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No slack for Focus
Natalie Johnson ("Can't hate him," Letters, Feb. 2) claims that we should "learn to accept the good and the bad that Focus represents." I wish she would spend an hour talking to lesbian, gay and bisexual people whose lives have been damaged by the work previously done by Focus on the Family, work that Jim Daly does not disavow.
Oh, and she should go back and ask Daly if he would be happy to support same-sex couples adopting all those foster kids. I would not be surprised if the answer was no, despite the substantial numbers of same-sex couples who want nothing more than to give foster kids a good home. Natalie can gloss over "the bad that Focus represents," but there are many of us out here who cannot.
— Amanda Udis-Kessler
Drilling for oil and gas in Colorado may or may not be the right thing. Pam Zubeck's excellent exposé of Ultra Petroleum's practices, resulting in over 200 violations in five years, suggests Ultra is not the company to trust in anyone's environment.
Allowing Ultra to do business in our state would be like prompting the Catholic Church to run support groups for pedophile victims. I propose that any public official who votes to have Ultra do its dirty work here is either nuts or transparently corrupt.
— Bruce Hamilton
I am a registered Independent and I normally find Ralph Routon's articles interesting reads. However, "Lamborn: Yes, we're upset" (Between the Lines, Jan. 26) was just plain ridiculous. He attacks anyone who voted for Lamborn as "blind voters," calls them Lamborn's "crazy constituency in the Springs," and blames them for making Colorado Springs the state's "laughingstock city."
This is just plain condescending and more of the same old liberal elitist media bias. Could it be that some voted for Lamborn because of his conservative fiscal positions instead of sending another tax-and-spend liberal to Washington? Sounds more like good old common sense to me.
Routon lambasts Lamborn for boycotting President Obama's State of the Union. It was nothing more than a repeat of 2009 and 2010, an obvious campaign speech loaded with the same rhetoric the president has spouted since being elected. Surely Lamborn knew he would catch a lot of flak, but he did it anyway. One must admire a person who stands up for principles, even if you do not agree with them. This is a good quality, not a bad one.
He also states that "nobody on the right cares when Lamborn makes his 'tar baby' comment regarding President Obama or tries to eliminate federal funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting."
The "tar baby" comment must be taken in proper context. He said during an interview that being linked to Obama's budget policies would be "like touching a tar baby. ... you're stuck, and you're part of the problem now, and you can't get away." As for PBS, if it cannot stand on its own with donations and advertising, I do not believe the taxpayer should subsidize it. Let the market, or lack thereof, decide. There are certainly no subsidies for conservative radio shows.
— Scott D. Myers
Fear of fracking
Thank you for the very informative article on Ultra Petroleum ("Crude awakening," cover story, Jan. 26) and what we are likely to face if we allow it to bring a fracking operation to our city and county. Two weeks ago I attended a presentation of the documentary Gasland made in 2010, which gave visual and emotional impact to some of the dangerous unintended, but now well-known, consequences of fracking to nearby residents and the environment. It looks very grim and disturbing.
When someone asked, "What can we do?" we were urged to cut back driving, lower thermostats, garden organically, and buy local. I would add that to continue aiding and abetting our reliance on dirty, unhealthy energy sources prolongs our unwillingness to change our vision of the future. That future cannot look like what we've known the past several decades, with big vehicles, highways, big houses, big lawns and the endless desire for more stuff.
This is not sustainable. The environment can't bear it, and if it can't, we can't. More jobs and plentiful dirty energy are never acceptable reasons to do anything that brings us closer to self-destruction.
Real change begins when changed minds begin living a different vision of the future. It is not too late for Colorado Springs and El Paso County: Live sustainably, attend meetings and write letters. Who knows what we might accomplish?
— Joyce Doyle
Looking for solutions
In support of Randy Sparks ("Get on the bus," Letters, Jan. 26), for a city of Colorado Springs' size and importance to not have a decent transportation system in this day and age is a disgrace. Will the federal government match funds to expand the bus service or build light rail?
Turning off streetlights promotes crime and causes traffic accidents. Come on, since Colorado Springs owns Utilities, what's the problem? No restrooms in parks? Please. We are not animals. Give us a break.
Where is the incentive to build a better, user-friendly city? One idea seems so simple: Close Tejon Street, create a pedestrian mall similar to Pearl Street in Boulder or 16th Street in Denver. Downtown malls are so popular, and Tejon seems perfect for this model. Instead, it's bickering as usual in our fine city. Why not put the energy to good use?
Has the mayor or Council walked in our shoes yet? What a great challenge! Get up, out of your chambers and get going!
— Molly Romano
Halt the Galt
Joan Christensen ("The real embarrassment," Letters, Feb. 2) seems to be at it again, carping about Americans being "economically ignorant." She insinuates a straw man by asking if "anyone is entitled to one second of another man's labor." One almost hears Atlas Shrugged character John Galt when she adds that a "Yes" affirms one is for slavery.
Disinfecting this specious letter of its Randian nonsense, here's Christensen's main error: believing the wealth obtained by a person or company hinges on an isolationist achievement independent of the socioeconomic commonality. Not so!
For example, an oil shale corporation or paper mill will use tens of thousands of gallons of public water daily to extract its product. Thus, their profits are obtained at the expense of a precious public resource. Similarly, large companies like Wal-Mart, whose distributors daily use thousands of miles on our federal interstates make use of that resource and contribute to decay. Companies that make enormous use of our energy in any form do the same, reducing the amount left for the rest of us.
The accumulation of wealth is not an isolationist attainment but inextricably bound to national resources. Since these must be paid for or sustained, it is then clearly logical to expect the wealthy and corporations to contribute their fair share to the tax commons. This is not being done and explains why our infrastructure's crumbling, and inequality (as measured by the Gini coefficient) now approaches that of Mexico and the Philippines.
