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I was shocked to see our "worthy" U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn not only hitching a ride on Air Force One, but taking advantage of the photo ops with President Obama. Isn't this the same guy who used "Obama" and "tar baby" in the same sentence? Isn't this the same guy who has voted against every jobs bill, health bill, back-to-work bill, infrastructure bill, etc., that President Obama has put before Congress?
This is a guy who shows complete disrespect for the office of the U.S. president for reasons that seem purely partisan with a sprinkle of good old racism.
Lamborn shames this community, and does little to represent his constituency as he should. But one thing he does excel at is being a hypocrite of the first degree.
Who's your daddy now, Doug?
— Ron McComb
What a week of astonishing surprises! First, the heat and fires and destruction, a horrifying "act of god," as the insurance companies call it. (And I fervently hope everyone has a ton of insurance.) Then our own Congressman Lamborn riding in Air Force One with the previously hated President Obama, the very same president whom Lamborn publicly insulted by boycotting the State of the Union.
Lamborn was "kissing up" so gushingly that his nose had a sudden and suspicious new suntan in news photos when he got off the plane. It seemed to me that one of the most hazardous places to be this week was getting between Lamborn and news cameras. Other local politicians strained to get into the act, as is their wont.
Then the previously hated federal tax dollars had to be called in to save the day, with federal personnel, military slurry-drop bombers, and all the rest.
Some tax-haters insisted that Obama's visit would distract local firefighting efforts and take precious tax dollars from disaster efforts. But Obama soothed everyone, and took anti-tax Lamborn back inside the Beltway with him to fight on desperately trying to get Obama fired. Who says life is not ironic?
One last thing. We all turn now to recovery and rebuilding. Think of the massive needs for construction laborers, roofers, landscapers, road repair crews, and all the working and union people who will be sorely needed. Many of these workers are immigrants, legal and illegal, and one sees them working hard in 100-degree heat. Their wages should be tripled.
Many are "illegal" folks, working often under bosses who treat them like dirt because they can. They work in fear of deportation. Lamborn and his political allies will keep trying energetically to get them out of here.
Yes, a week of surprises.
— Larimore Nicholl
Like many people in the Pikes Peak region, I am very grateful to all of the firemen, police and other governmental employees that have done such an incredible job in saving our lives, our property and, indeed, our community from the devastation of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
I was also heartened when President Obama came to pledge support for our effort and to tell us that we can depend on the federal government for support.
When times turn hard, whether it's an act of nature, illness or loss of livelihood, it's the safety net that keeps many of us afloat, surviving so that when times get better we will have a fighting chance.
I begrudge the people of Colorado Springs nothing in their moment of need.
And when this is all behind us and those same people hear of others who are going through bad times, I hope they will also feel compassion for others and gratitude for their own good fortune, to be generous in their attitudes toward others in their time of need.
— Philip Lightstone
The beauty survives
Thank you for your coverage of the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs. All eyes are on our local websites looking for information.
As a resident of Manitou Springs, a few miles from where the fire started, it is important to note that while this is a horrible tragedy, the beauty of the area is still here.
Pikes Peak did not burn, Garden of the Gods is unscathed, the Cog Railway is open, Manitou Springs is alive and well, most of the fire is on National Forest land that is only accessible by dirt roads and trails, and the skies around us are blue and smoke-free.
We have lost some wonderful hiking trails and wilderness, but Colorado Springs and surrounding areas are still open, still beautiful, and still very much alive.
While reporting this fire is a service to the community, not reporting the beauty that still exists as well is doing a disservice to our community and all of Colorado.
— L'Aura Montgomery Williams
Fire's missing piece
The level of community compassion, support and inter-agency cooperation witnessed during the Waldo Canyon Fire describes all that is good with our community.
One glaring exception, which should concern us all, is that all El Paso County officials and commissioners were excluded from President Obama during his tour of the impacted areas. This tragic fire was described as a county event from the beginning, and as the city is an integral part of the county, commissioners do in fact serve the city.
Several years ago, the EDC/Project 6035 analysis of weak and strong points for our community indicated "polarizing ideological differences in the political arena" as a factor inhibiting economic development in the region.
For a region so heavily dependent upon federal funds, military and defense spending, what can be more "polarizing" than county commissioners who have a long history of making harsh and vitriolic comments targeted at their associates at the city level, state and federal officials, and particularly at our president.
Leaders who planned the presidential tour felt the need to exclude county officials. I think it is safe to say that the verbal attacks from Commissioners Clark and Lathen were the direct cause for them being kept away from our president at a time when their inclusion could have been part of the "community building process."
The negative view the national business community has of our region, the failure to draw employers bringing jobs to the unemployed, are all subtle results of the attitudes, policies and comments of county officials.
This lack of sophistication from county officials and commissioners is a matter we can begin to deal with in November. Beyond that, a concentrated effort to develop candidates who can create harmony is our greatest need.
— Rick Wehner
To your health
ObamaCare is wrong and must be stopped! Only radicals believe insurance companies should not be able to kick you out because you're deathly sick, or that they shouldn't deny you from joining them because of pre-existing conditions. It is insane to make your insurance company spend 80 percent of your family's premium on your family's actual health care. How can we expect these cash-strapped companies to pay for preventative procedures that might end up saving a family member's life or possibly even preventing expensive problems later?
