Committed gay relations do not equal family

To the Editor:

Gay does not equal family values, and that anyone would attempt to equate gay values to family values is the newspeak of leftist culture. Family means man, wife, kids. Family does not mean a committed gay relationship, Vermont notwithstanding.

This column ("Gay role models can espouse -- and teach -- traditional family values," Your Turn, May 4) misses the entire point of the Boy Scouts' position -- their family values do not recognize gay relationships as appropriate or consistent with the organization's stated values and mission. "Morally straight" couldn't be clearer, whether or not it fits your sexual politics. To claim that exclusion of gays is pernicious discrimination strikes me as a self-serving imposition of gay values, using a legal mandate from the government.

The Supreme Court will decide it, but I would be very surprised if the gay argument -- that the Boy Scouts are the equivalent of a public organization -- will pass scrutiny. Boy Scouts may not be a private country club, but they aren't any different than a religious group either. The term for it is freedom of association.

To have different values does not equal disrespect for human dignity. I don't like this columnist's values, but that doesn't mean that I must have animosity rising to the level of hate and discrimination. I see the gays are very effective at equating any disagreement with gay bashing, and this column is your proof.

I have known gays and lesbians, better than most. I think their lives, in general, are chaotic and very poor models for young boys in elementary and middle school, and even high school, because homosexual sexuality is not the norm, nor do we want very impressionable children around potentially bad influences about the homosexual life.

Do we not permit suits against churches for molestation? If the Boy Scouts choose to avoid that risk, that is rational behavior. How are we to ascertain who has a "committed," vs. promiscuous, relationship? Do undercover surveillance? The premise is absurd on its face.

Parents put their kids in Boy Scouts for a reason, and since the Boy Scouts have this policy and seem to be doing well, I suggest that these parents have chosen the Boy Scouts because it has these values. Parents should not be forced to place their kids in organizations which do not share their values.

-- Jim Winchester

Sticking up for the developers

To the Editor:

I commend you on Cara DeGette's article on the city's mishandling of the Woodmen-Academy impact fee proposal ("Red Handed," April 27). As a sometime participant in the task force's deliberations and a full-time participant in the discussions with the city, I can tell you that Ms. DeGette's story is correct and city manager Mullen's statement that "there was no breach of public trust" is incorrect.

Cara has covered the matter well. I do, however, wish to comment on a couple of statements made by Jann Nance, who is quoted as saying, "We knew impact fees would be contested by developers [regardless] of the methodology used. ... This seems a well thought-out way for developers to stall the whole thing." These statements are proof of the old adage that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I hold no quarrel with Rosenbaum/Dean. I do no business with them, and I expect to do none. In all justice, however, I have heard both Mr. Rosenbaum and his attorney, Mr. Wright, say on several occasions that they had no objection to paying their fair share and that they expected to live up to their side of the agreement. And I have heard other developers say that they had no objection to impact fees, so long as they were computed fairly. And that, of course, is the whole point of the objections to the fees as proposed.

I wonder if Ms. Nance knows that builders already pay very substantial impact fees. The Department of Regional Building or the Planning Department will confirm to you that the fees on a new $200,000 home in Colorado Springs will come to approximately $7,500. And a recent survey by the local Housing and Building Association showed that sales taxes on materials to build that home will come to approximately $2,500. That is substantial, don't you think?

A proper impact fee schedule requires consideration of both the cost and the revenue side. I quote from the Development Impact Assessment Handbook, 1994 edition, written by the Center for Urban Policy of Rutgers University and produced in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute: "Financial impact analysis is the study of the revenues expected to be generated by development as compared to the anticipated costs."

The Woodmen-Academy study, as concocted by city staff and its trained consultant, did not do that, and the study is phony.

-- Robert B. Hoff
Hoff & Leigh, Inc.
Colorado Springs

Beltway blues

To the Editor:

As victims of the Woodmen Beltway scare and the nasty tactics used by the city, we were most grateful for Cara DeGette's expos on the Woodmen Commons deal ("Red Handed," April 27). Further, we very much appreciate your publishing the city managers' interoffice e-mails. How very revealing.

We can't help but wonder if some investigative reporting isn't called for to "follow the money" on the unprecedented pressure by the city managers to make Woodmen Road a beltway. They are in a very big hurry for some reason. You could sense the urgency in their April 11 meeting.

