Society not a club

To the Editor:

It was a great honor to be voted by your readers as one of Colorado Springs' Best Arts Advocates, [Best Of, Oct. 18]. It was further an honor to be named by your staff as Best Producer of Live Music. I appreciate the acknowledgement of the good The Society for the Promotion of Live Music in Small Venues is trying to further, which is, for the uninitiated, the promotion of live music in small venues.

I must, however, offer a humble correction to your write-up on The Society. You encouraged your readership to "become a member." I want to make it very clear: The Society is not a membership club. We tried it for a short time but people wanted to elect a board and form committees. I realized very quickly that this would compromise my authority, so, by fiat, I immediately dissolved the membership format.

The Society is nothing more than a loosely affiliated group of people with similar T-shirts who love folk music. We -- that is, whoever shows up -- come together rather infrequently to enjoy the music of an artist I select. Sometimes, I ask my "staff" for help in the selection process but I always maintain veto authority.

So, if your readers want to be associated with such a totalitarian regime, we, whoever we are, would love to have them. The T-shirt is optional.

-- Rob Gordon
Colorado Springs

It's in Manitou

To the Editor:

Some readers may be confused as to why the location of "Best Post Office Art" was given as West End Station on 25th Street in Colorado Springs, when my description of my father's mural repeatedly referred to Manitou.

So am I. The mural is in the Manitou post office, located at 307 Canon Avenue in Manitou.

(The postal workers at West End Station are great; but there's no Depression-era mural there.)

-- Pat Musick
Colorado Springs

Crossing the line

To the Editor:

As I began filling out my mail-in ballot I couldn't help but think; what a fabulous idea. Is there any better way to ensure that people know and understand the issues they're voting on, than to give them the ballot and plenty of time to decide how to vote?

The instructions were simple enough that even I had little trouble figuring out what to do. In fact the only problem I had with the whole thing was the gouging the post office decided to include -- 57 cents! OK, I'll admit it's not going to break me for the month. I'm sure I'll still have food on the table and all, but since when did it get so expensive to move an average weight letter across town? Thirty-four cents seemed like enough of a raw deal to me but 57 kind of crosses the line.

In fact, as I think back on the ever-increasing cost of postage, I begin to wonder if Bill Gates is running this show. Personally I figure if our postal system is that inefficient in the heart of the communication age then perhaps it needs new leadership. I know if my car ran that poorly I'd either have it rebuilt or replaced.

Anyhow that's my 57 cents worth for the day.

-- Tristan Bebbington
Colorado Springs

Attacks unwarranted

To the Editor:

This Monday, The Gazette ran not one, but two articles that criticized the selection of Lloyd Ward as the new CEO of the United States Olympic Committee. Instead of condemning the man who will lead one of the leading institutions in our city, state, and nation, The Gazette should have focused on the fact that Ward:

has extensive leadership and marketing experience as former Chairman/CEO of Maytag and as a president of Pepsi's Frito-Lay Division

has hands-on cyber experience after having served as Chairman and CEO of the iMotors.com, a $100 million dot.com

played competitive sports when he captained the Michigan State University basketball team.

understands corporate America, having served on numerous boards, including General Motors and J.P. Morgan Chase.

received more votes than any other contender in every single round of balloting by the USOC selection committee.

The Gazette articles focused on the opinion that "Ward will still be wearing a name tag when the flame gets lit" at the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics. Sure, he is not a USOC insider -- but after drug and financial scandals galore, that is exactly what the USOC needs. For the long haul, which should be a CEO's focus, Ward will bring exactly the fresh perspective as well as the marketing, branding and cyber experience needed to make America's Olympic organization a world-class institution once again.

From reading the Gazette's stories, it is clear that they never bothered to interview Ward before attacking him. Instead of using innuendo to bash the soon-to-be leader of arguably our city's most prestigious institution, The Gazette did a hatchet job.

I want to let Lloyd Ward know that there are plenty of people in the Pikes Peak region that are excited to have such a talented man move to our community -- and to reassure him that he won't need to wear a name tag in Colorado Springs or during the next Winter Olympics.

-- James Stewart
Colorado Springs

Stewart is the president of Technology Vectors, Inc., a government contracting company, and is a board member of The Colorado Springs Independent.

Trade off attractive

To the Editor:

The recent article, "Road to Nowhere" [Oct. 4], continues to provide an incomplete picture of the Cathedral Pines development and Black Forest Regional Park to the public. Since no open-space group or individual has stepped up to preserve the present ranch which is north of and adjacent to Black Forest Regional Park, it will be developed. The question is how this development will proceed.

The Black Forest Land Use Committee, a group that protects the quality of neighborhoods of Black Forest through the Black Forest Preservation Plan, The Black Forest Trails Association, adjacent neighbors, and El Paso County Parks, are working with the developer to come up with a responsible development plan sensitive to the natural and human environment of Black Forest as it continues to grow.

The Milam Road extension through the far western part of the park seems like a huge loss to the public. However, the trade-off is attractive. The 208 acres of land in the development contiguous to the northeast corner of the park, which has been proposed to be added to the park, has unique qualities and more than doubles the size of the park.

The diversity of flora and fauna in this area is much greater than in the present park. The loss of this diversity to development would be unfortunate. Addition of this diversity to the park would greatly enhance conservation values. If the Milam Road extension does not go through, the entire northern border of the park will be filled with homesites and no public open space. Black Forest Regional Park will be essentially surrounded by development and will be a very different park.

El Paso County residents who enjoy Black Forest Regional Park and are interested in preserving open space should be aware that north of the proposed Cathedral Pines Development is a 50-year conservation easement on Shamrock Ranch. Part of the proposed eight miles of additional public trails in Cathedral Pines winds to the edge of this private easement, which will remain open space for the near future.

A more complete picture of the future of Black Forest Regional Park must come from a closer look at the revised developer's plan, walking the proposed additional park land, and talking to other Black Forest community groups who are concerned with the future of open space in Black Forest. The opportunity to expand the park to the north and to further preserve the unique features of Black Forest is part of the compromise between impending development, El Paso County Parks, and the Black Forest Preservation Plan. Unfortunately, the recent article in the Independent did not fully address this compromise.

-- Marcia Hannig

Black Forest

Editor's Note: Last week, El Paso County and the developer of Cathedral Pines lost in court when District Court Judge Kirk Samelson ruled that building a road through the park would violate the Sisk Act, a federal law.

Big pink eraser

To the Editor:

In response to Karen Teja's letter in your last edition: does she really have a life-sized pink eraser or what? Karen did not support the hiring of Dr. Norm Ridder. I remember sitting in the cafeteria at Stratton Elementary School three days after the Gazette ran its headline about closing that school where Karen agreed with other school board members that the district couldn't afford to look for another superintendent. Get with it, Karen; honesty is really the best policy. None of us get to rewrite our personal history, and yours reflects nonsupport of working-class neighborhoods and their children. Karen was the lone "Close 'em down" vote after the many emotional public hearings. A vote for Karen Teja is a vote for more of the same old stuff.

-- John David Norton
Colorado Springs


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