Editor's note:

Last week's Independent featured a front page photo of our new "publisher" Rich Tosches, the former popular columnist at The Gazette who left that newspaper after he was demoted to cover "local authors" and "seniors." Some readers immediately noticed the newspaper was published on April Fools' Day; many others were at least temporarily fooled. As jokes go, our "announcement" created a firestorm of reader responses, many of which appear below.

In fact, we are thrilled that Tosches -- whose career has spanned the Los Angeles Times to the Gazette to a brief stint at the Rocky Mountain News -- has indeed joined the staff of the Independent -- but not as publisher. He joins our already-outstanding editorial staff and will contribute a weekly column as well as news reports and cover pieces.

Must be a psychic

Thank you for publishing my letter to the Independent last week with an inquiry regarding "Where in the world is Rich Tosches?" How ironic! I must be psychic. I have sent him a congratulatory note. Makes me wish I were back in the Springs (almost). Now, if you could only get Ralph Routon on board ... hmmmmmm.

-- Barbara Elkins

Clermont, Florida

Laughing, thinking, crying

I was thrilled to read that Rich Toches has taken over as publisher of the Colorado Springs Independent. I missed his refreshing columns in that right-wing publication; columns that made me laugh, columns that made me think and columns that made me cry. I was extremely irritated when the yahoos pulled his column.

All the best in your new endeavor Rich.


-- Steph Hilliard


Waco of the West

I just learned today about Rich Tosches taking over as publisher of the Indy. There simply could not be better news for moderate thinking folks in Colorado Springs.

Frankly, Rich is one of the very few who can articulate common-sense answers to political and religious questions and do it across the broad spectrum of beliefs.

Rich is also one of the true nonpartisan commentators willing to target an errant atheist as well as a self-righteous Bible thumper.

Rich's ability to address (gasp) actual important issues such as infrastructure, taxes and other community issues remains undiminished.

For too long our community has been in the grasp of one-party rule, which has damaged Colorado Springs and El Paso County immeasurably. This town has turned from an open, welcoming Western city to a cultlike compound for the religiously disabled. Sort of the "Waco of the West." I believe Rich will continue the Indy's already brave struggle against this oppressive majority and further expose the insidious agenda of the religious right.

Or maybe he won't.

In either case I love his writing and hope that even in his capacity as publisher, he will continue to write.

Welcome home, Rich. We missed you.

-- Richard Baker

Colorado Springs

Land of Oz

What a delight it is to hear the news that Rich Tosches took the helm at the Independent! We've missed his column from the Gazette ever since he left that paper. There were weeks when the news from the Emerald City (more commonly referred to as the City Council) and the Land of Oz (the county Board of Commissioners) was so bleak and lacking in vision or humor, that only Rich reminded us not to take local politics too seriously.

Though my husband and I are both conservatives, we genuinely admired the way that Rich went after anyone and everyone with equal fervor no matter what their political persuasion. He spared us little in his view of the way we do business in this town. After all, a sense of humor is all we have some days to get through the rougher spots.

As a former volunteer for the city and the county, I can remember several years where I'd smash my head on the desk in complete amazement at what went on in those revered halls of power. When Rich came along, I no longer had to commit this act of trying to make sense of it all by hammering my forehead flat in order to grasp some subtlety of logic that must have escaped me.

Speaking of the county commissioners, we can be thankful that there's one good witch left on the county board looking out for the people's business in spite of Huffman's desire to smash all munchkin debate. There's a wizard in the Land of Oz, but I don't think he's hiding in Huffman's pockets or behind his angry shiny head. (Yul Brenner or Telly Savalas he isn't, not by a long shot.) The real wizard is hiding behind the door marked County Administrator.

Let's hope Mr. Huffman can find a nice hot-air balloon and leave his post behind. The sooner the better, in my humble opinion. There's been much too much hot air blowing from the Land of Oz in the past couple of years. A balloon ride into the sunset would at least put it to good use.

