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No choice on 62

I was at the Colorado Springs "No on 62" Rally on Sept. 23 and witnessed the behavior of Bob Enyart, whose nonstop chants disturbed three speeches. He and a handful of followers then seized the podium to continue his three-word "argument" in favor of the amendment: "Don't kill babies." Where were the police, who were needed to remove him for causing a major disruption?

Enyart advocates the death penalty for women getting abortions (and for kidnapping and adultery). He professes to champion the "rights" of embryos, but respects no actual rights such as the right to speak, to privacy, or conscience. He sees no problem with imposing his religious beliefs on everyone.

Rev. Benjamin Broadbent, a Congregational minister, was a scheduled speaker, and he reached me through the din. It was an eloquent speech naming founding principles.

To understand principles such as individual rights, the morality of abortion, and the separation of church and state, see the policy paper: "The 'Personhood' Movement Is Anti-Life," (seculargovernment.us/a62.shtml). All thinking voters need to consider the arguments in this paper and vote NO on 62!

— Hannah Krening

Larkspur

Military drain

Ralph Routon ("Stop the local self-pity," Between the Lines, Sept. 23) writes that the 2010 Quality of Life Indicators "comprise the largest single serving of bad news that Colorado Springs and El Paso County have encountered in modern times." Indeed, the report highlights the suffering local economy using red flags to highlight critical issues that need attention. But the report commends the military influence for providing "a stabilizing influence" as well as "business growth and employment growth for the region."

This may seem contradictory amid the dramatic increase in troops at Fort Carson. The military's multibillion-dollar economic impact figure, which the report cites, is all addition: It fails to subtract for school costs, lost property tax, lost sales tax from commerce on post, and jobs lost when companies move elsewhere. Soldiers living on post pay no property taxes but still use the roads, parks, police and other city services.

Similarly, using estimates from the absence of sales tax at the commissary, PX and other retail establishments on post, Colorado Springs loses about $1 million annually. Courts, police, mental health services, homeless shelters, and other social services face increased pressure without adequate compensation, which passes on the costs to the Colorado Springs community. Moreover, a fair amount of the $2 billion is lost when it goes straight to outside, private companies not based locally.

These costs should be taken into account as we consider the city's future. As Fort Carson prepares for a possible new combat aviation brigade — adding 2,000 more soldiers, their families, and 100-some roaring helicopters — we must recognize the impact, both positives and negatives, this will have. It's time to start building a local economy that does not depend on a federally subsidized institution. If we don't, to concur with Routon, "We also will have to pay for it."

— Ben Felson

Colorado Springs

Buck's true colors

Rape and incest victims recently told their personal stories about why U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck cannot represent Colorado women. Buck has said he does not believe a woman has the right to decide her own future, even in the case of rape or incest.

Colorado has a history of supporting a woman's right to choose, most recently in 2008 when voters overwhelmingly rejected (73 to 27 percent) a constitutional amendment that would have given rights to fertilized eggs. An almost identical measure (Amendment 62) is on the ballot this year. After realizing how out of touch he is with mainstream Coloradans, Buck retracted his support of Amendment 62, saying he didn't understand all of the ramifications of the amendment.

Colorado women believe Buck knew full well what he was supporting and is only changing what he's saying to get votes.

Go away, Ken Buck!

— Doncy Falvey

Colorado Springs

Flimflam man

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Dan Maes, candidate for Colorado governor! Maes said recently that his qualifications for running the state are listed on his résumé. So I went online and here, verbatim, is what I found:

"Dan has over 20 years of progressively successful experience in sales, management, mid-size and small business development in multiple industries. He has been a managing partner of a telecommunications company and started a company from scratch as recently as 2005 and successfully sold it in today's market. Through this business journey, he mastered:

Learning new industries, products, and services in just 90 days.

Creating productive and profitable relationships in little time....

Integrity in transactions that strive to bring mutually beneficial results.

Negotiating with major companies to produce win-win solutions."

If voters believe this gibberish, I have beachfront property to sell next door to The Broadmoor. Notice that Maes listed nothing that is verifiable. He says he "learned new industries, products and services in just 90 days." What does that mean? What does "creating profitable relationships in little time" mean?

This is flimflam language, and I could no sooner vote for Dan Maes than I could fly.

— Jere Joiner

Divide

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Education threatened

As treasurer of the School District 11 board and longtime fiscal conservative, I have watched the debate surrounding Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61. Unfortunately, these three initiatives are a misdirected attempt to fix government at a local level instead of the federal level where it more appropriately belongs.

I, too, am frustrated with the leadership in Washington, the ineffectiveness of the federal stimulus plan and, most importantly, the level of our national deficit. However, these ballot initiatives punish the innocent and leave those guilty unaffected.

I have carefully reviewed the potential impact on D-11 and K-12 education in general:

1. Proposition 101's reduction of state income taxes and motor vehicle registration fees will reduce D-11's budget by $34 million (16 percent) over 10 years.

