If President Obama wants to stimulate the economy, he should start with forgiving the outrageous student loan debt that burdens thousands of people. What started out as relatively reasonable debt loads have exploded into massive monetary burdens that are crushing our children and grandchildren.
How did this happen? Greedy banks have issued loans which, through compounding interest on compounding interest, have swollen into the colossus of all debt — it's obscene!
Instead of more work projects, Obama should target the professional working class of college graduates who are burdened by inflated college debts, and who are doing their best to keep working and paying their bills.
— Georgeanne Nelson
Fresh ideas needed
Re: Street Smarts ("Goodwill hunting," Oct. 6), my husband and I (natives who dearly love our city) began talking about the great potential here in the very near future.
• A ban on building. Other cities have very successfully done this. We have vacant houses, empty buildings, resources begging to be recycled.
• Care for our homeless and near-homeless by giving (yes, I said giving) them places to live. We live near the now-abandoned strip mall that used to house Long's drug, Albertsons grocery and the former Cowboys nightclub. I see a shelter. It's not a tent, it's not under a bridge. I would gladly give an extra $25 a month from my utility bill to help them.
This is from just two people quickly brainstorming at 5 a.m. while reading the Independent. What ideas can we develop with more open minds? Imagine what a shining light Colorado Springs could be for the rest of the world!
Here's a beautiful town set in one of the most pristine locations on Earth, and the people have come together from all faiths, all backgrounds to share their knowledge and resources with the common goal of showing every person, every animal, every square foot of land, that they are loved and valued simply because they have been created.
We're not ready now. But I believe that, like the rest of the world, we are experiencing the labor pains that precede the birth of something wonderful and new. In the months to come, we'll continue to experience chaos and upheaval in our family and in our community. It will be painful. But as with all labor, we will be given moments of peace to rest and reflect on things that bring us joy before the next wave of pain comes.
— Rebecca Walker
Down on Gessler
To Secretary of State Scott Gessler: I was disturbed and troubled to see how aggressively you're pursuing the process of taking the privilege of voting away from those who serve in our military — in selected Colorado counties/districts — presuming them to be other than conservative "right-wing" Republicans.
I am most disappointed you are taking a page out of the Republican playbook in Wisconsin, Ohio, etc., engaging in this restriction and limiting the voting and assumed rights of individuals if they do not share the philosophy of yourself and the Republican party.
These actions, in fact, support the views that you and your fellow Republicans are not concerned about preserving and protecting one of the bedrock American rights — voting.
It is most interesting to see you have centered your efforts on Pueblo County and Denver; areas where you and your cohorts apparently fear Democrats hold an edge in voter registration and voting. You apparently are not worried about El Paso County; as you have not chosen to "ban" the vote of military in the state's largest concentration of military bases and personnel.
I am a simple, ordinary, garden-variety chemical engineer who speaks only seven languages; none of which are "in circles," "Washingtonese," "spin" or "legalese." I also do not speak any "Beltway" dialects. Unfortunately, unlike you, I have a very simple education having attended only normal, state universities ("cow colleges" to elitists such as yourself) as I was not privileged enough to attend an Ivy League or private university. I did drive by Yale and Northwestern once.
You should be ashamed of yourself and the deceitful and devious manner in which you are conducting the office of Colorado's secretary of state.
— Matt Hesser
On Oct. 5, Herman Cain openly referred to Mitt Romney and Rick Perry as vanilla (ice cream) and with a sleazy, smarmy smile called himself Black Walnut, as if to imply this was a qualification for the office of president. This racist remark was never jumped on by any person in the media, but it can be guaranteed that if a Caucasian had made a similar comment, he would have been dragged through the mud. But Cain got away with it! Why?
On Oct. 9, Cain defended banks and Wall Street (spoken like a true bureaucrat) and at the top of his black lungs he blamed the unemployed for being unemployed. Of course, they all love being hungry, homeless, being foreclosed on, unable to support themselves and/or their families, and all the other perks that go hand in hand with the degradation of unemployment.
Who the hell does Cain think he is? Answer: He's an arrogant, pompous jackass.
This man is a minimally articulate racist. Anyone who votes for him should be shot at the polls!
— Mimi Vacher
I would like to share my thoughts with the mayor and City Council of Colorado Springs about the Occupy Wall Street movement, known locally as Occupy Colorado Springs.
