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Bad first step

I just read that when Colorado's leaders first faced budget shortfalls, before they let the first blade of grass go unwatered, or they drained the public pools, they decided to close a nursing unit for the developmentally disabled and cut beds at a facility for the mentally ill.

In a sane world where quality of life for everyone is taken into consideration and the lives of those for whom we are rightly held responsible, the ones who cannot care for themselves, there would not be a blade of grass left in the whole frickin' state before you even begin thinking about taking away the homes and care of nursing home residents, mentally ill and the developmentally disabled.

Keep details like that in mind when considering the candidates who go on about the superficial details and say nothing about the things that make a beautiful citizenry. When we give inner beauty top priority then the outer will glow apace. If Colorado Springs would truly value all of her people, the quality of life would soar.

Colorado, home of the pathologically pretentious.

— Lisa Smith-Ruffin

Colorado Springs

Obama's Vietnam

For Vietnam veterans, the parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam are unnerving. President Obama faces the same challenges that confronted Lyndon Johnson in 1965 when asked to add more troops to the fight. Afghans have been fighting for over three decades, like the Vietnamese resistance to French occupation and the Japanese before them. History tells us that first and foremost, ancient cultures such as Afghanistan and Iraq want foreigners off their soil.

I am not questioning the patriotism of our military leaders when I state that peace is the enemy of our military. Fighting is what the military is trained to do. It carries with it huge budgets for better equipment, more personnel, accelerated promotions, increased opportunity for command, etc.

We were conned by the previous administration into thinking that the infamous "surge" in Iraq was a tactic. We "surged" in Vietnam until over 500,000 troops were fighting an enemy whose tactics included no airpower, punji sticks, homemade bombs, and we still lost the war. Military historians and scholars say America never really "lost" a battle in Vietnam, including the TET offensive and Khe Sanh. I was there. We lost.

Now, 44 years later, our new president has an important decision. Republicans are already criticizing his delay in responding to his military commanders, the same group that gave us Iraq, an expensive war of choice that has taken a tragic toll of over 4,500 young service personnel.

Do national security interests justify more troops to prop up a corrupt central Afghan government in a war on terror in which all roads to the enemy seem to lead to our reluctant ally, Pakistan? Mr. Obama needs to move cautiously. Good luck, Mr. President.

— Bob Resling

Castle Rock

Ponzi promotion

Sean Paige's appointment to City Council wasn't just a jolt ("Proofing Mr. Paige," Oct. 29), it adds insult to injury. Libertarian ideology has led to Colorado Springs' economic collapse.

How? By promoting "free market" growth that doesn't come close to paying for itself. While near-term costs are covered, the cost of extra burden on infrastructure eventually rises even more. So, the mentality goes, we need even more growth to pay for that. Call that either addiction or a Ponzi scheme.

The city is in a big financial hole, but that should be no surprise: You can't sell a product (new development) at a loss and make it up in volume. But Council keeps trying, because without impact fees, those who profit from growth can fund true-believer Council candidates who approve even more growth.

Both capitalism and socialism engage in redistribution. It's just that capitalism inherently redistributes costs from the rich to the poor, as opposed to socialism, which redistributes income. As costs were passed on to taxpayers, they rebelled with misguided TABOR, rather than demanding impact fees to internalize the costs of growth and allow market forces to properly regulate supply and demand.

That's what should have been done with 2C: marry it to impact fees. The HBA developer lobby would oppose that, of course; but as the Indy has pointed out, HBA opposes 2C anyway. Even taxes to help pay for the infrastructure to support the product they sell might slow the Ponzi growth that's gotten us into this mess.

The idea to sell city assets is a way to keep the scheme going for a few more years. But, long term, we'd remain in the same fix.

— Bob Powell

Colorado Springs

Unhappy constituents

Thank you for the nicely done article on Sean Paige ("Proofing Mr. Paige," Oct. 29). Whether or not he has "struggled," it appears that Mr. Paige is very much out for himself.

My husband and I, west side residents for more than 35 years and District 3 voters, do not appreciate that he has lied about his education and his jobs, and that he has never voted here. We echo the sentiments of Meg Remple, Carl Temple, Nancy Strong, Michael Smith and Nicole Rosa ("The wrong Paige," Letters, Oct. 29). We, too, "are bitterly disappointed at the appointment of Sean Paige to replace Jerry Heimlicher on City Council."

— Linda and Ken Day

Colorado Springs

On 'death panels'

Far be it from me to defend Sarah Palin, but her claims about "death panels" are far from wrong.

The "death panels" were created by a Republican Congress and Senate under the Bush administration with their creation of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. As a diabetic, it is important for me to take my insulin regularly to keep my blood sugar readings as normal as I can. Part D works very well for the first half of the year. However, come August and September, I deplete my benefit and enter what they call "the doughnut hole," where we pay full price until we reach the third tier of catastrophic coverage.

My insulin alone is $358, which I cannot afford to pay. I rely on my doctor to have insulin samples on hand to help me out until January of the next year. More than half the time, my doctor does not have any samples, probably because there are a lot of people in my predicament.

