No profit in patriotism
Dave Anderson and Mike Callicrate ("Wanted: revolutionary ideas," Your Turn, Sept. 11) worry about the financial future of U.S. citizens. They feel the widening gap between high incomes and low incomes is a dangerous situation.
Part of the reason is outsourcing jobs to foreign countries. Big industries are in the profit-making business. If profits are to be increased, costs have to be reduced. A good way to do that is to cut salaries paid to workers. There is no profit in any misplaced patriotism toward citizens.
Someone once said, "When the U.S. hangs itself, a businessman will sell it the rope."
Sept. 11 comes every year, and all Americans old enough to remember have different and common memories of those dreadful events. We'll never forget ...
This year, I thought of someone at the Pentagon that ill-fated morning. A career Air Force officer, he was going about business as usual when fate demanded he play another role. With no time to consider personal safety, he worked alongside others to assist the injured. His memories are much more personal and painful than those most of us share.
These were heroic actions, not calculated, or done for glory and recognition. This man served tirelessly and humbly, then returned to Colorado Springs to teach at the Air Force Academy. A short time later, he lost his beloved wife to cancer another form of terrorism.
Once again this man rose to heroism, patiently and lovingly raising his three children without their mother. He watched them grow and succeed, helped them when needed and watched as they found their paths toward independence.
Now this real American hero is poised for his next chapter. And we, the voters in Colorado's 5th Congressional District, have the privilege to send this man to Washington!
Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack is a rare breed: intelligent, patriotic, heroic, dedicated, thoughtful and proven. He will actually read legislation, give it deep consideration and vote for what is best for his country and constituents, regardless of partisanship. He is a true patriot in the fashion of our forefathers a statesman, not a politician.
Slightly over a year after reading J. Adrian Stanley's excellent piece in the Indy on air traffic control staffing shortages ("Turbulence ahead," cover story, Aug. 2, 2007), I find myself retiring from the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, on the brink of beginning training in air traffic control.
Thanks to the author for getting me started on this path. By the way, as I leave this city's fine orchestra, I lament that the Gazette no longer employs a full-time arts critic. I hope that the Indy will step up and fill the gap of arts coverage in Colorado Springs.
Clearing the garbage
Thank you for getting the word out about my garbage proposal for Manitou ("Life vs. choice: the trash debate," News, Sept. 4). I enjoyed your colorful description of my "trash musings," but I'd like to make a couple of clarifications.
Colorado law allows cities to charge a fee for garbage collection and contract the service out. This has several benefits. Mainly we can get extra garbage trucks off the road. One garbage truck is equivalent to almost 1,500 cars' wear and tear on roads. Manitou could save thousands annually on road repairs. Not to mention less pollution, noise, improved safety and so on.
My proposal is based on pay-as-you-throw. Each unit of garbage (typically 32 gallons) has the same fee. Standardized curbside recycling at the most comprehensive level possible is included. These work together to encourage high levels of recycling, as the more you reduce waste, the less you pay. Diligent recyclers will have very small bills.
I was sorry you did not contact Bestway Disposal for feedback. They see the benefits that could come to a community. It is much more cost-effective to service an entire area rather than driving up and down a street for three or four houses. Some people may be angry about not being able to choose their own hauler. I will be upset if my favorite company does not get the contract.
If you are interested in helping, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow the leader
I hope Manitou Springs adopts the trash and recycling policy, and Colorado Springs follows the example.
My small downtown street is visited by one, sometimes two, trash trucks daily. Our streetscapes are dominated by overflowing trash cans. Dust, exhaust and street wear are multiplied by each truck. The duplication of effort is ridiculous. The "free market" no longer makes sense.
The city could easily be divided into zones served by one trash company under contract. Just think of savings in fuel use, air pollution, noise, dust generation and street wear. The public benefits from cleaner, quieter neighborhoods and more efficient service. Curbside recycling would be required; savings in fuel alone could offset costs of providing recycling. Efficient trash collection and recycling is an achievable goal for Colorado Springs.
