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Women in government, Manitou changes, City for Champions, and more 

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

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Women in power

Regarding "Where da ladies at?" (City Sage, Jan. 8): It would be more than "fun." A gender-shifted City Council would mean significant improvement in our governance, but Mr. Hazlehurst's elitist underskirts are showing.

Democratic women, in particular, are filling in those "thousand points of light" that George H. W. Bush ordered up as he continued the process of dismantling the safety net stitched together by LBJ's War on Poverty.

It takes a woman of significant "independent means" to be free enough to run for local office. In this economy, even the poor remuneration of Colorado state legislative office is not enough to cover the expenses incurred if the woman is out of the home. Grandmothers, who should be enjoying some liberty in an active retirement, are taking care of their grandchildren, saving their daughters' childcare expenses (few of whom earn anything over $40K — a minimum wage for anyone budgeting for childcare these days).

We're populating the proliferating NGOs that are trying to compensate — a bit randomly — for the lack of social services that a government should be providing. Imagine how life and economic expenses could be streamlined if the government organized and provided a basic guarantee for food, housing, education and healthcare for all of its citizens! More Democratic women in elected office would understand that.

Unfortunately, in this new Gilded Age, where the inequality is greater than it was even during the time of the infamous Robber Barons, Democratic women are fighting a rear-guard action just to protect and nurture their loved ones and neighbors.

Where are we? In the trenches, working for the day when we are free enough to turn things around.

— Lois A. Fornander

Colorado Springs

A vote for Merrifield

In his recent column, John Hazlehurst asked, "Where da ladies at?" in reference to the upcoming state Senate election in November. To that, I answer that this particular lady is in Colorado Springs and will be voting for Michael Merrifield.

See, I don't need someone to be of my gender, age group, or race to represent me. I need someone who will listen to my concerns. Someone who is a proven leader with a strong track record and an active part of the community. Someone with experience advocating for the things I care about: robust trails and open spaces, tenant housing concerns, and creating a prosperous economic environment for everyone.

Michael Merrifield is an accessible candidate that I have personally spoken with and I am confident Michael Merrifield will be an accessible state senator when elected. This is important to me. In addition, he shares values and concerns that I have as a woman and a mother: a woman's right to choose, concerns about the current economic hardships and a strong determination to support a strong public education for my child. That is more than can be said for Bernie Herpin. Looking past Merrifield's age, race and gender, it is apparent that he is a caring person who truly wishes to serve his community, and I would be proud to have him represent me.

However, Mr. Hazlehurst, I know some ladies in the media business ... does this mean you will be soon making way for a young woman to take your place?

— Susan Dunn

Colorado Springs

If you build it ...

I have sent numerous emails and phone calls asking Mayor Bach, "... after the city of "gold" ("champions") is built, how much money do you personally anticipate earning?" Obviously, he knows. Here we go again — just like the taxpayers said "No" to a county jail, this will be built and the fools will come.

— Conrad J. Czajkowski

Colorado Springs

Seeking a new path

America has lost its way. Our leaders have forgotten how to lead, govern and serve, instead choosing to bow before the altars of power, greed and advantage. And We, The People have let them — by our words, by our actions, with our money and in our name.

As a nation founded on the principles of equal rights and freedoms, derived from the ideals of human dignity and mutual respect, we often look and act like an empty shell of ourselves.

But we have the power to change all of that.

• By our words: Let's think for ourselves before we speak or act.

• By our deeds: We can help others daily and choose leaders who do the same.

• With our money: Most of us work hard for our money. Let's not waste it on leaders, businesses and policies that squander it on destruction.

• In our name: Let's recapture our good names. Don't agree to or sign anything without finding out who and what's behind it and how your name will be used.

Let's find our way again. It's up to us.

— Marsha Smith

Colorado Springs

Cover the bars

With the recent revelations that perhaps thousands of inmates in Colorado prisons have been held longer than they should have been, an opportunity arises.

Once those inmates are released, and we find thousands of open beds right in the middle of winter, we could ask that those structures, and even staffs, be utilized to help us house many of the homeless and displaced people that live silently among us. Those in need of a warm cot could pay whatever they could muster, if the guards could help us out for a time.

We might find that if we did the math that included the coming absence of future pot "criminals" — pot criminals that should be released due to a solid shift in public policy, and those non-violent or otherwise non-predatory criminals who would be better handled in vocational programs — some prisons could be closed or decommissioned. Some of these structures could then be repurposed as temporary housing or even as schools with beds for those who don't live in a parent's home. Some of those students or patrons could then begin the work of covering the bars with wood and Sheetrock.

Some of the newer prisons might be great places to start vocational or apprentice-style plants with lots of opportunity to produce goods or services and then break even. And there are probably business people, artisans, and computer or warehouse experts that would welcome the opportunity to work as mentors or even full-time teachers.

There's really no excuse for wasting our shared resources in destructive ways, and if the politicians are too busy panhandling and serving donors than us citizens, we should keep asking why.

— Max Clow

Colorado Springs

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