Let me say that I am proud of the youths who have shown support for this movement. Second, we are not protesting in that area with intentions of fighting with anyone. This demonstration will remain a peaceful protest.
Mr. Mayor and members of Council, I am not asking you to support our cause. What I am asking for is that the city honor our right to peacefully assemble and express our views without any fear of repercussions. We have been confronted by two people who have said to us in rather colorful terms that they do not approve of the protest. Let me assure you that we agree to obey city ordinances while we engage in our freedom of speech and expression.
I would like to thank local police officers who have not imitated the behavior of the New York City police. Furthermore, as local elected officials you should also recognize their professionalism and willingness to honor our rights to free speech, and I am hoping that it stays this way as we will continue with our ongoing protest.
Again, I am not asking you to agree with our message, I am just asking that our constitutional rights to free speech are honored.
— Ed Billings
I am having trouble trying to figure out what the students are trying to prove in New York. I have no problem with demonstrations and have fought for the freedom to do them. Now look at what we have: a group of students who are attacking the rich, so they go to a bridge and block traffic to prove their point against the rich.
The result of their act is to keep the working people from getting to work, and they actually harm the very people they are supposed to be helping: the workers who need every penny to get by living from day to day. The rich are working out of their homes and can lie around waiting for the demonstration to end.
If you want to demonstrate, use the parks or places that don't disrupt the working personnel. You could have your group go to Washington and demonstrate against Congress legally. I believe in your rights, but do them legally.
Also, although Wall Street is doing things you don't like, what they are doing is legal. Go after the lawmakers to put a stop to the loopholes in our laws. I love my country but your method is not the American way.
— Rodney E. Hammond
Embrace the wind
Amy Oliver Cooke and Michael Sandoval's Oct. 1 op-ed in the Gazette, "Colorado fails as epicenter of green," seriously missed the mark on just how important clean energy has become to Colorado in general and Colorado Springs in particular.
Because of strong, stable state and federal policies, Colorado has been successful at attracting clean-energy projects and manufacturing, especially in the wind sector.
When our elected representatives and Gov. Bill Ritter beefed up the Colorado Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2010 to require investor-owned utilities and cooperatives to provide 30 percent of their 2020 electricity through renewable and/or recycled energy, they gave this vital industry another important boost. This has not just meant cleaner electricity (Colorado now generates the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state) but jobs as well.
These policies have helped Colorado attract major manufacturing for the wind industry with 3,000 jobs at 16 facilities in Colorado currently manufacturing for the wind industry. Two additional wind manufacturing facilities, which will provide an economic boost to our struggling rural areas, are also in the works.
The possibilities are endless. According to a resource assessment from the National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder, Colorado's wind resource could provide nearly 25 times the state's current electricity needs.
Wind energy will help rebuild a diverse economic base in Colorado. As a 30-year Colorado Springs resident, I hope this city can recognize its benefits.
— Lisa Tormoen Hickey
A response to Pam Zubeck's excellent article "Garden City" (News, Sept. 29):
Solar Garden Prospectus
Do I have a deal for you!
It applies Obama's and progressive liberal ideals.
It is the latest entitlement.
It picks winners and losers.
It takes money from many and redistributes it.
It will absolutely destroy wealth.
It guarantees payment to you at two times the going price.
The product is unreliable and mostly out of service when users need it.
It is called a garden but you won't want it in an open space near you.
Richard Skorman endorses it.
— Dick Standaert
God love him, but John Hazlehurst ("Downtown: stuck in neutral," City Sage, Sept. 29) is all wrong about downtown. What Colorado Springs needs is a reason to go downtown, and that reason should be a pedestrian mall.
Close Tejon Street from the courthouse to Acacia Park and pave it with bricks. Invite entrepreneurs and downtown businesses to create kitschy, cute kiosks and al fresco dining, fund some fountains, and allow street performers to do their thing.
Say hello to Colorado Springs' own Pearl Street Mall! Whether it's Denver or Boulder, San Antonio or San Francisco, downtown vigor and vitality begins with inviting, aesthetic outdoor experiences.
At present, we only have Acacia Park — by another name, our own homeless day camp. Give us a reason to go downtown and those moribund parking lots will fill up.
Well, a person can dream...
— Gavin Ehringer