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Regrettable inaction

I read with interest John Hazlehurst's perspective about the PrideFest proclamation ("It's not too late, Mr. Mayor," City Sage, July 7) and could not agree more. At some point in time, not long ago, I sensed our community was starting to lean to and understand inclusiveness: We are all human beings, we all live on this planet, we did not choose to be born Catholics or Muslims or Jews, we did not choose where we were born, and we did not choose our sexual orientation.

However, we still all live here, do business, go out to restaurants, buy and sell homes, go shopping, get involved — or not — in community affairs, and we all pay taxes and contribute to our society and deserve respect and recognition.

I can't remember who, but someone said: "In a political process you can take one of three positions: You can be for an issue, you can be against an issue, and you can abstain, but those three options represent a conscious decision on your part and all three affect results." By choosing not to do anything, our "strong" mayor is taking a position, and yes, indeed, we are getting stranded.

— Alfredo La Mont

Colorado Springs

Term-limit implications

Ted Kennedy, after his initial Senate election, was re-elected seven times and served nonstop for almost 47 years. He was re-elected because his Massachusetts constituents trusted him. They may not have always agreed with him, but they felt comfortable he was working to best serve their interests and those of the nation.

He did not need to craft ballot measures to self-extend his time in office. He developed trust among those he served. They wanted him in office.

Have the El Paso County commissioners, in your eyes, created or destroyed trust?

On Jan. 1, 1995, term limits were established in Colorado following a 1994 vote by the people. Local voters reaffirmed in 2006 the need to limit time in office. One can deduce the voters felt that commissioners did not warrant more than two terms. The reasons, at the county level, for voters to impose term limits date to Tom Huffman, Chuck Brown, Betty Beedy and Doug Bruce. And now Sallie Clark, Dennis Hisey and Amy Lathen. Jeri Howells and Loren Whittemore served us well during many terms.

How well have the current commissioners served us? The maneuvering by Clark, Hisey and Lathen in response to a public outcry to re-vote on term limits tells us they have not risen to the level of Ted Kennedy. It was obvious in the July 7 meeting that Clark and Hisey would not grant a re-vote until it was worded to ensure they could have a third term by being "grandfathered in." Is this what the public was asking?

The main question: "Have these commissioners performed well enough to warrant an extension in their time in office?" We do not need to extend the terms of any commissioner, now or any time in the future.

— Rick Wehner

Colorado Springs

 

The demise of art

Need art? Nope. Not the visual pollution offered by the two opposing camps of today's paintings, sculptures, installation pieces and venues propagated upon the public.

The choice is clear: The modern art establishment, who assure themselves to be the movers and shakers of the international art scene with their edgy images and meaningless, caustic conceptual ideas, or the traditional, representational art world, who perpetuate a mediocre, homogenized style of the hobbyist persuasion and the mundane subject matter of plein aire landscapes, still lifes and figurative artworks.

The first group tends to operate among the museums, critic reviews, media exposure and the art departments of universities and colleges to promote their art, which insolently articulates angst or other senseless expressions and attitudes through the use of inferior, unstable art materials to demonstrate that "art of our times" should be ugly, ignoble, or a form of whimsical amusement to make a modern-day statement. It is a fickle political tool of the untalented where recklessness of execution, capricious facility, and free expression equal a 3-year-old or a chimpanzee with a brush.

The other group, relegated to outdoor festivals, touristy retail galleries, restaurants, co-ops, weekend workshops, and art walks, tends to produce trite, bland, characteristically student-like work that is overly abundant. It attempts to revive a certain dignity and beauty from the past of realism, but shortcomings are evident. The common hack 'n slash method of paint slop, bright colors and inappropriate use of impastos is imitated over and over again.

Both these groups attempt to force their definition of art, their agenda, their art event, and their concept of what great art should be — both vying for public supremacy, approval and funding. Are their unpleasant visual eyesores of vanity needed? Not really. Art, meet your inevitable demise.

— Carol Krick

Green Mountain Falls

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Time for action

The alleged bias-motivated crime that sent two soldiers to the hospital, ironically on Independence Day weekend, has resulted in outrage from the LGBTQ community and their allies in the wider civil-rights community.

Many details of the crime are still unclear and not even a real description of the suspects is yet available. But what happened has resulted in cries for more dialogue, more understanding and more education about diversity, inclusion and public safety.

As representatives of the Pikes Peak Equality Coalition (PPEC), we join our voices with those who recognize that racial and ethnic tension, heterosexism, gender bias, able-ism, and other forms of discrimination still run high in Colorado Springs. Our broad coalition is committed to a strong, vibrant community where the most vulnerable are cared for and responsive leadership values diversity and equality.

