Stunning revelation

I am troubled by Terje Langeland's article "Shocking Decision" [News, Jan. 23-30], due to the average specifications of the M-26 stun gun that has been purchased in bulk by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

The Independent reported that Steve Tuttle of Taser International claims that .162 amperes is "far below levels considered harmful."

To the contrary, the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the electrical industry (NJATC) explains in their first-year material that as little as .05 amperes is needed to kill a man and .1 amperes or more can immobilize the heart and diaphragm.

Steve Tuttle speaks for Taser International's interest. The NJATC watches out for the safety and interests of those working with electricity.

Quite possibly, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office should reconsider their decision -- unless they're not concerned about killing citizens with heart problems or asthma.

-- David M. Gonzalez

Colorado Springs

Learn by watching

This letter is in response to your cover story of Jan. 30, 2003, titled "Out of Reach."

The idea that people are being denied mortgage loans based solely on their race is retarded. The example you used of Sheila and Larry was perfect: bad credit. Bad credit equals lack of responsibility, poor judgment and many other personal character defects. In some cases of bad credit there are legitimate reasons: illness, layoffs, etc. In Sheila and Larry's case they had three jobs between them, which makes me believe that they fall into my first example.

Now we all know that mortgage companies are out to make money any way they can. They would sell a mortgage to a monkey if they thought they could make a buck. So I guess the Klan is running the mortgage companies! What a hoot!

The idea that our government should set up special programs for deadbeats with bad credit is silly.

Larry and Sheila remind me of a lesson I learned many years ago. When a very rich person was asked what was the key to his financial success, he responded, "I always watched what poor people did and I didn't do that."

Words to live by.

-- Kim Phillips


Thanks for the chuckle

You know, I don't care how reporter John Dicker wears his hair or what he does in his off hours [see Letters. Jan. 9-15]. The slangy, sarcastic turnings of phrase that characterize his writing never fail to crack me up. And while I found his review of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers to be unnecessarily flippant (if only in consideration of the enormity of Peter Jackson's project), I also found it hilarious.

But nothing I've read so far has topped his last week's review of Spike Lee's 25th Hour and his insightful exploration of what drives some of our more ubiquitous filmmakers. Please give him my best, and my thanks for many grins.

-- Martie O'Brien


Snippy memories

Having gone to Adams State in Alamosa at the time Snippy the Horse was in the news, it was with interest that I read John Dicker's story, "The Aliens Among Us" (Jan. 9-16).

My roommate Dave and I lived at Narrow Gauge Motel. The owner knew the owner of Snippy. He took us to the ranch to see Snippy's remains and other "evidence" of UFOs.

Dave and I decided to spend the night on Mount Blanca and watch for lights in the sky. They must have taken the night off.

-- Eric Schissler

Colorado Springs

Bad fish experience

Based upon Nancy Harley's restaurant review of Maria Bonita [Appetite, Jan. 2-8] my husband and I went there for dinner last night.

Gee, Nancy, did you check your taste buds at the door?

The margaritas are pretty good and the salsa grows on you. However, the only thing remotely fresh with our dinners were the chopped iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and the sliced avocado with my husband's whole fried fish. While the presentation of the fish was attractive, the fish was not fresh and was a bit undercooked, (only the freshest and best cuts of fish taste good raw). The shredded beef in my burrito was over-salted and there is absolutely nothing special about the beans and rice.

The flan was another disappointment. Flan is supposed to be a baked custard, light and silky served with a caramel sauce. What we were served was a curdled mess with a sugary, caramel-colored water.

To be honest, the food is much better and less expensive at Alfonso's Mexican Food on South 21st Street.

-- P. Bruex

Colorado Springs

There goes the neighborhood

Feelings are strong for both sides of the argument over alcohol laws, but nearly everyone agrees that children should stay out of alcohol's way.

I say nearly everyone because, apparently, some individuals in our city think that it's beneficial to build a liquor store and/or sports bar in the Middle Creek and Trailridge neighborhoods in northern Colorado Springs.

