Shortly after the start of the congressional recess, I started calling U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn's office to find out when he would have a town hall meeting. After three weeks of runaround, I was told there were no scheduled meetings, so I quit calling the local office.
Imagine my surprise when I read in the Sept. 2 Woodmen Edition that the congressman held a town hall meeting, saying: "The event, which was open to the public, gave residents a chance to get up close and personal to Congressman Lamborn and to quiz him about issues of importance to them."
The article said about 50 people attended the event. If this town hall meeting was open to the public, why wasn't the public informed of the meeting? I can't believe a town hall meeting would only draw 50 people.
Maybe our next congressman won't be afraid to talk and listen to his/her constituents.
— Michael O'Halloran
Ho hum, here comes Cyndy Kulp again ("Attention sheeple," Letters, Sept. 1). She wants her 15 minutes of fame so desperately that she regularly spews her hatred of something or the other in the Independent!
She must have nothing to do at Democratic headquarters.
How about we Indy readers go get coffee until she is done vomiting her hate of Republicans, Americans for Prosperity, the El Paso County commissioners, Colorado Springs City Council, Doug Lamborn, Helen Sabin, Chuck Baker, the Second Amendment, the tea party, the United States of America, Canada, the police, Israel, foreign policy, George Bush, the sheeple community in Colorado Springs, Republicans, the American flag, cantaloupe, people who walk their dogs, Republicans, etc., etc.
Hmmmmm, is there anyone or anything she hasn't blamed?
Now she is picking on both the Americans for Prosperity and Republicans! I admit the latter is her favorite because she is a Dem, but now she also blames the AFP for Richard Skorman's loss. She claims that the AFP spent $200,000 to "slander" Richard Skorman by calling him a liberal! Hey Cyndy, news hint: He is a liberal! He even worked for Sen. Ken Salazar — a Democrat!
I notice you didn't call out Skorman, who ran TV ads blaming Bach for being a developer, so how is Skorman different from the AFP? Huh? News flash: The election was months ago. Get over it!
Skorman is a good man, and we are lucky to have him in this city. He has done lots of good for people in general, but Steve Bach was chosen by the voters in Colorado Springs.
Go spew your negativity elsewhere. We are getting tired of reading your diatribes, which have nothing of substance in them.
— Giovanna Battista Grosso
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder! My family is made up of Coloradans who have been here since 1903. We are Native American, Black, Hispanic, Italian, white and a few are gay — in other words, a typical American family. None of us consider the term "tar baby" racist. So why are so many so upset?
Cyndy Kulp, Jeannie Williams, Bill Morehead and Rosemary Harris, among others who yelled in outrage, are ridiculous and extreme in their condemnation of our wonderful Congressman Doug Lamborn. What is worse, they had the temerity to take his words out of the context in which they were used! Duh! How hypocritical is that? They need to look in the mirror at their own behavior. They are the racists themselves!
What they show is selective outrage. If "tar baby" is so repugnant, then where is their outrage about terms like "sons of bitches" that the Teamster James Hoffa used against the tea party? Did any of them condemn that term? Or "baby killer," that the Dems used against President Bush? Or "tar baby," as used by John Kerry in 2008? Were they outraged at him then? Were they so prostrate with outrage over Kerry's remark, or that of Joe Biden when he said that Obama cleaned up good, that they fainted? How about when the president called white police officers "stupid"? Why aren't they calling the president racist for his remarks?
Selective outrage? You betcha! Racist? Yep! These four and others who are so outraged have the thinking skills of celery.
— Helen Sabin
Obey the rules
I am concerned about the approach to Colorado's open meetings laws expressed in the reports of the Memorial Health System task force meetings ("Mayor Bach: Just admit rookie mistake," Editorial, Sept. 8). Despite the city attorney's review of the Sunshine Law, it appears the mayor, and others on the task force, think the task force is some kind of hybrid, such that the law does not fully apply.
In addition to the Colorado Sunshine Law, the City Charter seems quite clear (24-6-402). A task force is a "local public body" that has been "delegated a governmental decision-making function." (The delegation of the decision-making function is quite clear in the motion that formed the group.) Certainly the task force can hold executive sessions for the same reasons Council itself and all city committees, commissions and advisory groups may. But there is no provision for only some members of a committee or advisory group operating under the open meetings act while other members of that same body would not be covered.
Such a practice would make a mockery of the law.
Regardless of the legal provisions, the intent of the Colorado Sunshine Law and of the City Charter provision is clear: City business is to be conducted in public. The full task force must operate that way.
The original citizens commission met for nearly a year, with open meetings, extensive outreach to the community, careful and extended listening, and full disclosure of their work. It was the most open process I have observed in my 43 years in Colorado Springs. It would be tragic to mar that past work by less than full transparency at this time.
— Gary Fornander
On the same page
Thank you, John Weiss and Ralph Routon, for asking our new mayor what exactly is going on with City Council and Memorial Hospital!
You both are too kind to offer the excuse that Mr. Bach should just admit to a "rookie mistake" over his abandonment of the Sunshine Law and his campaign promises of transparency.
The excellent letters on the following page of that Independent by concerned citizens directly involved with Memorial Hospital certainly cannot be disputed.
— Elaine Brush
Do the right thing
I have tried to understand why City Council would allow such a fiasco to continue in evaluating Memorial's fate ("Members only," News, Sept. 8). I do understand in these tough economic times that the city is looking for any avenue to create or save money, but at what cost? Memorial paid for the citizens commission to hear all options available, to include sale of the asset. What are you really trying to achieve? If your sole purpose is to sell the hospital, then please come right out and say it!
