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Be like Bakker

May I suggest that Ted Haggard look to the example of Jim Bakker, the former disgraced PTL Club host: Admit the sin and the wrong. Lie low. Build again from the ground up, refusing to capitalize on the national forum his sin has made possible.

Haggard's going on national TV, his HBO program and now more accusations ("Pastor Ted back on stage," Ranger Rich, Jan. 29) it's sad. His sin didn't arise overnight, and it wasn't short-lived in the acting of it out. He needs to live a quiet, non-public life, letting the work of God's discipline take its course restoring him as a man.

Jim Bakker demonstrated a contriteness, which over a long period of time offers a restoring faith in Christ as the redeemer. Haggard's "words" of repentance, "words" of self-comprehension and "words" of behavioral recognition are lost in his desire to be in the spotlight. Jesus gets laughed at because of it.

And why shouldn't Jesus be laughed at? I am new to this town, with a church on almost every corner and a culture of Christianity rotten at its core. It's a Christianity in love with itself, its institutions, its power.

So many Christian folk around here seem infatuated with their own personal legacies of greatness. They know what their grandfathers did and who James Dobson is, but they seem to not know Jesus. Few make it safe enough to know the dark secrets of their own children, friends and family, let alone those who might walk into their churches, homes or lives. That gets messy. Jesus loved messy, lived messy and died messy.

It seems to me this is a faith community whose haggard and worn icons, leaders and institutions are being judged. Amen! The resulting brokenness, humiliation and exposure of shallowness might just work its work and bring about redemption. Just ask Jim Bakker.

Scott Scrimshaw

Colorado Springs

Tough sell

I just choked down Pastor Ted's interview with Oprah (no pun intended) ... what an amazing con artist. Imagine going nationwide, presumably, with a plea to be hired as pastor of a new church!

My suggestion for his marketing theme would be: "Hi! I'm Pastor Ted, and I'm back. I've gone from sucking dicks to dicking suckers."

Let us hope his new job is on a different continent. And if we aren't that lucky, a very small town in the Deep South.

John Leach

Colorado Springs

That's Rich

I commend the Independent for reaching out to what you describe as two very influential constituencies: the military and conservative religious communities ("Outreach targets: Evangelicals, soldiers," Fort Carson supplement, Jan. 29). The article on Woodmen Valley Chapel was also very encouraging.

However, your efforts are completely offset by the vitriolic, hateful garbage spewed in Rich Tosches' column. Characterizing Christians and evangelicals as "wacky right-wing," "Bible-thumpers," "like pine beetles except with big hair," driving "rusty cars, each stuffed with eight or nine people ... from backwater Southern states," "goofy bastards," well, you get the idea does absolutely nothing to bolster your claim.

You can be sure I won't be picking up the Independent again any time soon. Hate seems to run both ways, Rich.

Marilyn Barnes

Monument

Break the bubble

We need an emergency public meeting not just one, but many. But knowing City Council, it would be at the usual 1 p.m. time slot, which eliminates the constituency the city needs to attract. We need meetings at night to break the "bubble mentality" and to thwart the camp followers from showing up.

Selling Memorial Hospital and Colorado Springs Utilities is out of the question. They are crown jewels that can be improved by a top-down house cleaning and thorough forensic financial audits, turning them into positive attributes to attract new businesses with real jobs.

Here are several ideas:

Retire all city and Utilities employees, regardless of age with 25 years of service. That will remove high salaries and drop overhead. Salaries can be readjusted to the economic reality.

All council members will host monthly meetings with constituencies at night, at various locations. The at-large councilors will have meetings in districts where they do not live. The mayor will hold quarterly nightly meetings in different districts. That would put them in touch with reality, out of the influence of staff and the camp followers.

Put more diversity into commissions, boards, citizens committees. Do away with "group think."

Borrow money using city properties as collateral to get through the next five years to keep city services continuing.

Add a city income tax of 0.5 percent for gross individual incomes over $45,000 a year (families living on military installations exempted). That works out to less than $4.50 a week for many, just a little over the cost of a pack of cigarettes. This would add stability to city income and shift sales-tax revenues to other areas where funds are needed.

Gary Casimir

Colorado Springs

D-11's bad info

As a parent of a child in Buena Vista's Montessori program, I am extremely frustrated with District 11's administration and processes used to determine what schools to close.

