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Scary politburo
Well, I believe hell may have frozen over. I actually agree with and am impressed with an article in the Indy ("Raising the bar," cover story, Sept. 6). Anthony Lane's chilling account of the Colorado Springs politburo made me think I was reading Milan Kundera's novel The Joke. "Comrade, we are concerned about this incident that is 24 years old." If this article doesn't convince the voting public to become Libertarians, nothing will.

I hope that City Council will overturn the unelected bureaucrats' decision. Allow the risk-taker, the entrepreneur, to exist and provide a service to our community. Our mayor likes to say he is pro-business. Step in now, Mayor, and right a grievous wrong.

Edward Knapp

Colorado Springs

Save the bar
I just wanted to comment on the Tam O'Shanter. I think that you wrote a great story.

I have known Denise Stinson for a few years. She is not a boastful or "woe-is-me" person. She is very kindhearted and thoughtful. If anyone was in need of something to eat, she would feed them. She would do anything for anyone, a friend or a stranger. I think what is being done to her is very wrong,

I have worked for a few bars in Colorado Springs. I could tell you stories of why they truly do not deserve their licenses. She has done nothing but fight the unjust system to make her family business succeed. Tam's is a high-class, well-taken-care-of, safe place to be. It's a place you can go where everyone knows your name and you feel part of the Stinson family. For everyone who has ever been there: How many times have you seen the authorities there, or bar-fights? (None.)

I will fight for the Tam O'Shanter. I will stand behind Denise all the way. even in a higher court. Not only did the board offend her, but me and all my friends. I finally found a place to sit and enjoy a few cocktails where I feel safe, then you take it away. She has done nothing wrong.

As for the members of the board who do not want to comment: Why do you not want to stand behind your decision? Do you feel that it was wrong?

Shannon Gutierrez

Colorado Springs

Being a 49er

Colorado Springs is equipped to be competitive in the global marketplace and we must act decisively to take charge of our future, not letting chance take us where it will.

Ralph Routon ("Searching for sister cities," Between the Lines, Sept. 6) opens an important discussion for the city of Colorado Springs: a discussion about who we want to be now that we have grown up, as well as who the other grown-ups are. This is important in a global economy because the cities mentioned by Ralph, as well as many others, here in the United States and in other parts of the world, are also our competitors. It is not a matter of whether or not we will be affected by the global marketplace, but rather how we will direct our response to challenge and change. This need not lead to bigger government.

Colorado Springs is a unique community with incredible advantages. As the nation's 49th-largest city, choices will increasingly be forced upon us. We will make better choices if we are not only aware of what is going on in the greater economy, but examine strategies of other communities and adapt those ideas which also apply to us, as well as create our own approaches to improving our community.

We have a history of strong leadership and a wealth of studies demonstrating our commitment to research. Now is the time to review past studies and recommendations in light of our city's potential, compare what is happening around us, and move into the 21st century in the pioneer spirit that has served us so well in the past. We can take charge of our future; we must.

Jay Fawcett

Western Strategies Center

Colorado Springs

ACS contradicted
American Cancer Society spokesman David Sampson is not telling the truth when he claims (Bad medicine?) that his organization is basing its reluctance to support medical marijuana on the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report.

The IOM report stated flatly, "Nausea, appetite loss, pain, and anxiety are all afflictions of wasting, and all can be mitigated by marijuana." Although the report expressed concerns about possible health hazards of smoking and called for the development of a "nonsmoked, rapid-onset cannabinoid delivery system," it specifically acknowledged that for some patients with chronic or terminal conditions, there is no feasible alternative at present.

The nonsmoked delivery system that the IOM asked for has existed for some time. Three studies published in the last 18 months have shown that devices called vaporizers allow the use of natural marijuana with all the advantages of smoking rapid relief and ease of dose adjustment without the harmful contaminants in smoke.

The American Cancer Society, of all organizations, really should not need to have this explained to them.

Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, D.C.

A little hazy
Matthew Schnur is advocating for the medical use of marijuana ("Bad medicine?" News, Sept. 6). While this seems innocent enough, seeing as how so many use marijuana recreationally, there are ample examples of adverse effects.

The medical fraternity is opposed to using marijuana to treat certain health conditions. The conservative medical profession has the health of the community at heart. I feel any drug that causes a change in a person's behavior should be used with caution. There are examples where a person can have a temporary loss of memory and no recollection of recent events. It is best to deal with the medical use of marijuana with great caution.

