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We're all human

All I hear are complaints about the homeless, as if they are nothing more than dust to be swept under the rug. I think people need a reminder that homeless people are still people, and the ones who want help should be able to receive it.

Today, as I handed the man on a street corner a bag of food, I said, "Thank you." As I drove away, I thought how stupid my reply was to his "thank you." In retrospect I see that my reply was actually quite perfect. He probably doesn't hear those words coming in his direction very often, and it's a phrase that makes one feel good on the inside.

I thanked him for allowing me to help instead of feeling helpless. I thanked him for reminding humanity what true humility, gratitude and community are supposed to be... helping each other regain our footing in this world. One day you may find yourself or someone you love very much in the same position. Would you not want to receive that same kindness?

Just because someone owns less property (in whatever form) than you, does not make them less human. What makes people less human is when they close their hearts to compassion and refuse to help another in need.

Keep this in mind the next time you're complaining about how your life is less than perfect.

— Rachel Bradford

Colorado Springs

Three bad ideas

Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61, which Colorado voters will vote on in November, would seriously damage our state's fragile economy if approved. Services we currently have will be extremely curtailed or eliminated because of lack of funding.

The idea that the state would have to "backfill" funding for education is ludicrous, to say the least. Where would these dollars come from? I think probably from severely cutting back on services and from needs in other areas. Has anyone looked at what it takes to nullify an amendment once it's enacted?

Proposition 101 impacts a major source of bridge and highway construction by an estimated $277 million, and local revenues by about $500 million, by cutting automobile registration fees, severely cutting the specific ownership tax on vehicles, and reducing the state income tax to 3.5 percent.

Amendment 60 would cause schools, libraries, fire departments, police departments and other services to cut back because of loss of funding to the tune of $1 billion. The amendment would also impact school districts and local entities by overturning local elections that have decided to "de-Bruce." This amendment also cuts property taxes by 50 percent.

Amendment 61 would make it near-impossible for governmental entities to secure bonds for capital improvements for water/wastewater plants, fire stations, health care facilities, colleges and schools by requiring bonds to be repaid in 10 years instead of, say, 20 years. Without a viable infrastructure, how will we attract investment by companies who bring revenue and jobs into our state?

In November we, as the electorate, need to throng to the polls to vote against Proposition 101, Amendment 60, and Amendment 61. Or will we exhibit so-called voter apathy to direct our state and local funding?

— Gary Glover

Security

Get moving, Colorado

First time letter-writer, long time reader.

To those in charge of Colorado's transportation infrastructure: With President Obama announcing plans to potentially spend $50 billion on transportation infrastructure, Colorado and those in charge of our infrastructure projects had better get ready. If we want to get any significant share of the money, we need to have projects ready for construction.

Turning Powers Boulevard into a freeway has been planned for years. Do it.

Building a Front Range passenger rail line? Do it. Colorado Springs streetcars? Do it.

Widen Interstate 25 between the Springs and Monument so it doesn't get backed up every single day, including holidays and weekends? Do it.

Do it now. Get everything ready to go, so the rest of the citizens of this fine state and I don't have to give you a retroactive kick in the pants when we miss out on our share of the $50 billion or have it go to worthless petty projects that do nothing but line the pockets of contractors.

— Kevin Schmidt

Colorado Springs

Sharing the road

To Linda Larroquette ("Biker vs. driver, part 2," Letters, Sept. 2), all the cyclists I know own cars, too. Therefore, they are also paying for the road with gasoline taxes. In addition, when you buy a new bike, you pay a $4 fee that goes for trails.

Most cyclists would love it if they did not have to ride any roads to get to where they are going. We are well aware of the dangers of being on a road with vehicles and angry, distracted drivers. We would love to have our trail system complete so we could ride trails all over the city instead of roads.

As a driver, you have to be constantly aware of possible unforeseen events: dogs or small children darting out, other drivers doing stupid things, construction and, yes, cyclists. If you are in such a hurry to get to your destination that taking the time to give a cyclist room to ride safely makes you late, you need to leave a few minutes earlier. Like it or not, cyclists have as much right to be on the road as cars do.

I invite you to buy a bike if you don't already own one, hop on it and go for a ride. Experience for yourself the fun and health benefits of cycling. Maybe then you will understand why we do what we do.

— Lydia West

Colorado Springs

Neverending story

I write a one-sentence, flippant letter to the editor ("The true test," Aug. 19) and it generates a conversation for at least four editions. Whoda thunk? This is the most fun I've had in a long time. I even generated a response from the Chairman of the Board of Editorial Letter Writers, Larimore Nicholl ("About my ass ..." Sept. 9)! I guess I'll write one more while I'm still hot.

For the life of me, I can't see where Gary Hudgens is coming from when he keeps repeating that I think others should believe in God, and more specifically, my God ("Foxhole reality," Aug. 26). I can't see any mention of my thoughts on God. I wrote that Mr. Nicholl would be "praying his atheist ass off" and Gary reads "praying his atheist ass off to my God."

In response to Lenny Mazel's assertion that his friends of every faith would not pray but seek an escape from the fire ("Exit strategies," Aug. 26), I wrote, "Is he really sure his religious friends weren't praying?" and Gary reads, "Is he really sure his Muslim friend wasn't praying to my God?" I included all the faiths Lenny mentioned and Gary sees that as closed-minded. Seriously, if there is an anthropomorphic god, I doubt he cares what his believers call him as long as they call.

