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The Hill Climb, Initiative #75, birth control, and more 

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Hill Climb nostalgia

The PP Hill Climb is an institution here in Colorado Springs, but it's going downhill faster than a PP racer in reverse. The race has always had fans watching from the side of the road, and the fee was reasonable. In 2014 it's the "Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb," the spectator fee is $50 and organizers mowed down substantial areas of forest to make "spectator areas." Spencer Penrose is probably rolling over in his grave.

Let's get the race back like it used to be — reasonable prices, no Broadmoor, no seating areas, and spectators can sign a waiver and sit where they want. I know organizers are worried about someone getting hurt — so stand behind a bigger tree.

I have friends in Denver who didn't go because the fees were so high — a good way to cut down on tourism too.

— Bill Welter

Colorado Springs

Initiative #75

Knowing that our health depends on a healthy environment, it should be up to local individuals and community majorities how much toxic contamination of our water, air and soil we will allow, rather than a minority in a corporate boardroom, or politicians representing corporations.

Law professor Tom Russell in the June 11 issue of the Indy ("Frack-down!" News) said parts of Community Rights Initiative #75 are unconstitutional, but the current legal structure, including state and federal constitutions, favors the interests of corporations and big government over the fundamental rights of individuals and local communities.

In the past the U.S. legal structure did not protect the rights of people of color and women. The Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Suffrage Movement changed this. The Community Rights Movement, with networks across eight states, is a new nonpartisan civil rights movement. Nearly 200 communities across the U.S. have passed bill of rights laws that stand up against the corporations and big government.

Just as Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, Initiative #75 is also an act of civil disobedience. Our fundamental rights are a higher law than laws that bestow rights on corporations and big government.

It is the goal of the Community Rights Movement to change the biased legal structure Russell defends — that has increasingly elevated the rights of corporations and big government over the rights of the rest of us — including state and federal constitutions.

Seventy-five communities contributed to the Declaration of Independence. The first complaint in the Declaration of Independence is the king nullified laws of communities. Corporations and big governments nullify local laws by preemption.

Initiative 75 both commits civil disobedience and eliminates preemption in the context of corporations and state governments violating community and individual rights at the state level (COCRN.org).

— Lotus, Nicole Rosa, Scott Olson and Karyna Lemus

Colorado Springs

Cheapening religion

Jefferson must be turning over in his grave — several times, at least!

Our current Supreme Court, or rather the five male Catholics on the court, has ruled that secular organizations like Hobby Lobby can impose their personal religious convictions on their employees — giving secular for-profit businesses a "religious right" comparable to a church.

Oh sure, the employee can get her contraceptive insurance elsewhere, but that's a dead giveaway that she is not in "religious sync" with her employer and could lead to repercussions of many sorts.

Even your own employer, deciding he/she needed an excuse to lower the bottom line, could suddenly "find religion," so women employees could lose birth control coverage at any time.

This decision of the U.S. Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to all kinds of religious discrimination — like not serving gays or certain races or even hiring women.

It has cheapened the role of religion in this country, by applying the idea of "religious liberty" to secular businesses.

— Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

Iraq again

As we watch Iraq devolve into the centuries-old religious war between Sunni and Shiite factions, many memories resurface.

I joined 16 million people around the world in one of the largest peace marches in history during the months when the Bush administration was mounting invasion preparations. I gave lectures against the war on a university campus, wrote letters to editors and marched in peace demonstrations.

For months before the invasion, U.N. inspectors searched Iraq and found no weapons of mass destruction. Yet President Bush, V.P. Cheney, Gen. Powell, Secretaries Rice and Rumsfeld stated categorically that Iraq had WMDs and they knew where they were. We wondered why they didn't call up the U.N. and tell them so inspectors could rush out and find those sites.

U.N. Secretary-General Annan said the invasion would be in violation of international law, and would destabilize the region. We see now that outcome. And I'm haunted by a quote from former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war is largely about oil." And it turned out that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks.

So what do we peaceniks say to those returned soldiers damaged physically and/or mentally? "You should have listened to us, quit the military and stayed home"? "Call your congressman and demand higher taxes to fund sufficient staffing for VA hospitals"?

And finally, what do we say about the dead on both sides of that war, many of them children?

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

The meaning of white

Regarding the advertisement on page 35 of the last issue: It followed most of the guidelines of an announcement, including what, where, when and why. It left out "who." Just who is Celebrating Inclusion? The picture shown under WHITE PARTY depicts three people dressed in white, all who are Caucasian. Does inclusivity for this party mean you can come as long as you are white? "Individuals and organizations who advance the cause of diversity" are being honored, so I'm sure this is pure snark, but I just found the depiction and text irritating. Smacks of exclusivity.

— Judith Lee

Colorado Springs

Note: The ad — with clarification this week — invites everyone to the Independent's inaugural Inclusion Awards (tiny.cc/wrubix), celebrating individuals and organizations who advance LGBT causes in the Pikes Peak region. White Parties began 29 years ago as AIDS began decimating the gay population. The name comes from the requirement that attendees dress in all or almost all white. Frank Wager, co-founder of the original White Party, chose this theme because, as he said, "White stands for purity. White is elegant, non-political, non-combative and makes people look just plain beautiful." — Carrie Simison, General Manager

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