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I went for a Saturday breakfast to one of my favorite local restaurants this last weekend, Maggie Mae's at 2405 E. Pikes Peak Ave. I walked in the door and nearly walked right back out.

On their specials board was the omelet of the day, which was the "We Need a New President Omelet." It took both my wife and me by surprise, but we got a table anyway.

At the end of the meal, I told the hostess that I felt offended and that I thought it was inappropriate for the restaurant to be airing those kinds of opinions. I also told her that I would not be returning.

She shrugged it off, saying that the owner was responsible for naming the omelet. I'm sure, given the local political views, that more of their customers agreed with the sentiment than were offended by it. So this is just a word to those of your readers who might want to avoid the offense I endured: Avoid Maggie Mae's.

— Michael Augenstein

Colorado Springs

Reverb rocks

Let me first start by saying how I like your paper. It gives a lot of good insight and covers a lot of good issues and events going on in town.

I just wanted to tell you about one column in particular that is also great. It is Adam Leech's Reverb. I love reading it, especially this last issue (Dec. 3) with the throwback to an old AFI interview. It was great. He always is able to promote the local scene and get bands in the paper that normally wouldn't (including my old band, Brixton Automatics).

So all in all, tell Adam to keep up the good work!

— Dillon Maxwell

Colorado Springs

Fort Collins challenge

Between turkey dinner and football on Thanksgiving Day, my son-in-law told me how Fort Collins Utilities encourages conservation by engaging the American competitive spirit. It seems that FCU reports and compares his neighborhood's average utility usage per square foot of improved property when it reports his utility bill — and congratulates or challenges him, depending upon how his utility usage compares to that of his neighbors.

Why couldn't Colorado Springs Utilities do something similar to help promote conservation? Heck, maybe our Utilities could even award prizes for most improved, most conserving, etc. I know many of us would love to see the money stream reverse once in a while, even if it's just for a lucky (and conserving) few!

— Lawrence M. Reisinger

Colorado Springs

Whose rights?

To City Attorney Patricia Kelly: Please explain where in the Colorado Springs municipal code does it state that a municipal court judge has the authority to abridge the U.S. First Amendment rights of Americans to communicate freely to other persons on a public walkway the quotes and ideas of our Founding Fathers?

It appears that Judge Spencer Gresham's recent edict ordering persons not to pass out fliers or leaflets within 100 yards of the municipal court entrance can be interpreted that I am not allowed to pass out leaflets that quote our Founding Fathers' statements and views on a public sidewalk in the city of Colorado Springs near the municipal courts.

On its face, this edict appears to be unconstitutional, especially in light of United States v. Grace, 461 U.S. 171 (1983), which reiterates the protection of this very right on a sidewalk in front of a courthouse.

Again, please inform me where it states in Colorado Springs municipal code that this judge has the authority to issue such an edict that infringes upon the First Amendment rights of Americans such as myself. Thank you for your assistance in clarifying this matter.

— Robert Harris

Colorado Springs

City Attorney Patricia Kelly's response: The City Code does not address this issue that you have set forth below. That issue, or related issues, are addressed in court decisions only.

Springs vs. Third World

I must congratulate the Colorado Springs transit system for ranking so poorly. Let's forget that it would have been smarter to purchase mini-buses, such as those used by Springs Mobility, instead of the giant-sized buses usually filled with a whopping four or five passengers, including the driver! Let's ignore that the buses follow incomprehensible, willy-nilly routes, taking people far out of their way.

The bus system's motto should be: "Getting you there in three hours or less," or "Not getting you where you need to go, ha-ha."

Colorado Springs buses simply do not go where people need to go. Let's take the airport, for example. This burg touts itself as being a city, yet a person cannot get to the airport unless he/she spends $30 or $40 for a cab. If they're lucky, they bribe a friend to drive them. What's wrong here?

At best, bus routes can only be described as stupid — circuitous, non-direct, nonsensical, time-wasting. Most desire to reach their destinations in less than two hours. Good luck. One way of improving would be to make it mandatory for all public servants to take public transportation to work for one week a year, preferably in February or March. Guaranteed, bus service would improve drastically.

Also, school buses could be eliminated for kids in nicer areas. I spent kindergarten through 12th grade taking public transportation. We bought bus tickets at reduced rates for school kids, good only during certain hours.

And, oh yeah, buses ran until 1 a.m. and on weekends, because people need to get around at all hours and days, as certain jobs do not conform to Colorado Springs-deemed bus hours.

As it is, Third World countries have good bus service. So this must make Colorado Springs not quite as good as Haiti.

— Bernadette Young

Colorado Springs

Snuff it out

The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 2008, there were 847,863 marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90 percent for simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis.

The end result of this ongoing culture war is not necessarily lower rates of use. The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where there is a policy of tolerance regarding marijuana. An admitted former pot smoker, President Obama has thus far maintained the prohibition status quo rather than pursue change. Would Barack Obama be in the White House if he had been convicted of a marijuana offense in his youth?

Decriminalization is a long-overdue step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the $50 billion drug war obsolete.

As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers of the most popular illicit drug will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

— Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

The politics of 'Yes'

Looks like the politics of "Yes" beats the politics of "No." Last week, Arizona Sen. John McCain tried to scuttle health care reform by offering an amendment to the Senate bill now being debated. He wanted to strip out using savings from cutting Medicare waste and duplicated testing as part of the money needed for the proposed health care reforms. That was defeated 58-42.

