Fence them in
Though I welcome the civil approach to the homeless encampments along our creek bottoms ("Council considers tent cities," Noted, Nov. 19), the nature of homelessness requires the opportunism displayed in the current boom of the blue and brown "condos" in our city.
Having been homeless more than a couple of times myself, I know the mix of souls who brave the elements in the quest to survive a Colorado winter. Maybe 30 percent are newly unemployed and fighting for their last shred of dignity; 30 percent are chronic abusers (whether it be alcohol, drugs, relationships or some combination) who have burnt all their bridges to the ground and now blame society for their woes; 30 percent are terminally lazy (which should be considered a disability); and the remaining 10 percent are mentally ill.
What to do? I think containing the mess to certain areas with screen-type fencing, installing a porta-john or two and some trash service would be a good start. I am sure the local nonprofits are trying their best. It is just a matter of time before there is a stabbing or a fire or, God forbid, some fool runs into traffic. I think a daily patrol would be in order, some ID checks would weed out some of the riff-raff, and warnings for littering might help. But closing these encampments will only create more problems in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Containment, control and compassion as we wait for our economy to rebound.
— Karl Knapstein
The war at home
To President Obama: Do not make the same mistakes Lyndon Johnson made and be bullied by politics into escalating a war that cannot be won in Afghanistan. It is painfully clear that 58,000 American soldiers were killed in Southeast Asia for nothing!
Look at Vietnam today. The Vietnamese are thriving because communism didn't work, and neither will religious extremists. Those people are just like us. They want economic well-being, stability, peace; a life for their families to thrive, not to be enslaved.
To the people of Colorado Springs: Stop this war against our president and help him keep the lives of soldiers and their families from being ripped apart. President Obama is not weak because he is not deploying our troops! He is far more brave than our previous administration by not resorting to war.
I was born at the end of World War II, a child during the Korean War and a young adult when I thought it was right to go kill those pinko communists so Asia would not fall. I was wrong, our country was wrong and nothing good came out of it!
Let's support our president. Let's build a strong United States. Let's fund infrastructure, good education for our children, proper health care for all. Let's end our oil dependency that pays for terrorist bullets.
Let's show the world what great people Americans can be — not what greedy, war-monger bastards we have been. Let's fight the war of hatred and greed that goes on right here.
It is up to us, the people, to end this. Let's support President Obama so he can bring the change we elected him to bring!
— Elaine Brush
Save the visitors bureau
As a board member for Experience Colorado Springs (the convention and visitors bureau), I offer a different perspective on how the local bureau operates to solicit and retain tourism dollars. Many people think of a CVB as an antiquated visitor center in a world where all facets of a trip can be transacted online. Others have an impression that the CVB employs a paid welcoming committee for the city.
What I've learned from my four years on the board is that our local CVB has always made recruiting tourists, conferences, conventions and any out-of-town business priority No. 1. Priority No. 2 has been marketing our destination to achieve No. 1. Staff conversations at the modest visitor center and administrative office at Cascade and Cimarron continually revolve around "leads." The current staff flat-out hunts down these leads and turns them into tourist dollars.
"Why can't businesses do their own marketing and solicit these groups?" The answer is simple: These leads expect a CVB to comprehensively handle the entire needs of their groups. If our CVB can't provide that service, these groups will choose a destination that can. These tourists spend five to 10 times more per day than an average city resident. These vital tourists eat most meals in restaurants, visit multiple attractions and shopping areas, and most of all fund the LART (lodging and auto-rental tax).
The already-declining LART is what keeps the CVB hunting down those leads worldwide. Sales and LART taxes generated by tourism keep citizens employed, and keep our general fund at a level suitable to administer our shrinking municipal government. I would ask City Council to reconsider its recent plan to cut the allocation of LART revenue that enables the CVB to succeed.
— Luke J. Travins
Owner: Jose Muldoon's, Ritz Grill, MacKenzie's Chop House
Your refreshing article on movies and local independent movie-makers ("The Lon and the short of it," cover package, Nov. 19) got us thinking.
Where are the Bush movies? It's traditional, after presidential administrations leave office, for Hollywood to come forth with a spate of docudramas and films depicting the ups and downs of departed Washington politicians. So where are the Bush films?
I'm no casting director, but at least I can suggest some great possibilities for portrayals of the former bigshots.
George W. Bush: David Spade.
Laura Bush: Any female extra from any movie scene.
George H.W. Bush: Woody Allen.
Barbara Bush: Betty White.
Dick Cheney: Ed Asner (or) Jabba the Hutt.
Donald Rumsfeld: Gary Busey.
While we're at it, why not appeal to independent filmmakers to make an overdue movie about Colorado Springs and its notables? Who could play the Springs characters? Mayor Rivera: Keanu Reeves. Sean Paige: George Hamilton.The rest of City Council: The cast from The Office. James Dobson: Bob Barker. Douglas Bruce: Randy Quaid (or) Jabba the Hutt.
Try this yourself. Send your best picks to Miramax. See you at the movies!
— Larimore Nicholl
The Stupak outrage
Choice is important to Americans — all Americans, including women. Health care on all levels must be made available to each citizen.
The Stupak Amendment amounts to legislating reproductive rights. The decision to seek abortion is something that must exist between a woman and her health care provider.