Mr. Nicholl advises me not to delay to pray while my own tush is getting cooked medium rare, and I too thank him for his concern for my tush. I assure him I can pray and run my medium-rare tush off at the same time!

My final contribution: I'm sure there are some who would disagree with Mr. Nicholl when he states that at their funerals, atheists are all dressed up with no place to go! Gary, that's a joke, son, that's a joke!

— Bill Schaffner

Colorado Springs

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Self-serving idea

There are arguments to be made against term limits. It can be argued that the people should be allowed to pick whomever they want as their leaders. If the American electorate wanted Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton for a third term, voters should have been allowed to express their will.

But that is decidedly not the argument made by Republicans. They are simply stating that when convenient, they will follow the will of the people while spouting platitudes about doing the "will of the people." But when they run up against the implications of their hubris, and find they might have to leave government service and find real work in the Bush Recession, suddenly they have epiphanies and realize what they didn't know before: that term limits are wrong.

The present display by our El Paso County commissioners regarding "term limits extension" ("Longer term limits? Really?" Between the Lines, Sept. 9) conjures up many quotes regarding hypocrisy starting with Michael Korda: "An ounce of hypocrisy is worth a pound of ambition."

It seems obvious that the reasons why our one-party board of county commissioners voted to place extended term limits on the ballot are self-serving. For one, they don't believe they will pay a political price for this sheer hypocritical move. Two, quality candidates seem to be a problem for them. Three, the term-limited commissioners want to keep their cushy $87,300-a-year, part-time jobs. Four, the Republican establishment now fears a rebellion within its own ranks stemming from Tea Party radicals who might invade their system.

The result would open the door for more moderate Democrats, who seek practical solutions to real problems.

As Howard Dean said; "Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced by the Republican Party."

— Christy Le Lait

Executive director

El Paso County Democratic Party

Colorado Springs

Zero hour

Park51 is one of the biggest stories being covered today. The "controversy" about building a religious and cultural center two blocks from Ground Zero really worries me.

The underlying issue is religious freedom. As a person practicing a minority faith, I am shocked to see the degree to which this issue has become an "ISSUE." I would like to believe my religious freedom is understood and respected by other citizens, politicians and media. This "issue" puts my freedom into question.

If radical extremist individuals chose to do something horrific and claimed to practice my faith, my life as an American might change overnight. Would I be stared at in the grocery store as though I were a threat? Would I be unable to find employment? Would my home and place of worship be vandalized? Would my "unalienable rights" to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness become words without meaning?

Would I be forced to live in fear and danger, as so many Muslims have?

We have a small Islamic community in Colorado Springs. I find them to be gentle people. I thought of them on 9/11. I prayed for those who fail to see that religious freedom is a cornerstone of our American way of life. I prayed that we, as American society, will realize we cannot continue to blame every man, woman and child in the Muslim community for the actions of radically insane individuals.

I stand for religious freedom, uniting with many other members of the Pikes Peak InterReligious Clergy Alliance, Citizens Project, the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission and others.

We have created a Facebook page: "Call to Support Prayer — Colorado Springs." Get online and join. It is easier than you think to take a stand together.

— Rev. Ahriana Platten

Colorado EcoSpiritual Center

Colorado Springs

Silent on genocide

Democratic congressional candidate Kevin Bradley has announced, "I pledge to co-sponsor the Armenian genocide resolution and join the Armenian caucus in the next congressional session. My intention is to be responsive to all District 5 citizens and represent their interests on a whole range of issues, including human rights. Genocides past and present require explicit declarations. I pledge to do just that ... rejecting any possible inference that we tolerate or accept these injustices to our fellow man, be it Darfur or the Armenian genocide."

In contrast, Rep. Doug Lamborn has yet to honor his 2008 campaign pledge to support the Armenian genocide resolution.

During this time, Colorado became the first state to dedicate a day to genocide awareness; Colorado's vibrant genocide awareness community initiated a Ride Against Genocide introducing the Armenian genocide as Hitler's gateway to the Holocaust; Denver's Mizel Museum documented the first genocide of the 20th century; the Intermountain Jewish News repeated its call for recognition of the Armenian genocide as historical fact; the General Assembly adopted its annual Armenian genocide resolution; and the list goes on. Lamborn remained silently on the sidelines.

Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion [301 A.D.]. We ask Colorado's evangelical community to join our Colorado coalition in this struggle and press Lamborn to co-sponsor the Armenian genocide resolution.

— Pamela Barsam Brown

Rocky Mountain Hye Advocates

Boulder

Pencils, anyone?

This is my take on the "Tea Party" candidates. First they say that they want limited government. Limited to the rich, that is. They will gut Social Security, veterans' benefits. Heck, let's even get rid of welfare and unemployment benefits, leaving the sick, disabled and infirm with no income.

Maybe they want us to sell pencils on the street corner or just go homeless and hungry.

If this is your idea of limited government, then by all means vote the Tea Party in, but just remember, I told you so.

— Dwayne Schultz

Colorado Springs

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