The Old Farmer's Almanac says we are in for a long, cold winter. I work outside and see the signs. Heck, I can feel the signs. My utility bills have gone up over last year. I know yours have also. The utility monopoly guarantees the steady rise in prices "till death do us part." All the Wyoming coal next door, and they blame demand in China.
We can do one simple thing to take the edge off. Three years ago I bought my fixed-income mother 15 or 20 compact florescent light bulbs for Christmas. She right away saw a 10 to 15 percent decrease in electrical usage. About $120 the first year! Don't believe the "Oh God, don't break them, they're full of mercury!" hype. I think you could break every CF bulb in Colorado and not equal the 220 pounds of mercury our local power plant spews out every year. (Thanks, Wyoming!)
I take half my savings and give it back in the form of a COPE donation on my monthly utility bill. COPE directly helps the working poor, your working poor. Last time I checked, 2,500 households were donating. I am sure 10,000 households can afford $5 a month.
It was almost more than a person could watch. A viewer could almost see the little gears spinning, billions of synapses firing in her head, as she surely beseeched herself: "Please, let me remember the answers they told me; please let me remember."
This type of performance must be causing Sarah Palin and John McCain a great deal of cognitive dissonance, as they rail against the Republicans and then, yet again, implore us to vote Republican.
The highlight was the comment that since Russia was "in sight of Alaska," she had insight into foreign affairs.
We've already seen what eight years of an arrogant governor can do to this country. This needs to end.
It is plain to see Sarah Palin has transposed her basketball bully tactics to politics. Her sloppy grammar depicts her fast-working mouth, but what really lies inside her brain? She has a handle on delivering the titillating teasers that are being gobbled up, at least for now. The test will be if she is capable of listening and actually answering pertinent questions.
Free parks for all
Ralph Routon (Who's in charge here?" Between the Lines, Sept. 4) suggests charging a fee to users of public parks as a way to generate a new stream of income for local governments to blow. A guy that's been here as long as Ralph should know Garden of the Gods Park was given to Colorado Springs in 1909 by the children of railroad magnate Charles Elliot Perkins, fulfilling his wish that it be kept forever open and free to the public.
Before city leaders charge any fees, they need to think about violating the contract that gave the park to the city. The Perkins family would have a legitimate claim to take back the land if user fees were imposed. Maybe they could make it like the meteor crater in Arizona, where you can't take two steps without running into a T-shirt counter or popcorn stand that would generate sales tax!
Fees don't belong in public parks. Mr. Perkins got it right.
An idea to generate revenue might be to fine trash collectors $100 every time the ass end of a trash truck gouges a trench in pavement as it approaches or departs the hill on my street. That would earn $36,000 per year from one intersection.
Like Lennon said
Even if Sept. 11 had not occurred, the average American worker was on the fast track to being raped by the uncontrolled mortgage industry and CEOs like Ken Lay (whose death day should be a public holiday) and many other capitalist pigs. The list of thieving execs is legion.
Big business (including sports, Hollywood, music and the Jesus industry), the banking world and uncontrolled mortgage and health-care industries have been seducing apathetic voters out of their money by offering them toys they can't really afford and don't really need, like SUVs, double-dipping phone plans, gigantic houses to heat and cool, giant-screen TVs and cable and satellite plans that force you to pay for what you don't want, and monthly health-care costs.
It's just like John Lennon said: "Keep you doped with ... sex and TV, and you think you're so clever and classless and free ... but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see."
Linda Johnson ("Trouble in D-49," Letters, Sept. 4) scolds District 49 board president Anna Bartha for following board policy, and thereby in her view, being rude and inappropriate to speaker Tom Harold, who was out of order.
Anna Bartha, a young mother of two, doesn't have a mean bone in her body. She knows you must stand up to aggressive argumentative behavior and uphold the rules equally for all. The policy requires the subject of public-forum speakers at a "special" board meeting be confined to the meeting's subject. At regular meetings, no such restriction exists.
Ironically, the same group of "involved parents" previously scolded the board for not following board policies. Damned if we do, and damned if we don't.
The board continues to provide an adequate opportunity to allow review by and receive recommendations from board members, district personnel, parents of students and members of the public.
Falcon District 49 board member
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