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Chopped up
So all of a sudden, Police Chief Richard Myers reverses his stance on the helicopter (see News). Certainly the full-court press was put on him by some of the powers that be, or perhaps he was waterboarded by our mayor.

It does not make fiscal sense that the helicopter budget grew from $85,000 to $485,000, an increase of 66 percent per year on the initial budget. Where is the independent study that backs up the effectiveness of this toy? If it replaces eight to 10 patrol cars, send it out to hover over the bar scene at closing time on weekends! This would free the critical police force for the rest of our city.

Perhaps money would be better spent on the cold-case backlog or more traffic patrol to counteract the disregard of traffic laws by many drivers.

Who cares if it is a noisy nuisance at night, thereby diminishing the quality of life in Colorado Springs?

Ann Howell
Colorado Springs

Forked tongue
Regarding Rep. Larry Liston's "apology" reported by the media (see Ranger Rich): I don't buy it.

Liston's calling pregnant teens "sluts" during the Republican legislative caucus was very offensive, but more than that, the underlying sentiment is positively medieval. To suggest that shunning and shaming is going to reduce Colorado's high teen pregnancy rate is, too.

Rep. Liston is pro-life and probably anti-sex education. Well, he can't have it both ways. If he truly wants to reduce teen pregnancy, he needs to give teens the tools to do so. Abstinence-only education is obviously not working.

We need comprehensive sex education in the schools. Shame will drive pregnant teens to the abortion clinics. Pregnancy prevention and birth control will not. Abortion would indeed be a rare thing if everyone had access to safe, affordable prevention methods. Why aren't we striving for that?

Instead, shame the children, make them carry the baby to full term and deliver. After all, that's the punishment for extramarital sex, isn't it? And while we're at it, let's be sure to label the baby as "illegitimate," so she or he can carry the stigma for life.

Nan Stilwagen
Colorado Springs

The "shame' game
What part of "shame" does state Rep. Larry Liston not understand when he bemoans Americans having "no sense of shame today"? That's a bit much coming from a member of a political party that casually places war criminals at the head of the ticket.

Let's please remind Mr. Liston of the obligation he has to hold his party's leaders accountable for the campaign of lies they told to the American people to justify an illegal war on Iraq.

Phil Weinstein
Boulder

Republicans in drag
Somebody won on Super Tuesday; it doesn't matter who. The candidates were all preselected by our corporate overlords, so that no matter what happens in November, the corporate elite will be the winners, and "We The People" will be the losers.

I don't really care who wins the Democratic nomination, I will not vote for the Democrats in November. When the Republicans had the majority, we had to constantly listen to the Dems excuse their own refusal to stand up and act like an opposition party with the whine: "The Republicans have all the power!"

Since winning the majority, all the Dems ever do is whine, "We only have a one-vote majority; we can't do anything! Republicans have all the power!"

So, I will not be voting for a Democrat in November, or quite possibly, ever again. I'm just not stupid enough to get fooled again. Over the past year they have made it crystal clear, beyond any shadow of doubt, that a vote for the Dems is completely wasted even if they win.

So why not throw my vote to a third-party candidate? Even though he can't win, at least I can express my absolute disgust with the pathetic, useless Democrats. And that is the only reason I will even vote in November.

Thomas McCullock
Colorado Springs

Theocracy watch
It is unfortunate local politicians do not see government needs to be impartial in matters concerning church and state, regardless of their feelings. This country, county and city are multidimensional, religiously and politically. Our "leaders" need to distance themselves from those things that might appear to breach the wall separating matters of government from the religious sphere.

Otherwise government, at all levels, takes that first step onto the slippery slope toward a theocracy. That's something, I believe, no one truly wants.

Bob Armintor
Colorado Springs

D-14's position
This is in response to last week's letter ("Un-green 14," Feb. 7) regarding the Manitou Springs School District 14 (MSSD14) Accountability Report and the environmental cost of distributing the report.

School districts are mandated by the state to publish accountability reports and to make them available to the public. A vast majority of school districts in El Paso County mail similar publications to all residents. This publication is also used to promote our community by real estate companies and homeowner associations.

We did not use recycled paper because to do so would have added $520 to the total cost, and we work within a limited budget.