Of course, closing a school, any school, is never an easy decision. The community meetings have been, in my opinion, a ruse. They have been put in place to make parents feel like they have a say in the district's decision. At the meeting I attended, assistant superintendent Michael Poore spoke for over an hour, and then people were expected to plow through 70-plus pages and make their recommendations on school closures in a multiple-choice format.

The reporting numbers for Buena Vista have been incorrect from the beginning. Efforts that parents have made to get these numbers corrected have been rebuffed. This smacks of scheming behind the scenes to me. I hope that is not the case. However, the refusal to provide correct information, when D-11 officials have been presented with it in multiple, coherent forms, suggests perhaps they are not interested in the correct numbers because those numbers do not conform to an underlying plan they have for buildings and programs within the district.

I cannot understand how a district that claims to embrace choice, support students, improve test scores and close the achievement gaps could consider closing a successful program like Montessori at BV. I appeal to D-11 board members, please, use good judgment that best supports all students. Continue the programs that are building our community's future.

One day, these children will make the decisions that will affect your lives dramatically. Let's prepare them now, by giving them the choice to participate in successful programs.

Jessica Wheeler

Colorado Springs

Lighthouse's fate

Thank you for the Jan. 22 cover story ("Shattered system"). I would have really liked to see a full representation of those helped at the Lighthouse. Some of us are not street people or those simply looking for a place to "sleep it off."

I am a professional woman with a college degree who became lost in the disease of alcoholism, and I am not unique. Many of us have recovered, now contributing to society. So, how much does a drunk cost? How about, how much do we contribute when given a chance to recover?

Thank God for the Lighthouse.

Name withheld

Colorado Springs

Sleeping or stealing?

This is in response to Elizabeth Brandes' letter ("Bush's legacy, revised," Jan. 22), specifically wherein she wrote that the "people were still very much asleep at the wheel voting him back for a second term" in 2004. Actually, this isn't quite true.

The facts and data (including on Diebold electronic machines) appear to show the 2004 election was stolen just like the 2000 election documented thoroughly in the first chapter of Greg Palast's book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, including ChoicePoint lists for fake felons, voter registration lists and correspondence from Florida secretary of state, Katherine Harris.

In the case of 2004, two excellent, independently produced documentaries are available and which I recommend that Ms. Brandes watch: Hacking Democracy and ... So Goes the Nation. The first explores the details of how the Diebold and other vote machines could (at the time) invert vote totals if certain input cards were altered. The second goes into extreme detail on all shenanigans in Ohio during the 2004 election, including tens of thousands of votes tossed out, provisional ballots never counted and electronic vote-altering.

These are a must for any citizen, regardless of party, and especially for anyone who thinks Americans willfully and legitimately re-elected Bush in '04.

Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Knucklehead alert

Last week it was hard to know which people were being the biggest knuckleheads! State Sen. John Morse whined about TABOR, wanting more money to toss around to every liberal cause in the world. The same day, Rep. Mike Merrifield sponsored his important legislation regarding too many cars in a row! His solution was a law requiring slowpokes to move over and let cars pass or be ticketed for obstruction of traffic or some other nonsense. The nanny state continues to thrive, even in Colorado.

We have elected a washed-up former sheriff and a washed-up former music teacher who are trying to make our lives more miserable. The Colorado Education Association loves Merrifield and the "tax-and-spenders" love Morse.

To make my day complete was the news of Councilmen Scott Hente and Jerry Heimlicher going into the back room with Councilman Tom Gallagher to discuss raising utility rates again. Utilities convinced Hente and Heimlicher to change their votes and favor a 41 percent water rate increase effective Feb. 1! The reason: Our bond rating might be affected if we denied the increase. What a crock of fecal material!

Every other city and county department has to make cuts, lay off employees and reorganize. Utilities continues on its merry utopian way, becoming the untouchables rather than police and fire. Hente and Heimlicher are up for re-election, yet nobody is willing to tackle the city's entrenched establishment.

Seniors and retirees can expect more of the same unless there's a rebellion at the ballot box. Enough is enough! Those on fixed incomes will survive if inflation doesn't spin out of control. Many others will lose houses or have utilities shut off. Don't expect any control from our do-nothing City Council.

Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Clarification

The "Military impact on Colorado Springs" chart in the Fort Carson supplement of the Jan. 29 issue says, "Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments estimates about 1.5 dependents for every military or civilian employee." PPACG does not use that multiplier, which is based on the Army Stationing and Installation Plan. PPACG, in updating its Fort Carson Regional Growth Plan, is conducting additional research to better understand the demographics of military families.

  • Ted Haggard, Tosches and religion, city finances, D-11 and others.

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