of being taken by our government. This is not an objection to our military, but a property-rights issue that should scare us all.

These ranches are immense pieces of property that most of these families do not want to leave. They love their land and the lives they have on them.

This is not any different than the Wissler Ranch issue when School District 38 was trying to use the power of eminent domain in Monument for a new high school.

What about the "Super Slab" toll road that has multiple properties tied up because it has been noted on their deeds they could be at risk?

Does anyone really believe our property rights will be protected if our government is free to claim eminent domain on over 400,000 acres of land? The final decisions on this will be made starting in September. Please learn about this expansion and what it means to all of us, and speak out to your representatives.

Southeastern Colorado is just as beautiful as the Western Slope. There are grasshoppers with bodies as fat as your thumb, hawks everywhere, so many flowers that you do not see at higher altitudes, gorgeous Colorado sunsets over the Spanish Peaks, and absolutely beautiful canyons. This is not a dry, no-man's land. It is loved by the people who live and visit there.

Laura Easom
Elbert

Ward of the system

Professor Alexander Soifer's defense of fired CU professor Ward Churchill ("Local professor chastises CU for Churchill firing," News, Aug. 2) is a classic example of what is very wrong with the tenure system at our colleges and universities.

Instead of railing against the regents who had the good sense to terminate an arrogant, cheating bully masquerading as an academic, Soifer should be questioning why his fellow professors, who had the opportunity to fire Churchill in May, could not summon the courage to do so.

Despite an earlier finding that Churchill had engaged in "multiple acts of plagiarism, falsification and fabrication," the faculty committee in Boulder suggested only a one-year suspension, not termination. They said he engaged in "misbehavior, but not the worst possible behavior."

Rationalizing further, they added, "He did not fabricate data to obtain grant money, did not endanger people's lives by ignoring research standards and did not damage the process of important research." We can all be relieved that Churchill didn't teach in the medical school.

The actions of the CU Board of Regents were far from hypocritical. They did what needed to be done, when the faculty, ever fearful of scrutiny, was ready to protect one of their tenured own. As Charles Miller, head of the U.S. Commission on the Future of Higher Education, said in an issue paper last year, "There is a resistance to accountability and assessment, a fear of exposure and misinterpretation."

It's long past time for more intrusive scrutiny into the academic process. Until that happens, the Ward Churchills at our institutions of higher learning will continue to be insulated from the fate they deserve.

Rich Boyle
Colorado Springs

Troubled waters

The bridge collapse in Minnesota was awful, and there may be many more to come if enough funds aren't allocated for identifying and repairing dangerous bridges.

I heard someone saying the other day on the radio about how much money would need to be spent nationwide on such repairs: more that $20 billion a year! It's a lot of money, but that's not saying the government doesn't have it. In fact, the government has a few hundred billion dollars to spend on continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan every year. Actually, we spend over $600 billion on the military every year! That's almost half the entire United States government's budget. They could spare a bit to fix up bridges.

Andrew Flynn
Senior, Palmer High School
Colorado Springs

No warm fuzzies

Joan Miller in her vitriolic screed "Save the Springs" (Letters, Aug. 9) asked, "What is being done to save Colorado Springs?" I wondered what she wanted to save it from: California liberals who escape that failing area and foolishly try to recreate it here? I read on and found out that she had far more irrational fears.

Joan cried about how "current politics and policy are aimed at growth at all costs." She lamented how there is "almost no public involvement in planning or governance at any level." Of course, the causes are "public policies that follow politics to the right of Attila the Hun." Then Joan drops this bomb: "I am unwilling to make my permanent home in a community where civic leadership has set aside social responsibility as a fundamental tenet of good government."

Joan, let me be the first to say "good riddance" to you. Somehow I doubt social responsibility is anything more than your code word for "give unto the government all the money it shall want to placate the whims of every bureaucrat with a wild idea of how to make us all better people." I, for one, shall pass on that kind of "responsibility."

She ends with "I know there are many wonderful residents of Colorado Springs, but the eternal question they raise in the midst of their middle-class lives is to say: What, me? Involved? What can I do?"

Of course, the involvement people like Joan want is the mindless drone type, supportive of massive government do-gooder programs that eat up tax money with the only benefit a warm, fuzzy feeling in the hearts of liberals who don't care about measurable, real-world results.

Please stay in Virginia, Ms. Miller; your big-government Easterner ideas are not welcome in the West.

Scott Graves
Colorado Springs

Religious questions

I have just a few small problems, and a question to propose to Debbie Brown, in reference to her letter ("Tired of PC," Letters, Aug. 9).

First, the question: Are you daft? Your "religion of love" has been responsible for most of the atrocities committed throughout history, such as Hitler's treatment of the Jewish people, the Spanish Inquisition, the Dark Ages and the Salem witch trials.

You see, Christianity as a whole condones the murder and/or conversion of anyone who does not believe exactly the same way they do.

Your word for a nonbeliever is "heathen"; Islam's is "infidel." Either way, it is either convert or die. Heck, most of the problems with our leader can be traced to his narrow viewpoints.

You did get one thing right: "Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion ..." That includes the Christian-fascist belief that gays cannot marry. It also prevents those same Christian-fascists from establishing "the Kingdom of God" on American shores.

By the way, I don't care if you wear a cross or a Star of David. Just do me a favor: Don't try to display your religion in public forums, such as in schools or courthouses, because I, for one, do not need your god of fear and hatred.

And by the way, Buddhism is the only "religion" that does indeed preach peace in all of its doctrines, and you and Islam share the first five books of the Old Testament.

Dwayne Schultz
Colorado Springs

From the Eastburns

Thanks to the Independent for so graciously honoring Theodore Kang Eastburn in the Aug. 2 issue. Everyone who remembered him from Kathryn's Domestic Bliss column, or who knew him in life and wrote to share our loss and mutual love, has helped our family to begin moving forward, knowing that we are held in the arms of the community.

Our hope is to learn to incorporate Teddy's life and death into the souls we hope to become. Our hearts are tender and open, our lives slowed to a pace that allows us only to look, grieve, celebrate and remember our beloved son and brother.

Your thoughts, prayers, letters, e-mails and acts of kindness are appreciated more than you can imagine.

Kathryn Eastburn
Dr. Ted Eastburn
Philip Eastburn
Aaron Eastburn
Katie Eastburn

Forget medals

Ralph Routon continues the old arguments about whether the U.S. or China will win the most medals ("Let the Olympic (mind) games begin," End Zone, Aug. 9). I'm sorry, Ralph, I always thought that the Olympics were about athlete against athlete, not country against country.

For years, the late Avery Brundage campaigned against professionalism and nations against nations. With his passing, the media have taken up the call to have the Olympics be against nations, not against individuals.

As the months wear on, the media will be firing up the public to be all in favor of one country over another. What the media and the public should be doing is celebrating the efforts of all athletes, regardless of whether they win or lose. That is the spirit Mr. Brundage wanted to foster.

Don Smith
Brisbane, Australia

Corrections

In "Keeping it cool" (Appetite, Aug. 2), we erroneously stated that Kimball Bayles and Brent Beavers were partners in the purchase of Metropolitain. Bayles was and is Metropolitain's sole owner.

Due to an editing error, "Real fruit flavors" (News, Aug. 9) indicated that farmers' market vendor Joe Mauro was interviewed at the Manitou Springs Midweek Market. He actually was interviewed at a Memorial Park market.

The Independent regrets the errors.

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