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We know ugly

I've been puzzling over how my beloved neighbor to the north, Colorado, so reliably Republican and so evangelical Christian, could become so competitive for Obama.

Then I had the encouraging thought that perhaps many Christians still recognize decency, character and thoughtfulness when they see it, despite being battered by some of the worst "in-house" demagoguery and mean-spiritedness this side of Rush Limbaugh. And that they still recognize and reject unfairness, desperation and appeals to hatred, oversimplification and fundamentalism when it gets ugly enough that it can't be missed.

Jim Terr

Santa Fe, N.M.

Check the Bible

The pro-life stance pushing for Amendment 48 is nothing less than the religious right defying the Biblical definition of "life" in Genesis 2:7: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.

The ancient Hebraic were quite capable of seeing this. After some births, the fetus didn't breathe and therefore didn't receive God's breath of life. It thus has been passed down through the millennia, even accepted without question by the Christians, that life begins with breath, not at conception.

The formation of a "life" isn't completed until given the "breath of life." The amendment's reasoning is backward, for "life" is required before becoming a person. It appears to me the Christians are committing a sin of omission by changing the wording to suit themselves, by using the word "person" instead of "life."

I am surprised the Christians are accepting modern science, however they will have to amend the Bible to do so. I would appreciate for the pro-life Christians to keep your pulpit out of my government. Vote NO on Amendment 48.

Jim Colson

Colorado Springs

Signs of trouble

It is exciting to have the American people so enthusiastic about this presidential election. We face such challenging times that we all need to be involved in solving problems. Of course, everyone has personal opinions about which side offers the most effective programs and workable policies.

I am proud of my Rockrimmon neighborhood. There are political signs everywhere. Everyone is enjoying the chance to express an opinion. Unfortunately, someone is not respectful of First Amendment rights.

As a strong supporter of Barack Obama, I placed an Obama-Biden sign in my front yard. However, when I began hearing about Obama signs being taken out of yards, I decided to place mine on my front porch last Saturday night. On Sunday morning it was not by my door. More distressingly, my Obama sign had been replaced with a McCain/Palin sign in my yard. One may take away my sign, but nobody can replace my thoughts and feelings with his own.

This is not an athletic event, with teams competing against each other. This is an election, and we must unite behind the next president. We need to begin that journey by showing respect and appreciation for one another now.

I would never consider stealing my neighbors' McCain signs. I respect their opinion and their right to disagree with me. Please show the same respect to those who disagree with you. We were taught as children: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." There's a reason they call it the Golden Rule.

Martha C. Williams

Colorado Springs

Check the fine print

After hearing so much negative advertising about Amendments 47, 49 and 54, I decided to read them closely before deciding which way to vote. Surprisingly, the scare tactic ads on TV do not come close to resembling what is written in the amendment.

Amendment 47 is the worst depiction and distortion of facts in this shoddy election year. Isn't there some way these lies and distortions can be monitored or stopped? Amendment 47 has to do with giving workers the right to pay union dues or not pay dues to work for a company. It is more commonly known as a "Right to Work" provision.

The ads show greedy cigar-smoking business owners ruining lives and destroying the economy, and makes no mention of union dues or allowing a person to choose whether to join or not join. Gov. Bill Ritter has started this entire conflict by decreeing state employees can become part of a union without a vote of the employees within their unit.

In tough times, Colorado does not need rancor between groups of people. It will take all of us working together, without the governor trying to create a class system of haves and have-nots. Not a system of trying to redistribute the wealth evenly among everyone, regardless of their hard work, investment of their money, willingness to save for retirement, accumulating debt and then expecting to be bailed out.

Because of the false and demeaning depictions, I am voting yes on all three amendments. What's happened to core values such as integrity and honesty?

Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Don't be deceived

I am writing to urge Colorado voters to vote no on the many deceptive amendments on your ballot.

Please vote no on Amendment 47. This will pit workers and employers against each other and disrupt the balance in the work environment at a time Colorado can least afford it.

