The irony of it all

The staunch fiscal conservatives starved government spending so much that the county elections department was stingy with the ballot printing, thus effectively denying some of this same constituency a chance to vote! How ironic, don't ya think?

-- Dan Marvin

Colorado Springs

No, thanks

The losers in last week's D-11 school board election have been whining to the press that they were misunderstood. Lamenting that if they had only communicated better what they want, they would have won.

This is a perfect example of the problem. They are so busy trying to sell their own agenda, they aren't listening to what We the People want.

The voters heard their message, loud and clear, and we rejected it, overwhelmingly.

-- Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

Model of bad behavior

Since the Bit o' Honeys are gone to trick-or-treaters, I have for you a Bit o' Irony. How fun that the Oct. 20 Indy was headlined "All Shook Up," a reference to D-11 school board president Sandy Shakes. Given the exchange between Shakes and Eric Christen at a recent board meeting, I wonder if the headline should have read, "ALL SHAKEN UP."

President Shakes was obviously trying to inject some lightness to the evening's proceedings, or she was trying to bait Christen. Gosh, it worked, too! He practically "sprung" out of his seat and, with righteous indignation, defended board member Willie Breazell's honor. Interesting that Mr. Breazell did not seem to need, or request, an apology.

I am embarrassed to live in the same community with such a hateful person as Eric Christen. He models all the bad behaviors I spent 30 years as a teacher trying to discourage: intolerance, hatefulness, arrogance, while promoting respect for the opinions of others and public decorum. The way in which he spews his invective at public meetings destroys the very center on which debates should be held.

It's interesting, and I'll let you draw your own conclusions, that, as you pointed out in the article, Mr. Christen makes public statements about the mental competence of others, including the following: "Sandy (Shakes) is not a well person and her irrational, out of control behavior ... is hurting the district." Can the doctor cure himself?

-- John A. Cunningham

Colorado Springs

Footing the bill

To John Hazlehurst: Before you canonize the Banning Lewis development (Outsider, Nov. 3), remember this:

Stapleton Village's control tower establishes a historical reference, a center to the village. The village is also home to small businesses, mass transport 24/7 within minutes, a great library, plenty of water, an aviation museum and public art. It's a rehab project. It's new. Let's take another look in five years.

Banning Lewis is nothing more than land exploitation. Where is the water for 75,000 homes going to come from? And the new residents won't be underwriting this great desecration. Lifelong residents, including many retirees and people on fixed incomes, already foot the bill for developers' pipe dreams. And let's not even mention the pollution from needless additional traffic already congested on poorly designed streets.

Bruce Babbitt has a new book on this subject, called Cities in the Wilderness. You should read it.

-- Mike Adams

Colorado Springs

Rejection misportrayed

James Proby, in his letter last week criticizing City Council members who spoke highly of his father, but did not accede to the demand to rename Fountain Boulevard, is engaging in the same sophistry that he and his supporters used at the Council meeting itself.

They had decided on their own, without consultation either with the city or with the directly impacted residents and businesses of Fountain Boulevard, that the only acceptable way to honor Milton Proby was to rename the entire length of Fountain Boulevard for him. Painting themselves into that corner, they tried to misportray any rejection of that renaming as a rejection of Milton Proby's legacy.

This point was clearly drawn in the long discussions that took place during the Council meeting, in which ample opportunity was afforded the proponents of the name change to modify their stance.

The question put before Council was simply whether or not to rename Fountain Boulevard, not the broader one of whether or how to honor Milton Proby. As a resident of Fountain Boulevard who attended and spoke at the Council meeting, I am satisfied that given the very narrow parameters imposed by the proponents of the change, the City Council made the correct decision.

-- Tom Fagan

Colorado Springs

Skates and a cane

Re: the Oct. 27 cover story: How great to see the latest incarnation of roller derby here in the Springs! Back in the late 1960s/early 1970s, my best friend's father, John Gautieri (aka "Gootch") was the team manager for the New York City Bombers, prior to serving as a referee for the Los Angeles Thunderbirds. Gootch was absolutely hated by all the other teams. Dressed in a black pinstriped suit, with black shirt and white tie, a scuffed fedora, and his ever-present cane, he was a major threat on the roller derby circuit.

On Saturday afternoons, we would watch roller derby on television, mostly in order to see "Da Gootch" and what mayhem he would cause during the races. His trademark move was to shuffle out to the infield when the opposing skaters were whizzing past, and stick his cane into the traffic, causing a major pile-up. The announcers were livid, but it seemed as if no one actually saw the offending maneuver.

Years later, Gootch is still a major player on the roller derby circuit and is fondly remembered by many derby fans. He would be happy to see our little town carrying on the tradition of the original roller derby circuit. Perhaps you could invite him to a game: I'd bet he'd bring his cane, too!

