Good for the economy, bad for our quality of life, is the message from "Lamborn says Fort Carson favored for aviation brigade" (IndyBlog, Feb. 4).
There is no question that bringing 2,700 new soldiers and their families to Fort Carson with the Combat Aviation Brigade will be a great boost to the economy of Colorado Springs, not to mention the construction jobs.
However, consider the 120 new helicopters coming with them. That is six times more than the 20 Army helicopters currently stationed at Fort Carson. Those current 20 helicopters are already impacting my peace and quiet.
Let's hope the Fort Carson commander, Brig. Gen. James Doty, is sensitive enough to the problems of this many aircraft, to work with the community to mitigate the impact of helicopter training noise on the city and on Pikes Peak.
— Eric Swab
A lot of questions come to mind when we analyze the story on the green light for bringing a new Combat Aviation Brigade to Fort Carson. U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet all tout it as a big jobs program and stimulus-spending package. Lamborn is a Tea Party penny-pincher except for taking huge chunks of federal cash for his own district.
Suddenly it is wrapped in "national security" language. In another district, it would be wasteful government spending.
Udall recently announced he supports a balanced budget amendment for the federal government. But he can't get enough big Pentagon money for his own state. As with Lamborn, the contradictions are passed over without question. Bennet seems to be along for the ride.
Why does the Army suddenly need two more helicopter brigades? The troops are all coming out of Iraq. There are supposed to be major withdrawals from Afghanistan this year. But the Army needs (wants) more helicopters. Look at it this way: The Army wants its own Air Force. It hates to have to call on the Air Force for close combat support.
The other current expansion issue hanging over us is the Air Force plan for low-altitude flights over southern Colorado, including El Paso County. Here it is a matter of the Air Force wanting its own Army. The training is for Air Force Special Forces commandos. The Air Force doesn't want to call on Army Green Berets for clandestine operations. The Air Force wants its own ground troops.
Inter-service rivalry is a big driver of increased Pentagon budgets.
No one in national politics will touch either of these issues. Business as usual is good politics. The military-industrial complex rules.
— Bill Sulzman
Palin's pretty face
Many members of the conservative political persuasion have their thought process controlled by their scrotum rather than their cerebrum. It is a fact that Sarah Palin has the Daisy Mae Dogpatch charisma. Also, Palin's physical appearance is attractive to the not-so-bright, conservative Republican caveman mentality.
Sarah Palin's appearance and her obvious lack of any general knowledge and her folksy affect make her a hero to the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.
The citizens of Colorado do think with their brains, not their testicles. Kudos to Colorado.
— Leon Rodriguez
Are you really that sexist or, on your Feb. 3 cover ("Dining tails"), were you just trying to sell newspapers?
Oh, that's right. Your newspaper is free.
— Roger Piwowarski
Green Mountain Falls
I have more pro-birth idiocy to share. Many states only allow abortions in cases of rape, medical emergencies and incest. As reported in January, the House Republican majority tried to redefine rape in an attempt to prevent more abortions. The legislation would have turned "rape" into "forcible rape," which would have ruled out medical assistance in many cases of "non-forcible" rape, such as statutory rape.
The move would have also denied the use of tax benefits to pay for abortions, and rape victims over 18 would have to pay out of pocket for an abortion. The shoddily constructed legislation was blocked due to incredible backlash, but it all too easily could have passed.
I'm still so mad at the sheer, audacious callousness that I'm shaking. I had to correct more than 33 typos before I could submit this letter, thanks to vibrating hands. We aren't in the Dark Ages anymore, folks. It's about damn time we started acting like it.
By the way, I call it "pro-birth" because I find it incredibly tacky to call it "pro-life" when many people who call themselves such will assault doctors, bomb clinics and prevent patients from entering clinics by picketing. They are pro-war, pro-death penalty, and don't give a [censored] about the quality of someone's life.
I realize those are the extremists, but the truly pro-life people who respect others' opinions and worry about the quality of life are always drowned out by them.
— Krys Barrow
Who really matters?
I have read Chris Alexei's letter ("Overplayed story," Jan. 27) several times. And I will say that I, too, am not interested in the local music or party scenes. However, I was dismayed by Chris' egocentric question: "Why don't you interview and feature people, like myself, who really matter in life?"
Frankly, I don't think we need to read another story about personal intolerance; I don't want to know why Chris feels he or she matters more than a hipster, all the young people who have tattoos, or people who are depressed and in detox.
Chris probably smiled to see his or her letter in print in the Indy. But how many people read the letter and were taken aback by the utter bigotry espoused in the letter?
Right on, Chris. I hope you are able to surround yourself with people who matter as much as you do.
— Daria Wilber
Truth about NOLA
In your article, "Big Chief Monk Boudreaux carries on a uniquely New Orleans tradition" (AudioFile, Feb. 3), Bill Forman states: "After Hurricane Katrina destroyed his house, he was forced to relocate to Mesquite, Texas, where he lived with his daughter."
The fact of the matter is that the flooding of New Orleans was overwhelmingly and primarily the fault of the Army Corps of Engineers, who were solely responsible for designing and building the levee system they knew to be flawed — not the hurricane itself. Instead of correcting this, they lied about the status of the levees while squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Had they done their job, Hurricane Katrina would have made much less news and would not suffer the fate of being referenced as a terrible "natural" disaster. Rather, it should be labeled a terrible "engineering" disaster.
