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Ele-funk
What has happened to the Republican Party?

On May 31, I attended the Republican state convention as alternate delegate number 470. Of El Paso County's delegates, so many did not show, or left, that I received full delegate status.

This was my first, and probably last, convention. I saw an Iraq war veteran booed for supporting Ron Paul. I saw a woman booed and escorted off stage for having the courage to hold a banner saying, "End the War." These folks were not protesters; they were fellow Republicans.

Easily half the people running for national delegate slots were Paul supporters. Backer after backer of Paul was booed for supporting the Constitution and Paul. These folks were not protesters; they were fellow Republicans.

I heard much talk about the Second Amendment, but hardly a mention otherwise. It isn't all about guns, folks. The rest of the Constitution matters, too.

One lady stood up and said we needed to fight for Jesus. Last time I checked, Jesus wasn't real big on the whole fighting thing.

I saw an amazing amount of what I can only describe as blood lust or war lust. Aren't Republicans supposed to be the anti-war party? Maybe it's easier to be pro-war when it isn't your kid in harm's way. Abortion isn't OK, but killing civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan is?

I saw an amazing intolerance for opposing viewpoints. Republicans talk about wanting to be the Big Tent party. "Teeny Tiny Tent party" might fit better.

To John McCain and Republicans, I wish you the best of luck in November you certainly will need a lot of it. To the party, let me know when you rediscover your heart and soul you are adrift.

What happened to the Republican Party? George W. Bush happened. God help us.

Steven Stepp
Colorado Springs

Riot? Really?
In Bill Forman's article on the stabbing at the flea market ("Can stop, will stop," News, May 29), offhand mention is made of the fact that the Colorado Springs Police Department already had a tactical riot team assembled for the state Democratic convention the same weekend.

Umm, excuse me, but why? For "Democrats Gone Wild," or the two peace activists who were arrested for a nonviolent protest out front?

Loring Wirbel
Colorado Springs

No more shrinking
In the early 20th century, Wilbur and Orville had their first flights, Henry started cranking out his namesakes and Albert cracked open the universe. Times were good and the world started getting smaller, at ever-increasing rates.

The airline industry grew and flourished, the automobile industry did the same, and Captain Kirk's talk of warp drives made even the galaxy seem smaller. The Internet brought the world closer yet as communication between people on opposite sides of the planet became easy, cheap and fast. The Earth was shrinking and it felt good!

But during the past seven years, the planet started expanding again. Global unrest, political upheaval and terrorism have made people more selective about travel destinations, and have forced nations to eye each other suspiciously.

Oil prices are curtailing even our local travel plans as fuel costs escalate. That's affecting the price of other goods and services, leaving us less money for holidays and adventures. Concerns about environment weigh on us as we apply pressure to our collective gas pedals. Airline troubles and fuel costs are moving travel out of reach.

The Internet gets faster all the time, but spammers, phishers and viruses have become road hazards that slow us daily.

Everything just seems that much farther away now. There doesn't seem to be one cause. We can't entirely blame terrorism or oil. Global warming concerns surround the burning of fossil fuels, leading us to move hastily on renewable fuels, and that has driven the price of food up globally, angering many.

It's a general sense we're headed backward, in the wrong direction. I spent most of my life watching the world shrink, which seemed like a good thing. This inflation feels like a bad thing.

Steve Suhre
Colorado Springs

Growth reality
Ralph Routon's column about Springs Utilities' budget crunch ("Water revelation stuns Council," Between the Lines, May 29) raised good questions about a very complex issue.

Utilities informed Council the shortfall is partially due to fewer tap fees collected during the slowdown. One might be tempted to conclude, therefore (as Margaret Radford apparently does), the rampant growth experienced during much of the past two decades subsidized our utility bills. And that faulty conclusion might be interpreted as indicating growth does provide the community prosperity its boosters love to tout.

However, a Utilities study in 2004 put that myth to bed, at least as far as utilities go. That study revealed half the cost of utilities capacity and infrastructure to serve a new customer is embedded in our rates, and half is covered by tap fees.

Utilities customers are, in fact, subsidizing growth. The reason the budget is out of balance, now that growth has slowed, is that utilities capacity and delivery infrastructure projects don't come to a halt the minute growth slows. These are long-term projects, most of which won't be stopped, and some may not even be slowed. The end result is we are subsidizing growth even more now, since we're collecting fewer tap fees while projects continue.

Does this mean we should try to jump-start growth to ease the pain? That approach would be penny-wise and pound-foolish. The past 17 years have proven growth of our city/county is money-losing behavior over the long haul.