Don Smith

Brisbane, Australia

Anti-pot obsession
J. Adrian Stanley and the Independent deserve major kudos for an outstanding article on Matthew Schnur and his campaign on behalf of medical cannabis and those patients deriving benefit from its use. Well-written (among the best nationally I've read this year) with accurate inclusion of information and a humane view of Schnur as a patient advocate.

I have one little bone to pick. Schnur says, "I just think because of the recreational use, people have such a distortion about the use of this as medicine." Actually, it's the seven decades of demonization by the anti-drug fanatics in the U.S. who are responsible for that distortion. But Harry Anslinger, xenophobe and lifelong career bureaucrat, by presenting perjured testimony before Congress, initiated a campaign of lies and cultural bigotry that continues to this day.

Before Anslinger's "reefer madness" campaign, no one really knew what "marijuana" was. Rather than paint "recreational use" as the cause of pot's stereotypical "stoner" image, it is really the purposeful maintenance of negative government propaganda responsible for that bias. And the government has gone beyond just negative campaigning.

Studies have been buried (Medical College of Virginia, 1974, proving cannabis effective in slowing growth of three kinds of cancer in mice) and ignored. The DEA's own administrative law judge, Francis Young, declared in 1988 after a lengthy investigation that cannabis is "one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man."

Hiding a possible cure or highly effective treatment in the battle against cancer is truly criminal, and hopefully one day the war on pot and all its users will end.

Allan Erickson

Drug Policy Forum of Oregon

Eugene, Ore.

Ego override
Rrecent reports about Rep. Doug Lamborn and his leaving "threatening" voicemails just show what egomanics these political hacks really are. I find his actions disgusting, but common for those who think they are so far superior to the rest of us.

These politicians, both Democrat and Republican, make me never want to vote again, although I probably will vote for the Constitution Party candidate.

Don Fahrenkrug

Colorado Springs

"What was I thinking?'
Who does [El Paso County GOP chairman] Greg Garcia think he is? I am a lifelong conservative Republican, and Garcia is telling me I can't state anything that might be construed as misleading ("GOP order: a fair local fight," Public Eye, Aug. 16).

So, let me make this clear, with no innuendos. In my opinion, Doug Lamborn is a pompous, arrogant, condescending and ineffective congressman who wastes taxpayer money thumping himself on the chest.

His skin is thin as tissue, and he tries to intimidate people with his bluster and obnoxious behavior. And to think I voted for him. What was I thinking?

Mr. Garcia, is there any doubt about my assessment of Mr. Lamborn? Is there anything that is unclear? Are you going to kick me out of the Republican Party?

Now you know why I never contribute a cent to the El Paso or national Republican parties. They throw money down a rat hole or spend it on the administration or make asinine statements in the Gazette.

Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Stay wild
With the Wilderness Act reaching its 43rd birthday this month (it was signed Sept. 3, 1964), now is a good time to reflect on the progress we've made in preserving some of our special wild places, and consider the even greater challenges that remain in protecting America's wilderness for future generations.

While Congress has designated, and continues to designate, spectacular, unspoiled land for wilderness protection often with bipartisan support seven of every eight acres of the wild lands in our country remain unprotected by federal law.

As citizens, we must call for the conservation of treasures such as the Wild Sky in Washington and the Boulder-White Clouds in Idaho. Most importantly, we must be vigilant in demanding that our federal government carry out its duty to be a responsible steward of our public lands, lest we lose these amazing areas forever.

Juell DeSpain

Colorado Springs

Smokers' rights

This is in response to Brian Lackey (Ignoring the law, Letters, Sept. 6). First, smoking is not illegal. Furthermore, the taxes on every pack of cigarettes pay for federal programs that pay for children's health insurance. If you tax a commodity and regulate it, then ban its use everywhere, how can you collect?

Are the bar owners in this town nuts? No, they are standing up for their rights as private citizens and business owners. If you don't want to visit a bar or restaurants that allow smoking, then that is your choice. You do not have to go to places that offend you. There are plenty of non-smoking bars and restaurants to enjoy.

To suggest we "run these people out of town" shows your intolerance for people who have a different view from yours. I think you just don't get it. The rights of the people should be upheld first, not the cries from the bitter people who want to force their views on everyone! Let the people decide.

Casey Valenti

Colorado Springs

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