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Manitou's hippie history and 2G, government transparency, same-sex marriage, and more 

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An old hippie and 2G

There are locals who have grown up here and know Manitou like I never can, but I know it as only an old hippie can.

In 1975, Manitou was a tired town with kitschy souvenir shops, wild bars, and aging civic leaders who didn't want change. Jobs were scarce, but run-down rentals were dirt-cheap. Even Miramont Castle, the Cliff House and the Spa were broken into low-rent apartments.

When hippies moved in, some locals freaked. Manitou became renowned for being full of drug dealers, witches and welfare bums. For a while, it was like Manitou was at war. City Council tried hard to discourage the hippie invasion.

Then the town changed. Art stores replaced souvenir shops. Hippies worked for local slumlords, remodeling run-down houses, and helped restore Miramont Castle. Old locals started to understand that new locals loved Manitou, too, and were working to make it better.

How does this bit of Manitou history relate to now? During those '70s and later, when bringing gambling to Manitou arose, some people tried to circumvent local democracy. When the majority opinion did not go their way, some tried sneaky end runs, like unannounced elections, and statewide votes. They failed.

Every adult who lives in Manitou loves it. Even old hippies have kids, some grandkids. We all want what's best for them.

The vote has already been taken. The pot shop is open. The sky hasn't fallen. Fear that our children will become potheads if we have a pot shop is silly. The Hippie Invasion did not turn Manitou into a drug town as feared, and neither will Question 2G.

The biggest danger to our children and families is unsubstantiated fear. It tears at Colorado Springs with religious fervor. I'd like to think that, in Manitou, we're better than that.

— Teddi Stabler

Manitou Springs

Let the sunshine in

After our separate vacations to China a couple of years ago, Independent publisher John Weiss and I met to compare notes. As a newsperson, John's focus was on the media. He compared our media with China's saying, "In China, the media fears the government. In the U.S., the government fears the media."

While this may be true for some in government, this is one issue that John and I agree on: We need more government transparency, not less. In fact, I co-sponsored a bill last session to require more transparency in awarding major state road projects. And, I carried a bill that increased the protection for media confidential sources, which unfortunately was killed by Democrats in committee.

While we mostly hear of the need for transparency in government, it was refreshing to see John "come clean" on his role in the "chicken man" episode.

While the Indy and I haven't always agreed on issues, they generally give me fair coverage and I look forward to building a closer relationship as the state senator from District 11.

— Sen. Bernie Herpin

District 11,

Colorado Springs

Why the rush?

I was amused by Fr. Carmody being upset ("The speed of change," Letters, Oct. 22) that the Catholics with trailers, without title, and an old church in Security, were not being acted upon as swiftly as same-sex marriage certificates by local government.

Perhaps it is because gays pay taxes, and the church doesn't.

— David Johnson

Cascade

It's a racket

I didn't get the "Yes on 1B" billboards. They have a golden semi-circle to the right of the message.

It looks like a sheaf of wheat. Is wheat a ballot issue?

Then I realized it was a giant tidal wave, looking about 40 feet tall. That confused me even more. We don't border the Pacific Ocean. Do tidal waves hit Colorado? No.

Those who want this $40 million yearly rain tax forever can't explain 1B except by their obtuse motto, "Let's fix this." Read their muddled 30-page proposal for a new layer of unaccountable government with 78 different tax rates and even more lies. Save your $265 (average yearly cost for a family of four) and vote "no."

Then I read the opposition website, noraintax.net. That site listed over six dozen accurate and credible arguments against this boondoggle, including its $265 yearly cost. The 1B supporters are nearly all politicians and developer groups who want insider contracts putting our $40 million yearly into their pockets. What a racket!

I'm voting "no" to defeat this devious ripoff. Ask yourself, "Who is buying their radio, TV, mailer and billboard ads?" Answer: the developers. 1B will never end their inflated drainage repair backlog. It will keep rising until politicians make growth pay its own way. Vote "no."

— Roger McCarville

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The $265 yearly cost Mr. McCarville references is for a family of four, based on this equation: $40 million collected per year, divided by 600,000 county residents, amounts to about $67 per resident. Payments from commercial/residential entities, nonprofits and the government are left out of this equation, though the intergovernmental agreement stipulates that payments from all of the above will be collected.

We, the lab rats

I am writing to add my name in support of Proposition 105, and to encourage other readers to vote Yes on 105.

A couple years ago, my son and I developed severe food sensitivities. We discovered that we had Leaky Gut Syndrome, where tiny holes in the intestines allow food particles to go through, and your immune system starts reacting to them. Thankfully, we were healed and we are able to eat normally again. But in the course of researching our disease, I discovered genetically modified organisms.

There have been no long-term studies done on humans, but GMOs have been linked to Leaky Gut Syndrome, a rise in food allergies and other chronic diseases, infertility, and even cancer in a study done on rats. One of the most alarming facts I learned is that GMO Bt corn has DNA from bacteria embedded in it so that when insects eat the corn, their stomachs explode and they die. Without long-term studies, who could say what is happening in our bodies?

Over 90 percent of the corn, soy, canola, cottonseed and sugar beets grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. We have become the long-term study, without our permission, and without any controls in place. Proposition 105 will not ban GMOs, it will just label them. A yes to Proposition 105 is a yes to the right of Coloradans to make informed choices about the food we eat and feed our families.

— Rebecca Dickerson

Denver

A higher standard

Another newspaper recently published a letter from Kent Fortune at USAA. He wrote, "We need institutions like the Air Force Academy to train our future military officers to lead with honor and integrity." I'm writing to second his outside observer's view with one from the inside. I continue a 38-year association with the Academy.

The military in general, and the service academies specifically, get kicked around in the news. Don't get me wrong, "we" usually deserve it. But we don't deserve it because the Academy fails society's standards — we deserve it when we fail our own, far higher standards.

Look at the simple stats for sexual assaults in the news, for example. A 2012 Center for Disease Control study includes: "In a study of undergraduate women, 19 percent experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college." Compare that with reports from those colleges. The entire University of Colorado system (three major campuses, 67,000 students) reported only seven rapes in 2011, and all of those were at Boulder (FBI stats).

Does anyone really believe such reports? Let's assume that half the student body is female; that all reported assaults happened to females; and that all reporting females were assaulted once during a four-year course of study. Even if only 10 percent of the total reported assaults were forcible rape, that would mean an average of over 150 forcible rapes a year in our CU system. Where's that headline? Nobody cares anyway since "civilian" assaults don't make national news.

Yes, your Academy sometimes deserves the bad press. But the military in general, and the Academy specifically, are the nation's most trusted institutions for very good reason. Please read the headlines with an understanding that they're about failing high standards nobody else even attempts.

— Ed Herlik

Colorado Springs

Corrections

• In our Oct. 22 write-up of Best Of Colorado Springs readers poll award winner NaturaLeaf, Shanna Dunson was identified as the business owner; she is actually store manager. Shane Nance and Scott Saunders are the owners.

• In the Oct. 22 Publisher's Note, Jarred Rego was identified as campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn; he is actually Lamborn's campaign spokesperson.

We regret the errors.

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