This amendment is discriminatory and anti-woman. It outlaws coverage for a legal medical procedure even when the patient pays for the insurance coverage with her own funds.
Stop messing with a woman's right to choose her own medical care.
— Susan Coffey
It appears that Ted Haggard has received sufficient positive reinforcement to allow him to start up his so-called "ministry" again. Frankly, I would not care if Ted had had sex with Doug Bruce or if he sprinkled heroin on his Cheerios. However, I can't seem to wrap my mind around the fact that people are going to continue to throw money at him — tax-exempt money.
I am sure that Ted has done some good here and there, but the greatest good has been what he, himself has gained: the financial support of the schnooks who buy his line and attend the weekly performances.
As George Carlin so aptly remarked: "When you're born, you get a ticket to The Freak Show; when you're born in America, you get a front-row seat!"
— Bernadette Young
Fort Hood: Look deeper
It was a horrific attack on one of our most important military bases — not in Afghanistan or Iraq, but here in the United States. Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, is the suspect. And now, very troubling questions have moved to the forefront: What was his connection to radical Islamists? Why did he reportedly try to contact al-Qaeda? What about claims of his anti-American views?
The American Center for Law and Justice is urging the Senate to act swiftly — and thoroughly — to find out what was behind the massacre at Fort Hood. Was this homegrown terrorism? Were warning signs missed? The American people deserve to know what happened and why. Join the ACLJ's nationwide campaign demanding an investigation into the massacre at Fort Hood.
— Susan Harris
Spare the turkey
Last week, a failed vice-presidential candidate claimed that animals belong right next to the mashed potatoes. This week, our president is pardoning two turkeys. It's food for thought.
Each of us has the presidential power to pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving. It shows our compassion for an innocent animal, as well as our concern for our family's and our planet's health. It's a most fitting way to give thanks for our own life, health and happiness.
The 270 million turkeys abused and slaughtered in the U.S. each year have nothing to give thanks for. They breathe toxic fumes in crowded sheds. Their beaks and toes are severed. At the slaughterhouse, workers cut their throats and dump them into boiling water, sometimes while still conscious.
Consumers pay a heavy price. Turkey flesh is laced with cholesterol and saturated fats that elevate the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. Careful adherence to government warning labels is required to avoid food poisoning.
This Thanksgiving, I will join millions in observing this joyful family holiday with nonviolent healthful products of the earth's bounty: vegetables, fruits and grains. A visit to my local supermarket or health food store, and an Internet search on vegan Thanksgiving, will provide me more recipes and delicious turkey alternatives than I can possibly use.
— Claus Singer
As the city prepares to make further bus service cuts and eliminate the most experienced bus operators, I have to wonder why our transit system has deteriorated so badly since the creation of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. How much has been spent on renovations to transit facilities, including unnecessary furniture and fixtures? How much has been spent on electronic equipment (that never worked properly)? How much has been spent on salaries of what I believe are unnecessary and incompetent employees? How much has been spent on fighting (lost) legal cases?
As a taxpayer, I feel our city leaders should resign for allowing these things to continue at the expense of the citizens.
— Jim Gosse
Put up or ...
It is welcome news indeed that a general fund has been established allowing individuals, groups, small businesses or corporations (basically anyone) to donate to public transit, and parks and rec, as they face budgetary restraints.
I surmised that this would happen after the defeat of measure 2C, and am glad to see the opportunity has arrived so that all those championing these causes may now step up and prove their dedication and commitment.
City Councilman Darryl Glenn claimed we would all be informed where these monies would be allocated, and in keeping with this spirit of transparency, it would also be prudent to know statistics regarding who specifically is donating, and the relative amounts, if possible. Then we can determine who is really committed to saving their causes, and who is just accepting negative impacts and lazily bemoaning their fate.
If nothing else, this disclosure would provide a lot of insight for those considering donating, or withholding support, for these entities in the future. How supportive will you be of causes whose leaders don't roll their sleeves up and strive for positive change now that this opportunity has presented itself?
— Jeff Faltz
Our black hole
Let me introduce myself. I am the villain. I voted "no" on 2C. I have no heart and no compassion. What I voted on was a blank check for City Council to spend $46 million each and every year until more is asked of the citizenry.
I voted for the PPRTA tax hike to take care of our roads. Thanks to this, the city has not maintained our roads since. Where did those funds go? Back into the general fund. If Council asks me for more money and explains how it will be spent, then I can assess whether I want to pay or not. I do not think this unreasonable.
After embarking on a career several decades ago in an industry in its last gasps, I go to work each week wondering if I will be in the next round of layoffs that have hit where I work year after year. I didn't know that 2C was crafted to guarantee job security for civil servants, firefighters, and the police force from recruit to retirement. It is telling that City Council is now "finding" monies from other sources than those that will affect "parks, the elderly, and children." These are the three golden touchstones that are determined to melt the cold darkness from our hearts.
The general fund is a black hole with no accountability. Most money is spent well, but the temptation to do otherwise tempts strong people.
— Mitchell Andrews
Correction and clarification
• The photo of Handmade Harlots alongside the Nov. 19 Reverb column should have been credited to Anthony Graham of Broken Glass Photography.
• In the Nov. 19 news story "The costs of Freedom," all quotes attributed to "Lewis" were made by Dow Jones NewsWires columnist Al Lewis, not former Gazette editorial writer/production assistant George Lewis.