Legalize all pot
Regarding medical marijuana in Colorado ("Canna-biz," cover story, Sept. 3), I wanted to add a patient's perspective. I've been using marijuana for medical reasons: back pain from arthritis and pinched disc issues since childhood. After purchasing my medicine on the streets for over 15 years, I've gone legal this year due to Mexico's drug wars disrupting the flow of illegal weed. (I can't take pain meds anymore because they tear up my stomach.)
The doctor and filing fees cost about $300 a year. I thought my legal medicine would be cheaper, but it isn't. I have to pay sales tax, about $10 to $15 per purchase. Yes, it's nice to go to the "candy store" and see all the different types of high-grade strains, but could you afford over $400 a month for medicine each month? I can't, and now I'm trying to manage.
On the street, I can purchase a low-grade ounce of marijuana for about $60 that lasts about two weeks, or about $120 a month. But my clinic doesn't offer cheaper, lower-grade strains.
The federal government should totally legalize marijuana so that any legal adult can purchase it in a liquor store like alcohol. Instead, most money made on street pot goes to drug cartels and mafias running the trade. Many Americans jailed on possession charges for small amounts clog our overcrowded prisons. And many smaller caretaker growers registered with the state still illegally sell excess at clinic prices of $400 an ounce.
It would make sense in 2009 to legalize marijuana so the government can oversee growing and distribution, and still make a lot of tax money in the process. Other countries have legalized possession of small amounts.
Let's end pot prohibition now!
— Dorian Beth Wenzel
Don't have, won't pay
While those opposed to a property-tax hike aim at the data in your editorials ("Yes on 2C, No on 300," Sept. 10), my comment will be a bit more selfish. My last full-time job ended in September 2006. Since then, I don't think I've generated more than $2,000 and have lived on credit cards. There is a tax lien against the house in which not only am I domiciled, but also hold equity title. In short, I really cannot afford any more taxes.
As for the data and arguments for and against, I'm the exact opposite of your recommendations. This situation has been a long time coming, and those "elected" to prepare for it, did not.
Many sounded the alarm, none the least of whom was Tony Carpenter. However, the political machine that runs El Paso County — ergo, also Colorado Springs — made sure he was unable to be in any position of benefit at a time when his knowledge could've been the most useful.
Now the voters of this city are in a position where they have been before. They are asking us to vote for a tax increase that gets paid by only certain people: equity titled property holders. As stated before, I don't have it; therefore, I won't pay it.
I encourage all voters to vote No on 2C; then vote Yes on 300!
— Gregory Alan Johnson
Let's all De-Bruce
He's back. But then, he never went away. Disgraced former legislator Douglas ("I get a kick out of you") Bruce is seemingly everywhere, pushing his latest ballot proposals to deprive Colorado Springs of essential tax funds needed for the city to function. And he is characteristically insulting and attempting to sue anyone who gets in the way.
Why should we be surprised? He's always done this. The city's cost to defend against his lawsuits is money taken away from hiring city workers, and the cost is uncounted.
I do not advocate name-calling. I don't necessarily call Bruce a "bombastic buffoon," and I'm not one to call him a "pretentious lout." Let others, if they wish, refer to him as a "destructive fop" or an "insidious showboat." But none of that is necessary.
After years of this, it may be that the word "Bruce" may take its place in future Colorado Springs lingo as an epithet in itself. Local children may accuse each other of being a "Bruce." Example: "You're a Bruce!" "Am not!" "Are too!" Ladies may use it too: "Did you hear? Lucille got married! To a real Bruce, I understand!"
Local lawyers will console their colleagues: "You got Bruced!" "Yeah, bummer."
Tired of being Bruced? Then vote against his proposals and in favor of the tax increase.
— Larimore Nicholl
I am happy to see the Independent and Gazette ("Yes on 2C, No on 300," Sept. 10) have found a common cause to focus on for the good of the city and the people of Colorado Springs.
Would it be so hard for the Democrats and Republicans to do the same thing instead of yelling obscenities at each other and making accusations? The only way we will make any real changes is working together toward the good of all.
— Karen Gale
Get on board
Because of a poor economy and little funding, the Colorado Springs City Council has often looked at cutting costs in areas such as bus service. Council must realize a good bus system stimulates the economy! Increased access to transportation to all sectors of the community leads to increased employment, income for spending, access to commercial centers, revenue from sales tax and a resulting increase in funds for general services.
Studies estimate that for an investment of $1 in public transit, there is a return of up to $6 in economic benefit. Reducing the current level of funding for bus service is counter-productive.