Unfortunately, reports of another alleged hate crime mean that our coalition has plenty of work to do — and so does our city has a whole. Marginalized groups, in this instance the LBGTQ community, often wonder whether they stand alone in combating the discrimination.

With our city's troubled history, it will take a comprehensive strategy, wide community dialogue and support from the highest echelons of leadership, to get to the root causes of our troubles.

If we continue to ignore the obvious need to, as icon Fannie Mae Duncan said, make everybody feel welcome, it will affect everything – from which employers choose to bring jobs here to whether tourists will come to witness our region's beauty and bounty.

But Colorado Springs can't continue to be beautiful on the outside and ugly on the inside. The literal bottom line is that the lack of acceptance of those perceived as "different" is a village-wide issue. And it will take our whole village to change it.

— Shawna Rae Kemppainen

Executive Director

Inside Out Youth Services

— Rosemary Harris Lytle

President, Colorado Springs

Branch NAACP

Someone's watching

This is my opinion regarding the city's use of a private contractor utilizing an undercover van for monitoring speeding of vehicles. I received a warning of an impending citation if my truck is caught again speeding by an undercover van. I was not the person driving my truck at the time that AVIS (Automated Vehicle Identification System) was used.

The public was initially told that this system would only monitor red-light runners — which I fully support — but now there is a van monitoring speeds; give the government an inch and our rights will be slowly regulated away. I do not take responsibility for this other driver, who is quite capable of being accountable for herself, and in no way can you hold me responsible for what another driver of my truck was violating. I'm waiting for confirmation that my name is being removed from the threat list of an impending penalty assessment notice.

I find the use of covert spying on citizen drivers stinking of Big Brother in the 21st century and another attempt by city government at taking our money and rights through these actions, claiming innocuous fines of $40 to $80 for speeding with no points being assessed (oh, thank you so much for this generous offer). By the way, when does Blackwater, the mercenaries used in Iraq, take over the policing action in our town?

— Deane Robertson

Colorado Springs

Perennial villains

I find it interesting that 20 years ago (well, more than 20) in high school debate, when I needed to research funding for any plan, I argued it was easy and I found no defensible position that could beat me on that point. Even back then, General Electric profited by billions a quarter and not only did GE not pay taxes, it got a refund due to tax loopholes for giant companies (about 4 percent, as I recall).

How can you even consider other cuts in spending until that sort of thing stops? The talking heads on TV apparently have got people so brainwashed to hate each other (as in left vs. right) that common sense seems to have gone out the window years ago. Congress votes a raise quite often and yet pay cuts are never even mentioned for Congress members.

Don't get me wrong, congressional pay would not make a dent. However, the action would show a level of integrity Congress does not have.

— Scott Benton

Colorado Springs

Reject Christo now

The Over the River Corporation, led by Christo, is just that: a corporation with a financial profit motive. And let the environment and its population, whether human or animal, be damned.

Colorado State Parks signed an agreement with that corporation which, in essence, sold our precious Bighorn Sheep Canyon for $550,000.

The corporation's three-year project, designed to earn millions of corporate dollars, will have a negative impact on the canyon's vital inhabitants: bighorn sheep, raptors, fish, fox, coyotes, and its human residents. The entire ecosystem of the canyon will be disrupted, altered and damaged. The environment impact statement attests to this fact.

Three years of air drilling will distribute continual giant plumes of dust, which will not only cover the land, fish, insects and birds but will also invade the lungs of the human residents.

The canyon road, while beautiful, is a winding two-lane road with the river on one side and unforgiving cliff rocks on the other side. There is no room for driver error. The three-year project will add heavy machinery, detours and slowdowns.

This road will be a recipe for disaster. Emergency vehicles will not easily access accidents. And if people might find this acceptable, given the supposed additional tourist money, the state parks agreement formally acknowledges the corporation's right to "implement the event management plan, including a commercial-rafting ration plan and private boat permit system, and all other event management strategies set forth therein."

The lifeblood of summer tourism, rafting and its related services, will be under the power of the corporation.

While I am a resident of the canyon, I believe that all Colorado citizens should reject this three-year corporate plan. It is an assault on our state environment, our natural resources and our common sense.

— Judy Goldstock

Howard

The real reason

Everyone was surprised that more jobs were not added in the last quarter. It has occurred to me that most small businesses are owned by Republicans, and it may not be a coincidence that no new jobs were added. It is no secret: The Republican Party is determined to make President Obama a one-term president. And will go to any extreme to stop him from being reelected.

— Lois Martinez

Colorado Springs

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