Both sides, now

To the editor:

What a completely irresponsible story ("Cops Thrash Men After Hot Tub Party Gets Noisy," March 1). Talk about obvious reporter bias entering into this story. I've known and been around police officers my entire life, have been on numerous ride-alongs, and I have never seen an officer take advantage of another person.

That's not to say that it doesn't happen, because it does. However, to only present one side of this story is ridiculous. More times than not the person(s) roughed up by the police did indeed resist arrest, even though they swear to their graves they did not.

Ms. DeGette, investigate the entire story and report on that instead of merely printing what the accused has to say.

-- Jason T. Garrett
Colorado Springs

DeGette responds:

As noted in the story, none of the officers involved in the incident returned messages seeking comment. As the charges against the citizens were misdemeanors, the police were also not required to file official reports detailing their version of events.

Death and taxes

To the editor:

Willie Breazell's letter ("It's not about you," March 1) talks about a survey that revealed minorities graduating from public schools do not receive the same education as whites graduating from the same schools. To me, this is a generalization; for instance, was this survey about Colorado Springs public schools? If so, which? If not, where? Breazell blames the schools for this miserable education of black kids, but excludes other significant factors that plague many communities, especially black -- dads not around, moms on welfare, drugs, etc. Public schools cannot be held responsible for these sad situations.

He generalizes that unions haven't done much good because teachers make less than prison guards. Surely, Breazell knows unions cannot force citizens to pay more taxes so teachers can make more money. Rather than fault the unions, I would indict the voting public for not assuring teachers are paid their obvious worth.

He makes a sweeping statement that vouchers will only increase competition within the educational arena, but doesn't say how. Is he assuming public teachers will compete with private teachers? Why would they do that? How can public teachers compete when they have a different accountability than private teachers? Example?

Public schools must accept all children, private schools do not. How will teacher competition increase when dealing with that difference?

Breazell says parents should have a choice. I remind him that parents already have the choice to send their children to any school they can afford. I also remind him that unless parents are monied or privileged, it is the private school who makes the choice. Further, private schools do not have to accept special needs children nor troubled ones, so, what happens to the choice for parents of these children?

I commend Mr. Breazell for his concern about the plight of public education, but like all voucher advocates, he voices his support with a mishmash of generalities. He assumes that private schools educate better than public schools so, the answer to public education problems is to dump public kids into private schools and presto, problems resolved. Space denies me the necessary wordage to totally explain why vouchers are such a terrible idea, but suffice to say, Colorado voters twice have agreed with me and rejected vouchers.

I contend that Messrs. Breazell and Schuck do not present a clear, concise case for vouchers and I understand why -- vouchers are difficult to defend. There are no easy answers to public education problems and vouchers are no answer at all.

-- Phil Kenny
Colorado Springs

Road rage

To the Editor:

As a resident of Holmes Road and one who hikes regularly through the Black Forest Regional Park, I need to share my perspective on the Milam Road Extension/King's Deer controversy ("Battle brewing ...," Feb. 8).

After living on Holmes Road for eight years, watching the increased traffic due to new construction and the higher speeds that resulted from the paving of the road, enough is enough! We have lost two pets due to inattentive speeders and have seen many victims who belonged to other families living along this busy road. In addition, a major head-on collision between two car loads of teenagers occurred in front of our home last summer (the crest of the first of many blind hills).

Clearly, Holmes as well as Vessey are already handling more than their share of increased traffic without some major upgrades and increased enforcement of the 30 mph speed limit.

The contention of the Friends of the Black Forest Regional Park (FOBFRP) that these existing roads -- along with Piedra Vista -- should absorb the impact of the Kings Deer development is unsafe to the hundreds of families who live, hike, bike and ride horses along these roads. I would support their arguments if they were also lobbying the county to build Holmes to county specifications with proper drainage control and perhaps a creative way to install a pedestrian/equestrian trail.

Furthermore, after hiking the Wicklow Way in the Wicklow Mountains in Southeast Ireland, I am sickened by the horrible condition of our park. Presently the trails are overused and erosion is rampant; broken glass, trash, dog and horse feces litter the area; the trees are so infected with mistletoe that they should be cleared out and other species planted. Ireland is a model of maintaining heavily used trails and reforesting hillsides after centuries of deforestation. We have much to learn about being a community truly committed to saving our land from the same fate.

With this in mind, if the FOBFRP were actively involved with organizing trail maintenance work days, public land use education seminars, responsible pet use and mistletoe control in the park, then maybe I wouldn't suspect that their organization is nothing more than a smokescreen for the special interests of the six or so families who live along the west side of the proposed Milam Road extension. Is their real motive the well-being of the park or is it protecting their private peace and quiet not to mention private property values?

Let's work together to elect a more responsive county government to the unique land use needs of the larger community instead of whining when our backyard is impacted. If we really love the Black Forest Regional Park, then both public and private time, energy and money should be committed towards its upkeep. Come on Black Forest, we can do better than this!!!

-- Jan Zimmerman
Black Forest

Teen beat

To the Editor:

I would just like to extend a word of gratitude for your wonderful newspaper. As a local high school student, I find your distinctly downtown approach so refreshing. It's nice to know there's more to this city than Republican conservatism, the only viewpoint I could see before discovering the Independent.

And I'm sure you will in turn be glad to know that there are youths in this city, albeit we are the minority, who care about the issues addressed in the Indy; not just jaded Abercrombie-MTV Generation X'ers with nothing but their parents' point of view. I turn to the Indy for real insight into the culture of the city and beyond, not biased information or only one side of the story. I am also confident that you are the one source who will listen to me for my voice and views, not immediately start making judgements after reading the words "high school."

I have only one suggestion that could, in my opinion, improve the Indy. Try as I might to deny it, I am only 16 years old and cannot realistically take part in all the exciting activities you mention. Perhaps a weekly teens column, some listings of interesting all-ages clubs/hangouts/ events, or even a one-time special on activities where I may be able to meet more kids like myself would be tremendously helpful and greatly appreciated by all your teen readers. I believe this would also make your paper more accessible to teens, thereby increasing your reading audience and their awareness.

Also, if ever you are in need of real teen opinions/interviews for articles, surveys, etc., my friends and I would be more than willing to help. Feel free to contact me anytime. Thank you again and keep up the good work!

-- Julie Teglovic
Colorado Springs


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