Update from the Hispanic Chamber

To the Editor:

It is very interesting to see the contrasting views that come from the Hispanic community ["Vivir en Colorado Springs," March 7]. I thank the Independent for exercising leadership by offering coverage of the Hispanic community.

For those that leveled criticism toward the Hispanic Chamber, I would offer that the Chamber is fulfilling its mission, which is not about dropouts, indigents, single mothers or immigration. We cannot be all things to all people and have limited resources. Despite being focused on business, the Chamber, in the past 12 months has raised $12,000 for scholarships directed at Hispanic youth; gave $700 and food to Care and Share; sent money and care packages to La Puente Center in the San Luis Valley for immigrants; was instrumental in helping Hispanic nonprofits obtain funding; raised $1,000 for the Latino Unity Council; worked with the CSPD to establish the Espaol program; spoke to teens at Zebulon Pike detention center; gave $500 to support the mission of the Urban League; and, I think, created a positive image of Hispanics that can be shared by the entire community.

-- Roman L. Tafoya

President, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Polly want a gun?

To the Editor:

Mr. Levine, have you in the past tried to form your own opinion, or have you continually borrowed it from Charlton Heston (Letters, March 7, "A little patriotism never hurt anybody")?

I personally don't know how you even begin to draw parallels between patriotism and guns, so I'll assume your political stance was written in the care manual for a .45. I am so thankful there are Democrats and even some Republicans acting on my behalf in the state Senate, otherwise, who knows where we'd be? I highly doubt you'd find a German Jew who might feel the same about a little patriotism never hurting. OK, I'll admit, that amount of patriotism has pretty much gone unchallenged in our history, yet, while I think patriotism has its place, it's most certainly not to be force-fed as it was by the so-called "Third Reich."

People should like their country for what it does, and what it stands for, and not because their kindergarten teachers made sure they knew the pledge of allegiance. It only shows how sad the state of affairs has become if, indeed, the best or only way to make people patriotic is to pass a law. Anyone can be a parrot, but it takes a real person to form original opinions for or against a country, which, thankfully, allows for difference thereof.

Based on the few comments you made, I think it's fair to assume you belong to the school of thought that believes government should stay out of our hair, yet you apply a double standard in your commentary: Government shouldn't make laws to take away your guns, but darn it, you wish the government would force those people to appreciate why they can carry them.

-- Robert Jackson

Colorado Springs

Teach your children well

To the Editor:

I agree with Christina Waters (Appetite, "Screaming Me Me's," Feb. 28). When I go to dinner or the movies or any public activity, I do not want someone else's child making me uncomfortable. I raised my child to behave in public. Even now his wife makes excuses for my grandchildren. Good behavior and good manners are a sign of good parenting and that's what makes children ready for prime time.

-- Jane Flowers

Manitou Springs


To the Editor:

From approximately 5,000 miles away in South Yorkshire, England, I would like to thank you for your newspaper, especially Kathryn Eastburn's column [Domestic Bliss]. I don't always share the same experiences, as we don't have such things as the dreaded science fairs over here. But we are of the same age group and the problems and passions of growing up in the '60s and always having that privilege to hark back to are probably complementary. Of course, my nine children don't always appreciate that I know a lot of the words to the "new" songs that seem to unearth themselves frequently nowadays, but I can live with that!

Wishing you all in Colorado well.

-- Stu Charmak

South Yorkshire, England

The hippie is dead.

Long live the hippie.

To the Editor:

If I might, I would like to state my agenda: I'm conservative financially and socially, not a bigot or a homophobe. Now that my bias is clear I would like to take issue with the Your Turn article in the Feb. 28 issue titled "Driving while Hippie" by Paul Dougan.

Mr. Dougan makes several interesting and impassioned arguments for the "hippie culture" and his obvious desire to have weed, and possibly other drugs, made legal. I agree that a lot of the reported facts about grass/hemp/weed are not true, nor has there been significant research to confirm or deny the effects of marijuana use. I assume that Mr. Dougan wouldn't teach his classes, drive a vehicle or operate machinery under the influence of any substance. However, to equate the display of a "Grateful Dead" decal with a selective enforcement trigger by law enforcement is ludicrous. I have in my life worked at several jobs and one was a peace officer. In my service to this community I did not use such feeble reasons for any contact. Usually, I was confronted by some action against traffic law or public order that precipitated an investigation that led to a drug (marijuana) arrest.

But that is not the main reason for my objection to Mr. Dougan's line of thought.

To define anything as a "culture" one must evaluate the "contribution to the development of mankind and the weight of the long-term effect on society." It is clear to any open-minded person that aside from candle making, weaving, handcrafting of certain limited use products and the pursuit of self-interest, there have been no contributions to mankind and no long-term effect on society made by hippies.

I hate to raise the issue and destroy Mr.Dougan's illusions, but the hippie is dead. Most of the hippies I went to college with have since fallen victim to suburban family life with its associated need to generate income. The remainder are dead through life's travails or, unfortunately, drug use. I have two daughters who have experimented with weed, as I have. They have experimented with alcohol and sex and any number of other things that I wish they hadn't tried but such is life. They have made, as have I, their mistakes and, I believe, have learned valuable life lessons. To assume and believe that legalization can have a positive result may be a testimony to a lack of judgment.

In conclusion, I believe that the main reason most people are against legalization is simple -- it's just one more way to reduce the population to the least valued common denominator. If Mr. Dougan wishes to have society stay in hippie bliss, he is in the right place. The impressionable minds of young students will always accept someone who professes to believe in absolute freedom from personal responsibility. But sometime, somewhere, whether he likes it or not, the vast majority of the people he teaches will see his ideals for what they truly are: devoid of reality, lacking self responsibility and doomed to ultimate failure.

Based solely on the content of his article I conclude that Mr. Dougan is:

1) A leftover hippie who misses the good old days;

2) Scared to death of local law enforcement;

3) Devoid of cultural responsibility;

4) Lacking in understanding the "real world."

-- Steve Fowler

Colorado Springs

Political reform requires public will

To the Editor:

I wholeheartedly agree with Mike Miles in the February 21 edition of the Indy (Your Turn, "Reforming Political Parties").

In his piece, Mr. Miles describes a political environment that is sadly too good to be true. We should decide who represents us based on accomplishment, strength of character and service to the people. But to do this, Americans must realize that they are not the fatted mindless voting cows they continually seem to act like. We do vote on celebrity status and the candidate's ability to raise money. We let candidates lead us around with "pretty pictures and shiny pennies" and this cannot and will not change if Americans don't care.

And let's face it, they don't. People in oppressed countries thirst for the power of the people, the right to vote, the power to decide, and we just wallow in it like pigs in a sty. If it doesn't sound like the end of the world or a cut in our salaries, we are politically lazy and prefer the flashy campaigns with no substance but slander. It's kind of like a three-month-long Jerry Springer episode! And after two Big Macs and an episode of the Simpsons, who can stay up for the news anyway? No, although they were the original intentions of the framers, voting our conscience, moral beliefs, and on merits is just too much of a hassle for Americans these days. And for that, we should all be sorry.

-- Michael Brantner

Colorado Springs


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