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Focus on the Ranger
Bravo to Rich Tosches ("The making of monsters," Ranger Rich, Aug. 8) for so poignantly pointing out how horrific the outcome can be when mothers and fathers parent poorly — or don't parent at all.
Given his passion for the subject, in fact, one could reasonably assume that sometime during his decades-long journalism career here in our village he might have noted all the work we at Focus on the Family have done for the last 35 years to help moms and dads be more engaged and effective in raising their children.
Alas, he's been too — pun unavoidable — focused on regaling readers with jokes about our public-policy advocacy to report that research indicates every 90 seconds of every day we help another family navigate its way through a crisis involving their kids.
Lives are being changed for the better through the work of the dedicated men and women up here on the hill, Rich. We'd love to have you over sometime to tell you about it.
— Gary Schneeberger
Vice President, Communications
Focus on the Family
Keep CSU Electric
Regarding the issue of selling Colorado Springs Utilities Electric Division (CSU), I submit this is just another form of tax increase to the citizens and businesses of our community.
CSU has a history of, and intention to provide us with electric rates 20 percent lower than communities served by investor-owned utilities — those who might buy it.
The 2010 CSU budget had $406 million in revenues for the electric division. A 20 percent increase would be $81 million dollars per year with these moneys leaving our community to support a corporate utility and its stockholders. It may also take away some efficiencies within our utility, causing rates for other services to go up.
So isn't this the same as a tax increase, more money extracted from the community going to the government. The only difference is there's a corporate entity in the money trail. The money they get leaves our community (capital leakage weakening our economic vitality).
As for those who wish the Martin Drake Power Plant to go away (or transitioned to a clean energy facility), selling Drake would hamper that prospect. As for making and selling electricity not being a "core function" of our city government, I disagree. CSU has been doing this quite well for some 85 years, winning awards, national recognition and the envy of many other communities.
Each citizen and customer is a stockholder. Our dividend is the low rates we enjoy. The future of our utility and its economic, social and environmental impacts are best directed by us and I invite each of you to be involved.
— Scott Harvey
Editor's note: Harvey is the second alternate member of the Springs' Utilities Policy Advisory Committee.
Asleep at the switch?
Shortly after the current City Council members were elected they wisely decided as the Utilities Board to evaluate the governance of CSU. Of primary concern was whether they had the skill set and appropriate background to manage a city-owned, billion-dollar utility. More than year later the governance model is unsettled, and the reason why is glaringly obvious.
The recent flip-flopping on Drake's future and the continued requests for expensive external studies of CSU's electric plan indicate that at least some board members were AWOL during the past year when Utilities completed the Electric Integration Resource Plan.
The EIRP, a detailed 20-year strategic plan completed every five years, evaluated numerous scenarios aided by an advisory group composed of customers, the Utilities Policy Advisory Committee and a number of public meetings. I attended the CSU board, UPAC and public meetings and had every opportunity to ask questions to Jerry Forte, Bruce McCormick and John Romero. The EIRP was thoroughly vetted and approved. Drake and the Neumann Systems were proven as part of the least-cost scenario.
If certain board members are unprepared maybe they should forget the politicking and do their homework. Next, solve the governance problem with a convincing decision.
— Dick Standaert
The fracking fight
Colorado Springs City Council has consistently ignored most of the input from its citizens. In contrast the city of Longmont and Routt County officials have not only listened, but they are standing up as best they can to the State of Colorado and the oil companies to defend their citizens' rights, health, water and land as they are required by the common law to do.
Longmont's regulations have more than twice the number of pages as the draft Colorado Springs regulations.
Councilor Angela Dougan even claimed at a Council meeting that the oil and gas industry is the most regulated industry in the U.S. With leaders as gullible and unaware as this, the citizens of Colorado Springs are clearly not being protected by their own Council. These unaware Councilors apparently think the state of Colorado (and at least in one case the federal government) is going to protect us.
Not so, according to Longmont and Routt. Hopefully at some point Colorado Springs public officials will listen to those in other cities and counties. If not, then we need to get creative or continue being unprotected.
Council and citizens will have an opportunity on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 5:30 p.m. to attend Fracking Colorado Springs: Debunking the Myths and Stating the Facts, in the Community Meeting Room at East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd.
Lack of respect
We should have shown more respect for our sister city, Fujiyoshida, at the Mountain Festival in America the Beautiful Park on Saturday, Aug. 4.
There were two performance stages happening simultaneously at opposite ends of the park: one with traditional cultural music and dancers, the other with amplified bands of the modern era. When our sister city honored us with a beautiful Bond Dance featuring ladies in kimonos, the amplified music continued, drowning them out and interfering with their tradition of leading all of us behind them in unity through the park.