Way to go, Pikes Peak Derby Dames!

-- Deb Martin Bruels

Colorado Springs

Just gotta listen

I just wanted to send a quick thank you for your bit on Jason Mraz in the music section last week. His concert was absolutely amazing! It's so wonderful to actually go to a concert these days where the entertainer is naturally talented, can actually sing, and creates a fun atmosphere for all ages and music types.

Many people know Jason Mraz for his radio-friendly songs such as, "The Remedy" and "Wordplay," but to really get to know him you gotta listen to his older stuff. If you're into lyrically beautiful jazz, pop and improv music, I recommend Jason's Sold Out: Live at Java Joe's and Tonight, Not Again: Live at the Eagles Ballroom.

Again, thank you for your article, and I hope to see and hear about more MRAZ fans here in the Springs!

-- Holly D. Meyer

Colorado Springs

Transit a disgrace

One year ago, the citizens of this county authorized an additional tax that we were told would fund a major upgrade to our rather lamentable public transit system, in addition to various other infrastructure improvements. That "upgraded" public transit system has gone into effect, and I would like to tell you exactly what I think of it.

The fact that it took a year to be put in place is absolutely absurd. It could not possibly have been that hard to buy buses, to train drivers, or even to put up a couple of extra shelters. If the transit system was going out for bid, it should have been ready to go the day after the election, not 10 months later.

Today is one of complete chaos on the system. Routes and numbers have been changed around, supposedly to "improve them" -- and yet, for many, it is going to be even more inconvenient than it is now. Routes that used to take two buses are now going to require three. We were also promised later evening hours -- which is not happening. We were promised decent Sunday service, but we are getting just a couple of Sunday runs.

I could continue, but there seems to be little point. This is one of the worst public transit systems I have ever seen, and I have been in communities all around the country. The transit system here is a disgrace. I go to Denver, and there are buses running at midnight, and with decent Sunday service.

If you had the slightest real interest in decreasing some of the traffic congestion in this community, overseeing a decent, well-run transit system would certainly help.

As an instructive experience, I would suggest that all of you actually utilize the buses. Try to get to appointments out on the north or east part of town. Give yourself time limits. Try to pretend you have to catch the bus to be at work on time for unforgiving and un-understanding bosses.

-- Kat Gaia

Colorado Springs

Who's the cretin?

As a Mississippi Gulf Coast native, I take offense at the "divine intervention" and "God's wrath" comments about the hurricanes that almost completely leveled my homeland in the Oct. 27 IQ column.

My "almost in-laws" live in Pass Christian, Miss., which was obliterated. They rode out Katrina at home and lost a substantial part of their home during the storm. Good to know it's because they're sinners. Sinners who volunteer for local charity work helping those with HIV, serving Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless, and working with organizations that try to end the effects of racism. Glad to hear that they're finally suffering God's wrath, because it wasn't enough to have their only child born a hemophiliac who later died from a combination of HIV and hepatitis C at the age of 23.

Then there are my friends who ran the Back Bay Mission, started the first women's shelter, first free medical clinic, and first AIDS organization on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They chose to ride out Katrina with their severely mentally handicapped son (another case of divine intervention, I'm sure), lost their entire house in the middle of the storm, and spent eight hours in an oak tree, waiting to be rescued. Sinners, every one!

What about my cousin in Slidell, La.? She evacuated, but didn't bother to go back to see what was left of her condo on Lake Pontchartrain. No need ... it was totally wiped out. Fifty years of memories, photographs and knick-knacks ... gone. Sinner!

I bet those who claimed that these hurricanes were "God's will" would have a different perspective if it was their homeland and their loved ones who were wiped out. Why would people believe that sinners congregate in a certain part of the country?

Either God's a cretin for doing this to good people, or people who think God would purposefully do something like this are cretins. Decide for yourselves.

-- Sally Wilhite

Colorado Springs

Focus on FAIR

Currently before our United States Senate is a piece of legislation, the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act (S.852), which has been before the Senate for many months now. However, many of us would never know this, as due to unexpected events over this past year, this legislation has been pushed to the background.

I am writing in an attempt to bring the focus of our senators back to issues like the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act, as it is a vital issue to all of the ailing asbestos victims out there.

S.852 would create a national fund that would compensate asbestos victims who have been ailing for years, if not decades. Currently, the only way for these victims to seek compensation is through personal injury lawsuits. There are so many claims being constantly filed for asbestos compensation that the system has become so clogged. This has resulted in very few, if any, of the victims receiving their overdue compensation within their lifetime.

The Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act needs the attention of our esteemed political officials, and you can assist in this by contacting Sen. Ken Salazar at 303/455-7600.

-- John Graczyk

Retired veteran

USMC, Major



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