The housing bust initiated the collapse of our local-growth Ponzi scheme (similar to a pyramid scheme a fundamentally unsound business model that requires a constant influx of new investors). Our city and county budget disasters are among the more significant results. Adding more players does not remedy a Ponzi scheme; it just makes the inevitable collapse that much more destructive.

Dave Gardner
Colorado Springs

Alternate growth reality
I read with interest Ralph Routon's May 29 column. Out of the mouths of babes! It appears that you have a quote from Margaret Radford that says: "Growth has been subsidizing the rest of us for water rates, and it always has ..."

Where is the rhetoric blaming "growth" for all our ills? The fact developers have always paid their way, and more, is what the developers have always said. Isn't it funny that when the truth does show up, even Radford has to acknowledge it?

Colorado Springs must sustain growth to maintain viability, and now that growth has slowed, it is even more apparent.

Dan Bjugstad
Colorado Springs

Diagnosis: schizophrenia
I am amazed how easy it is to get nonsensical issues on the ballot in this state.

A 20-year-old, without much life experience but imbued with religious ideology ("Burton believes in her anti-abortion calling," News, Dec. 20, 2007), is able to get enough signatures from people who are, for the most part, woefully ignorant of biological sciences. I would wager that the people who signed the petition did not consider the far-reaching consequences.

As John Shelby Spong, retired Bishop of the Diocese of Newark, said, "America is a religiously schizophrenic nation." We seem to put more energy into ensuring a clump of cells, not even visible to the naked eye, should be elevated to personhood with all the rights of a living person than ensuring that the children already born have a decent standard of living.

The young lady, who wants her religious views regarding the beginning of life written into the law, might consider pouring her energy into preventing the killing of innocent lives in our prisons and in the illegal war we are involved in.

Our soldiers get sent to be slaughtered in a war that could easily have been avoided, not to speak of untold numbers of Iraqis killed and their country destroyed. These are the kinds of human endeavors that need to be against the law.

Beate White
Colorado Springs

It's a gold mine
J. Adrian Stanley's article about Gold Hill Mesa ("Sympathy for the developer," cover story, May 29) was quite good.

I know a lot of liberal Independent readers are challenged by math, science and chemistry, so Adrian chose not to go into numbers. But it would be incomplete to omit how much gold is still in that 14-million-ton tailings pile and why, and what could be done about it.

The pile assays out at an average of .0456 ounces of gold per ton, or still 638,400 ounces remaining in Gold Hill, right before your eyes. Half the remaining gold, 319,200 ounces, readily could be recovered. That's a tidy $285 million at this week's price of gold: $892 per ounce. Twice the value your story said was still in that hill.

Why? Because when Golden Cycle first processed the ore, it did not have the "carbon-in-pulp" process that could get 97 percent out of the cyanide solution. It used zinc and left 7 percent behind.

With the technology used now by AngloGold mining company, half that gold could be recovered. AngloGold is making a profit working with ores and tailings down to .01 per ton within a half-mile of Cripple Creek and Victor.

Gold Hill has four times as much gold per ton.

Bob Willard and I have a joke between us. I say when the price of gold reaches $2,000 an ounce, he'll buy back all his houses, reprocess the pile and still have the money to wash up every pound of sand on the mesa, making both the EPA and nervous Adrian happy. And put more houses up there, selling them too.

Adrian wrote that I was sort of bitter I didn't get my million dollars in 1976. Nope, I found a psychic return 10 times more valuable in a nearby place called Old Colorado City.

Dave Hughes
Colorado Springs

Good for Ritter
On behalf of the El Paso County Stonewall Democrats, we wish to magnanimously thank Gov. Bill Ritter for boldly rising up in the face of unfounded fear-mongering, illogical prejudices and divisive hate-speech, to sign into law this very progressive Vehicle of True Equality in SB 200 the authentic, all-inclusive Equal Accommodations Bill.

Our governor has erased one of the last vestiges of unreasonable, government-sanctioned discrimination. He has again elevated Colorado high above the dark, apartheid-like days of the Amendment 2 anti-LGBT, community-dividing fiasco.

We are exceedingly grateful that that day is done, and a new day has dawned for all fair-minded Coloradans! We once again commend state Sen. Jennifer Veiga for her wisdom and courage in authoring SB 200, and likewise we extend heartfelt gratitude to each legislative sponsor, outspoken political advocate and grassroots ally who supported this huge, victorious step into a more positive socio-economic future for all citizens of Colorado.

Nancy-Jo Morris
Alex Clemons
El Paso County Stonewall Democrats
Colorado Springs

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