I believe that Manitou has always challenged the status quo and I agree with the premise of the letter: that to publish in this way is wasteful and unnecessary. For next year, we will explore ways to reduce waste and money for this report.

MSSD14 takes environmental stewardship seriously. In the past year, we have converted all of our diesel buses to biodiesel. We have upgraded lighting, heating and air-handling systems in order to reduce our electricity and gas consumption by a projected 40-60 percent. In addition, there are ongoing efforts in all of our buildings to reduce the amount of trash we produce while simultaneously expanding our recycling program.

The points made are being taken seriously. We make the best decisions we can based upon many variables and will do our best to make environmentally friendly policy decisions in the future.

Jennifer Farmer
D-14 school board member

Let's lighten up
We might have been too hard on neophyte state Rep. Douglas Bruce. The day of his swearing in, he was quietly praying in the House chamber when a news photographer viciously thrust his knee into Mr. Bruce's foot! I was surprised the always-litigious Bruce did not file an assault and battery lawsuit. This gives new meaning to the term "knee-jerk liberal press." But Bruce was allowed to stay in the Legislature, so he can't kick.

In hindsight, we also may have been too hard on defrocked Pastor Ted Haggard. We were most shocked last year when he appealed for cash donations after having made more than $150,000 each year in income previously. But possibly he was in arrears. Maybe he had hit bottom, and he needed his supporters to get behind him. No wonder.

Haggard's erstwhile longtime friend, Dr. James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, at first pledged quick support in the gay-rehabilitation efforts, but in a few days quickly reneged since he was so busy with his other more important tasks in radio and politics.

We should be patient with our newsmakers. They're doing the best they can. They put Colorado Springs on the map.

Larimore Nicholl
Colorado Springs

Failing grade
Perhaps homeschooled kids ("One of these things," cover story, Jan. 31) are good at spelling. If that is the only criterion for a good education, then hooray for homeschooling. Alas, as we all should know, homeschooling is the perfect excuse for parents who wish to indoctrinate their children to the Nth degree with their ideas and religious beliefs.

Though my experience with homeschooling parents is limited, it has not been encouraging. I know one couple who worked full-time and left their three boys home alone all day to homeschool themselves. When the boys "graduated," they did not go on to any kind of higher education. Other parents I've met used atrocious grammar and usually did not have much education themselves. Another couple focused on the Bible as their two children pleaded to let them go to public school.

Our public-education system is far from perfect. Despite its many flaws, it is still the best way to educate our children. For every student who receives a good education from homeschooling, and I'm sure there are many, I would imagine there are many, many more who don't.

Matthew Murray was not a typical example of a homeschooled person, as he acted out his frustration with murder. I'm also certain hundreds of thousands of young people have been indoctrinated dare I say, brainwashed who didn't receive an adequate education, were deprived of socialization and will end up as undereducated social misfits.

If we allow parents to teach their children, they should be required to meet certain levels of higher education themselves.

Jan Zeis
Colorado Springs

History repeats?
I heard some interesting comments about Barack Obama: "He says what I want to hear, he is such a good speaker, I can relate to him, I like the way he talks, I would love to have dinner with him."

Interestingly, these are the same comments I heard seven years ago about George W. Bush. And we know how that turned out, now don't we?

Jane Madden
Colorado Springs

Power of prayer
Shannon Barnes and his Arkansas family survived a tornado that destroyed their house, as detailed in recent media coverage. It is no wonder he credited divine intervention. People through all time have called upon gods of various sorts to help them survive nature's nightmares.

If Jesus was in some way involved in the Barnes family's survival, one can't help but wonder why He didn't save the 55 poor souls who died in the twisters. Many undoubtedly spent their final minutes praying for his help. It is likely at least half of the victims were devoted followers and true believers in the power of Jesus Christ.

Maybe it is because the truth is that physics and luck are the determinants of who lives and who dies in a tornado that, and the decision to live in a trailer.

Personally, I have found that praying to Zeus is 100 percent effective in avoiding death by lightning, flood, tornado, earthquake, hurricane, volcanic eruption, random shooting, mud slide and plane crash.

I can't presume to tell others which deity to worship, but Zeus has always come through for me.

J. Casey Elgin
Colorado Springs

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