Dumbing us down

JohnHazlehurst, in his column last week ("From Here to Zambia," Outsider), wants areacitizens to think our only two growth choices are to emulate either South Korea or Zambia? Not quite!But that is part of the attempted dumbing-down of America.

Hazlehurst would likeus tobe Seoul, but with Zambia's (non)water? The only thing Colorado Springs would not be accused of is "intelligent design."

Meanwhile, Hazlehurst lobbies to replace editorial page editor Sean Paige at the daily paper.

Dick Anson

Colorado Springs

No, thanks

How much growth is enough?Last week's Outsider column seems to imply that the only security and salvation for any city is continual, unabated growth.

Surely, there must be some level of prosperity that does not depend on constantrapid growth for survival,as the articlesuggests.If Banning Lewis Ranch is the shining example of "how great growth is," then no, thanks.

Just look at a single item: water, or should I say, the lack of it.Yes, I realize there areabundant water rights, but what good are water rights if the water cannot be delivered at a reasonable price? The Southern Delivery System (SDS), if it ever gains approval, will get the water to Colorado Springs, but at what cost?

All utility customers are going to share the expense of building the SDS, which is necessary to continue unabated growthfor the next 50 years and will be chiefly used to support Banning Lewis Ranch.

Ralph Kelly

Colorado Springs

Party cut short

I am getting tired of reading about the loss of customers at bars and restaurants that will happen if a smoking ban is passed. Don't these establishments realize that they are already losing a large number of customers? Case in point: After a wonderful Mardi Gras parade in Manitou Springs, my friends and I considered going to some of the local (small "Mom-and-Pop" establishments) for a beer and continuation of the festive spirit. Then, considering that most of them would be smoke-filled, and no one was interested in smelling like an ashtray, we all decided to simply go home.

Mary Snyder

Manitou Springs

Cloud of smoke

Well, they do say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."This beholder definitely does not see any beauty in the act of smoking.

We all have our bad habits (I eat too much), but my bad habit does not affect in any way the people around me. Secondhand smoke, however, could kill me. I do understand that smokers have a right to smoke, but not at the expense of my health.

It's not as simple as "choosing where we hang out." There are very few (if any)bars, restaurants, etc.,where smoking is completely banned. So, where are the non-smokers supposed to hang out?Outdoors?Wouldn't it be more fair if the people who smoke stood outside, where the secondhand smoke won't endanger the rest of us?

My husband and I shoot pool in a league, and we travel each week to a different bar/pool hall to play against another team.We love to play pool, but we don't like having to play in a cloud of smoke.It only takes a few minutes in the bar before our eyes are burning from all the smoke and it's difficult to breathe.We get home and our clothes, shoes, hair everything reeks of smoke.It's disgusting and horrible.

So, should I have to give up playing pool so you can smoke?

This garbage about how businesses will have to close if the smoking ban is pushed through is nonsense. Did all the bars and restaurants in Pueblo close?No. Do we really believe that all smokers will stop going to bars if they can't smoke indoors?That's laughable.

By the way, I was a smoker many years ago, so I know both sides of the fence.

Deb James

Colorado Springs

Puffers unite!

Does it matter that "zero tolerance" for tobacco smoke has no justification in sound science? It is only after the EPA stated that it was a killer that the science changed to justify the action.

Does it matter that about 80 percent of all the health studies ever done on this issue state a very small risk, and a very small benefit, from exposure, based on standards of the National Research Council? A small risk because virtually nothing is harmless, and a small benefit because of an immune system build-up after repeated exposure.

Does it matter that anti-smoking has become a major growth industry, taking in an estimated $880 million every year? With vast amounts of money available to fight against a claimed killer, who on the gravy train will blow the whistle on the power and money it brings in?

Does it matter that smoking bans in restaurants and bars sometimes cause major losses, cost jobs and cause business closures? There have been many things claimed by both sides on this issue. The one thing that proves major losses is lawsuits. Business do not sue for fun; it is much too expensive. Yet, lawsuits over mandated smoking bans have been filed from Arizona to Maine and from Washington State to Florida, in many different jurisdictions.

Does it matter? Yes, it damn sure does! In a country that claims freedom for its citizens, smokers find themselves in a world where their enemies are allowed to rewrite the rules of science to their own liking, with the media and the government looking the other way. The disciplines of science, medicine, cost analysis, law and risk assessment have been compromised so badly as to be made useless, at least on the subject of smoking. Smokers deserve better!

Dave Pickrell

President and founder

Smokers Fighting Discrimination, Inc.

