Time to vote

Thanks for the laugh in last week's Public Eye. Those pictures of Commissioner Jim Bensberg were totally hilarious. They were so laughable that they looked like liberal political cartoons on censorship. I think we should vote on a caption!

-- Greg Achilles

Colorado Springs

Society's obligation

"Drain on society'" by Eric Jeffery [Letters, May 20] recycles more of the lame-o, wing-nut garbage and disinformation we've heard for years, all in an effort to absolve government of its charge and duty to "promote the general welfare" (See the preamble to the Constitution).

First he carps about the subject of a recent Indy news story, who, in his words, "remained on numerous welfare programs for three years."

My response is, so what? If she or anyone else requires 30, or even 50 years to access welfare -- then that is the price we as an allegedly humane and compassionate society are obliged to pay. Yes -- you and me! Out of the resources of the pooled tax commons!

Isn't that a better use of tax dollars than pissing $200 billion or more down a rat hole in Iraq, where we're killing and maiming dozens of innocents each day?

Charles Reich in his noteworthy book, Opposing the System, gives the correct take on welfare:

"Welfare is not a gift, nor is it, despite frequent assertions, a transfer from those who earn a living to those who are not. Welfare is rather an obligation from society -- and from those who are working -- to those who have been deprived of work and the opportunity to earn a living."

In his letter, Jeffery also made much ado about "288,000 new jobs created in April." Again, so what? We'd already started in a job hole of nearly 2.8 million lost -- the most since the Herbert Hoover administration -- since the first reported month's gain. So now we're "up" to only 1.2 million lost since Bush started office.

Rather than "thanking Bush" for allowing the lady referenced in the story to "mooch off us," we ought to repudiate Bush and his corporate cronies "mooching" off all of us -- to the tune of over $250 billion a year -- with their corporate welfare giveaways, bogus wars and derivative profiteering.

As usual, wing nuts like Jeffery have their short sight aimed at the wrong targets.

-- Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Mooching away

Conservatives like Eric Jeffery are really irritating. He describes someone accessing affordable housing that is subsidized by the federal government as "mooching off of us." So much for compassionate conservatism.

What differentiates America and other civilized Western countries from countries in places like the Middle East, South America, Asia and Africa is that we understand that it is in our country's best interests to ensure that our citizens have their basic needs met -- like housing, food and education.

Housing programs have been around for a long time -- through many administrations -- both Republican and Democrat. If these programs get cut by the Bush administration, then what is so hard to understand that Bush would be to blame?

I would love to know all of the ways Mr. Jeffery has benefited from programs or services made possible by the "rest of us." Was he educated as a child in this country? Did he take out any federally insured student loans for college? Does he own a house? Is he self-employed? Own a corporation? Ever flown on an airline?

Why don't we hear anymore about "corporate welfare"? Probably one of the groups in this country that benefit most from this form of welfare is the housing industry and developers. Taxpayers are supporting this industry from top to bottom. In fact, the contractors who build affordable housing receive federal subsidies, as well.

As for his last remark about liberals being the worst censors of all -- it is really difficult to not resort to some name-calling -- like "what a moron" or "idiot." Was it the liberals who kept the Dixie Chicks off the radio for months? Was it a liberal who kept Ted Koppel's Nightline from being broadcast on a number of ABC affiliates a week or so ago? Was it a liberal who refused to release Michael Moore's new film?

Oh, wait a minute. What Mr. Jeffery said is that "liberals are the worst censors of all." Maybe he meant that conservatives are so much better at censorship. I would certainly have to agree with that assertion.

-- Lee Oesterle

Colorado Springs

Extraordinary people

Jim Alice Scott is my aunt I've known most of my kid-life and all my adult life. She is, as your article in the May 13 issue attests, an extraordinary person.

And let's not forget my uncle, Jim Scott, J.A.'s husband. He's my mom's brother and also an extraordinary person. Thanks for writing the wonderful piece about Jim Alice.

-- Jim Chapman

Georgetown, Texas

An exciting prospect

The prospect of a private organization, specifically the Colorado Springs Conservatory, buying or leasing the City Auditorium is exciting and visionary.

The likelihood of the city being able to restore this historic building to its previous grandeur any time soon is zilch. The building is a wreck and requires extensive repair and refurbishing. It is clear that this expense will have to be borne by the private sector.

