Seeds of activism

To the Editor:

Just a note to thank you for the Nov. 22 cover story on the Bioneers ("Seeds of the Future"). It warms the heart to know that our backyard gardens can be used to save some of the "agro-diversity" of this planet.

The Indy has scored another terriffic community service with this article. I was espcially pleased to see the sidebar with contacts for further information. It is rare to find something that we can do at home that amounts to anything more than symbolism, wishful thinking or just something to show the kids.

Thanks again for the coverage on this wonderful story.

-- Bob Besaha
Green Mountain Falls

Roots of justice

To the Editor:

Having been warned by friends about moving to Colorado Springs and onto the front porch of the religious right, I am encouraged to find the full-blown independent media coverage in The Colorado Springs Independent.

Kathryn Eastburn's story on the Bioneers' conference, Bob Campbell's piece on the forgotten history of prejudice in the Springs ("Pride and Prejudice," Nov. 16), and this paper's coverage of local news in general has convinced me that the first thing I must do when I arrive in town is find the closest Indy rack (which I'm betting will be strategically located near a great cup of coffee).

There are two trees in the Belizean rainforest that always grow side by side. Contact with the pitch of one causes a severe rash, the cure for which is found in the root of the other growing nearby.

After reading the latest issue of the Independent on-line, I feel vindicated in responding to my naysayer friends that where tall stinkweeds grow also will be found the deep spreading roots of justice.

-- Shawna Kemppainen
Scottsdale, Arizona

A shot of reality

To the Editor:

I want to let you know that the cover story by Bob Campbell, "Pride and Prejudice," was excellent and timely. I am a transplant from Ann Arbor, Mich., where we have honored black-white relationships since the early '30s, with no thought that anyone should have to use different toilets, food counters, restaurants, etc. This article made it clear that the West was not ready to face that problem at that time. I can't imagine the feeling of those who found themselves shoved to the side for those of us who claimed superiority.

Also, I like the shot of reality you give in some of your articles, such as The Outsider by John Hazlehurst. I don't always agree with the conclusion, but the article makes me think. Keep up the good work.

-- Perry Trytten
Colorado Springs

Damn that traffic jam

To the Editor:

Regarding the timing of traffic lights in Colorado Springs, let's see if anyone else can remember just eight weeks ago before the election rhetoric took over the news.

A problem that negatively affects the quality of life for 500,000 citizens is the lack of timing at our 500 traffic lights. It causes driver frustration, anger at the establishment, wastes untold millions in fuel and time burned needlessly. And the problem has been augmented by the unbridled development, which is leaving our infrastructure far behind.

This is a problem that City Manager Mullen reflected would cost about $5 million to fix to install sensors at each intersection. Once the sensors are in, there is no more cost to fixing the problem. Let's see, in September the city announced a windfall in August sales tax revenues of $16 million -- unbudgeted extra money. Then Mr. Mullen immediately suggests that the money be wasted (excuse me -- spent) on pay increases for city employees, a permanent, ever increasing expense. I know and have known dozens of city employees over the decades that used to work for private firms before working for the "club." They all echo the same line: "I can't believe how much they are paying me for this job."

Well, City Council and Mr. Mullen, are you going to fix a long-standing problem in our community that affects 500,000 people daily, or are we going to hear a line of rhetoric on ridiculous pay increases again to serve your special interests?

The next time I am a victim of wacked out traffic light timing (which is a daily occurrence), I will proudly give a Bronx cheer and a finger salute to the arrogant powers that be. After all, it's just city living now, isn't it?

-- Rick Laurenzi
Colorado Springs

Simply bigoted

To the Editor:

Mr. Riley, as a "simple schoolteacher" you should be simply ashamed of yourself. Here is what I learned from reading your last week's letter to the editor ("The B-President," Letters, Nov. 22): You have little respect for democracy and either are not very good at arithmetic or are really bad at rudimentary logic.

How dare you suggest George W. Bush would be an "illegitimate" president simply because most of his support came from rural areas which you derisively refer to as the "spittoon belt." Do you teach your students that democracy means that a vote from America's "intelligentsia" counts for more than some Kentucky hick's vote? Do you teach your students the dangers of generalization and stereotyping? Do you teach your students that celebrating diversity stops at the city limits?

Yes, Mr. Riley, one can be a Democrat, love blacks, gays, women and Jews and still be a bigot.

As for your attempts at arithmetic and clear thinking: Even conceding your argument that if an "overwhelming majority" of students make the same mistake on an exam, then the testing instrument is flawed, your analogy to the Palm Beach double-punched ballot debacle fails. My arithmetic shows that the 19,000 discarded ballots amount to about 4 percent of those who voted in Palm Beach County. That is hardly an "overwhelming majority." Your premise is not met; your conclusion is unsupported.

Besides, I'd think you would be happy to see those ballots ignored since they stem from the kind of stupidity you attribute to Bush voters. Surely, the Harvard, Yale and Stanford intelligentsia supporting Gore would never make such a silly mistake!

You close by asking: "What am I to do?" Here is my suggestion: Get out of teaching and spare us another generation of anti-rural bigots with crippled thinking skills.

-- Rob Gordon
Colorado Springs

Teaching intolerance

To the Editor:

A letter you published in your Nov. 22 edition ("The B-President") disturbs me. Superficially, I am bothered when people seem so unfamiliar with the Constitution that they fail to know the Electoral College vote is the only count of merit in the presidential election. Not popular vote. Not states won. Not geographic territory. Not the whims of Harvard and Stanford.

Unfortunately, no candidate captured all the possible ways to count a winner, so let's all pull out our pocket copies of the Constitution and remember how we are directed therein.

More unsettling to me is to hear a voice from the alleged party of toleration displaying blatant intolerance -- not an understandable intolerance for an ideology with which he disagrees, but for people themselves, those "Bs" who voted for a particular ideology. Further, this was not just an ordinary voice, but one who claims to be from the ranks of those who educate our children. One who chooses to drag those children into a letter laced with veiled profanity and spittoon-washed personal insult.

"What do you think this tells us?" the letter asks. In proclaiming his alleged exchange with his students, it tells me that he is directly injecting his bigoted vitriol into the classroom. I wonder if he is propagating into those minds his misconception that the 19,000-plus voters "all made the SAME mistake." (I hope he does not teach logic.) I wonder if he realizes that in suggesting the majority of those 19,000 would favor his candidate, he is mixing into one voting block the qualities of his fabled intelligentsia with the inability to follow instructions as simple as "select only one."

I wonder how many of his colleagues cringed when they realized that for the edition at hand, his letter represented them and their profession.

-- Joe Oppelt
Colorado Springs

Media tows the party line

To the Editor:

Mike Ulm's dismissal of my complaints about media bias in the recent election ("What about the free market?" Letters, Nov. 22) and his associated insinuation that this somehow comes from the operation of Libertarian policies is ludicrous, and shows a common misconception about just what a free market really is and does.

The existing bias on the part of virtually all the national "news" media in favor of the two dominant political parties, and against all challengers thereto, is, of course, in no way a result of the operation of a "free market" in the news business. It is, rather, the result of the fact that large corporations, operating in a highly regulated market, and subject to horrendous levels of corporate taxation, are very easy to bully and cajole into towing the party line when it comes to choosing what to report, and what simply to ignore or denigrate.

"Isn't that the free market?" Mr. Ulm asks. No, Mr. Ulm, it certainly is not.

-- Patrick L. Lilly
Colorado Springs


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