2. Amendment 60 will reduce D-11's property taxes by $43 million and shift that funding obligation to the already-depleted state budget. The state estimates adding that obligation would take 98 percent of the state's budget revenues, leaving only 2 percent to fund prisons, Medicaid, colleges and universities, highways, the Legislature and law enforcement.

3. Amendment 61 will eliminate D-11's ability to participate in the state's cash-flow loan program. The district will face significant challenges to its ability to fund the salary and benefit requirements of a monthly payroll for 4,000 employees.

The immediate impact: school closings, layoffs and furloughs; increased class sizes; pared-down curriculum; fees for all activities and transportation. All school districts will suffer the similar fate.

I urge voters to not be fooled by the appearance of minimal financial impact on local governments. This will make Colorado the lowest-funded state in the nation for K-12 education!

Is this really the legacy we want to leave our children and grandchildren?

— Bob Null

Colorado Springs

Belt-tightening time

In response to Ralph Routon ("Election clock's ticking fast," Between the Lines, Sept. 2), with specific regard to his take on 60, 61 and 101:

I'm reminded of the TV commercial a couple of decades back, with the punch line of, "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later."

This applies to the absolute necessity of passing these ballot items, without equivocation or hesitancy. To do otherwise can and will do more damage later than could possibly be imagined, and could even put us on par with, or surpass, the situation in California.

The real question on these three is: Do we "bite the bullet" now, while we still have that opportunity? Or do we use yet another delay tactic, that we really don't have available, as we are out of time, and resources, to "borrow" upon, as we usually do?

It is this Living Vessel's assessment that: 1. This economic downturn is supposedly rather permanent; 2. These ballot items become law, or we will deeply regret it later.

The space here does not permit me to elaborate on the reasons behind my letter. You've been warned.

— Gregory Alan Johnson

Colorado Springs

Proud of AFA

I am a father of five and an employer of 120-plus staff doing business throughout south central Kansas. I am very impressed with the U.S. Air Force Academy and very proud my son chose to attend there.

I am also proud that USAFA monitors and permits credible groups for our cadets, credible groups like Cadets for Christ ("Weinstein: 'A state of war' with AFA," IndyBlog, Sept. 17).

USAFA has long exemplified the proper relationship between a government institution and the religious and civil groups it allows. Often our freedoms are lost through ignorance, extreme and vocal special interest groups, and activist courts who willfully violate the U.S. Constitution, forcing it to fit their personal agenda rather than the written document and the intent of the Founding Fathers.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution begins by stating, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."

I recall hearing my son sworn in as he pledged, "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic ..."

I hope that the longstanding traditions of USAFA will always be embraced and that we, as an educated public, will seek to also defend our Constitution against all enemies, including those vocal special interest groups and activist judges who are also protected with the ability to speak freely, even when they distort the facts.

— Jerry E. Winkley

Valley Center, Kan.

Time to fight back

Best next question: How do we stun the latent members of the natural opposition to the Tea Party into picking up the torch? It is the one thing that can put this situation into a permanent shift to the left and truly earn this country the ability to express its true character.

I watch the news and feel like I have gorged on acrimony. And I watched as the Tea Partiers turned a proud nation into a de-evolving population of selfish toddlers throwing self-serving temper tantrums.

Still, I can go a little way in the reconciliation process by saying I understand that their boat has capsized. With the rising of our minorities into the most prominent offices in the world, it becomes obvious the acrimony served the purpose of an egoic life preserver.

With the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, Hillary Clinton's appointment as secretary of state, and many other proofs of minorities rising into their rightful places, the knowledge of the passing of the old guard has triggered this ogre-like spate of aggression.

Anger is a wonderful accelerant when lighting a signal fire for those stranded in their vehicles of exploitation and elitism. They didn't stay stranded for long, though, using their fear of the new president and the many-hued cabinet and Supreme Court nominees as a catalyst.

I guess that much is a good thing, because sentiments of this virulence need to be pulled to the surface and not suppressed, if any discourse will ever lead to a better way to keep ourselves out of poverty than by forcing others down into it and holding them there.

Now that we see it clearly and are confronting it openly, we need not stare at it in silence forever.

— Lisa Smith-Ruffin

Colorado Springs

 

Commentary kudos

Re: "Cash cabal ... Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," Film, Sept. 23:

Very good review. Superb imagery.

"...collude to maintain the financial circle jerk that props them all up."

Images of Soros clones seated around a small amphitheater. Geitner clones scurrying with open pomade jars. Heavy breathing in foreign accents. Green goo oozing.

Kudos, MaryAnn Johanson. You had me with your lead, but this phrase ("financial circle jerk") sold me. And it says it all, as does your conclusion.

Now I wouldn't miss this movie for all the IOUs in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

— Charles Andrew Wood

Monument

Correction

In Slice of Life last week, the featured car was misidentified as a Corvair. It is a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. We regret the error.

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