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Ugly new world
In response to Kenton Lloyd ("Our 1 percent," Letters, Nov. 17): I believe that everyone creates his or her own fate. However, the "America" you spoke about is practically dead and gone.
You may have a good job with a great salary. You may be able to afford to shop at Whole Foods or afford real food at Safeway, but I cannot. I'm a hostess at a restaurant, I'm 20 years old, and I can't afford to buy food that isn't chemically altered or enhanced, over-processed or/and fake (cheese, for instance)!
Why? Because of a major lack of available employment. I have three years' experience as a fine dining server. If I can't get a waitress job, there is a problem. Industrial process continues to steal more and more jobs every year.
Then there's the issue with college graduates with student loans. They are working in restaurants, trying to get by because they have a $400 monthly payment for a degree they can't find a job for. So what do they do? Some run home to Mommy and Daddy, but not everyone has that option. We have to resort to minimum-wage jobs because that's all you can find these days, if you can even find that. That is $7.36 per hour, not enough to cover my minimal bills even if I work 40 hours a week.
We believe in the "America" you mentioned, and we got shit on. The Occupy Movement doesn't have to concern you if you are living comfortably in your own shallow world. But they are out there fighting for your human rights, and they want a better life for 99 percent of the population. What is so wrong about that?!
— Amanda Fortner
Many are still confused as to the purpose or ideas represented by the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the more than 1,500 affiliated cities globally. As a member of Occupy Colorado Springs who has witnessed the many facets expressed within this surging outcry, I can tell you there is a common river that runs through all of the Occupations and the people who support them.
I know this by witnessing the communications flying constantly between our group and the other cities as we support one another via Facebook and other electronic means. The details of the issues are many and varied, but the flame lit within the heart of this movement is embodied in the following quote by a famous inventor and philosopher:
"Out of this war ... a new world must be born, a world that would justify the sacrifices offered by humanity. This ... must be a world in which there shall be no exploitation of the weak by the strong, of the good by the evil, where there will be no humiliation of the poor by the violence of the rich; where the products of the intellect, science, and art will serve society for the betterment and beautification of life, and not the individuals for achieving wealth. This new world shall not be a world of the downtrodden and humiliated, but of free men and free nations, equal in dignity and respect for man." — Nikola Tesla
— Lisa Ruffin-Smith
It happens here
Every child deserves — and needs — to be protected by adults in our community. And yet, every day we face the grim reality of children being harmed by adults whom they should be able to trust.
The child sexual-abuse allegations in Pennsylvania are causing people to shake their heads in anger, frustration and disbelief: "How could this happen?" "Why did it continue for so long?"
Hopefully, people are also asking, "What can we do to stop child abuse and protect our community's children?" One significant action is to report: Immediately notify law enforcement (911) or the Department of Human Services Child Abuse Hotline (444-5700) if you suspect any child is the subject of abuse.
There is a place in Colorado Springs — Safe Passage Children's Advocacy Center — and a process in which investigations of child physical and sexual abuse are conducted. At Safe Passage, the child victim can safely talk to friendly, trained people who can help the child, and then the child and his or her family receive support and services to start healing.
These efforts to investigate and prosecute offenders, and to protect and support child victims, cannot happen until someone reports the suspicion of abuse. It is not easy or comfortable to talk about sexual abuse or physical abuse. It is not easy to report suspicion of abuse. But it is courageous, necessary, and the responsibility of every adult.
If you see or hear or suspect that a child is being abused, do not keep silent. Have the courage to report, to help a victim break free from the silence, fear and harm that should never be part of a child's life.
— Wilene M. Lampert, Ph.D.
Executive director, Safe Passage
Children's Advocacy Center
If I interpret John Hazlehurst ("One plus one equals what?" City Sage, Nov. 17) correctly, he is lamenting our city's reluctance to write large checks (economic development incentives) to bribe businesses to move here. He seems stuck in the past, with allegiance to an archaic approach to economic development. John must have slept through my film, GrowthBusters, at its Colorado premiere Nov. 9.
Granted, the film didn't have time to dig deep into the folly of incentives, but it did raise serious doubts about the community prosperity that mythically results from the growth those incentives spark. Incentives have always been pushed in this town because they attract people to our community in pursuit of jobs.
Increasing population creates a market for additional houses; that's why developers and builders formed and fund what we've called the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Maybe the EDC is limping back to the local Chamber of Commerce now because the builders don't have the dollars to pump into it. My theory was that the developers led and funded the strong-mayor initiative, and then got a commercial Realtor and former developer elected mayor in a fiendishly clever scheme to increase public subsidies to the EDC.
We should keep an eye on these growth profiteers as the EDC-Chamber merger takes place.