Katy, Texas

Po' no mo'

In response to last week's Public Eye column ("Poor Richard's tail") about City Councilman Richard Skorman resigning to go to work for Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar: News flash! Salazar is a DINO (Democrat In Name Only). He supported Alberto Gonzales for U.S. attorney general. He voted for a bankruptcy bill written by the credit card companies. He refused to support a filibuster on the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, and instead trumpeted his meaningless "no" vote during confirmation.He backed off his justified and accurate criticism of James Dobson.He voted for renewal of the Patriot Act and favors an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that will curtail freedom of speech ("desecration" of the flag).

I voted for him in 2004, but he has represented neither my interests nor my views. Ken Salazar is the primary reason I will not support the Democratic Party in Colorado.

I guess Richard ain't po' no mo'.

Cyrus Campbell

Colorado Springs

The president's pal

On the Feb. 16 Letters page, Leon Rodriguez wrote in his letter, titled "A bigger story," the following quote:

"Nor do Bush or Cheney care that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed by the Bush coalition."

Is Mr. Rodriguez a close friend of the president or vice president? Is he a good friend of one of their advisers? How does he know they do not care about those Iraqi civilians? I seriously doubt you will find a single audio or video clip of either the president or vice president saying anything of the sort. So what is the source of this knowledge, or is it just wild speculation?

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't like the war. I don't like George Bush or Dick Cheney. I didn't vote for them. However, I don't like to see these kind of accusations tossed around. If you want to point out real flaws with this administration, then do so. But making such wild accusations just diminishes the rest of your points.

Scott Graves

Colorado Springs

Justice denied

I was disappointed to learn that our own Sen. Ken Salazar chose to vote against allowing an open and full debate on asbestos litigation reform. The Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act is the only solution to the asbestos litigation crisis that takes on all the problems inherent in the system.

Sick victims of asbestos exposure are currently being held hostage by a complex system that takes years before a court date is set, and then there is no guarantee that the compensation awarded by a court or jury will be adequate.

Sick veterans, meanwhile, have very few options for compensation because they can't sue the federal government their employer at the time of becoming sick. And many small businesses that have little or no connection to asbestos production are facing bankruptcies because of the multitude of lawsuits they face.

Not just once, but three times, the U.S. Supreme Court took a look at these facts and called on Congress to make some changes. With a good solution on the floor, Sen. Salazar instead opted for the status quo. Time is running out for many sick victims. When will they see the justice they seek?

Sen. Salazar, I ask you to reconsider your decision and join Sen. Allard, a co-sponsor of this legislation, in support of this bill. Sen. Allard knows that status quo can't stand, and I thank him for his unfaltering support.

John GraczykMajor, USMC, retiredMonument

Oil slick

Oh my gosh! I recently found out that I am addicted to oil! I have to thank the media and their recent campaign/media event to inform the public of my addiction.

Fortunately, I know how my "addiction" works. I have a car. This car runs on gasoline, and won't budge without it. I tried coal it don't work. I tried water that fizzled. Don't even try wood or paper. Air only worked when my car was dropped from a C-130 but the brakes won't work under this condition. Then I discovered that all cars run on gasoline or Big Oil products. That ended my research.

This is what Big Oil wants, and this is what its partners in Detroit ensure it gets. My addiction is aided and abetted by Big Oil, as it has managed to place gas stations strategically across the country, so that I can get a "fix" any time of the day or night. Does it get any easier than that?

I wish the media would also tell me how I can break this horrible, debilitating addiction. I'm told I need to look at alternatives to oil. Does the media want to tell me and the millions of other car owners worldwide how "we" go up against Big Oil and Detroit? Like the cigarette industry, Big Oil has all of us under its direct, addicting control.

Perhaps the only thing that can save us is to sue Big Oil, take billions of its obscene profits made on the backs of us addicts, and, on top of that, require them to create at least three different kinds of substitutes for gasoline within one year that will cost under $1 a gallon. Then, and only then, will we addicts finally be able to break the habit!

A. Chembe

Colorado Springs

In the woods

If a bear craps in the woods and no one is there to witness, it doesn't mean that the bear did not crap.

That said, please support the amendment that would disclose meeting details between Bush and Jack Abramoff.

We all should lift up our voices, too, and demand to know more about the other droppings Bush is doing in our White House.

Robert Markle


Going Brokeback

Ever wonder why it seems as if the quality of the United States seems to be going to hell?

Music used to be sound, not hollering cuss words.

Schoolgirls used to wear dresses, not jeans.

Ever read the book on the 300 freedoms we have lost since World War II?

As for movies yuck look what we had up for Academy Awards: actors as homosexuals, or a man wanting to change into a female, or a homo the media kept touting as famous. Even Jay Leno's program has a queer (and that's what they call each other) who is supposed to be really funny when he goes out as a reporter.

I wonder what the country will be about the time our grandkids are grown.

Bob Steiner

Edinburg, Texas

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