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Half the story

Your story on the Fort Carson Warrior Transition Unit ("Still screwed," cover story, Dec. 10) came across as very one-sided. How many people have passed through the WTU since its inception? What is the percentage of successful completion from the WTU? Why was no one interviewed who was happy with the WTU?

Was the pilot on active duty while in the WTU? I know of no one on active duty who is allowed to show up to their place of duty whenever they feel like it or are given free time off. If spaces are limited, I find it difficult to believe he would be held in the WTU as punishment, with others who need to be in it being denied.

There is a safety-of-flight issue involved regardless if he "feels" he can perform his flight duties. Having been in a flying position in my military career, we depend on the flight surgeon to say if we meet the physical requirements for flight duties. One needs to stay qualified and acquire the required flight hours to still draw flight pay as well as collect any pilot bonus. It sounds as though Ed Quick wanted to be excused from the WTU so he could qualify and collect his flight pay and/or pilot bonus. This would have required him being medically cleared to fly, then evaluated and re-enrolled back into the WTU.

Did the system fail these people? If you ask them, yes it did, but suggesting the system is broken based on three people seems irresponsible. Show me any rehabilitation program out there with 100 percent satisfaction. I feel confident in saying you would not find any. There are two sides to every story and we only received half.

— Master Sgt. (Ret.) Brian T. Edwards

Colorado Springs

Insanity at Utilities

I opened my Utilities bill and was greeted by the offer of being able to go paperless and manage my account online — even pay my bill online. They touted this offer as one of many ways they could save money.

I smiled. I do most of my bill-paying this way either using a credit card or a direct debit. It saves paper, it saves time and it is a wonderful free service provided by almost every business. Colorado Springs Utilities, however, has decided to bring in a middleman to handle payments at a cost to me of anywhere from $3.95 per bill or more.

Are they insane? I was only mildly offended when they started charging me $2 per transaction to use my credit card to pay my bill, but $3.95 to use my computer and save them time and money? Please. Do they think I am ignorant? Do they work under a big rock?

I am so sick of those people making money hand over fist while my utility bills have doubled in 10 years — and that is after I replaced all of my windows, insulation and weather stripping. So now they want me to pay yet more just to pay them?

Someone needs to be replaced in that administration. No wonder people here don't want to pay taxes. They go to the likes of Utilities. Good grief.

— Melissa Hafter

Colorado Springs

No bus, no work

To City Council and Mayor Lionel Rivera, regarding two Dec. 3 letters ("One little blip" and "Olympic-sized mistake"), I hope you never get a blip or, I should say, payback through bad karma for your intentions!

I have been forced into early retirement, as I had a permanent part-time job but now have no transportation. I filed early retirement mainly because of the rampant spending in Washington. I had the foresight to save 25 percent of my gross out of my checks.

Yes, I could afford a car, but riding the buses was helping me save! What part of riding buses don't you understand?

Get "stereotype" out of your vocabulary! Kudos to the two letter-writers before me.

— Cecilia Greenhalgh

Colorado Springs

Harry and Louise again

They're back — the sinister insurance commercial actors disguised as worried, hardworking, suffering Americans. You know ... with the message about looming doom in a bad economy, and how Congress is trying to enact expansive health care reform at the expense of the middle class?

Of course, backing this scare tactic is the very industry that hardly concerns itself with worried, hardworking, suffering Americans. All they want is your continued ignorance and unfounded fear, along with their money shelled out for their pricey premiums. They are spending millions and millions every day to make sure they get what they want.

Is it working?

— Nancy Gallant

Monument

Real Republicans

Colorado's Republicans are back to their old tricks again. They're trying to force all candidates off the ballot who were not hand-picked by the party elite.

The people of the Republican Party are not united. The people of the Republican Party are not and will not be united behind Jane Norton. The people of the Republican Party are not and will not be united behind Scott McInnis.

We the people of the Republican Party want the freedom to choose our own candidates. That is why we have elections and caucuses. We want to be free to choose who we feel is fit for office. We the people of the Republican Party want to support candidates who stand for our values. We do not want to be told by the party elite whom to vote for.

The people of the Republican Party are not united behind the new platform. The people of the Republican Party of Colorado will only be united behind two documents: the Constitution of the United States of America and Constitution of Colorado.

— Christine Tucker

Aurora

2C & 300: No regrets

I have read, with much interest, many letters and articles regarding the rejection of Measure 2C and the passing of Measure 300. I have lived in Colorado Springs for 12 years and voted against 2C and for 300. My reasoning was that our elected officials must learn to live within the city's budgetary constraints, and that so-called "enterprise fees" are nothing more than an end run designed to circumvent TABOR rules. I felt the scare tactics were disingenuous at best, dishonest at worst. My reasoning had nothing to do with not caring for our less unfortunate, elderly or differently abled citizens.

We pay our city manager $210,000 a year and provide a $27,473 Ford Escape. There is no need to provide a vehicle for someone who makes this much money.

Our city provides 107 city employees with take-home government vehicles. This seems quite high for a city with a population of just over 400,000. This program certainly needs comprehensive review.

I am also quite sure that we paid huge sums to relocate our city manager from California and our police chief from Wisconsin. I would think, and certainly hope, our city has the talent and capabilities to grow our leaders up through the ranks. Our fire chief, a local native, is a great example. I am sure there are many other ways to cut unnecessary spending, but if you do not look for them, you will not find them.