Sure, we'd all like to see everyone have meaningful work. And we'd all like to have adequate police and fire protection and green parks with open restrooms. But we've proven expanding the city does not accomplish that.
Colorado Springs is better off for having limited incentives in the past. We'd be in even better condition if we had resisted incentives altogether. Prosperity has been nothing more than a mirage, and between incentives and costs of growth foisted upon the community, that growth has taxed our resources to the breaking point.
— Dave Gardner
Beyond the invasion
What a glowing story about the Andrew Wommack Ministries' foray into our little neighborhood ("Mixed blessings," cover story, Nov. 10). It sounds like the City Above the Clouds really got to Pam Zubeck, or maybe it was just the city that got to her.
I've lived in this "country sophisticated" suburb for 16 years now, and have never read such a crisp report on our town as she wove it charmingly into her piece. I couldn't help but blush to read our own Beth Kosley say her office's chief goal was to bring jobs via the new Wal-Mart "so we can grow people's wealth, their paychecks." Will Wommack make us as wealthy as Wal-Mart has?
As I recall, there was quite a stir up here some years ago, as Wal-Mart threatened to pounce on our country charm. In the end, as you may know, the people voted in favor of being landed upon, in exchange for a sales-tax revenue increase to build a new recreation center.
Ms. Zubeck's story presents sales-tax numbers that do indeed show a paltry $850,000 increase in last year's revenue, conveniently adjusted for the current economic situation. Yet how can Development Park — oops, I mean Woodland Park — allow Wommack Ministries to settle here as a nonprofit? Where would the promised benefits be for us taxpaying citizens?
Where could we go to work out our frustrations if this deal goes bad? Oh, and I almost forgot — who pocketed our $850,000 tax windfall last year? It wasn't used to fund our new recreation center.
— David Harris
In her tirade against Jim Hightower ("Down on OWS," Letters, Nov. 10), Joan Christensen again demonstrates zero familiarity with either economic or political facts.
First, she writes about a free market, but this is a verbal confection that no longer exists (i.e. as equally competing entrepreneurs). All markets are now coercive, not free. She then conflates fascism with communism and socialism, but as the American Heritage Dictionary notes, fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
She asserts: "Socialism is destroying Europe." In fact, no. The strongest economic European nation now, Germany, has for decades supported Rhine Capitalism, and fared much better than the U.S. during the global recession. Also, other Rhine-social welfare economies have done better, as documented by Matt Miller (The Tyranny of Dead Ideas), by higher taxation which fuels spending generated by the "welfare" side of the economy. This props up the demand side of the macro-economic equation, and preserves growth!
Christensen also asserts "communism has murdered 100 million" but this is nonsense. She conflates totalitarian-megalomaniacal rule (e.g. by Josef Stalin, Mao, etc) with communism. In fact, Stalin butchered more than 5.5 million communist followers of Leon Trotsky! Meanwhile, Chairman Mao in his agrarian reforms of the 1960s slaughtered more than 15 million of the most educated communists in China.
Her most egregious remark was "greed in America never killed anyone." I want her to tell that to the next family denied insurance coverage for a critical, life-saving operation by an HMO — leaving their loved one dead. Maybe Christensen needs to spend more time in the library than the Indy's letter pages!
— Phil Stahl
Rings to reality
I am a disabled single woman in my 60s who lives alone. With the new city brand "Live it up!" I no longer feel safe. I enjoy a gorgeous view of the Front Range, but one can't eat or maintain shelter by just living in beautiful surroundings. There are so many desperately important things in this community that need to be addressed that to insult us by brandishing such a waste of taxpayer money is an outrage.
What happened to our being able to use the Olympic rings as a symbol for our city, after the bribe to the Olympic Committee that we taxpayers never approved?
Let's list a few other important issues off the top of this old gray head: Soldiers coming home and needing jobs "that are worthy of them" for themselves and their families. Plus they will require housing and schools, for which public education funds are being slashed. With a higher rate of homelessness and suicide among our servicemen and -women, access to social services is being slashed.
We no longer have a vital downtown to go and enjoy; culture, which at one time we had true bragging rights to, no longer exists; our transit system is one of the worst in the country; our unemployment continues to rise (just because one no longer qualifies to apply for unemployment does not mean our employment rate is improving); and businesses are closing.
Holding pep rallies and wielding a new slogan does not address any of these concerns, nor does it show me that city officials have any grasp of reality. People will get angry and violent. It's just a matter of time.
— Jean Marsh
Editor's note: According to the convention and visitors bureau, $101,000 for the $111,000 campaign came from the CVB's advertising budget. That money comes from Lodging and Auto Rental Tax collections and private-sector funding.