Within a stone's throw of this proposed area, a new elementary school will also be built, as well as a park. Both attract children, particularly considering that most families living in the Middle Creek and Trailridge neighborhoods have kids, particularly younger ones.

Alcohol-related businesses attract traffic and some individuals that shouldn't be within the vicinity of children, both for safety and social reasons.

As a sophomore in high school, I see students that started drinking at a young age and now can barely keep a 1.5 GPA. Students drink because they see it in the movies and on television, and assume that it's the rebellious, fun and "in" thing to do. The last thing that vulnerable children need is a sports bar that they can see out of their bedroom or classroom window.

You'd think that by the 21st century, Americans would have advanced beyond the primitive stage of haphazardly zoning businesses wherever there's room for them. But then again, there's a plot of land across from my high school -- maybe they'll find room to squeeze in a porn store.

-- Jessica Engelman

Colorado Springs

Just bad planning

I send this letter as my statement against the plan to build a Super Wal-Mart on Baptist Road. I do not object to Wal-Mart as a business; rather, I believe the current approach is poorly conceived to the point of irresponsibility. Here is why:

The developer is proposing to "shoehorn" a giant store onto this 30-acre parcel. No sidewalks or bike trails are included. No reasonable access is provided to the adjacent parcels to the east. The store plus the parking lot plus the two satellite businesses are simply too much to fit on 30 acres, which by the way will require a rezoning that as far as I can tell would be pretty preferential treatment for Wal-Mart.

The proposed PIC has the significant potential for abuse and generally appears to be a shady vehicle. It avoids TABOR and puts tax revenue in the control of a private entity. Board members are not voted on, and the board is not subject to public meetings and public record laws.

Think the traffic on Baptist Road and I-25 are bad now? Think again. Think Wal-Mart will cover the road improvements? Only if it will funnel more traffic into their stores. More serious will be the safety concerns as the area continues to grow, the already congested roads will continue to worsen. Lets not put commercial growth ahead of public safety.

Water has always been highly valued in Colorado. More so the last few years as the drought intensified. The local water district, in its infinite wisdom, will sell the remaining capacity to Wal-Mart. Any new growth in the area will require additional wells, another example of poorly measured growth.

The current plan simply put doesnt work. Lets not roll over and let Wal-Mart and developers have their way with El Paso County at the expense and safety of its citizens.

-- Aaron Chaskelis


"Plot" exposed

To characterize the effort to recall County Commissioners Brown and Huffman a sinister ploy of the Democratic Party is laughable, as was reported in the Gazette on Feb. 1.

In the first place, any person who has been collecting signatures for the recall petition is aware that those signing represent all shades of political persuasion -- Republican, unaffiliated, Libertarian, as well as Democratic.

In the second place, to the best of my recollection no Democrat has been elected to the Board of County Commissioners since 1979 -- the year I moved to Colorado Springs. Given the predominance of Republican voters in El Paso County (2 to 1 over Democratic voters) it would require a broad spectrum of voters from a variety of political persuasions to elect a non-Republican to the BOCC, or any other elected office.

The attempt to label the recall effort a Democratic plot is a transparent effort to motivate the Republican faithful, and to scare back into the corral those who have found the actions of the commissioners to be abhorrent and arrogant.

-- Charles Merritt

Colorado Springs

Editor's Note: After that article appeared, the citizens' recall group Together for Effective Alternatives [TEA] reported that, among those individuals carrying petitions urging a recall, 58 percent are registered Republicans, 24 percent are Democrats and 13 percent are unaffiliated. More than 48 percent of petition signers thus far have been Republicans, 27 percent are Democrats and 23 percent are unaffiliated. For comparison sake, 47 percent of voters in County Commission Districts 2 and 3 are Republican, 21 percent are Democrats and 31.5 are unaffiliated. "Hopefully these figures clarify that there is no Democratic takeover plot happening in El Paso County," the group concluded.