Why does it have to be Woodmen when maps for the future by both the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments and the Colorado Department of Transportation depict something very different? They both show Woodmen widened to six lanes (as is has been in the city plan for years and years). Both show Research and/or Briargate Parkway going through to Powers and/or Marksheffel. This makes sense. Making Woodmen the northern portion of a beltway makes no sense at all (beltways go around a city, not through it!), especially when it would mean the "taking" of dozens of businesses (some brand-new), a church, a brand-new wall that cost $1 million, apartment complexes and hundreds of residential homes in the $145,000-and-up price range -- all this for five miles and maybe five minutes' time saved for a motorist.

From reading the e-mails, we know that the city managers were trying to get the Woodmen Commons developers to pay for part of the widening of Woodmen in their impact fees. And it is obvious that this widening was to be a beltway. They were planning this beltway as far back as July 1998 because, by February '99, they are referring to the Union overpass as though the whole thing were a done deal -- before their hurry-up study of Woodmen was approved.

Jim Mullen is scary. So is Zelenok who made a very one-sided, disingenuous presentation at the April 11 City Council meeting prior to the Council vote on the resolution for the hurry-up "Woodmen Beltway" study (to the tune of a half-million bucks). This study is, of course, in addition to the "east-west mobility study" and as redundant as hell. By the way, the city had already signed the contract for the Woodmen study before April 11. The resolution, admittedly, was to cover their butts.

The way this Council and city does business is frightening as all get-out. Zelenok's presentation contained dozens of photographs taken along Woodmen Road, not one of which had a house shown. He showed only photos of the open area out by the school bus parking lot.

Thanks again. Thanks for a job well done. Keep up the good work.

-- Toni Hupp
Colorado Springs

What would you have done?

To the Editor:

I'm writing this letter to the editor for two reasons: One is to share my feelings with the community about an event, and the second reason is to ask this community what we can do as a people to stop the abuse.

I recently witnessed a mother publicly abusing her child. I had just finished watching my daughter play in a volleyball game with her middle-school teammates. Our team was the visiting team. I had been watching the home team play, when I overheard one of the players saying to herself, "I can do this." She was getting ready to serve the ball. She wanted to do her best.

The game had ended, and we were leaving the school when I heard someone yelling outside the school doors. A woman was yelling obscenities at this young girl. She was criticizing her for the way she played volleyball and telling her she should not play anymore. I looked at the young girl, and she was holding on to her books as if she was using them to shield herself against this woman's attacks. My emotions ran the gamut of anger against the adult (I assumed she was the girl's mother) to feeling so sad for the young girl. I was angry with myself for not getting in the woman's face and asking why she was doing this.

People were walking by this display and shaking their heads. I was appalled. I was embarrassed. I was furious. I wanted to do something. I wanted to walk up to the young girl and hold her. Yet I did nothing. I did what everyone else did; we got into our cars and drove away.

I wonder what kind of night the girl had. Did her mother continue to abuse her at home, or did she take her in her arms and tell her child how sorry she was for what she did? I understand why our young people get into violence, drugs, gangs and teenage pregnancies. I see why our youth are committing suicide. I see why young people kill their parents. I feel sad for the mother. I wonder if she had been abused as a child.

Abuse is a vicious circle. What would you do if you saw someone abusing his or her child? I know what I will do.

-- Michael Hoover
Colorado Springs

Debunking the D-11 debate

To the Editor:

The latest piece from Bob Campbell ("Mistrust high in D-11," May 4) reported facts and, at first glance, seems balanced. The survey was mentioned; some citizen groups starting an initiative to get an audit done were mentioned. But what were not mentioned were any facts supporting the survey's "lack of trust" percentages. You report the outcome of a survey, let people comment on the highs and lows, and make the lows look even worse by mentioning the audit proposal.

I really would like to see a balanced piece in the Independent, stating the questions asked by the community and staying on it until you received answers from the administration. Time after time, we read about accusations, mistrust, waste of money, etc. We unfortunately never read the answers. Is that because the answers would take away the foundation of mistrust and that does not fit in people's line of thinking?

Where is the Independent on the mill levy? Do you support it? Why or why not?

-- Rob van Herk
Colorado Springs

The Independent is not interested in fostering a "foundation of mistrust" of District 11 or public education. We are, however, interested in presenting all the various points of view represented in the current and ongoing D-11 budget debate and will continue to do so. -- Ed.


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