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Temporary defector

I am not acquainted with Diane Kelly, interviewed by Anthony Lane ("Taking sides," News, June 12), but I am pleased to call her a kindred spirit in switching political affiliations in order to vote for Dan May in the upcoming district attorney primary. My whole family has chosen to do the same thing; in fact, we consider it a privilege to do so.

We supported Dan May in 2004, but now it is even more imperative that John Newsome be removed from office. We were extremely disappointed that he won the election four years ago; his dirty tactics and his support from the far-right Christian Coalition were huge red flags that he should not be the man responsible for prosecuting crime in the 4th Judicial District. Now he is simply unfit for the job and has dragged the DA's office into the same gutter with the criminals he is supposed to protect us from. This sordid behavior would have never taken place on May's watch.

Everyone should watch James Jarman's entire and uncut interview with Newsome on KOAA's Web site. Newsome has an obvious problem with the truth, and he still thinks consuming all that alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle was OK because (get this!) he says he "wasn't impaired."

This is a critical public safety and law enforcement issue. Public figures, organizations and good ol' boy networks that still support him should be ashamed of themselves. What hypocrites.

Our family is proud to be among May's supporters, and casting our Republican votes for him in the August primary is the very least we can do.

Kay Jones-Hutchins
Colorado Springs

Reality bites

So, Colorado Springs Utilities has been using growth to keep our water rates artificially low ("Water revelation stuns Council," Between the Lines, May 29). How long was that supposed to last? Until we got as big as Denver? As Los Angeles? No!

Our city would have to grow forever, like a cancer, or else we'd face a budget crisis now. No wonder City Council pimps our city out to developers!

Remember the propaganda we get with our utility bills touting our low rates? I, for one, would much rather pay more for water than witness any more insane expansion of Colorado Springs.

As an added bonus, if growth ceases, we won't need the billion-dollar Southern Delivery System. Sounds like fiscal conservatism to me! We need to find another way to fund our city, other than unchecked growth. Maybe paying fair rates for utilities and, gasp, paying our fair share of taxes.

Our city and county governments, and now our utilities, are broke. No more free ride. Let's face the problem, fix it and move on.

Jacques Sears
Colorado Springs

The anti-Midas

As the political career of legislator Douglas Bruce grinds onward, it seems the man is King Midas in reverse: Everything he touches turns to well, not gold. He seems to have taken seriously Ronald Reagan's wisecrack: "Government is not a solution to our problem; government is the problem!" Bruce and right-wing Republicans have dismantled government as much as they can, in the name of tax reduction.

Now we have local cutbacks and hand-wringing over lower revenues and higher costs of local government, possible sale of parks, government offices closing part of the time, cuts in health inspections, cuts in police protection, etc. Bruce's infamous TABOR amendment is doing its job of starving government's tax needs.

While you watch the city deteriorate, ask how much tax money it costs per month to run the Air Force Academy, and how many parks, health clinics, government office services, etc., that money would fund. Then ask the monthly cost of running Fort Carson, with all services and salaries, including those of soldiers. Find out what the Iraq war is costing per month and then tell us how many years the Colorado Springs government could operate on that one-month cost.

Do you like your wars? Look around and see where your tax money is not going. It's going to Iraq and Afghanistan, so there is no money for parks, full police coverage, etc.

The remedy: Stop the Iraq war, now proven to be disastrous and unjustified. Repeal TABOR and divert war costs to domestic peacetime constructive uses. And let Bruce fade away.

Meantime, let's have no more whining and hand-wringing about Colorado Springs being broke. The "shock and awe" is coming home.

Larimore Nicholl
Colorado Springs

Collateral damage

I have always felt sick at the "new car smell," or that smell you find at a computer shop. I feel validated, if not relieved, at the headline story ("Chemical imbalance," cover, June 12). I was especially relieved to learn that even studies done by scientists are often ignored by the Environmental Protection Agency. Consequently, truth is often outweighed by money in our current bureaucratic political setup.

Truth be told, there is something to be said about the growing gap between the rich (champagne and jet planes) and the poor (Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck).

There are a few honest politicians out there who don't take bribes. Those get elected; many other controllers of our collective lives simply get appointed by our leaders, busying themselves almost equally between appropriating funds and running for re-election.

There is a growing and troublesome new burden for the taxpayers: the unelected bureaucracy.

James Nall
Manitou Springs

Not your average Joe

Let's get creative for solving El Paso County's budget shortfalls. Raising taxes is not very creative!

Jail operations consume a large amount of public funds. How about hiring Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Arizona as a consultant! His jail system practically makes money and at the same time appears to rehabilitate inmates to the point of few returning to jail! If Sheriff Joe is not interested, we can send a team to learn Arpaio's methods of operation. Annually, he saves his county literally millions of dollars! We could apply the millions saved to other county services!