Locked in an iron box

With this week's polls showing greater uncertainty on the part of Americans to support the Bush administration's strange and dangerous obsession with a war on Iraq, I would like to state the following:

A war with Iraq will make America less safe and less secure.

The inspections are working.

The president simply has not made the case for war.

Saddam Hussein is surrounded by military forces that could suppress any aggression on his part and has teams of U.N. weapons inspectors inside his country preventing any advances in his capabilities. He is in effect locked in an iron box. We've already won the war!

Wouldn't it be wiser to give inspectors a chance to find and destroy any weapons than to rush into a war in which Saddam Hussein might use them?

President Bush has stated that Hussein's "time of reckoning" is coming and that his war on Iraq will begin in a matter of weeks. From President Bush's point of view waiting till next year at this time would be political suicide considering the presidential primaries would be in full swing. The media coverage of the death, destruction, terror and mopping up the blood of the innocents probably wouldn't create a lot of positive political synergy.

The Bush administration promises us "new evidence" to try and convince us of the need to start a war in order to prevent a war. Please be skeptical of this tactic. A war on Iraq is the brainchild of those in the Bush administration who believe it is the best solution to satisfy our need to control our interests at the expense of others.

This is exactly why millions of people around the world despise us. Let the inspections work.

-- Gary Dean

Colorado Springs

Rock and hard place

Do we follow the leader?

George W. is deeply committed to the presidency and believes he is fulfilling a lifelong ambition to continue his father's legacy. I see a small boy, dressed in a grown-up suit, speaking of retribution and a poorly defined axis of evil.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, George W. holds his precarious position. Admitting his true motives (jumpstarting the economy, controlling oil rights and making Daddy happy) would not be advantageous to our honorable Republican leader.

His dedication to hunting down the perpetrators of 9/11 is commendable.

However, attacking the wrong "evil-doers" will not elicit applause from the United Nations, the Congress or his constituents.

Do the American people really want to follow our leader blindly into a war that we don't believe in? The world no longer sees George W. as a faithful leader who is trying to bring the guilty assassins to justice, but a bully with a slingshot, overcompensating for a feeling of powerlessness.

Keeping cool in an emotionally high-powered arena is essential to a successful mediation, political negotiation and a winning presidency. It is time for the president to step back, take a deep breath and re-evaluate.

He will not lose our respect if he changes his position, decides not to fight and brings our soldiers home. If the safety of our nation is a priority, then the dollars spent in military defense can be invested on our own shores for self-protection.

We do not disagree that steps need to be taken to prevent another 9/11, only that declaring war on Iraq is not one of them.

--Janice Sterling

Colorado Springs

Don't hop this train

In light of all the nationwide alarm regarding domestic terrorism, has anyone in our bureaucratic-industrial-governmental, profit-motivated officialdom considered the possibility of the sabotage of toxic waste trains?

The president, attorney general, and director of homeland security frequently offer televised warnings regarding real threats to our way of life. They encourage all citizens to be on constant alert, to observe any sort of suspicious activity, and to spy on each other.

These national leaders often refer to genuine dangers to our nation's highways, airports, water supplies, power plants, dams, shopping malls, parks, harbors, beaches, and any place where hordes of people might gather.

However, they have never mentioned anything about nuclear and toxic waste transports across the continent, through every single unfortunate town that has a railroad running through it. Not only is Cañon City at risk in this regard. So is every town through which that lethal miasma will be shipped.

If a small group of terrorists wants to set off a cheap "dirty bomb," it seems fairly logical that they would consider the damage a trainload of poisonous material could cause, not only to the health of everyone in the environs of the railroad tracks, but also to the general morale of the country.

Fremont County is the dumping ground for much of the criminal element of the state and nation. Now it seems as if the site of a Superfund cleanup is about to become a new dumping ground. This is ironic in light of last year's two-day closing of Penrose Elementary School while a hazardous materials team scrubbed the soles of students' shoes and the entire building because of mercury from a broken thermometer.

-- Joseph F. Pennock



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