Cultural wasteland

To the Editor:

I appreciate your attention to this glaring problem -- the lack of a vibrant artistic and/or musical community in this city [IQ, Dec. 6]. This state of cultural wasteland is no surprise, if what happened at H.W. Briggs this past Saturday night is any indication of how difficult it is to bring innovative and original music to the strip-mall--strewn town of the Springs.

Lorenzo, the establishment's manager, is doing his best to support and promote a variety of punk rock shows by turning this pizza restaurant on Tejon into an all-ages venue. That night, local bands Laymen Terms and No Compromise were set to play with Las Vegas outfit, Happy Campers. But there were a large number of fans and friends who were denied entry due to an anonymous call made to the local fire marshal. According to the fire code, no more than 83 people could be in the restaurant at any given time. Not good for the band. Not good for a city with a small number of people striving to build a scene here. You just can't do it with 83 people.

Having recently moved to Colorado Springs from California, I was looking forward to getting exposed to the unique qualities of a different culture and scene. But it's been a real challenge to find more than a few nightlife choices or any glimmers of original music in particular, unless I want to head north on I-25.

This town is in desperate need of more live venues that spend 100 percent of their time supporting original artists, whether it's graffiti art, edgy photography, raging punk rock, groovin' hip hop or slam poetry contests. If more of the civic leaders that you mentioned hooked up people like Lorenzo to support a decent-sized music-hungry audience while also meeting safety codes, it can happen. People will stay in this town and spend money, add tax revenue and create a buzz for the Springs. What a concept.

--Kim Owens,
Colorado Springs

Look harder

To the Editor:

Last week's IQ segment focused on the cultural merits (or lack thereof) of Colorado Springs. And, while I don't necessarily disagree with a lot of what was said, I did take issue with the idea that good venues and good music don't exist in the Springs. Venues like Industrial Nation, the High Life House, and the Acoustic Coffee Lounge have brought some wonderful touring acts into town -- bands of the punk rock, indie, emo and metal genres that would otherwise pass us by. The venues have also helped create a decent local music scene through exposure of the wonderful local bands this town has to offer. Colorado Springs has an active if not vibrant underground scene, and I suggest that those Independent readers still in the dark check out www.leechpit.com, an online forum for local underground music, which has a listing of local shows and events. If you're upset with the lack of music in the Springs, it's my opinion that you're not looking hard enough.

-- Aaron Retka,
Colorado Springs

Failing the pledge

To the Editor:

If my memory serves me, I recall that in an editorial subsequent to the Sept. 11 tragedy, you promised balanced reporting on the aftermath. Instead, the great majority of op-ed pieces and letters you have chosen to publish express opposition to U.S. government policy, a policy that is supported by 90 percent of the American population. Many, beginning with Ms. DeGette's offering, have featured unrealistic ideology, specious reasoning, blame-the-victim rhetoric, and outright erroneous claims as to what our government and military have done and are trying to do in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Now I am anything but a hawk or a mindless flag-waver. And I believe that the publication of views opposed to those of the majority and to government policy are essential in a healthy democracy. But you have utterly failed in your pledge to provide balanced reporting. And I must confess that it is with considerably less enthusiasm that I pick up my copy of the Indy each Thursday.

-- Alan Malone,
Colorado Springs

Practice, not privilege

To the Editor:

Thanks for an amusing Public Eye column [Dec. 6]! I'm glad the Indy found time and space to write about something that otherwise most likely would go unreported.

Next year's county commissioner race promises to be an interesting campaign, no doubt. I was relieved to read that supposedly the worse thing I've done as a Republican was to "warn that the county GOP had been taken over by ultraconservatives" in a 1997 interview. Unfortunately, your story didn't mention that I'd also indicated that my remark was directly attributed to sentiments other outgoing county GOP leaders shared with me at the time of the "changing of the guard." And although it was alleged that I did not vote in the Owens or Bush primaries, I have in fact supported both candidates financially (both campaigns acknowledged their appreciation).