This has taken a mighty toll on my body in that, at 49, I am losing my eyesight, my kidneys are overworked and I run the risk of kidney failure. I have diabetic neuropathy in both my lower legs and numb areas in my feet. I stand a good chance of having an amputation or two in the near future.

That Republican Congress under that Republican Bush administration has already signed my death certificate. They are the true death panel that Palin wants to blame on President Obama.

Thank you, Republicans. And you wonder why your party is in such a mess.

— Brian Lund

Colorado Springs

Private failures

I had to go to three places for a seasonal flu shot; they all had signs out front but were out of the vaccine and wouldn't be getting more. Something to do with labs making H1N1 instead. I wondered why we couldn't have both; they both seem pretty important.

Then I went to buy a broadcast TV converter box. Not many options there, either: Only one manufacturer left, it's a badly designed box, and they're hard to find. Why bother to broadcast at all?

So why do I keep hearing people say we should put things in the hands of "the private sector"? What happens to the economy when the government cuts it loose? Do we suddenly trust Wall Street now? And how is the health care system doing on its own?

It's beyond obvious to me that "the private sector" has only its own welfare in mind, much more so than the current government. So why do some people seem to want that so badly?

No argument that governments need to be subject to a healthy level of mistrust, but this isn't healthy. The old adage about cutting off your nose to spite your face comes to mind. I'd rather not have soda or sneaker logos mowed into the grass in the local parks, or posted in schools. Those things just cause more problems. It's much cheaper to pay a little more tax than to pay a dentist or doctor, buy new shoes for your kids, or otherwise feed the private sector's greed.

We need stronger and more effective government, not less government.

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs

Forked tongue

I object to Daniel Chacón's recent reporting in the Gazette on a couple of different levels. In one article, Mr. Chacón interviewed Jan Martin and he had a comment at the end something like: "typical politician." I felt that Chacón turned his "news" article into more of an editorial.

In an Oct. 14 article on political fundraising, Mr. Chacón refers to 2C as the campaign to triple the rate on property tax. It goes on to proclaim that there are some 324 individual donors, the largest of which is Colorado Springs Professional Firefighters. But 2C opponents were funded primarily by individuals/groups that aren't residents of our city, i.e. a Denver-based group, Coloradans for Economic Growth and American Furniture Warehouse, whose owner does not live in Colorado Springs. These two entities contributed close to 80 percent of their funds.

More grating to me is how Chacón starts his article with the "campaign to triple the Colorado Springs property tax rate." Many individuals would believe that this translates into a comment saying that passage of this issue would triple their property taxes, when in fact the portion being discussed was about 8 percent of one's total property tax. If your property tax total is $1,000 per year, this effort was oriented toward about $80. It pretty much compares to the signs placed around town stating that property taxes would rise 200 percent.

I find these efforts to be misleading at a minimum, and potentially deceptive and dishonest. Interesting that the Gazette would join the Independent in announcing support of 2C, yet allow its "journalists" to report the news in what appears to be a biased manner.

— Bill Mead

Colorado Springs

Hot and bothered

The scientists say we need to take action now on climate change, and since climate change poses a threat to humans and wildlife, I am asking that our politicians act on this issue now.

— Catherine Brown-Swain

Colorado Springs

Misleading McInnis

Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis is putting out misleading information about Piñon Canyon expansion. He says "the Army is no longer threatening eminent domain." He's applying a rather nuanced meaning to the word "threatening," because the Army has not taken eminent domain off the table.

On July 30, at an Armed Services Committee hearing, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall asked incoming Secretary of the Army John McHugh, in a very direct way, if he would only proceed on the basis of willing sellers or leasing arrangements and would not use eminent domain. McHugh would not respond affirmatively, explaining that he was "not wanting to make a promise I cannot keep."

McInnis says Texas is willing to train troops if Piñon Canyon is not expanded for that purpose. He failed to mention the Texas alternative would be on training ranges already owned by the Army and would not require seizure of private property.

His desire to help turn Colorado lands into a huge live-fire range is not a matter of patriotism or military necessity, but a sacrifice at the military-industrial altar. OK, that's where he stands. But he should not try to sell the concept with misinformation.

— Doug Holdread

Trinidad

 

Public safety crisis

What happened to our local values? Why take our anger out on the people who protect our beautiful city?

People have been critical of the big chunk public safety takes out of our city's budget. OMG! Salaries! You mean we actually have to pay those who strap on bulletproof vests? Good paychecks for those equally brave men and women who chop through burning rooftops and stop fires that would otherwise burn down whole neighborhoods?

What a concept! But it's funny how we often don't think about dangers until they are actually happening to us. Shortsightedness is prevalent among those who think government agencies ought to run on air.

I volunteer in the Major Crimes Unit of the Colorado Springs Police Department and observe those presently overloaded with risk and responsibilities, and I don't know where CSPD can tighten its belt more.

We already needed more law enforcement personnel before the last downsizing. If we can't bring ourselves to care about our neighbors, can't we at least give a damn about those sworn to respond to our neighbors' calls for help?

— Patricia McFarland

Colorado Springs

  • Budget priorities, City Council, death panels, McInnis misleading and more.

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