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The real Ted

In response to Jan Zeis ("Be nicer to Ted," Letters, Dec. 30):

Ted Haggard was a profoundly influential minister and persecutor of homosexuals. He spared no expense in demonizing an entire class of people, hurting them, making their lives, and their families' lives, miserable. In the end, his end, he was shown to be the worst kind of hypocrite. The kind who causes misery in others while engaging in the behavior that he is loudly denouncing, to an extreme practiced by only a few.

Now, he's sorry. While I personally harbor no ill will, I recognize that this is an example that needs to live vividly in our collective consciousness. He needs to be a shining example of our leadership, a man who should have been subject to question, rather than put on a pedestal. After the fall of so many Christian and political leaders caught in behavior that they so loudly disparaged, we all need to step back and take a lesson from them.

These people were creating misery in others to gain personal power. Their power, however, did not come from themselves. It came from people everywhere who are looking at other people, finding reasons to judge them for their own personal glorification. The art of judgment is truly a destructive one. When we elevate the words of another so we can feel like we are the "good people," better than "those people," we are simply proving ourselves to be the real enemy.

If Rich Tosches hears the echo of Ted Haggard's corrosive hypocrisy, it is not Rich who shoulders the blame. We need to see the destruction that judgment brings to everyone, and practice a little more acceptance. Forgive Ted, accept the differences in people, and focus on our own lives.

— Debra Perry

Colorado Springs

Thoughts for 2011

It's really about all of us, this next year. What we choose to believe about our lives. What we choose to believe about our country, what we choose to believe about the world.

I've read a bunch of scary stuff lately, stuff that shook me to the bone. I won't buy into that. Don't you, either. We can make better choices as we move through our lives. Each one of us accepting the responsibility for our future. Each one of us stepping up. Each one of us connecting to the place that gives us strength, to the power in us that gives us life, to the infinite source that made all of this happen.

Trust, know, believe, act. Simple.

— Michael Augenstein

Colorado Springs

 

Nice job, county

As a resident of the Oasis subdivision in Peyton, in this recent snowstorm I gained great respect for our county snowplow drivers and our street department. This storm was rather insignificant compared to the hype prior to the storm.

I traveled into Colorado Springs during this storm and could see where county maintenance ended and city maintenance started. The difference was night and day. City roads were untouched, and the county road crews that have a lot more road surfaces to maintain — now that the city does not do developments (exactly what do they do?) — respond to small disasters such as the one on Carefree (the 20-car pileup that even made it to YouTube as the laughingstock of the country).

I have traveled a few more times into the Springs, and roadways are still unacceptable, while county roads are improving more and more.

The city government has failed its citizens once again. Road crews had ample warning of this storm. This storm was nothing as far as potential accumulation. We as a community, escaped a potential disaster by the grace of God.

What if this had been a real storm with significant accumulation? What then? How many days would it take to get traffic flowing safely in the city?

This is a big thank you to the El Paso County road crew for a great job with less resources per square mile to cover.

I feel sorry for the people of Colorado Springs. I hope we do not have a real storm, or you poor people are in danger, all due to an unprepared government entity.

— Michael McKeon

Peyton

Make most of MMJ

Bryce Crawford's piece on the Department of Revenue's MMJ rules review ("You asked for it ..." CannaBiz, Dec. 23) struck me as a little misleading. The "warm and fuzzy" feeling I felt when I thought the suggestions were from the department were replaced by frustration at feeling misled into a false sense of "maybe the Government really cares."

Nothing could be further from the truth, of course, as the "did not inhale" crowd is trying everything they can to squash our Constitutional right to self-medicate. Some rules need adjusting, such as the six-plant maximum, as few people (if any) can make this work for personal use.

As the Colorado MMJ industry grows ever-larger, we must understand this is money that is not being flushed into the cesspool of the Central American drug scene. Colorado MMJ users need to use Colorado marijuana. Keeping the grow operations "home-grown," keeps the money in the state. Instead of spending the MMJ windfall of new taxes and fees to regulate and police the MMJ industry, thus creating more government (the problem), we should put this money to work repairing the damage already caused by our short-sighted leadership. Watering the parks and bringing back porta-johns might be a good start locally.

— Karl Knapstein

Sedalia

Mayoral favorites

It's not often I agree with executive editor Ralph Routon about anything; however, I found something we agree on. Well, kind of.

Richard Skorman is a good man with strong moral values and is a kind human being. With him, you always know where you stand and where he stands. Where Mr. Routon and I part company is thinking Mr. Skorman would be a good strong mayor.

