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Scorn from Planet Hetero, off-leash dogs, our 'mansion district,' and more 

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Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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The Lord's work?

This is a shout-out to the woman in front of me at Chick-Fil-A who found it necessary to loudly and belligerently voice her disgust at the sight of two young lesbians standing in line with their arms around each other.

I could tell you experienced quite a shock, and it is my sincere hope that you soon recover from that flagrant display of perversion. Being a card-carrying member of Planet Hetero, you had every right to point out the atrocity being committed in your midst. Indeed, it was your duty and you admirably rose to the occasion.

If only stoning were still legal, you could have had yourself a seriously (self-)righteous day. Rest assured knowing you did the Lord's work and scored some major points with Big-Daddy-In-The-Sky. Congrats.

Seriously though, I find it just a tad ironic, and enormously frustrating, that LGBT people, who are constantly being subjected to the display of heterosexual passion in films, television shows and magazines, are then accused of flaunting their sexuality every time they risk holding hands at the movies.

Lady, I can't imagine how gratifying it must feel for you to be woven so comfortably and completely into the fabric of the majority, to be so sure of your place before God and country, and to take for granted all the privileges that most straight people take for granted, like the right to marry or visit your spouse in the hospital or to show affection in public without being beaten or ridiculed.

So, from where I see it, those women are to be commended, not condemned. It probably took a whole lot of courage to do what they did knowing that, most likely, there was some asshole in the crowd who would take offense and say something. Thanks for not disappointing.

— Christopher Curcio

Colorado Springs

Pups in the parks

One year after the Gazette published a story about a report of rape on a 19-year-old female hiker in Red Rock Canyon, the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) published "Unleashed Dogs? You could get a ticket."

As a single woman who trail runs, having a dog makes me feel safe. If humans can have guns in the parks (and I've seen multiple exposed guns and heard shots fired), why can't I have a well-behaved dog off a leash?

Here are some options outside of promoting intolerance that could help Colorado Springs create educated trail users and collect money:

1) Piggyback on Boulder's "green tag" policy. Boulder charges for dog owners to be registered as having dogs "under voice and sight control." If a park employee sees a dog off their leash with a green tag, s/he can test the owner and dog. If the dog fails to return to his/her owner, the tag can be revoked. Any owner with their dog off-leash without a green tag is fined.

2) Charge for mandatory "Responsible Dog Owners" classes to educate dog owners about topics such as: aggressive dogs on crowded public trails, learning to respond with empathy to other trail users who may be fearful of dogs, and picking up dog feces for environmental concerns.

3) Making certain spaces off-leash friendly, such as Red Rock and Waldo Canyon, while keeping more city parks, such as Ute Valley, Palmer Park and Monument Valley, strictly on-leash.

4) Make days or times available for dogs to be off-leash.

I encourage the City of Colorado Springs and groups such as TOSC to reconsider their dog policies. With well-trained dogs and dog owners achieved through a licensing system, the parks can be safer and more enjoyable for multiple trail users of varying interests.

— Britt Elizabeth Tonnessen

Manitou Springs

Protecting our past

John Hazlehurst is right on with his piece about the district between Colorado College and downtown along Cascade Avenue and Tejon Street and including Nevada Avenue ("Mansion district fades," City Sage, June 4). As he suggests, if the local economy improves, as we all hope it will, developers will begin eying that neighborhood for new construction, which of course means that historic buildings will come down.

The good news? Several healthy institutions inhabit this area: the Fine Arts Center, Colorado College and half a dozen churches, all of which take good care of their properties. Grace and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, for example, has renovated their "Grace Place" turn-of-the-century mansion on the corner of Willamette and Tejon. First Congregational Church recently completed a careful renovation, and CC is doing a major overhaul of Spencer Center. But over the years, as Hazlehurst points out, "nondescript commercial structures" have replaced the interesting, intricate Victorians.

Some years ago I wrote a book for the National Trust for Historic Preservation on historic sites in the West. I visited nearly every city in the plains and mountain area, noticing frequently that these changing neighborhoods on the edge of downtown seemed to reach a tipping point. If new construction followed established scale and setbacks, if attractive landscaping prevailed, if some small retail remained among the larger institutional buildings, if residences remained part of the mix, then a neighborhood — even one in transition — remained attractive and safe for pedestrians.

That's the clue. Keep a neighborhood attractive to pedestrians. Automobiles need access too, but they needn't control the terrain.

Our newly energized Downtown Partnership, headed by the talented Susan Edmondson, would be wise to keep an eye on the near North End and bring together all the stakeholders in a position to protect and enhance this wonderful neighborhood.

— Elaine Freed

Colorado Springs

The race for HD20

I live in House District 20 and have been following the candidates running for the state House by going to their various functions to listen to them speak, reading all I can on what they have to say about various issues, and judging who will represent us best in Denver. We have good candidates but only one is exceptional.

Terri Carver is the best of the candidates based on her actual experience, her ability to win legal battles against the feds (the Environmental Protection Agency, which is destroying Colorado's way of life and its low-cost energy source), and her willingness to perform with a "servant's heart." She also served this country in the military as a JAG officer!

She is not running to become a career politician but to actually help the people and listen to them. She has the background, the education and the actual involvement in the Republican Party, which the other candidates lack. She gave of her time to work at the GOP office as a volunteer, and I know she would be a fabulous state legislator. Want someone who will actually listen to you? That's Terri.

Consider voting for Terri Carver if you live in HD20. Remember we get the results of what we put in office and this time, I want someone good to represent me in HD20.

— Helen Sabin

Colorado Springs

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