P.S. I hope John Weiss enjoys his retirement and his run for the roses. He's a good man who has already given much to this community.

-- Cynthia Tompkins

Colorado Springs

What a relief

You really had me going for a while in your April 1 publisher's note! I'm glad John Weiss will be around for a while longer and I'm thrilled to welcome your new journalist, Rich Tosches.

-- Rene Hartslief

Colorado Springs

One taco short

Can it be true? Is this really happening? Rich Tosches and Cara DeGette teaming up on one newspaper? This is nothing short of critical mass. The two best writers in the region and perhaps in the entire business of news writing are now working in tandem. This is as sweet as it can get.

DeGette, incisive, surgical, deliciously satirical and relentless, is the scourge of stuffed shirts, insiders, overweening manipulators and profit-driven crooks. Tosches is nothing short of one of the finest humor writers, social critics and satirists now working anywhere. He's as good as the great Dave Barry, the legendary Art Buchwald, and even that icon Will Rogers. If you don't believe it, go back and read some of Rogers' columns and compare them with Tosches'.

But what did the Gazette do with Tosches, one of its all-time finest talents? Demoted him and thereby muzzled him. He exposed and embarrassed the biggest and richest people in this town, which is the job of any satirist or humor writer. They finally freaked and the Gazette, in my view, caved to the pressure.

Whoever made the decision to silence Tosches shot themselves in both feet. He was the most popular writer on the paper, as DeGette is on hers. The decision to muzzle Tosches was undoubtedly made by someone who is one taco short of a full combination-plate. The editors of the Gazette who shut down Tosches are the kind of people who, if Will Rogers had worked for their paper, would have reassigned him to the obituary section.

But now, it seems, both these unique talents are ready and loaded for bear. We don't care if they have toilet paper stuck to their shoes. We're so happy our toes are curled up.

Welcome back, Rich. You go, Cara.

-- Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Short 'n' sweet

Way to go !!! Love the Tosches!!!!

-- N. Martin Pestner

Via the Internet

Forging ahead

Most excellent!

Welcome back ... I haven't even read the article, but who cares ... a twisted, intelligent, liberal mind is soooooo welcome in this bastion of closed-minded souls. Forge ahead Mr. Tosches! I look forward to your pithy wit and humor, along with your skewering of those needing to be skewered!

-- Diane E. Leganza

Via the Internet

Return of the stalker

Several years ago, Rich was the only reason to subscribe to the Gazette, and certainly the only thing I consistently read and laughed over. I wrote to him with admiration for his stories so often I was afraid he'd have me pegged as a stalker. Just the other day I wondered if he had been run out of town.

It pleases me to no end that he gets the last laugh and now heads up the Indy.

I hope he writes a column each week; it would be yet another of many reasons to read the Independent cover to cover every Thursday.

Welcome back Rich!

-- Michelle A. Vandepas

Colorado Springs

Bunch of wacky jokers

Babe Ruth from Boston to the Yankees. Nighthorse Campbell from the Dems to the Republicans. Michael Jackson from black male to white woman. George Bush from ineptitude to MENSA. No. Wait, I made that last one up. Last Thursday was, after all, April Fools' Day.

But Tosches from the Gazelle by way of the Rocky Mountain News to the Indy?

You guys are really good. You almost got me with that one. What a bunch of wacky jokers you folks are.

-- T. J. Conway

Colorado Springs

Lowering the bar

I just found out that the cover story regarding Rich Tosches is an April Fools' joke. For die-hard Tosches fans, that's a pretty dirty trick to play. I am seriously disappointed that he's not going to be the publisher and am now even considering lowering the bar on my fan meter.

Rich, you got me all excited -- I was telling all my friends -- but I guess you accomplished what you set out to do -- now I feel like a TOTAL FOOL!!

-- Georgia Moen

Colorado Springs


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