And here's where the dynamic Linda Weise, founder and director of the Conservatory, comes front and center. Her plan, privately funded (though one should expect some form of cooperation from the city), would see the Auditorium continuing to provide space for theatrical, music and dance performances in addition to classrooms and practice rooms for the young students.

This proud old building would once again become a center for the arts and community events. It would be beautiful and functional and a grand anchor for our downtown, joining the Pikes Peak Center, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the Downtown Arts District and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

As citizens of this interesting city, let's be positive and support this bold -- and practical -- idea.

-- Judy Noyes

Colorado Springs

Divining rod

Being relatively new in the area, I hate to insult the local inhabitants, but there are some things that just don't make a lot of sense to me out here in the Wild West.

Like, water rights and common sense. It seems the two are not compatible at all.

I'm not privy to all the details, facts and figures, but Monument Lake has been around for over a century, I understand. Many years ago it was a source for ice in the winter to keep the milk cool for the folks of Colorado Springs.

Recently, some $2 million was spent to repair the dam and for that to have happened, all the water was released from the lake. Now that the dam has been repaired, the city of Colorado Springs will not allow the lake to be refilled because they say they "need the water."

We gave them a "lake full" of water then, so, why can't we get a lake full of water now and call it even? It is a drop in the bucket compared to usage figures and future needs of the Springs.

Anyway, back to the problem at hand. I have seen what appears to be the sewage plant for the city of Monument that is located downstream from Monument but upstream of the Springs. I suggest that to make up our shortfall of water to the Springs while we refill our lake that all us citizens of the town of Monument should promise to flush twice, the Springs needs the water.

-- Rex Miller


Their loss, our gain

I just learned that Rich Tosches is writing for you. Congratulations! Your gain is the loss of the stupid Gazette, which pushed him aside. I had been reading his columns on the Web site of the Gazette and was very unhappy when they were no longer there. My daughter in Woodland Park just informed me that he is writing for the Independent, and now I can read his columns on your Web site.

I consider him as sort of the Dave Barry of Colorado Springs. I love not only his humor, but also his perceptive grasp of issues and his forthrightness in exposing a lot of garbage, fraud and hypocrisy. Hold onto him.

-- C. Ralph Verno

West Chester, Penn.

Live long and prosper

Over 5,000 miles away, in London, I still manage to read The Colorado Springs Independent online when I get the chance, and every so often when my mother sends me cutouts from what I'm missing.

Missing is the most appropriate word. I left Colorado Springs for many reasons, but what I miss from it most, other than my family and friends, is picking up and reading the Independent on a weekly basis.

Editor Cara DeGette may remember meeting me in 2000 before I left the Springs to come to London to attend university. A friend of mine had kindly arranged for my mother and myself, both avid readers, to meet Cara after hearing of our love of the paper. At the time I was still attending Rampart High School, was due to graduate, and had spent the last three years devoting most of my time to the school newspaper. I had decided journalism was what I wanted to do with my life by then. Cara graciously wished me the best, and I left, feeling elated that I had gotten to meet someone who made such an essential asset to Colorado Springs exist week after week.

I have just completed my third year of university. With one more year to go, I am currently in a summer internship at the NBC London Bureau. I have spent countless hours reading and investigating the changing shape of the journalism profession as a result of corporate ownership and media concentration. Being passionate about protecting the rights of free press (and free speech), the situation increasingly concerns me.

The only thing I can be certain of is the absolute need for journalism like the Independent. I have been lucky enough to have contact with both the big and the small news providers, and the situation worries me, namely because of the uncertainty of the future of journalism. Will it be in the name of profits or the people that call the shots of journalism in the future?

I hope the Independent will never have the fate of the beloved Chinook Bookshop, for that would surely be a tragedy bestowed upon the people at the hands of media concentration and corporate ownership.

My future as a journalist is unsure, but I hope the Independent has a long, prosperous future ahead of it. One day, should I be so lucky, I could only hope to be a part of journalism half its caliber.

-- Andrea (Andi) Moore

London, England

The good old days

Colorado Springs was a wonderful place to grow up. The days of Chief of Police Dad Bruce, Sheriff Norm Short, and a city and county government that worked hard together to be fair and still execute their duties caused it.

I wished I could still get the same feelings from reading the current news.

-- Troy Thomas

Barnett, Mo.

Editor's note: We have received a barrage of letters from local writers weighing in on the current situation in Iraq, particularly in response to the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. While we do not have the space to run them in our print version, we have posted them at this week's online issue at

www.csindy.com .


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