Then Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet offered an amendment that preserved the reform funding plan, but guaranteed current Medicare benefits for seniors would not be cut. In fact, the viability of the Medicare program would be enhanced. AARP and other advocates for seniors enthusiastically supported it. Bennet's amendment passed 100-0.

Hooray for the new politics! Yes beats no every time.

— Jim Engelking

Golden

Public option needed

I am for health care reform legislation that contains a public option. Even if all of the negatives were true, I would still be for it.

For example, I'm told that my insurance rates will go up. Imagine opening a letter from your insurance company and being told, "We have reduced your premiums with no loss of coverage." So far the various health insurance companies I have had, have raised my rates for 39 straight years. I bet we all can handle that one.

You're going to have to wait longer to see your doctor! If so, so what? Most of us have to wait a week or so to see our primary and a month or so to see a specialist now. So what's a couple more days or weeks?

Some other negatives I've heard: Some bureaucrat will decide what care you can get, and the legislation will increase the deficit. I always have to push the button that lets you hear all of the options again; that's just the way it goes.

In short I'm for health care reform with a public option because the possible negatives aren't that scary, and besides, it's the holiday season and we Americans can give a little to each other, can't we?

— Ed Gibbons

Colorado Springs

Ignorance and ambition

Gen. Stanley McChrystal asked President Obama to supply 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. President Obama has unfortunately followed in the Bush administration's footsteps by continuing to support the war and will meet that request with 30,000 troops. I don't think he understands winning a land war in Afghanistan is virtually impossible due to its vast topography, its varied cultures, total corruption of the Afghan government, thousands of miles of open borders, unlimited funding for the Taliban and an inability to bring security to its people. It's shameful to continue to sacrifice our best and brightest in a war we can't win.

Our military has the impossible task of searching out and destroying the Taliban in an area almost the size of Texas with some of the roughest, most desolate land in the world. Even if we had the support of allies, we couldn't begin to secure that vast amount of territory. Afghan terrorists know every inch of that country like the back of their hand. They can hide and never be found. Does bin Laden come to mind?

Countless wars have been based on attrition: If you kill more of the enemy than they do of you, you win. Our strategy in Afghanistan is still based on this antiquated theory. This will never work against the Taliban, because for every insurgent killed, many more sneak across the borders to take their place.

Countries like the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and many in Africa have training camps and provide a never-ending supply of terrorists learning to hate America and willing to die for the cause.

President Bush didn't have a clue what he was getting us into. He turned a handful of rebels into an army. Our children will pay dearly for Bush's and now Obama's ignorance and uncontrolled ambition.

— Michael Macy

Colorado Springs

Who's happy?

Interesting front page of the Gazette on Wednesday, Nov. 23. There was President Obama's face and a bold headline which read: "SIGNALS POINT TO MORE TROOPS GOING OVERSEAS." Beneath his picture and story was a photo of an Army chaplain and command sergeant embracing, smiling happily.

Though their story was not about the headline, the photo placement suggested the two were happy about an expanded war in Afghanistan. Were they? Maybe the military-industrialists are happy. Maybe the American Israeli lobby is happy. Maybe neo-conservative ideologues are happy. But I would hope the clergyman and the soldier are not.

The prospect of thousands more killed and maimed, billions and billions of dollars expended, and war unending certainly does not make this citizen happy.

— Rev. James W. White

Colorado Springs

Cull the herd

This whole city budget mess takes me back to 20 years ago, when an associate and I were hired out of a Sacramento homeless shelter to work for a man who had some city contracts to maintain the landscape for a few downtown city properties, some housing authority units and a couple of police properties.

Employment soon gained us an apartment and about $800 per month from our kind taskmaster. Our early hours got me home in time to watch the seemingly weekly battles between my boss and a representative from the city workers union in front of City Council on public access TV. The union despised our operation but, try as they might, the bottom line was that we did the work for about half the price and with no problems or complaints. (I think we did better quality.)

Needless to say, we gained work and prospered. My point is, government breeds apathy and sloth in more than a few workers, through policy that needs almost an act of Congress to terminate a lazy worker. This is not productive! Let us find a way to cull the herd, so to speak, and put some of our stale workers out to pasture, contract out some maintenance, and get our financial plan in touch with reality.

Tough love? Yes, but love nonetheless.

— Karl Knapstein

Colorado Springs

 

Man in the mirror

As usual, there are all kinds of articles and news segments about what the election results meant among political pundits and in daily newspapers. This is what I think: Both locally and nationally, the fact that things seem to have swayed to the right is due to the fact that too many progressive and liberal-leaning people didn't/don't vote at midterm elections.

Just because there is not a president or a senator or mayor or governor being elected does not mean the election will not affect you, folks! The fact that local residents who did bother to vote decided that the rest of us don't need many services is a sad statement on how unmotivated many of us are. If you did not vote in this election, and are thinking about complaining over the results — think again.

If you vote, you have a say in the way our society is moving. If you don't, that is your choice, own it. Don't complain about the fact that what you did not want to happen happened in the election. Vote next time.

— Matthew Brown

Colorado Springs

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