I'm amazed that my as yet "undeclared" opponent was "disappointed that I attacked him before he'd even officially entered the race." My recent letter to GOP precinct leaders did not mention any declared or potential opponents by name, and only referenced candidates' names already appearing on the county GOP's official Web site. Indeed, the official county GOP Web site [www.epcgop.com] has listed Wayne Williams for some time as a 2002 candidate for office -- but the office for which he's listed as a candidate is House District 18, not County Commission District 1. The irony is that Wayne is also listed on the same Web site as the county GOP's Webmaster. This would indicate he's had full access to the Web site to first add his name as a House District l8 candidate, and to remove it anytime.

Anyone (particularly an astute GOP activist) who questions whether I'm "Republican enough" to hold a local GOP seat would also know that I've been affiliated with the party considerably longer than some GOP candidates we've endorsed and elected to offices higher than the Board of County Commissioners. I've also never been affiliated with another political party, a fact that others who've gone on to represent the GOP in higher appointed and elected capacities can't claim.

I'm betting El Paso County voters will realize that effective representation is based upon a candidate's experience, and not entitlement.

-- William (Bill) Guman,
Candidate for D-1 Board of County Commissioners

Shame on them

To the Editor:

Recently the Colorado Legislature and governor failed once again to act to manage growth. Growth on the Front Range and in mountain areas is the single most import issue confronting state government right now.

As a three-decade Colorado resident I am extremely disappointed that our elected officials have only been able to pass pro-developer legislation. After spending a lot of money and time in two special sessions, nothing positive has been reached to help manage Colorado's growth.

The blame must be shared with the Republican leadership in the General Assembly and the governor himself. We need leadership that is not tied to developers and the pro-growth lobby.

Without controlled growth the great quality of life here in Colorado will be compromised, leading to less progressive economic growth. Only with responsible growth can Colorado continue to attract the higher-paying employers. The only reason why Colorado has been a destination for quality companies to locate here is the same attributes that uncontrolled growth destroys.

Colorado needs a master plan to protect what's sacred to Coloradans. That is the natural beautiful and outstanding quality of life that this state has always had but is now threatened. Only through leadership can we get meaningful reforms.

I challenge the Legislature and governor to think about our children's future and not only short-term profit. It's the children we will all have to answer to if we do not protect this wonderful place we all call home.

-- Rolf Jacobson,
Colorado Springs

Fly us to the moon

To the Editor:

I think many of the people in this audience misunderstand what the libertarians believe. Libertarians are against the use of force to achieve a goal. We see taxation for what it is -- forced payments. Therefore we are against taxes.

Unlike Mr. Kenny's assertion [Letters, Dec. 6] that government programs fueled capitalistic know-how after the Depression, I would assume that the double-digit unemployment rate after these programs were instituted were just not real. Most honest historians left, right or otherwise gladly admit that all those public works did nothing to help the economy. If it weren't for the war, FDR would have been voted out because of his failures.

Mr. Kenny points to some popular government programs as successes of government intervention of the economy. TVA stands for Tennessee Valley Authority. Yes, it was great that the Southeast was provided with electricity, not most of the nation. But libertarians would ask, Was it necessary to use force to accomplish that goal? That the FHA has allowed people to buy homes with little or no money down has been wonderful. This program also leads to a credit bubble. If the economy turns south like it is and housing prices drop, which they are, the consequences of people having bought homes on margin could make the depression of the '30s look like boom times. Thanks in part to the FHA.

Think of government working with business to fly us to the moon. Think of private enterprise developing flying machines and making them accessible to the masses as opposed to taxpayers footing the bill and never being able to fly to the moon.

The very notion of a libertarian government program is impossible. We don't want to force anyone to participate in any activity they don't want to. In a libertarian world, if you don't like something then fix it yourself and get people to join you voluntarily.

Of course libertarians know the world is imperfect. That's why we subscribe to Thomas Paine's old adage: Government at best is a necessary evil. If we as citizens want true control of our lives then we need to look to each other for solutions, not the government.

-- Edward Knapp,
Colorado Springs


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