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Skorman's specifics

I attended the appearances by Richard Skorman and Steve Bach at my husband's Downtown Rotary.

Skorman has it all over Bach! Skorman cited real issues facing our city, drawing from past experience on City Council and his many friends who have small businesses throughout our community, just like him.

Bach, on the other hand, spoke the same general "campaign rhetoric" we have been hearing these past months. There was not one specific single issue he spoke on, other than there is too much waste and he won't raise taxes.

When asked a specific question, he said he is not exactly sure what the mayor's duties include! My thought was I bet Skorman knows what the mayor can and cannot do.

I have questioned who is behind Bach, supplying his campaign with funds to paint the town with Bach signs. I even saw his bumper sticker in the ladies restroom at my gym!

My hope is that our citizens are not blinded by the tonnage of billboards, but by the quality and experience these two candidates have.

— Elaine Brush

Colorado Springs

TOPS mistake

A very large amount of Trails and Open Space maintenance money has been spent to build fire conduits up the grassy flank of Stratton Open Space. Living trees of over 10 inches in diameter were cut and partially buried in the earth. Tons of wildfire tinder are stacked over needlessly plowed grassy prairie, and piled in gullies.

When asked, parks director Kurt Schroeder said on Channel 5, March 31: "Primarily we are trying to mitigate the fire risk ..." At the very moment he was speaking, there was a wildfire burning at Bear Creek Park, a mile upwind of Stratton.

The Stratton Fire of March 15 was broken by a mere 24-inch trail. An unofficial trail, like the one the parks department stuck the trees into. Parks has used TOPS tax money to plow up perfectly good trails, pile enormous heaps of kindling on top of it, tall dry grass on either side, and then build a new trail right beside. Meanwhile, two rusty cables protrude parallel to the ground, at a right angle to the swing of a hiker's foot, on the trail up to the quarry over at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. No money to fix it!

All of this was approved of by the Parks Advisory Committee. A disproportionate number of its members are from the surrounding neighborhood. Stratton has been well-littered with "keep out" signs; they are posted where nobody ever walks, and even in front of the kindling wood piles. The previously "open" space has been made into an exclusionary and very dangerous eyesore.

— Rick Bergles

Colorado Springs

Like the Romans

Don McCullen ("Cutting NPR's cord," Letters, April 7) professes to believe Doug Lamborn's superficial explanation of why the Republicans are seeking to cut funding for National Public Radio. Lamborn's explanation is really a pretext. What McCullen focuses on is really the Tea Party bottom line: They don't want to be taxed to pay for stuff they don't use.

I am starting to agree with McCullen; I don't want to be taxed to pay for stuff I don't use. Like airports. I can't afford to fly anywhere, so why should I pay for traffic-controllers, security scanners and security officers? Let those people who fly, pay it themselves; fold the cost of all that into the price of a ticket.

Nor do I want a standing army. No Afghani ever called me queer, kicked me out of a bar for kissing my girlfriend, or treated me as less than equal. You want originalism? Thomas Jefferson didn't want a standing army, either.

I have meager possessions, a big dog, and a .38 revolver; I don't need police protection. Nobody is going to take on my dog and gun to get my crappy little TV and obsolete computer. Fire? I rent. You know who needs fire protection? People with big houses full of expensive luxuries. Jails? Why am I paying to keep harmless drug addicts in jail?

The well-off benefit more from government than poor people and should pay more. They need to stop being cheap about programs that benefit the poor and being extravagant with programs that benefit themselves. Taking money from parks and putting it into prisons is redistribution of wealth. Giving millionaires tax breaks and cutting utilities assistance is redistribution of wealth.

This is exactly how the Roman Republic became the Roman Dictatorship. The small numbers of super-wealthy needed strong government to protect them from the masses of very poor.

— Gina Douglas

Colorado Springs

Feline's friend

While I was saddened to read that workers at some animal rescues in the area feel victimized by the recession ("Collared," News, March 31), the writer did not contact the many successful rescues that advertise in the Indy every week. The article presented a superficial, bleak and negative look at a milieu where love and hope happen every minute.

Allow me to present a different vision of the rescue business. The volunteers at lookwhatthecatbroughtin.org work from a different playbook. We didn't expect pay raises or accolades when we deliberately opened a new cat shelter in 2008 as the downturn started.

Over the last three years we have heard many heartbreaking stories and we have seen more than one client collapse in tears. For their sake and the sake of their pets, we maintain a confident and professional stiff upper lip. Their cat will not be adopted into a parked car or tent; we will find a safe and appropriate home for their cat. And we hope the humans' circumstances improve as well.

Like Pandora, who managed to hold on to hope, we try to find redemption in tragedy. If we can't accept a cat immediately, we will put the owner on our waiting list.

We don't say "never" — we say "later."