Our elected officials should have saved during good times to have adequate funds during a downturn. This is just prudent financial management. If the city government had taken a different approach and explained it to the voters, I might have not voted the way I did.

The city's actions have only reinforced my belief that I voted the right way!

— Scott D. Myers

Colorado Springs

American dreamer

I feel sick, America (Colorado Springs in particular). Dad was a hard worker, blue collar. As a young boy, I appreciated that Dad left for work before I was out of bed and came home every day after I ate my dinner.

However, I do not address readers with good news. Please listen carefully to my oration atop this soapbox.

After graduating from Salida High School, I had the privilege of serving for over a decade with such distinguished units as the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Ranger Battalion and 10th SF Group. I will say little else of this. I am a quiet professional and only bring it up for credibility. (Google those units and you will understand.)

I am the American dream. I have worked hard and have success. I attend the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and cannot stomach this problem any more than you, the Independent reader who wants me to get to the point.

I am building a house in Salida and placed an advertisement on CU's site asking students for their help.

Unfortunately, manual labor is below the vast majority of undergrads, quantified by the four people who applied (listing only their typing skills as a job qualification). At $20 an hour, who would want to work outside, in the cold, carrying heavy things? The undergrads would much rather spend Mom and Dad's hard-earned money.

But wait! Mom and Dad do not have any money. This is where I get sick (and sound like Glenn Beck): Most UCCS students receive government aid.

I will not write a closing paragraph, but instead, ask the reader to draw the conclusion.

— Albert Marle

Colorado Springs

The best option

There still appears to be some confusion as to what the health care public option is. It is literally what it says. We Americans are the "public," and we will have the "option" of staying with any insurance that we currently have, or choosing to go with the government option.

The reason that insurance companies are so against it is that it creates competition.

Actually, it may create more business for them. How many people are out there who would like to have, oh, say, Blue Cross but either can't qualify for it and/or afford it? The public option would force the insurance industry to be more reasonable — therefore, in turn, it would bring more customers! Sounds like a win-win for everyone!

We Americans deserve better than we've been receiving. If you or a loved one has had a catastrophic health issue occur, then you understand the costs and emotional strain of not having health insurance. If you have health insurance and have had a major catastrophic health issue occur, then you understand the frustration of trying to pay for everything that the insurance companies don't. And there's always the heartache of being turned down for a needed procedure.

Death squads? That's the insurance industry! If you've been fortunate enough not to experience the pain and frustration of dealing with the health insurance industry yet, you most probably will. It may not happen to you personally, but it will happen to someone you care about. No one is safe.

Our families must be protected. The public option must be passed! We must do everything in our power to ensure our loved ones' health and well-being. Isn't that what we, as parents, want for our loved ones anyway?

— Pat Hill

Colorado Springs

Addition by subtraction

Pure and simple, America needs a single-payer system. Nobody wants to cater to insurance companies who raise prices and deny coverage. Who would!?

Seniors on Medicare, a single-payer system, are fortunate. The rest of the middle class cannot afford to pay the escalating costs, and millions are going without health care because of that fact. The poor haven't been able to afford it for many years now, and millions more have died because of no health care.

This is beyond insensitive — it's inhumane! A public option is like putting a Band-Aid on a massive wound, but a weak public option like the one being proposed, administered by private sector, would be laughable if it weren't so outrageous. The American people are crying out, but it seems that Congress is deaf.

One would hope that by now it would be painfully obvious to everyone that many politicians' careers are being financed by Big Insurance and Pharma. Just lie to your constituents and you can keep your career. Just think what we could do for health care if we took away the corporate lobbyists' multimillion-dollar salaries!

However, the bottom line for corporate Congress is greed, not health care. They already have their single-payer system in place.

— Sharlene White

Santa Fe, N.M.

Defending Douglas

I cannot understand the constant attack on Douglas Bruce. (Even your in-house comedian Rich Tosches joined in; now, that guy could not even get my grandchildren to laugh. My dogs are funnier.)

I only met Mr. Bruce once, at Costco, but I trust him more then Mayor Lionel Rivera. His client Ray Marshall is accused of running a Ponzi scheme, filed two bankruptcies (1996, 2003) plus one tax lien investigation, all that good behavior qualifying him and LandCo for the multimillion-dollar Olympic mess.

If anybody believes that Mr. Rivera did not know anything about this guy's background, "I have some oceanfront property on Pikes Peak for sale."

— Albert Schmeiler

Colorado Springs

Enjoy the omelet

Thanks to Michael Augenstein ("New menu item," Letters, Dec. 10) for his backhanded recommendation of Maggie Mae's restaurant and its "We Need a New President Omelet." Although he was offended by the owner's freedom of speech, I found it refreshing, and plan a first visit soon.

As self-proclaimed champions of free speech, why are liberals so easily outraged when someone differs from their political viewpoint? Righteous insecurity, perhaps? Freedom of speech is an enduring American value that belongs to all citizens, not just those who bend left.

— Dan Morgan

Colorado Springs

  • Thoughts on WTUs, the GOP, American dreams, defending Doug Bruce, Maggie Mae's and more.

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