A quote from Adam Smith might offer Christensen perspective: "There are needs in a civilized society that a barbaric one leaves unaddressed."
Something for Joan to ponder next time she channels Ayn Rand!
— Phil Stahl
Our police state
I grew up being warned against the security and police states of World War II. How things have changed! We are using the tactics of such autocratic nations — indefinite detention, torture, extreme rendition, absence of arrest, charges, attorneys, jury trials — for our enemies and Americans.
If military troops murder foreign civilians, the charges are dismissed. So will be the charges against five soldiers who urinated on the bodies of those they killed. But an idealistic private who turns over secret papers, similar to the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam war, is placed in indefinite detention without trial for more than a year and now faces a life sentence, demonstrating the hypocrisy of military tribunals and the protection of predators of American citizens.
Now this is spreading to our state legislatures such as in Colorado, where Rep. Mark Barker, a Republican from Colorado Springs and former police officer, wants to shield police who brutalize American civilians and are filmed doing so from prosecution by claiming that these acts of brutality are personal and not public and therefore cannot be used as evidence in trial against them. These characteristics of a security and police state continue to become our practices before our very eyes.
— Bill Durland
While watching Face the Nation, I was appalled to see the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, the co-conspirator of the soon-to-be-recalled Wisconsin Gov. Scottie Walker (no relation to Johnnie Walker), comparing President Obama to the Italian ship captain who abandoned ship, then grinning like a Cheshire cat picking s**t out of a wire brush. This despicable twit should be run out of town on a rail after a good, old-fashioned, tar-and-feather party.
— David M. Justice
With a world population of over 7 billion people, the growing deforestation and desertification of our planet, the stresses on food-producing lands and seas, the crowded population centers and the exhausting of fresh-water sources, it is inconceivable that a man who would apparently do nothing about the rampant growth of his own family, laying the burdensome responsibilities of his multiple impregnations on the planet, let alone his sexual partner, could offer himself as a presidential candidate when all common-sense values, responsible principles and civilized character are obviously absent. There is enough poverty, unemployment, hunger and weeping.
— Ted Nace
Many people from your area come to Pagosa Springs to enjoy our unspoiled region. They need to know that Pagosa Springs has invited a megacorporate monster to devour our mountain community.
Wal-Mart represents huge, fast, urban, cheap, ugly, artificial, impersonal, banal and pollutive. We are high-country beautiful, pristine and wild. We are also small, rural friendly, unique, generous and self-reliant.
Developing a Wal-Mart in Pagosa would destroy our local character, extract our wealth, homogenize us into a mass consumer culture, and distinguish us as another Anytown USA. It would teach our children that we value money over self-capability and human rights, that our worth is as mere consumers, and that it is OK to reduce our personal relationships to transactions.
Wal-Mart is skilled at devouring small towns by destroying local business competition and channeling a community's limited supply of dollars away into its megacorporate craw. The few jobs a Wal-Mart creates cannot offset the loss of those it destroys. Tax gains from a superstore will ultimately be worth less than the loss of devoured local businesses and their locally spent dollars.
U.S. dollars lose global value as we keep sending more abroad, then borrowing them back (increasing debt) to finance a war machine that uses more energy than anything else on Earth in order to control flows of oil to sustain lifestyles addicted to cheap energy, industrially produced food, and cheap foreign-made consumer goods. It's a self-destructive life-support system.
— Barr Bentley
I wholeheartedly support Christo's Over the River, a once-in-a-lifetime project that would have significant economic and cultural benefits for Fremont County with only minimal, temporary impacts.
When I was attending Colorado State University in the 1980s, Christo and Jeanne-Claude visited to talk about their art. It is such a different way of working — to not make something permanent meant for a gallery or museum — that it is hard for most Americans to appreciate what they do.
The enthusiasm and ability to coordinate people and materials needed to create such complex artworks are fascinating. To dismantle it all when finished is almost incomprehensible.
I admire Christo for wanting to continue without Jeanne-Claude, since she was such a huge part of their collaborations.
Also, I consider it a huge honor that Christo would want to return to Colorado and feel that everyone would be lucky to get to participate in such a unique artwork. I hope we will welcome and support his efforts to create perhaps the most important project of his life.
— Gail Nelson
There has been some recent speculation that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to reintroduce wolves in the San Luis Valley to help manage elk and other species.
The service in fact has no plans and no intent to reintroduce wolves in the Valley.
Confusion arose from a draft plan to manage overabundant elk populations affecting vital wildlife habitat on the San Luis Valley's National Wildlife Refuges. The draft plan references a suggestion from the public that the service consider wolves as a potential management tool.
By law, the service must analyze comments and suggestions we receive; we do not, however, believe wolf reintroduction is the appropriate strategy for this area.
We have instead put forward three other options including public hunting, which we believe will help ensure that the San Luis Valley refuges continue to provide high-quality habitat for elk and other species — as well as recreational and economic benefits for local communities.
We encourage the public and our partners to review and comment on this important draft plan as we work to finalize it over the next two years.
— Steve Guertin
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Yet again, Bernadette Young is incensed and offended, this time by the sloppy, landfill-esque state of our crime-ridden burg ("It's a dump," Letters, Feb. 2).
So, Ms. Young, here's your chance to institute the change(s) you envision. Take this opportunity to redirect the time and effort you've spent bemoaning the current state of our formerly magnificent city into founding an institution devoted to urban renewal and beautification projects (I'd contend that the issue of crime-reduction is another endeavor) and put your trashbag/paintbrush/work gloves where your mouth is, instead of just grousing about this town you so despise.
I look forward to an upcoming press release trumpeting your proposals and initiatives.
— Jeff Faltz