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Canned good

On behalf of the thousands of southern Coloradans whom Care and Share Food Bank serves, I would like to extend a personal thanks for local support of the food bank.

The recent article about Care and Share's need ("Care and scare," cover story, July 3) resonated deeply with many readers. Care and Share has seen an outpouring of response from the community, and has fielded countless calls and requests for information regarding food drives, our current situation and more.

In addition, several of our partner agencies have seen local community members and congregations band together to help serve those in need. The response has truly been amazing.

While there is still a need for additional food, we have been truly humbled and are deeply impacted by this direct, immediate response to a fundamental need that exists in our own community. Your donations will truly make a difference in the lives of thousands of southern Coloradans. Thank you.

Nicholas Saccaro
President and CEO
Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado

Bad precedent

Justin Blough reports ("Illegal allies," Letters, July 10) that armed soldiers were on the streets one night in Colorado Springs. They were there to assist the police in cases of civil disobedience.

As Justin pointed out, this is illegal. Let the authorities get away with this, and next time the soldiers will be there with armored vehicles. Someone has claimed that "if you're not doing anything wrong, what's the problem?" There are several problems.

There are many obscure laws on our books that can be invoked if authorities want. If those soldiers were armed, you can bet someone had the right to let the soldiers open fire. Wasn't there a situation in New York where the police mistakenly opened fire on an unarmed man? This could happen in Colorado Springs if a crowd exiting a nightclub turns rowdy.

Get those armed soldiers back to their barracks where they belong.

Don Smith
Queensland, Australia

Out of bounds

No offense to Tiger Woods or the great game of golf, but would a healthy society reward one man with a billion dollars for his ability to hit a tiny ball into a small hole in the ground?

Steve Suhre
Colorado Springs

Pick your battles

Congratulations, Sharlene White ("Misguided Congress," Letters, July 10). You are the 1,000th Independent reader to accuse George W. Bush of lying us into the Iraq war! In honor of this momentous occasion, let me take this time to point out: There's no evidence that Bush lied.

Why does no mainstream journalist (MSNBC's Keith Olbermann doesn't qualify) suggest that Bush lied to start the war in Iraq? Not because the "corporate media" is silencing all its liberal journalists. It's because there is no compelling evidence.

The Downing Street memo (downingstreetmemo.com/memos.html)? Even if the memo flat-out said, "Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq" (it doesn't), all it would prove is that some U.K. parliament functionary believed Bush was lying. In fact, the author states his worry that Saddam will use his WMDs on us.

Still not convinced? How about everyone in the world also thought Saddam had WMDs? OK, maybe not everyone, just Bill and Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry (I miss that man) and others. If Barack Obama had been a political entity at that time, we'd have the same quotes from him.

I know, it's so obvious and I'm just not getting it. I'm an ignorant redneck who mindlessly parrots Rush Limbaugh's talking points. That about right? Being wrong (drastically wrong) isn't the same as lying. Accuse him of listening to bad intel, exercising bad judgment or implementing bad strategy, but there's no proof he lied about WMDs.

Sharlene, I hope you take no offense that I use your letter as a launching point. Hey, we have plenty of things to criticize President Bush for (inability to speak in public, extreme arrogance, out-of-control spending). Lying about WMDs just isn't one of 'em.

Bill Mendelsohn
Woodland Park

Fix the fix

I've seen other letters stating that we, as a country, need to increase the amount of oil exploration within our borders, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. (Would you be as willing to do this if it was a place closer to home, like Garden of the Gods, for example?)

Polls indicate Americans are starting to believe that exploration and development are more important than conservation. Should this trend continue, it will have disastrous results in the near future. There is no other course than to break our addiction to oil, foreign or domestic.

The Statue of Liberty used to tell other nations America was the light of the world. Now her flame is but an ember as we have become self-indulgent energy gluttons, leading the world in production of primarily one thing: personal and national debt. We have become a parasite within the global economy.

It isn't too late to change course; we have technology to shift to energy sources based on solar, wind and hydrogen. We could export this technology to developing Third World nations and, at the same time, create more job opportunities for Americans. This would help to regain the respect we have squandered in the eyes of the world.

