We all have a voice

Thousands of Colorado Springs voters have not yet turned in their ballots for our first strong mayor. Now is the time to choose a leader who has the experience and vision to take our city toward a more positive and productive future.

Richard Skorman is that leader. Even-tempered, thoughtful and inclusive, Skorman is the more likely candidate to "think outside the box" to find alternative, creative and effective solutions to the many problems. While not an entrenched politician, Skorman's experiences on City Council will allow him to address challenges immediately; he already understands the workings of city government.

Richard Skorman truly cares about Colorado Springs. As a small businessman he has been involved in many community-oriented endeavors and for decades has invested a lot of time and energy toward improving our city. Skorman listens to and works well with people of all political, ethnic and religious backgrounds. These many attributes will be extremely important for our first strong mayor.

It matters that we all have a voice and turn in our ballots. It matters that our mayor be independent of outside special interests. And it matters that our city be given the chance to become a place we all are proud to call home. Richard Skorman can deliver. Yes — it matters!

— Ann Bernhard

Colorado Springs

Quality vs. quantity

I have to wonder what has brought national money into our mayoral race from the infamous Grover Norquist? He and his Club for Growth are best known for wanting to "shrink government down small enough to drown it in a bathtub." So, what does he expect in return from Steve Bach if he is elected?

This camp's radical type of thinking can focus on little else than lowering taxes until there is nothing we do together as a community; then it is every person for himself and isolation is the norm. Civic pride will be nonexistent.

Convincing the Springs to elect as its first powerful mayor a believer in unlimited expansion doesn't bode well for the future of our fine city. Does quality of life matter to us, or will we abandon the inner city and continue to just move our boundaries outward until we cover everything as far as the eye can see? Or will we come together and agree it is sometimes worthwhile to limit growth, and even approve new projects that enhance our daily lives, and make our city a great place to live? Are we willing to take part in the hard work it takes to create community, or just turn every decision over to someone who has the narrowest of interests? These are important questions we need to be asking ourselves before we vote in this historic election.

My friends and I have decided that Richard Skorman will truly represent the best interests of our diverse community, and that future citizens will be grateful for the legacy he will leave for them.

— Jerry Newsom

Colorado Springs

Reality: nightmare

There's nothing like an election to prove to the world that Colorado Springs is the most regressive backwater in the nation. No wonder innovative companies bypass our city and locate in Boulder and Fort Collins, while we're saddled with call centers and unrestrained urban drunkenness. The sorry tenure of Lionel Rivera has left us with a legacy of skanky bars invading downtown like kudzu, while there's not a new bookstore in sight.

The losses are endless: our opera, the symphony's on life support, the piano store closes, Michelle's is long gone, Extraordinary Ingredients is history, Great Harvest and ListenUp move to the burbs, city parks are a dust bowl, and no swimming pools for children. We're left with vomiting hillbillies on Tejon every Saturday night heading to that brand-new center of fine dining and culture, the Pikes Peak and Tejon 7-Eleven.

And now the imminent installment of Steve Bach, whose personal demons are of no consequence as long as he keeps progressives like Richard Skorman from actually making this dump livable and attractive to businesses and cultural interests that aren't extensions of the Pentagon or the Church of What's Happenin' Now.

While this election is truly discouraging, it is historically predictable. Our one chance to pull ourselves into the 21st century and it looks like we're going to blow it. Can't wait to see the new Wal-Mart at Bijou and Cascade.

— Russ Knight

Colorado Springs

Perkins' vendetta

Will Perkins is using the LGBT community to spew his version of discrimination to further the campaign of Steve Bach. Mr. Perkins claims that electing Richard Skorman would give minority status to the LGBT community. This reeks of Perkins' 1992 rhetoric regarding Amendment 2, which was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court as discriminatory. His reference to "lifestyle" being forced on children through their education is a familiar ploy to launch fear toward this segment of the population. He states that Skorman's support of the LGBT community would irrevocably redefine the foundation of Western Civilization and traditional family.

Perhaps Mr. Perkins does not realize that civilization and definition of family have already been redefined, where inclusion, fairness, non-discrimination, and equal rights are now the foundations that are changing. Furthermore, polls indicate that a majority of the American population supports these foundations.

Skorman has no plans to institute a "San Francisco-style ordinance" that would force employers' acceptance of LGBT employees. Mr. Perkins' fear-mongering and ongoing spew are tactics to convince the voting population that the LGBT community should remain second-class citizens while he ignores the truly important issues.

I urge you to reject the anti-LGBT bias and condemn Will Perkins for his rhetoric in this time of utmost importance to Colorado Springs.

— Margaret Garrett

Colorado Springs

Not about parties

I'm betting that most of you have voted, but as in most elections, there are many who haven't decided yet. This letter is for you.

I'm asking Republicans to discard your normal party-line vote, be honest with yourself, and with a free, open mind, do not vote for just what's best for you, but what's best for all of us. If you do this, you will find the best man for mayor is Richard Skorman.

For you independent/unaffiliated, do what you do best, vote for the guy who will do what's right for our town. Do that and you'll vote for Skorman.

But Richard has a color problem — green, as in money. As in most elections, money usually wins and even though he has a scant edge in campaign money now, the times are a-changing. Yes, that old Nixonian-era truism, "follow the money" has reared its ugly head and the money is following the Republican candidate. Where is the money coming from? Logic says it's coming from well-heeled, Republican big guns.

You can feel secure in believing that the big guns' donations are a helluva lot more hefty than the amounts most independent/unaffiliated folks can shell out. I'm telling you this because I hope you will not let the one who spends the most decide your vote.