Encouraging families to cover their kids until they're 26 years old is outrageous and might make our sons and daughters start to think about getting early checkups or having preventative exams. Worse yet, our children might change their diet, exercise, or lose weight.
This coverage is especially problematic for parents of children between 18 and 26 because much of this more-affordable insurance protection we can now buy for our children could be wasted during our daughters' childbearing years and that might lead to all kinds of healthy complications!
But easily the worst part of the Affordable Care Act is the "cracking down on waste and fraud in Medicare." That really sucks!
Americans are doing very well already, thank you very much, and we know we can just drop by the emergency room if we aren't feeling well. We certainly understand that it would have been wrong to expect our insurance companies to cover the incredibly radical expectations that ObamaCare now forces upon us.
We already spend more per capita on medical care than any of our competitors and look at all the good it's doing. We can thank our insurance companies for much of this. Besides, how are we going to compete with the rest of the developed world if we waste our money on such trivia?
— Jonathan H. Reilly
No jobs available? Of course not, because our brilliant technology has replaced able-bodied willing workers with robots and machines for shortcuts.
Don't you just love the phone system directing you to a menu to possibly speak to a real English-speaking person after a 30-minute hold or more? Aliens come and rescue the species of planet Earth.
— Janet Skokan
Mitt the accuser
For the tenth time this week Mitt Romney is accusing President Obama of something. It has allowed him to navigate another week without taking a stand on anything. If I was a Republican, which I am not, I would hide my face when the presumptive Republican presidential candidate speaks.
In a recent speech President Obama spent 54 minutes clearly delineating his economic strategy as compared to Romney's. In his presentation he continually quoted independent economists who have reviewed Mr. Romney's 50-plus point economic plan and stated that, if fully implemented, it would send our economy back into recession. The result would be the loss of more jobs and would increase, not decrease, our national debt. I have checked the sources he mentioned as well as a plethora of other economists and he was correct in his statements.
There are four months left to the election, but I don't know if I can even read another statement made by Mr. Romney. I would urge the Republicans in our community to write or call Mr. Romney's campaign and ask him to quit whining and start putting together a reasonable argument for why he should be president. President Obama wants to stand on his economic vision for the next four years. I wonder if Mr. Romney is willing to do the same.
— Merl Wallace
Back to California
OK, Mr. Wade, let's follow California ("Following California," Letters, June 13). In September 2008, Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger signs the budget, three months late. December 2008, he announces additional furloughs and layoffs for state employees. February 2009, State Controller John Chiang delays $3.5 billion in state payments for 30 days. By summer 2009, the state's unemployment rate is 12 percent and the poverty rate in L.A. is 20 percent.
Like everywhere else, California suffered from the housing meltdown and the banking crisis. Brought on, I might add, by the economic disaster known as the George W. Bush presidency, where wars were funded with tax cuts and deregulation allowed Wall Street criminals to fleece the country.
Projections for California are positive, but recovering jobs lost from 2007 to 2009 is not expected until 2016. Current Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed budgets that slash $8.3 billion from spending on employees, social programs and prisons, but his request for more taxes has been met with the same Republican roadblock that President Obama has had to deal with.
Republicans continue to insist that the people who are suffering the most take on the burden of paying for the crisis. They refuse to raise taxes on people whose net wealth and annual income has soared while the rest of us have seen only stagnation or lower wages. The only way this economy is going to turn around is if the consumers start to spend again. The only way that happens is if money stays in the pockets of the middle class. Protecting millionaires because they are the supposed "job creators" is simply a smokescreen Republicans are using to keep the campaign contributions coming.
Mr. Wade, the people aren't asking for freebies, they are asking for jobs. The only politicians out there who bear the responsibility for delaying new job growth are your Republican buddies.
— Michael Augenstein
Their day in court
The Supreme Court chose to let the biggest corporation in the world off the hook for gender discrimination a year ago in the case against Wal-Mart that prevented the 1.6 million women of Wal-Mart and Sam's Club from taking on America's largest private employer in what would have been the largest class-action civil rights lawsuit in history.
Leading up to that decision:
1998: Lilly Ledbetter sued her former employer Goodyear Tire & Rubber after discovering that 15 of her male co-workers made $1,000 to $2,000 per month more then she — even though they did the same work and started at the same salary in 1979. The Supreme Court ruled against her because the statute of limitations had run out. She did not even find out about the discrimination for years, due to her company's salary confidentiality policies.
2009: The Lilly Ledbetter Act made it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who disclose their salary.
2000-2011: Betty Dukes sued Wal-Mart in a class action suit for pay discrimination that sought $1.5 billion on behalf of up to 1.6 million female workers. The Supreme Court refused to grant class action.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act (EEORA) would undo much of the damage done to women's and workers' rights by the Court's decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes. It would help ordinary Americans stand together to challenge company-wide discriminatory employment practices. If this issue is important to you and your family, let your Congressional representatives know — soon!
— Dr. Cara E. Koch
Public Policy Director
AAUW, Colorado Springs Branch