That suggestion is made partially in jest, but not totally without merit. The tax drumbeat we hear is disturbing. I can see it coming: another tax hike! This is especially ill-conceived when our state, along with the rest of the country, is heading toward a serious economic recession. Feel the pain when you fill up your gas tank or buy a few sacks of groceries?

I would hope the county can look at ways to maintain basic services by means other than raising taxes.

Charles C. Masters
Colorado Springs

Stepping into it

Steven Stepp ("Ele-funk," Letters, June 5) endured the overall sour taste of intolerance that God's only people displayed May 31 at the state GOP convention. So what's new? At least Stepp didn't step on 'em or nuke 'em. Even if deserved.

I think I could handle someone like Steven, or Betty or Gerald Ford, to teach my kid in public or "faith" school without me present.

Maybe if a conservative, political/religious person learned to love and lust more affirmatively, they would hate themselves more and have more faith in others.

Bob Dylan has a tune about no soul to lose, much less regain. Overall, the GOP is about giving a baby a bath in dirty water. Shall we pray for them to be cleansed and whole?

Howard Wesley Johnson
Lake George

Reverse thinking

Driving through downtown, I noticed a very large sign celebrating the new arrival of the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters. This reminded me of the very bad deal the city fathers made.

Let's see, it was something like $1 a year for 20-something years, then give them the building ("USOC's official hometown," April 3). Unbelievable!

I have a theory on politicians. You know the kids who got stuck in lockers on the first day of high school? They have come back as adults to take their revenge. They are still the heartless dorks they were then, and they lack the courage to stand up against the bullies of society.

Used to be, politicians were retired rich people on a noble mission to help the common folk and society in general. Today it's just enrichment through back-room deals, bribery and some sort of strange, ego-driven power trip. It's shameful, it's embarrassing and it has to stop!

A world-class city is made from the ground up not from the top down. Quality schools, clean and fresh parks, clean air and the Rocky Mountain backdrop should cause corporations and other public entities to pay us to move here, and not the other way around.

Karl Knapstein
Colorado Springs

Verbatim

My comments about the Cliff House West (CHW) project were misquoted in the Independent ("Grand Avenue neighbors defend their mountain view," News, June 12). I read the following statement to the reporter:

"The Cliff House has been a great neighbor in the community and, along with the spa, is an example of how a redevelopment project fits with the aesthetic and character of Manitou Springs. The citizens of Manitou Springs want to support the Cliff House in growing their business while preserving and enhancing the quality of our historic district.

"Manitou is one of the jewels of Colorado. Manitou Springs has worked hard to maintain its residential and commercial historic character. It is a place that offers a quality experience for its residents and for visitors from around the world.

"It is the desire of most of Manitou Springs' residents to preserve and enhance the natural and historic beauty of Manitou Springs while helping existing business grow and prosper and to attract economically contributing business.

"The Grand Avenue neighborhood group is asking that the CHW project adhere to the community historic guidelines on height, construction materials, building mass, aesthetics and setbacks to make the project, as the Manitou Springs city planner suggests in his staff report on the CHW project, "to fully integrate into the community fabric.'"

David Chorpenning
Manitou Springs

Sticker shock

Gravely reflecting on motivating factors such as adrenaline vs. history vs. the limitations of human experience, I hereby proffer and freely grant to the universe my endeavor to create the perfect all-inclusive liberal bumper sticker, as follows:

People before ideology. Prosperity before elitism. Optimism before greed. Ready defense before pre-eminence.

Unconditional patience before violence. Peace before anger. Freedom before hedonism. Free trade before tax & market manipulation.

Living wages for an honest day's work. Central planning before pandemonium. Change before hubris. Science before dogmatism. Tolerance before judgment. Determination before fear.

Peter Dunn
Colorado Springs

Down on the daily

Does anyone from the Gazette ever attend public events in this city? It seems that one cannot turn around in public without having these people shove cards at me, and monopolize my, and my family's, time explaining why our lives are garbage because we don't think like they do, we don't talk like they do, and we do not act like they do. The city is truly like: "What, you are not of the body? Then you must be absorbed."

The paper could go a long way toward doing away with this image, rather than joining in a cover-up to pretend it doesn't exist. Thank goodness for Manitou Springs.

Maybe the Gazette should just stick to what it does best: advertising the latest strip-mall opening, movie theater opening, or whatever else The Broadmoor, Motor City or the latest Church of What's Happening will permit it to print. The paper is also a dandy paint tarp. Perhaps this is why it's given away at many outlets.

Patrick Hoganson
Colorado Springs

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