So, morning has broken over our town. The beginning of a new beginning and we are in search of a new leader. By now, you all know the pros and cons of the two contestants, so vote for the man not the party. If you do this, Skorman has to be your man.

— Phil Kenny

Colorado Springs

Do the right thing

You have to hand it to new County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. In a never-ending quest to further his tenure in office, he won the daily double last year, and now he's trying to add one more win.

He was one of four county commissioners to vote last year to put a blatantly deceptive issue on the ballot, which passed and gave commissioners and other county officials the chance to run for a third term. Then, in a neat game of musical chairs, he got himself elected clerk after being limited to two terms as commissioner by the former rules.

Imagine his surprise when a great number of voters, realizing they had been duped by the ballot language, demanded a clearly written, understandable term-limit issue on this year's November ballot. It would simply give voters the chance to decide on two or three terms.

But Wayne was ready. As two new commissioners took their seats, he appeared with his impressive Power Point showing how prohibitively expensive this issue would be. Last week, he said that a poll showing 61 percent want to see the issue back on the ballot was "incomplete" because it didn't ask them if they were willing to spend tax dollars for the election, calling such an expense "not appropriate."

Wayne, the term-limits language last year was mind-numbing in its obtuseness, but it worked for you. But you still don't get it. This is about trust in government and ethical behavior by elected officials. It's not about money, and it's been my experience that most folks don't mind spending money to right a wrong.

We can only hope the current commissioners will put the matter back on the ballot and invite voters to help with the language. It's the right thing to do.

— Rich Boyle

Colorado Springs

Fix the mistake

Related to the ongoing issuance of mixed messages from various county elected officials in response to voter concern over the wording on the November 2010 term-limit measure, County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams is quoted in a May 5 Independent story:

But Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams called the Luce poll "incomplete," because it didn't ask voters if they were willing to pay for an election. "Saying, 'Would you like to go to vote?' is a very different question than asking if you'd like to pay $300,000 to vote on it," Williams says, adding the election is "not an appropriate expenditure of funds."

To this, I would submit: If my crews work on your house and screw it up, I am morally and ethically responsible to correct the mistake and eat the cost. The wording on this particular ballot measure was a misstep by the county, basically a mistake, and it is the responsibility of the county to "eat the cost" as a part of doing business and to place this measure on the November 2011 ballot.

Doing that can be a large first step in rebuilding trust with the voters, whose support will be required for future needs!

— Rick Wehner

Colorado Springs


Fairness helps

I read the May 5 article ("Tough room," News) in the Indy about the town meeting that Rep. Pete Lee held in Manitou Springs. I attended that 90-minute meeting and I just want to say that even though many people were silent, there were many, many people who support any plan, whether Republican or Democratic, that leads to more competitiveness in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Competition leads to moderation. Moderation means that there are fewer extremists, who often push reactionary policies, and that is because extremism is harder to get past the voters.

Some political scientists and historians have stated that our society has not been this polarized since before the American Civil War. This redistricting on the federal level occurs every 10 years. Please write or e-mail your state representative and senator and tell them that you would like to see more democracy in Congress, not the status quo that now exists.

There are 5.2 million citizens in Colorado at this time. Ten years from now, Colorado will have eight congressional districts, not the seven we have now. Please take the time to make your voice heard.

— Roger Armstrong

Manitou Springs

Trail etiquette, please

I wonder why dog owners think their pets' shit tied up in a brightly colored plastic bag adds to the beauty of local trails and trail heads. Do they think their mothers, or city and county workers or trail volunteers, will pick up after them?

This speaks volumes about what these people think of fellow trail users. If you're not going to properly dispose of the package, don't even bother to package it. It will decompose much faster if left open to the elements instead being sealed up in plastic.

Better yet, leave the dog at home if you're not willing to remove its shit from public places.

— Larry Augenstein

Colorado Springs

Inside knowledge

I was privileged in the recent election to be among those charged with counting envelopes to ensure numbers matched, pulling each ballot from its secrecy sleeve, unfolding and inspecting it for stray marks, red ink, etc. It was straightforward work, but tedious.

On April 5, we began our work at 7 a.m. At 9:30 p.m., with around 10,000 ballots left to open, City Clerk Kathryn Young, knew that, with the vast majority already counted, outcomes wouldn't change. She thanked us for our work and let us go.

She was right. Not even the close District 3 vote, indicating the idealistic, if somewhat amateurish, Lisa Czelatdko would pull off a tight upset over two-time loser Mike Merrifield, was altered. Ms. Young obviously made the right decision.

Yet, the Independent's City Sage, John Hazlehurst, cried, "That's not the way it works, Kathryn!" (April 7). Oh, really?

Years ago, when Mr. Hazlehurst was running for mayor and Jeff Smith of Elite Properties was seeking to develop the Houck Estates to make, literally, tens of millions of dollars, I interviewed Hazlehurst for a story in the former Springs Magazine. After listening to hours and hours of tapes from meetings over Elite's masterplan and objections from local homeowners, I asked Mr. Hazlehurst some tough questions, as it was apparent that he sought to derail the homeowners. After my interview, thinking it was for the Independent, Mr. Hazlehurst called the next day to complain bitterly about me to the Independent's Cara DeGette. Is that how it works, John?

In this election, I'm working in the section where Ms. Young works. It's efficient, friendly and very well-run. All sarcasm aside, knowing something about both, Kathryn Young has, in her two middle fingers, more integrity than John Hazlehurst has in his entire heart. And that's how it works.

— Michael Makinney

Colorado Springs


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