Please vote no on Amendment 49. It will take away employees' choice over how they spend their own paychecks.

Please vote no on Amendment 54. It goes too far in trying to clean up government corruption by silencing the voices of Colorado's firefighters, teachers, police officers, nurses and their families. It takes away their ability to voice support for politicians and causes.

We can't afford deceptive constitutional measures, pushed by special interests, that cannot be changed except by a super-majority in the state Legislature. These amendments are reckless and will wreck our state for decades to come.

Mario Montez

Fowler

Tax or fee?

I beg to differ with Ralph Routon ("Local election misconceptions," Between the Lines, Oct. 23) regarding City Questions 200 and 201.

First, all voters should have had the chance to vote on the Stormwater Enterprise. Second, an enterprise fee is a mandatory tax that sets a precedent for any mandatory fees the city can dream up in lieu of asking for voter approval.

Third, it's the right of citizens to vote on mandatory taxes (this fee is a property tax without the tax-deduction benefit) and not be held hostage through fees that can cause liens to be placed on your home if not paid. Fourth, more than 17,000 signed petitions to get this issue on the ballot, so it is not just about Doug Bruce.

Fifth, the fact that enterprise fees may be legal, or done by other cities, does not justify them and certainly does not justify bypassing voters.

Finally, aside from the right to vote on new taxes (in this case fees), scare tactics by the Independent that identify Doug Bruce as a bogeyman out to destroy the city are deceptive, misleading and should never be used by legitimate journalists.

The need for a stormwater fund may be justified, but in this case, the means to achieve the fund is not. Let's argue the propositions on merit, not on who sponsored them. Vote yes on 200 and 201 and let the city justify the need for a stormwater fund.

I voted early for 1A. Cutting health and safety is not an option if we are to grow and prosper as a community.

Neil L. Talbott

Colorado Springs

Lee stands tall

In this election, we need to make important decisions about whom to vote for and which ballot issues to support or reject. For those in state Senate District 12, the choice between Pete Lee and Keith King is critical. Pete is a longtime Colorado Springs resident and businessman who has demonstrated time and time again his ability to work collaboratively to get things done.

Recently he spearheaded a legislative effort to pass a bill encouraging the use of restorative justice practices in juvenile courts. It passed 99-1! His leadership talents are also being used on the board of Pikes Peak Mental Health, the School District 11 budget committee and formerly on the board of Workout Ltd.

Keith King, on the other hand, has demonstrated he is too dogmatic and rigid to successfully participate in the collaborative bipartisan effort our state will need over the next few years.

Many diverse people and organizations have lined up to support Pete. The list of "Republicans for Pete" is growing longer every day, competing with the list of Educators for Pete, Community & Business Leaders for Pete, Elected Officials for Pete and Organizations for Pete. His Web site (peteleeforsenate.com) has a complete listing of more than 100 endorsements from community leaders. It is truly a bipartisan effort to elect Pete.

In contrast, his opponent has generated a lot of antagonism by refusing to take a position on 1A (sales tax increase). Pete has joined the Chamber of Commerce and many community leaders in strongly supporting 1A for the long-term safety and health of the county.

By electing Pete Lee, we can continue the process of choosing our representatives based upon who is the best person for the job, and who can best help solve the critical problems of our state.

Ken Jaray

Manitou Springs

On the bandwagon

In the more than 40 years I have lived and voted in the United States, I am for the first time publicly endorsing a candidate for president. In Barack Obama, I sense a real possibility for a new direction. Here are some of my reasons for hope.

Obama is an intelligent man, and what he lacks in experience, he will make up by being a quick learner and by recognizing and solving problems. The decades of experience in politics of some of our leaders have not shielded us from the crises we are in now.

Obama has visited and lived in another country and culture, and thus gained a perspective that will be helpful in many foreign policy decisions. Once you realize that in other places of the world people think differently, it is easier to foresee the outcome of events.