With the dissemination of correct information, the blame for the flooding of New Orleans will eventually shift from the hurricane to the agency that allowed it to affect the people of New Orleans: the Army Corps of Engineers. This information will only get out if the media starts acknowledging where the fault for the destruction truly lies.
— William Ferguson
Re: John Hazlehurst's column ("Enterprises: threatened species," Feb. 3), I have worked directly with Colorado Springs Utilities since 1984 at ROLM, purchased by IBM and then shut down and resurrected as MCI in 1990, then sold to Worldcom in 1998 ... and the rest is history.
One theme that is consistent with CSU is they don't have customers, they have ratepayers.
When MCI started up, they had to take on AT&T, the most formidable monopoly in the world, and they won. That victory brought innovation to the telecommunications industry that spawned millions of jobs and billions in profits to investors.
If the new City Council takes a fresh look at CSU and infuses a competitive posture, who knows what kind of innovation and profits may come to fruition?
— Sam Masias
Health care bill reality
For those who are afraid of the health care reform bill, here are the facts:
It is called The Affordable Care Act and provides Americans more freedom and control with health choices. We will not have to worry about losing our insurance or having it capped unexpectedly. Insurance companies will not be able to raise premiums by double digits.
Whether you are a pregnant woman, have pre-existing conditions, or a child born with disabilities, you will not be denied health insurance. Parents will have the choice of providing coverage for children after they finish school. We can change jobs or retire earlier without worrying about losing health insurance. Seniors will receive free preventive care and lower-cost prescription drugs.
It passed in the Senate, but Republicans in Congress are still working to repeal it because insurance companies are among their largest campaign contributors. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, it will add a trillion dollars to our deficit.
— Sharlene White
Sari Escovitz ("Middle East hope," Letters, Jan. 13) wants to educate us on the history of conflict between Israel and Palestine, but unfortunately, her facts are neither accurate nor historical. Doesn't she wonder why the land that Israel seized in the 1967 war is considered "occupied" and, under international law, expected to be returned?
The situation is similar to the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Imagine the outcry that would ensue if the U.S. chose to occupy Iraq and not return the country to its native people. This is exactly what Israel has done in the West Bank and Gaza strip, occupying that land for over 40 years.
Having been to the West Bank, I can attest that when people live under military occupation, they have few human or civil rights. And life for the Palestinian people living there is quite brutal and dismal. Just last month another Palestinian civilian was killed by the Israeli military at a nonviolent demonstration in Bi'lin to protest the "separation barrier" Israel has been building with our tax dollars around the West Bank, seizing even more land and water supplies from Palestinians.
While Sari sees "hope" (if only the Palestinians would return to direct peace talks), she apparently does not feel that Israel should stop building settlements on Palestinian land to get talks back on track. Or perhaps Israel prefers to continue the occupation rather than making concessions required for peace?
People of good conscience cannot ignore this huge international human-rights crisis, or silently watch while the U.S. government backs Israel and supplies war machines to be used against Palestinians. Those who want to help can stop buying products that aid the occupation, such as Motorola's Droid phone, Ahava cosmetics, Tribe and Sabra hummus, and Victoria's Secret. For more info, go to bdsmovement.net.
— Cyndy Kulp
Time out! One side says global warming is true. The other side says not true.
What if the other side is wrong? What if the other side is deliberately ignoring the problem known as Greater Variability?
So, what does that mean? Greater Variability means hotter hots, colder colds, more snow, and floods. Oh, and more drought.
— Tom MacDonald
We need nonprofits
A city is strapped for cash. The mayor and City Council members look for sources of income, while primary sources continue to dwindle. Such rumblings happen often in Colorado Springs. Only this time the city is Holyoke, Mass., where leaders have targeted tax-exempt nonprofits as a potential revenue source.
Let's look at why that's a bad idea. Many service organizations rely on donations from individuals, corporations and even the government. Taxing these organizations would negatively impact the nonprofit sector.
Consider a local faith-based organization that has a food pantry and provides rental and utility assistance. Its budget is $1.6 million; $1.1 million consists of in-kind gifts; only one-third is actual cash. If Colorado Springs taxed that nonprofit for the cash amount at the current sales tax rate, the end result would be $36,218 to city coffers.
While this may seem like a windfall, the impact on the organization would be — not could be — devastating.
Every entity needs money. The nonprofit sector is key to the health of a thriving local economy.
What would we do without services and institutions like TESSA helping victims of domestic violence, Silver Key Senior Services aiding senior citizens, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado feeding compromised families, Pikes Peak Workforce Center helping individuals find jobs, and Colorado College offering financial aid to nearly half of its student body?
Our local government would have to fill the void of reduced or dropped services. But most cities, including ours, do not have this capacity.
Nonprofits are not a drain on resources; they provide resources where none would otherwise exist.
To quote Booker T. Washington: If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. Colorado Springs is lifting up nonprofits by providing tax-exempt status. In turn, those organizations lift up the compromised. We all benefit.
— Andy Petersen