Mr. Skorman would be good, if you wanted a very liberal kind of thinking; someone who would not make the hard decisions when it came to eliminating jobs or departments or reducing salaries within the city, or putting a stop to the runaway cash takeaway of Utilities, with their constant rate increases and promoting Southern Delivery System as their job security and reason for higher salaries.

I will support the kind of person who would be more like a Sean Paige or a Brian Bahr. Strong, decisive, results-oriented and not afraid, and would not be swayed by political opinions or posturing. The voters want a strong mayor; then let's elect one!

— Duane C. Slocum

Colorado Springs

Nature and nurture

Thank you for the article regarding climate change deniers ("This is happening," cover story, Dec. 23). There's no doubt our fossil fuel use contributes to global warming; this thermodynamic process was proven more than a hundred years ago by Fourier and Arrhenius. The only unanswered question is how much of this warming is our fault and how much is due to a natural tempering of the climate.

Reason No. 11 for deniers to secretly rally around may be all about responsibility. Admitting that we humans are part of the cause would then require each of us to take personal responsibility for damaging the Earth, God's first gift to us. Taking responsibility would involve money, perhaps meaning less money for the deniers.

For me it boils down to very simple logic. We run good breathable air into our machines, and from our tailpipes and chimneys spews stuff that kills life. We are effectively replacing our atmosphere with poison.

The only counter to this logic is that Earth's systems clean the air. Well, are you sure? Do you know this to never fail? If the planet cleans the air, why is the CO2 level going up? And what are you doing to make sure the ecological systems that would clean up after us are strong and fully capable of doing so?

It is estimated that 30 percent of our increase in CO2 can be attributed to deforestation. By planting trees in massive efforts, we can do the right thing for our children and great-grandchildren and have fun doing it. Please nurture a tree, or a hundred (small ones not ready to be hugged yet, for those with an aversion). Get your kids into it and they will benefit in ways you might not expect.

— Scott Harvey

Colorado Springs

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Calendar options

Just a reminder to reboot your old Gregorian calendar. I realize reboot is digital speak for an analog system; however, it's still time to change the old one in for new. This will require one to remove the thumb tack or slip the old calendar from the nail pounded into the wall. The same thumbtack or nail may be reused for the "Green Folkies," born during the Great Depression, and those who have grown fond of their thumbtacks (everyone has a fetish).

The calendar cycle repeats every 28 years, because in 28 years there are seven leap years (calendar advances two days) and 21 non-leap years (calendar advances one day). This is good news for hoarders, as a 1983 or 1955 calendar will suffice. The unfortunate problem: holidays designed around moon phases, i.e. Easter and Thanksgiving.

For those who received Garfield or Dilbert desk calendars, my suggestion is to tear the first six pages of advertisements and re-order forms and use the backside as scrap paper. Remember, every day produces one more page of scratch paper.

I have scoured my new calendar and cannot locate the Billie Holiday. Does it fall on a Friday or Monday? What? Oh, never mind. "Stormy Monday" is playing in my head now.

— Biff Morehead

Colorado Springs

In reality, city wins

I'm writing to respectfully add clarity and context to "City loses on housing grants" (Noted, Dec. 30). I must contest that the city "loses" in the $36,600 HUD Housing Counseling grant awarded to Partners In Housing (PIH) here. That may not compare to the $73 million in program grant dollars awarded nationwide. However, with its trained and certified staff, PIH effectively has stretched grant funds over the past three years to help first-time homebuyers.

PIH is a local nonprofit agency whose primary mission is to provide transitional housing and supportive services to homeless families with kids (the article left out "homeless"). PIH provides first-time homebuyer education classes and one-on-one homebuyer counseling, all at no charge. It is also important to note that over the past four years, PIH is the only agency in Colorado Springs that has applied for the HUD Housing Counseling grant.

Because this is an "adjunct" to our primary mission, we have limited staff and resources for homebuyer education. It was our responsibility as a nonprofit to request from HUD only an amount that we knew we could expend efficiently and effectively, helping as many people as possible. That amount was $36,600. This will be the fourth year PIH has offered these services under this grant program, and the first year we were awarded the full amount requested. That's because of continued successful outcomes, which we are required to report to HUD on an ongoing basis. Over the past three years, PIH has provided almost 2,900 specific counseling "services" in group and one-on-one sessions, to well over 600 households.

Far from "losing" on this grant allocation, we know from experience that consumers benefiting from these services are much more likely to avoid bad decisions. That's an important outcome, and these funds will help achieve that end.

— Frank Stampf

Executive director

Partners In Housing

Colorado Springs

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