I'm frustrated and tired of hearing the unethical innuendo and rumors of back-door meetings with public officials, private corporations and business individuals when Memorial has been very open and honest with everyone. I love the United States and served proudly for over 20 years in the Air Force (retired master sergeant). I have also become very cynical about politicians who think they are above the law and will do anything to help themselves instead of the office they hold and the people they represent. I truly hope that you are considering the options/benefits of the nonprofit scenario.
Look at the amount of indigent care being provided by Memorial, and compare that to for-profit hospitals. I would also like to emphasize that time is of the essence, as all hospitals struggle with lower numbers and more patients requiring health care who can't afford it or don't have coverage. It doesn't seem like this will turn around soon. Please keep this process moving forward to a resolution and don't let your indecision destroy our Colorado Springs asset!
Thank you for your time and your efforts. Let's do what's best for the residents and this incredible community!
— Glenn C. Blackshear Jr.
Windy City West?
I would like to know why you, the Independent, allow your competitor, the Gazette, to exercise transparency laws and publish salaries of all employees of Memorial Hospital, yet don't use the same transparency laws to get into the city's other business? How has this "cake" thing been going on for years, and the taxpayers of the city not know about it? That is criminal misuse of taxpayer dollars. You cannot dip into the city till to buy yourself a snack. I don't care how little the money is. I would like to know if anyone on the current City Council or past Councils knows anything about ethics.
I want you to use the transparency laws to know what this new commission is doing in regard to the future of Memorial Hospital. National security is not at stake here. There is absolutely no reason for no transparency. Mayor Bach and the city government should be held to the fire on this.
If you do some checking, which I did, you will find people who are part of the new "secret" Memorial commission are also part of Operation 6035, which had members that contributed to Mayor Bach's campaign. I am a Republican who voted for Bach, but I must say I smell a rotten egg in the hen house. This does not at all pass the smell test of an outside organization doing an independent analysis. The Independent needs to demand transparency even if it means taking the city to court.
We need to find a reporter with guts to take the time to dig into this city's business. Every day it starts to look more similar to the Chicago city government: people stealing from the taxpayers and businessmen getting under-the-table favors from the mayor.
— Michael D. Miller
Where do we stand?
John Hazlehurst's column ("Still dealing with 9/11," City Sage, Sept. 8) was superlative. The questions he asks are fundamental. That violence unleashed our own violence in the Middle East, only diminished by an Arab Spring yearning for the freedom and independence we enjoy — good over evil, democracy over terrorism, freedom over fanaticism.
Today it is unclear where we stand: rendition, detention, torture, drones, Gitmo, surveillance, secrets, assassinations and thousands of innocent lives obliterated. Where is that "clear-eyed wisdom" that holds back the smiting with our "terrible swift sword"? One decent act our government might do is to practice the truth that others in the Middle East search for: freedom, democracy and independence, just as we did successfully in 1776, and the Jewish Agency in 1948.
Last week the U.S. declared for Israel that it would cut off financial aid and veto Palestine's attempt to receive the same U.N. and U.S. recognition Israel received. If the Jewish Agency qualified in 1948, the Palestinian Authority does so at least as well today; about 130 states have recognized Palestinian independence.
When will we honor Martin Luther King's plea to America "to be true to what you said on paper"? Don't we have a moral obligation, in the name of Middle East peace, which is dependent upon Palestinian independence, to show the Arab world, having lost trust in us, we intend to live by that truth in the future? Our word is at stake as well as Palestine's right to live free at last from 44 years of military occupation and control.
— Bill and Genie Durland
Beyond Sept. 11
The 10th anniversary of the Twin Towers tragedy was framed by two events.
The first was the execution by U.S. Special Forces of Osama bin Laden, the deranged fanatic who spread murder and mayhem around the globe for two decades. Fittingly, his end was similar to the fate visited on his victims: unexpected, brutal and swift. Justice has been served, but it is bittersweet: It will neither bring back the victims nor repair the damage done.
The second event, or chain of events, has been the Arab Revolution. There was a possibility, however dim, that the "Arab Street" would cheer on Osama's followers and disciples. Nothing of the sort has happened.
The "Arab Street" is busy elsewhere: fighting for its rights, dignity and future against corrupt and oppressive regimes. Our ancestors fought for the very same ideals two centuries ago. Since that time America has been, however imperfectly, the living example of these ideals, which we call democracy.
There is here both a lesson and an opportunity. The lesson is that our Declaration of Independence is still far more powerful than Osama's lunatic jihad, even for his own people.
The opportunity is immense. We Americans, like the Arabs, are at a turning point, with our leadership impotent and our economy in tatters. Like them, we have to choose: Go softly into the night or rise again, and lead as we have in the past, in the building of a system more stable, just and enduring than the current globalized disaster: Rebuild America, and in doing so restore the cause of liberty.
Doing so will provide the only fitting epitaph for the dead of Sept. 11, 2001.
— Jacek Popiel
Drivers on cell phones. What are they thinking? A young man in front of me was in the left lane of three lanes, northbound Union at Circle, two cars in front of him, light turns green, within 10 seconds there's an empty gap in front of him and he keeps looking down at his phone. Gaps cause temporary insanity in drivers, which leads to aggressive moves, which leads to danger.
I'm following way too close. A couple of polite taps on my horn don't awaken him to the problem he has created. I glance over my right shoulder, a car's close, but I cut him off and blow around on the right. And I'm supposedly a safe, mature driver, age 67, who — as was common to farm boys — began driving at 14.
If you think you can drive normally while using a cell phone, I've written a hit song I'll sell you for just $500.
— Jim Inman