Art smarts

To the Editor:

Please correct the record. Bob Campbell, interviewing people for the June 15 edition (IQ, "But is it art?"), referred to the new U.S. Bank Art on the Streets exhibit as "the city's latest art display."

The City, while extremely cooperative through its Pikes Peak Art Commission, Risk Management Group, City Development Group and permit systems, is not the sponsor of the program. Rather, Community Ventures, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to public benefit programs for downtown and affiliated with the Downtown Partnership, coordinates the show with underwriting support from U.S. Bank. We also receive contributions from the public, usually when somebody weighs in with a ballot to opine on their favorite piece. Foundation grants, from time to time, also help. At the end of the first year, private moneys were used, not city dollars, to purchase "Bison" (located on Pikes Peak Avenue at Cascade). Community Ventures then donated that piece to the City.

We appreciate the conversation of the column, but wanted to clarify these points for accuracy.

-- Beth Spokas

Executive Director, Downtown Partnership

What are the judges afraid of?

To the Editor:

On June 15, you printed an article about the uproar caused when tax limitation advocate and state Senate candidate Douglas Bruce handed out brochures about jury nullification at the courthouse where he was appearing for jury duty ("Jurors dismissed, Doug Bruce tainting alleged"). The brochures, produced by the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA), contain information about the responsibility and duty of jurors to vote according to their conscience and nullify laws if they think they are unjust.

The pamphlets contained quotes from Thomas Jefferson, our third president: "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." And from John Adams, our second president: "It is not only his right, but his duty ... to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court."

Fourth Judicial District Judges Thomas Kennedy and Edward Colt dismissed jurors who had read these flyers. It was these judges who disrupted the justice system and wasted taxpayers' time and money, not Douglas Bruce. Bruce was merely imparting knowledge to his fellow citizens.

What are the judges so afraid of? If juries know they have a right to acquit a defendant for any reason, would they exercise that power more? Would juries start to let murderers and rapists free? I doubt it. But might juries use this power to send a message to their legislatures that they will no longer apply the laws against non-violent victimless crimes, like illegal drug possession, that are clogging the prisons with non-violent offenders, siphoning money from our school systems and destroying families? That is the purpose of the jury: to be the final veto power over laws passed by the legislature.

We are a government of the People, by the People, and for the People, so the People always have the final word.

Citizens should be outraged that judges hold potential jurors in such low regard. Just as it is our duty to serve on a jury, it is also our duty to vote against retaining judges who do not uphold the principles set down by people like Presidents Jefferson and Adams. It's been said that the jury is the last line of non-violent defense against an oppressive government. We can't tolerate the weakening of this defense. For more information, see www.levellers.org/jrp.

-- Capp Sehota, Jury Rights Project

Over the Internet

Those who have the gold make the rules

To the Editor:

The City Urban Renewal Effort meeting of June 15 clarified that the Lowell Neighborhood Development project is hopping along in fine form, at least according to some. High dreams and hopes pour out of the veins of all the major players. Alas, as a 20-year resident of this dying neighborhood, one is compelled to hint that not all is peaches and cream.

In apparently crusade-like fervor and sanctimony it was decided that the defaulted, foot-dragging Lowell developer of the mid-'80s from Kansas be sent a condemnation-threatening letter, vis--vis his financial sights on his remaining properties in the area. If this Kansas delay were the real problem, the solution seems blatantly obvious: Generosity. Erase the buy-low-sell-high stance; replace the profit motive with that of the cooperative, democratic, and even public consensus model. The Kansas man could do the same, and could have since the '80s. One must vituperate: "Sour grapes on both your houses."

Both developers are milking the "for profit" sacred cow with great acumen and sophistication, all under the tiresome and morally pathetic mantra, "what the market will bear." Because of this modus operandi, is it any wonder -- as the CURE meeting was strained to reveal -- that a locally-owned "fit only for demolition" property is also threatened with condemnation, and its residents offered a future at the local shelter or the street?

When the market's high-end capabilities are the bottom line, is it any wonder that last year's charette and other public hearings were a democracy-faade for selling a plan to the public determined beforehand by elite power lunch tte--ttes?

When the market decides, is it any wonder that the "thank you for your comments" response to public input at CURE meetings becomes an essentially ensconced "democratic" gesture to cover a non-democratic game? Is it then any surprise to learn that opulence-implying covenants will screen who the new neighborhood residents will be? Is it then any surprise that the opprobrious need for low-income housing remains in such stark oblivion and "frustration" to local officialdom?

Seattle's visit upon the WTO meetings last fall taught the world in unprecedentedly strident terms that those who have the gold make the rules, and that it need and must not be that way -- not even in Colorado Springs.

-- Peter Sprunger-Froese

Colorado Springs

Teach kids to participate in government

To the Editor:

"Tell me, I'll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me, and I'll understand." This proverb epitomizes the views I heard from 325 youth representing 37 Colorado high schools who participated in the Close Up Foundation Washington, DC government studies this past school year.

For one intense week, these students were involved in the democratic process through observing Congressional proceedings, questioning journalists, meeting with government advisors, and debating viewpoints with their peers from other areas of the country. As textbook lessons were transformed into concrete experiences, the Colorado students began to better understand our nation's history and government.

Most took home the best kind of Washington souvenir: a deeper awareness of their responsibilities as citizens and the realization that a single individual can make a difference. The local benefit is that civic participation is a national issue best exercised and developed at the community level.

On behalf of Close Up, I would like to thank all those who helped in the coordination and funding of this year's program. Support for getting Colorado youth engaged in the civic process came from several of the area's educational, political and business leaders, including J.C. Penney Company Fund, Inc., and Union Pacific Corporation.

As Americans, each of us has a responsibility to make certain our youth comprehend and appreciate the power they have as citizens of our democracy. Students can be told and shown how the governing process works, but hands-on involvement ultimately will enable them to make a difference in their own communities and throughout the nation.

-- Sarah McLean

Colorado Close Up Coordinator

Protect kids from fires

To the Editor:

Colorado is expected to have wildfires due to dry weather, some of these fires may involve private homes.

There is now a thermo imaging camera that can see people trapped inside a burning building. New Jersey is the first state to pass legislation to purchase these cameras; approximately $20,000 was appropriated to obtain these cameras.

Please contact senators and state representatives and urge them to delegate funds for these cameras. Colorado's Senators and representative can be reached as follows:

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell

380 Russell St. SOB

Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator Wayne Allard

513 Hart St. SOB

Washington, D. C. 20510 Telephone 202/224-3121 for the names of state representatives.

-- Frances Washko

National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect

Juvenile justice

To the Editor:

An 89-year-old doctor in France has been found too old to stand trial for alleged Nazi atrocities.

In the United States we know how to deal with his ilk. Try him as a juvenile.

-- Peter Weiss

Colorado Springs


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