I ask that the people of Colorado Springs vote for a mill-levy increase to avoid reductions to fire, police, transportation and other needed services. I also asking that the City Council not attempt a quick fix by reducing funding for public transit.
— Thomas M. Rochelle
Anthony Lane's exposé of the 9-12ers ("One nation under FOX," cover story, Sept. 10) illustrates the "authoritarian movement" fully engaged in today's America. John Dean attempted to label this movement as "Conservatives Without Conscience," but research identifies them as not really conservative but radically reactionary and without much comfort for modern democracy.
When you strip away their veneer, the basic binding force is their intolerance for a democratic society's inherent differences and discourse. They believe only in rights for the "right-thinking" and emotionally seek to engineer society toward "sameness or oneness," holding that powers of the "state" should grant favor to the "right-thinking," and sanction or criminalize those they are intolerant of.
Lane's exposé on Glenn Beck as one of the instigators (along with Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity) of demagoguery failed to peel back their psychological warfare tactics. This is where the "birther movement" came into play, where questions of legitimacy allowed the movement to take hold even if their claims were ridiculous.
What these "common folk" don't realize is that they are being duped, played as pawns for the powerful. As Lane showed, the 9-12ers' national communication system is part of Beck's business operation. Many of the health care opposition groups are fronts for Big Insurance and Big Pharma.
Authoritarians believe in using violence. These people are dangerous, and thank you, Anthony, for bringing them to light here in Colorado Springs.
— Bob Nemanich
Thanks for your exposé on the antics of conservative commentator Glenn Beck. (Loved the cover, too.) I wish these types were harmless, but unfortunately they have quite a following of loyal minions who apparently cannot think for themselves and don't desire accurate information. Right-wing media sells big, but has behaved badly, especially in recent months when trading in lies, distortions and manipulation for political gains.
Particularly shameful are Beck's tirades to force resignations of progressives in the Obama administration. On the same day that the Indy came out last week, the Huffington Post carried this headline: "Yosi Sergant, Administration Aide Demoted: Glenn Beck Strikes Again." It's about a National Endowment of the Arts employee who was formerly director of communications. Your article mentioned Beck's first victim, environmental expert Van Jones, kicked to the curb after Beck's tirades calling Obama "anti-white ... racist" and Jones "a black nationalist, who is also an avowed communist."
This stuff is inaccurate and inexcusable. Reputations and careers are being destroyed, just as during the McCarthy era. We are losing good people whose service is needed; the HuffPo article notes that "both Sergant and Van Jones ... have roots in on-the-ground organizing and were tightly connected with the grassroots progressive community."
Sen. Joseph McCarthy was finally stopped by Joseph Welch, who famously rebuked the senator: "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"
When will Obama find the courage to say this to Glenn Beck and the other lying, right-wing media showboats?
— Cyndy Kulp
During the Bush years, demonstrations against administration policies were hailed by progressives as true patriotism; now demonstrations against Obama's policies are decried by progressives as aberrant and destructive. The left has made shouting down opposing speakers a standard political tactic; when the same trick is pulled on them, they're indignant over fairness and freedom of speech. Democratic operatives are labeled "grassroots" while Republican operatives are called "AstroTurf."
In the Sept. 10 cover story, the Indy implies that ultra-conservative TV pundit Glenn Beck is a "dangerous extremist." Yet it would likely praise ultra-liberal TV pundit Keith Olbermann as "a breath of fresh air."
How do the Democrats and their biased mouthpieces (i.e., the Indy) rationalize their incredible hypocrisy?
— Dan Morgan
Slow to change
I was encouraged to hear of positive steps to close Guantanamo, end torture and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate detainee abuse. However, I hear that human-rights violations continue. We need to ensure accountability for torture and abuse as required by law, ensure that all those who break the law are prosecuted, and that redress and remedy are administered to victims.
It deeply concerns me that we are not holding our leaders, officials and military personnel accountable. If torture continues, we will be throwing away our moral compass and leadership standing in the free world. We must not act like we're above the law and expect the rest of the world to respect us. We had eight years in despair with these kinds of feelings that I thought would end with the election.
I still believe we can make a difference, and yet it feels the same in this arena. I so want to be proud of my country and not fear its demise, but if the perpetrators of torture are not investigated and prosecuted, this will be the beginning of it. Please write President Obama to bring back hope.
— Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.
Note to our readers
Due to printer-related issues, the 2009 Dish publication did not make it into last week's Independent. Instead, you will find it in this week's issue. We apologize for any confusion or frustration this may have caused.