Obama had the foresight and the knowledge of history to oppose the Iraq war. I know from my own experience this was deemed unpatriotic, yet it was nothing but a sober realization that this war was not in the national interest and would not produce the outcome so optimistically promised. It took courage, patriotism and moral strength to oppose those who had the power and backing of the majority of the people.

Obama is a young man. He has two young daughters, and I have a strong sense his vision will have a focus on the future, long after his own administration and ambitions have passed. The Obama family is, to me, a role model for other young American families. They do not talk about family values. They live them.

For the sake of this country, for me, for my children and grandchildren, I hope Obama will be our next president.

Gertrud Nuhn

Colorado Springs

A hole in the hull

The mounting agitation in the tone of rhetoric coming from both sides of the race is starting to concern me. It feels like we are more polarized now than perhaps since the Civil War. Cries that Barack Obama is an extremist bent on destroying our country or that John McCain is erratic and certain to drive us to doom are signs of some deeper desperation.

We should take a moment to set aside our differences and examine this underlying issue. We can't argue over the merits of steering the boat north versus south if the hole in the hull is going to sink us. Let's see to the hole first and then worry about the direction. What is the hole?

This is bigger than our current financial crisis. It is beyond left versus right. There is something else eating away at us, and we need to address it, shed light on it, come to terms with it and discuss it openly and honestly to fix it. The water is boiling and the pressure is building. We need to vent the steam before we all get burned.

From Colorado Springs to Capitol Hill, the problem we face is the concept that those who don't think like us are The Enemy. A growing hatred is dividing this great nation. It is a hole in the hull of our ship and we need to patch it before the sea comes rushing in, regardless of our differences.

Thom Phelps

Colorado Springs

Backing Apuan

I am happy the Independent endorsed Dennis Apuan for House District 17. His opponent labeled him as violent in a recent attack ad. This just proves her campaign to be laughable. I have known Dennis three years. His interpersonal skills, attention to detail and level of compassion are unparalleled. He has served the underprivileged in so many ways. Perhaps this is why he earned the Micah 6 Award from First Congregational Church, and served on many boards.

I am a disabled veteran, and support Dennis and his ideas, and know he supports us and our rights. He listens to what I think is wrong with the VA health-care system and what veterans' needs are. He knows about the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson and has pledged to help all soldiers and families. We need someone like Dennis who will fight for funding those programs for veterans.

If it was not for Apuan and his work with civil rights, many people would not understand that. "A lot of people think that affirmative action is based on racial quotas," he says. "It doesn't have to do with quotas. It provides qualified individuals equal access." Dennis is concerned voters will not understand the language of this bill and we will go back years in time.

He has fought long and hard for the "little guy." He helps senior citizens, the disabled, women, people of color, children, animals and has not lost touch with our veterans.

Apuan is the kind of leader we need in House District 17, and he is more than qualified to lead.

Cynthia Lang

Colorado Springs

Priority 1A

During a Neighborhood Watch meeting last year, an El Paso County Sheriff's deputy said crime in our county is not only on the rise, but on the move. The deputy shared statistics on types of crimes that were on the rise. He indicated home invasions, robberies, sex crimes, assaults and gang activity were moving north and east, and that we were directly in the path. He went on to explain how few officers were available to answer calls from citizens at any given moment in any particular zone and the anticipated response time.

It was not a pleasant picture.

Increasing crime coupled with decreasing revenues will force law enforcement departments to lay off patrol officers and their needed support personnel. The best the deputy was able to offer was to be prepared to defend ourselves. Law enforcement personnel will respond as quickly as humanly possible given the ever-changing priorities of the moment.

This is absolutely unacceptable. With violent crime on the rise, it is imperative we stand steadfast behind County Question 1A and provide our officers with the tools necessary to reverse these devastating trends. Your safety and that of your family may well depend on it. Vote yes on 1A.

Scott Rand

Colorado Springs

Correction

Last week's Best Of coverage accidentally paired Colorado Kite & Ski with contact information for Colorado Ski & Golf. Kite & Ski's contact info is 2820 W. Colorado Ave., 633-6227. The Independent regrets the error.

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