There was no announcement of the two mountain effigies — for Mount Fuji and Pikes Peak — being carried with our wishes in procession through the park. Our sister city was unable to perform the scheduled fire ceremony due to a necessary fire ban. Instead of being insulted, they raised $11,400 to help the Waldo Canyon Fire victims. This generosity should have been mentioned throughout the day.
They brought a large drum group, which was not set up on either stage during the day and was not given any shade.
Please, coordinators, let's get it together next time. Let's demonstrate better manners for a better world.
— Sebrena Forrest
Messages still mixed
Regarding the response of the Independent to my earlier letter concerning the "hipster" ad ("Mixed messages," Letters, Aug. 8) stating that a hipster "Only smokes Lucky Strikes":
1) The Indy states that it is a "newspaper for adults," although I find no such statement in the paper itself and no prohibitions on distribution based on age. The paper is distributed for free near some schools (note, for example the many distribution points near Palmer High) and some of the articles and ads seem to be targeted at a "young" readership. It is therefore "reasonably foreseeable" that the paper is read by some minors and impressionable young adults, at least some of whom read the "hipster" ad, which was published at least twice. It is, in my opinion, irresponsible journalism for the paper itself to publish such an ad, especially in light of Ms. Stanley's article ("In a smoke-filled room ..." cover story, Aug. 1) stating the well-documented dangers of smoking, to the smoker and others.
2) The Independent suggests there is no real difference between a young person making a decision to smoke or not and making a decision to buy new or used clothing. It is surely obvious that buying clothes is not physically addictive and few people risk serious illness as a result of such a decision! A suggestible young person (whether a minor or young adult) who begins smoking cigarettes runs a substantial risk of lifelong addiction and eventual serious illness or death from smoking.
3) The Indy maintains that its readers (despite the suggestibility of some young readers) can make informed decisions about their purchases and health. If so, help them make an intelligent decision by publishing a few public service ads, available from the Surgeon General, the Lung Association, and the Cancer Society.
— Tom Barnes
Giving up the goat
I am sick of the way the government and the media make Judas goats of people who smoke.
We're poisoning the rest of you with our tobacco. We live in a toxic soup of pollution, but the government and media try to make everybody believe cigarette smoke kills millions of people. Somebody can be 300 pounds, live on a diet of deep-fat-fried, high-fructose corn syrup, and never exercise; but if they smoke (or know someone who smokes), they died from smoking.
One corporate jet, or one coal-fired power plant, creates more toxins than every cigarette I smoked across my entire life.
— Gina Douglas
Job for the NRA
Many people feel that the U.S. Constitution affords the right of each individual to possess arms (guns).
Our history does not indicate that our society requires individual gun ownership to protect our rights in this country. We do not vote with a gun. We do not swear in a public servant with a gun. We do not obey laws with the use of a gun. We do not pay our debtors with a gun. We do not greet our neighbors with a gun. We do not love our children with a gun. We do not worship our creator with a gun.
The National Rifle Association has yet to promote a system for safety in our society in the uncontrolled use of them. I say to the NRA that it is a time for proactive advocacy. If so many people support their stand on gun ownership, then society must expect that the NRA address the issue before them: How to promote uncontrolled gun ownership and protect innocent persons from harm or death from their use. I am certain my concerns will be met with silence.
— Bob Wheeler
For 16 years, I have been a registered member of the Libertarian Party, primarily due to my wish for a more efficient system of government and the broader desire for social freedom.
My fundamental values have been hijacked by neo-cons. So, to defend my democratic principles, I am now a registered Republican.
I will vote for every ignoramus, doofus, and blatantly clueless candidate in the primary races. Then, in the general election, my vote will go to the Democratic candidate.
Occupy the Republican Party!
— Jeff Adams
Just a thought
How can the U.S. expect to be policeman of the world when it can't even police its own country?
— Brien Whisman
Link to UCCS
The Gazette recently reported that the Colorado Department of Revenue changed nonprofit operational expense criteria. The Gazette intimated Poudre Valley Health Care ("PooCare") expended $289,000 to urge adoption of the ballot measure for C-Springs' voters. This Memorial Health System lease will indebt Colorado with hundreds of millions in bonds.
Critics complain such bonds neutralize Obama Treasury stimuli by sucking capital from the private sector. Local unemployment is over 9 percent, not considering labor pool contraction. Nonetheless, creating a new University of Colorado Medical School campus benefits a growing retirement population with future doctor availability for the state. It provides new jobs via UCCS.
I'm happy the Department of Revenue joins PooCare, Jeff Crank, Gazette, City Council and county citizens in an unusual political bipartisan support. The Memorial bailout advocated by PooCare ends past Memorial indiscretions so UCCS can be part of our city's future.
— ER Shulty
North Carolina's Merlefest was dedicated to the late Eddy Merle Watson, not Merle Haggard, as was reported in "Herd mentality" (AudioFile, Aug. 8). We regret the error.