When someone has to surrender kittens, we make sure the mother cat is spayed, too. Like everyone, we are on a tight budget and we can always use more money to help our animals, but our volunteers are not driven to despair because they work for love, not money. Please don't support our cause out of guilt, but out of desire for improving outcomes.

— Jennifer Nosler

President

lookwhatthecatbroughtin.org

Colorado Springs

From the inside...

This letter is in response to "Solitude as torture" (Letters, March 24) by the Rev. Dr. F.W. Rick Meyers and the Rev. Benjamin Broadbent. With all due respect, these gentlemen clearly have never set foot inside a prison wearing a blue uniform.

They submit that solitary confinement is not the answer. We submit that sometimes it is the only answer. They speak as if inmates can be persuaded to follow rules by reasoning, withholding of privilege, or timeout. These are not misbehaving children. They are felons, many extremely violent and dangerous. Their propensity for social deviance or violence landed them in prison, and being in prison does not mean inmates start obeying rules and social norms. If not for administrative segregation, many would assault, rape or kill other inmates and even staff members. Is that worth eliminating policies?

Like any social issue, there are competing interests at stake. It is critical to weigh those interests. The primary goal in a prison environment is safety and security, without which inmates, staff and the public are at risk of harm.

It is unfortunate that many inmates will re-enter society from administrative segregation. However, contrary to popular belief, it is not the Department of Corrections' primary duty to rehabilitate prisoners.

The primary goal in our mission statement is to protect the public by incarcerating individuals too dangerous to be on the streets. In many cases, rehabilitation is utterly impossible. How can the prison system undo 25 years of poor parenting, negative peer cultures and lifelong mental-health issues? That is a ridiculous expectation on a depleted budget.

We submit that opponents to administrative segregation think more realistically before publicly supporting very liberal legislation written by more people who have never worn a correctional officer uniform. Talk with those officers who have been stabbed, raped, or assaulted, or the families of those who have been murdered, to find out what they think about eliminating administrative segregation.

— Anonymous correctional officers

(Policy precludes disclosure of identities)

Slick moves

U.S.-led NATO forces have been heavily bombing Tripoli and Gadhafi's ground forces. These actions are direct violations of the U.N. mandate to only provide a No-Fly Zone to protect the populations of eastern Libyan cities.

I wonder if this decision by the U.S. and Great Britain to disregard U.N. restrictions could be due to the fact that Gadhafi nationalized about two-thirds of foreign oil producers in Libya not long after he came to power? Libya paid the concerned companies for their losses. But many of those companies were huge British and U.S. corporations. Imperial nations have long honored a policy of punishing any weaker nation that nationalizes their business' foreign assets.

Gadhafi further offended Western plutocracies by shifting wealth toward the masses and away from the Libyan rich.

The Gini index is a measure of economic dis-equity. Before the current revolt, Libya's Gini was 36. Before this recession, the U.S. Gini was 40.8 (a substantially less equitable distribution of wealth than in Libya).

Forty years of rule by the horrible Gadhafi have also left the Libyan people vastly more healthy. The CIA factbook says the average Libyan now lives 77 years, only one year less than the average U.S. citizen.

So, since everyone in Congress seems to agree that eliminating the deficit is our prime concern ... let's spend another hundred billion to bomb this monster Gadhafi into mush!

— Joseph Mitchener

Black Forest

 

Be realistic

Jane Madden ("Our own Grouch," Letters, March 24) writes: "Coal pollutes, nuclear can kill, but the sun and the wind can give us energy that will not harm us."

Well, true, except that the downside is they also won't deliver enough "energy density," meaning that required to run high-powered, energy-intensive societies. The numbers just aren't there, though I do agree I'd much prefer a civilization run on solar and wind than fossil fuels and nuclear.

A useful indicator, according to The Physicist's Desk Reference (Energy Supplies, Table C, p. 187) is which energy sources measure up to the exajoule (EJ) mark in delivery capability. (One EJ = 10 to the 18th power joules, or 10 to the fifteenth power BTUs, or British thermal units.) According to the table, the only double-digit EJ energy source (general use) contributors currently are oil (47), coal (77), natural gas (24) and nuclear (31). Oil shale is at 3, solar is at 2 and ethanol-wind-geothermal doesn't even make the cut other than as a toss-in for "others."

In the important "very aggressive" demand category, oil is at 24 EJ, coal is at 16 EJ, natural gas at 9 EJ, nuclear at 6 EJ and "other" at 2 EJ.

This means that in the energy-intensive category the combined alternative sources don't even deliver 2/55 or a fraction 3.6 percent of the nuclear-fossil combo.

This shows our society can't survive on alternative energy alone, since windmills and solar panels can't run bulldozers, elevators, steel mills, glass factories, aircraft and automobile factories or missile plants. Nor, would I warrant, can alternatives replace the energy-intensive forms unless our population is dramatically reduced from what it is.

Bottom line: I simply can't see that happening for a long time. Nice idea, though!

— Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

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