Can't we all just respectfully disagree?

To the Editor:

In the interest of accuracy, please pull out the tapes from the City Council meeting where I and others spoke (not angrily, but with a strong message of disagreement) to ask City Council not to limit the east-west mobility study to two corridors 10 miles apart on the far north and south ends of town.

Margaret Grove Radford's letter to you on Sept. 16 quoted me as saying, "The east-west freeway question is not a question of if. It's a question of when and where." I never spoke those words nor offered that message. Our message is different and simple, most of it simply a repetition of what demographers and traffic engineers have been telling all of us for years: 1) There will be over 120,000 babies born in our town over the next 20 years; 2) the same number of people will move here in search of a better quality of life; 3) therefore, serious traffic congestion is coming; 4) the center of the city will face the brunt of it; 5) if traffic is not borne by high-capacity arterials in the core of the city, it will cut through neighborhoods, decreasing quality of life and increasing dangerous conditions for schoolchildren and citizens within them; 6) more stop-and-go traffic means dirtier air; 7) the neighborhoods which are asking for special treatment will receive it only at the expense of other neighborhoods which have not been given the courtesy of understanding the negative impacts they will be forced to endure.

This isn't a business community vs. neighborhoods disagreement. We all live in neighborhoods. It is a disagreement between people with two points of view. One point of view is that good analysis and planning for growth should not be constrained by appeasement of the interests of a few at the expense of many (including many neighborhoods).

The other view is that the community should be planned to suit the limited personal interests of a few who believe an objective study would result in damage to those interests (but who ultimately will suffer from poor transportation planning as well). I don't begrudge them for that. I just think council should be serving the entire community. And, to be clear, this is not an angry battle, as the media tend to frame the debate. It is indeed a respectful disagreement over what we believe is a critical long-term quality of life issue which will affect our children more than it affects us.

This isn't about Constitution Avenue. It is about good planning, as most citizens continue to demand.

-- Rocky Scott
Colorado Springs

Born gay

It is a common experience for humanity -- if you don't understand something, then you end up fearing it if you choose to remain in ignorance of the facts. It is bad enough that many people fear homosexuality, but it is even worse when religion encourages such fear in its followers without making any attempts to understand what lies behind the attraction between members of the same sex.

Recent advances in the biological sciences are now confirming what many people know from their own lives or those of friends or family members, that homosexuality is not a choice!

It is well-known that, for some period of time after conception, every embryo is female. For those who doubt, ask yourself, "Why do men have nipples if they are not needed to nourish a baby?" Once hormones begin to act on the developing child, most fetuses remain female or make the transition to male. There are many others who somehow remain stranded elsewhere in this continuum, with the outward signs of one sex but the sensitivities of the other. If you believe that we are all part of God's creation, why are they persecuted for what one can really say is God's mistake (heaven forbid) or part of His plan (even worse to some people)?

As far as the discussion of so-called reformed homosexuals goes, it should seem obvious that such individuals find themselves to be in the middle of the sexual continuum as bisexuals, able to deny one part of themselves in favor of what society, or religion, dictates.

One can only ask, Is such a choice permanent or only temporary?

-- John A. DeRuntz Jr., Ph.D.
Colorado Springs

To each her own

To the Editor:

Yea Independent! Fantastic article on homophobes (Sept. 2, "Revenge of the homophobes"). Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace deserves an ovation for taking a stand with our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered population against the Christian Coalition so rampant here in the Springs. Who are the freaks here? Ed Bircham with his hatemonger sign or boys in high heels? I prefer the latter, and I am a straight female!

-- Billie McIntere
Colorado Springs

Cat fight

To the Editor:

The Pikes Peak Center, The Citadel mall, Vallejos Mexican Restaurant and the Margarita at Pine Creek are just a few Colorado Springs locales that have something in common: colonies of feral cats scavenging for food and seeking shelter under trees and in every nook and cranny they can find. Mother cats are scurrying to find secure nests to bear new litters, and those litters, unless intercepted by human hands by the time they are just six weeks young, will become feral cats.

Webster's defines feral as "like a wild beast." However, in stark contrast to its truly wild counterparts such as the squirrel, the fox or the skunk, the feral cat is not a natural part of the ecosystem. The feral cat is the offspring of once domesticated cats tossed out to the streets to fend for themselves. Feral cat colonies are the direct result of humankind's irresponsible behavior and failure to spay or neuter their pets.

Because of unchecked feline births, combined with the scarcity of good homes for domestic cats needing adoption, as many as 4 million cats are euthanized each year in the United States. The number of feral cats in the United States is estimated at 60 million, and El Paso County has its share.

All feral cats should be tested for the leukemia virus prior to a spay, neuter and release program. In some instances, where there is no safe return for the cats, the only other alternative is euthanasia. The scope of this problem is beyond most humane societies; thus, cities like Denver and Aurora have enacted breeder permit laws, designed to regulate the numbers of dog and cat litters through fees and licensing requirements for both breeders and pet owners. These fees, in turn, generate funds to assist with humane-society operations and management of the ordinances. Breeder permit laws encourage sterilization of animals, which discourages pet overpopulation. It is a solution that has been gaining ground in cities throughout the country and one repeatedly suggested to the powers-that-be in Colorado Springs. Yet the city has ignored our reasoned pleas to help reduce the number of feral cat colonies in Colorado Springs.

If you want to help bring this important issue to the attention of our elected leaders, please contact the Coalition of Artists Towards a Humane Society (CATS) at 683-7292.

-- Marylou Doehrman, DVM
Hamlett Spay and Neuter Clinic
Founding member, CATS
Colorado Springs


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