Those corporate CEOs and the current administration, ranting about the need for more U.S. drilling, are the same people who sold us on the need for random wire-tapping of U.S. citizens and invading Iraq.

Remember WMDs? It was a lie then and it's a lie now. Don't buy the lie.

Tony Katava
Peyton

"Bush' again

Rep. Doug Lamborn finds time to go to Guantanamo and write a whitewash piece in the Gazette about it. But he seems too bush to debate and meet us in the flesh.

Shame on him!

Howard W. Johnson
Lake George

Saying "o' on Pion

I am a fourth-generation rancher in Las Animas County. Recent statements by the military regarding smaller acreage for expansion of Pion Canyon Maneuver Site (PCMS) and alleged economic input into the region remind me of the early 1980s.

Back then, desired acreages quoted by the Army were smaller than the now 235,000 acres of PCMS. Also, the military assured residents that payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) would offset lost private tax base, and there would be an economic benefit in southeast Colorado. To date, PILT monies have never been paid to Las Animas County, and there is no military economic benefit here. The military did condemn more land than originally projected.

Southern Colorado has a viable, agriculture-based economy. We like it that way. We prefer to invest in our own businesses and grow from within our privately owned resources. We do not seek to sell out the ranches, communities and resources in exchange for dubious promises from the military, which since the 1980s has demonstrated its word is of no value.

We have chosen quality of life over quantity of dollars, which is all the military is alleging to offer. Fort Carson/Colorado Springs has embraced the Defense Department and built an economy around it. They are wrong in assuming southeast Colorado seeks that type of subsidized economy in exchange for a quality rural lifestyle.

Colorado residents oppose the expansion. Thousands of patriotic citizens outside of Colorado oppose the expansion. U.S. Reps. Marilyn Musgrave and John Salazar oppose the expansion. Sen. Ken Salazar has requested the Government Accountability Office study the military's evidence. Senatorial candidates Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall oppose the expansion. Both houses of Congress passed laws prohibiting expenditure of funds for expansion of PCMS.

What part of "no" does the military have trouble comprehending?

Steve Wooten

La Junta

Southern comfort

With the close of the public comment period for the Southern Delivery System Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), I want to express my appreciation to those who took the time to provide their input and viewpoints about the project. Your input matters not only to the Bureau of Reclamation, but also the project participants: Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West.

We were pleased Reclamation received numerous comments supporting the project, including letters from local military bases, business and community organizations, city and county departments, elected officials, SDS partner communities, and business and residential customers.

Of the 124 commenters who expressed a preference for one of the seven alternatives, the majority voiced support for Alternative 2, a pipeline from Pueblo Dam. This alternative remains the most cost-effective and direct route to deliver water to our communities.

For those who raised concerns about the project's potential impacts, I want to assure you Reclamation will thoroughly review all comments. Staff will address all comments as part of the final EIS and determine appropriate mitigation to address project impacts. We will also be reviewing comments to evaluate what changes may need to be made during the planning, design and construction of SDS.

Thanks to everyone who took time to learn more and submit comments. The project will be enhanced by the thoughtful and valuable input provided.

John Fredell
SDS project director
Colorado Springs Utilities

Save the middle

My relationship with the Colorado Democratic Party is very long and deep. My grandparents and parents were exceptionally strong supporters, as the Democrats provided the best deal in Colorado for them.

They were mining stock in Leadville and Crested Butte, with roots going back to Ludlow. After the 1914 massacre, Ludlow became one of the birthplaces of the American labor movement, helping create the middle class.

The early 20th century was an age in which the robber barons dominated America, and the working class was at the bottom of a near-feudal society.

Today, the middle class is rapidly disappearing across the U.S. landscape. It is exceptionally ironic that some of Colorado's most famous mining towns, which helped extinguish the robber barons, have become havens for the new super-elite. Aspen and Telluride are prime examples. I am exceptionally proud of the morals and courage of the people who lived in or near Colorado's old mining towns. They helped to create the American middle class.

I stand firmly with my ancestors and support today's Democratic Party, which still stands mostly for the little guy and is the best custodian of the environment. I very strongly believe Barack Obama and the Democrats are the last big remaining hope for our country and our planet.

Joe Krizmanich
Albuquerque, N.M.

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