Join the Party

The Denver Post recently reported that Republican "5th Congressional District hopefuls run to extreme." The views of these candidates are listed on abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research.

All but John Anderson find no exceptions for abortion if a woman is raped or assaulted. Don't these guys have wives, sisters, granddaughters?

All but John Anderson want state/federal amendments to protect marriage, which is under attack when gays or lesbians form a lasting, loving relationship. Certainly, my marriage is not threatened, and I doubt that yours is, either.

All but John Anderson believe a fertilized egg (an embryo) should not be used for stem cell research. There are thousands of such cells in cold storage in fertility clinics, and will be discarded and will die regardless.

My hope is that there are enough unaffiliated voters and moderate Republicans who will select John Anderson to be the Republican candidate for the 5th House district. It is, indeed, a sad situation when the extreme right wing of the Republican Party has nominated five men with so little regard for women.

The election will be decided, most likely, in the Republican primary on Aug. 8. You must be registered as unaffiliated or Republican to vote in the only primary that will be meaningful. I believe John Anderson is a conservative Republican with moderate views on social issues.

The last day to change party affiliation is this Monday, July 10. You can register to vote online at car.elpasoco.com/election or call 575-VOTE to learn more.

Dale L. Kemmerer, M.D.

Colorado Springs

Us versus them

It is my hope and prayer that at least a tiny minority of Rainbow Family people and Focus on the Family people grow into individual integrity and wholeness. And stop clinging to their one true religion(s), their "us" versus "them" mentality.

Liberty and sense of community do not come through group lock-step mentality.

Remember when we said, and tried to embody, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Now too often, that has changed into life, liberty, and pursuit after any who deny it.

Howard Wesley Johnson

Lake George

Who owns District 11?

D-11 school board member Craig Cox observed in an op-ed in the Gazette that the big story was not the firing of superintendent Sharon Thomas, but the $426,000 price tag to do so.

He is partly right, anyway. It is a big deal that because he and two other board members announced publicly that they planned to fire whomever was chosen in the superintendent search before the search had even begun, District 11 would have to build in a significant protection, like a golden parachute, to even get a strong candidate pool to consider coming here.

Curious though, that while being both a catalyst for the golden-parachute clause and a deciding vote invoking it, he doesn't seem to think he bears any responsibility for this expense to the taxpayers.

In his eagerness to take gratuitous political swipes at people who have been off the board for some time now, however, he seems to have missed the point: that the story isn't Sharon Thomas or Karen Teja, it is him and his fellow board members.

Trying to hide behind a flawed evaluation process in which he, along with board members Willie Breazell, Sandy Shakes and Eric Christen seem to be alone in the district in their poor assessment of Dr. Thomas, he fails to see what the community at large sees: that this was not about a personnel decision, it was about demonstrating that they can and will ignore the parents, students, teachers, staff and community members and do whatever they want.

They didn't fire Dr. Thomas because she deserved it, they fired her to show us that they could. They wanted to prove in dramatic fashion that the district does not belong to the taxpayers or the community, but to the four of them.

The story now becomes whether or not the community they have so frequently harassed, ignored and dismissed will step up and protect its investment, or simply let them hijack our neighborhood schools without a fight. Clearly, Cox, Breazell, Christen and Shakes are betting on the latter. My money is on the community.

Elizabeth Palmer

Colorado Springs

Conspiratorial agenda

There is much wisdom in Colorado's recall statute. The purpose of this letter is to appeal to all caring and discerning patrons of School District 11 to seek out and sign the recall petitions being circulated to remove Board of Education members Eric Christen and Sandy Shakes from office.

This recall effort is designed to change the dynamics of the board to prevent Christen, Shakes, Willie Breazell and Craig Cox from further exploiting, manipulating and undermining the goals and objectives of our district in order to advance a conspiratorial agenda that runs contrary to the district's strategic plan. Theirs is an agenda that bodes ill for our neighborhood schools and the future of public education.

By now, we're all keenly aware of what has been happening since Christen, Shakes, Breazell and Cox joined the board in 2003. Please take the time indeed, find the time to look for the various recall signing stations at numerous locations within the district.

Petition signers must be registered electors and residents of the district. Should you not find a petition to sign during your daily travels, please call recall headquarters at 634-2279 for signing information.

Harlan E. Nimrod

Colorado Springs

Getting embarrassed

I personally have become embarrassed to work for District 11. All anyone ever hears is the fighting going on between all the board members.

Eric Christen is not an advocate for the teachers or the students. He has proven that on many occasions. Anyone may refer back to board meetings or news articles. First he wants to push through vouchers. I am not sure the general public really understands what that means.

Every student is given a sum of money to go to any school they choose. They have to provide their own transportation and any extra money needed for "tuition." This leaves the poor and working-class families to continue to go to the schools in their own neighborhoods, due to lack of ability to provide transport. So already, poor schools would become worse off than they already are. Is a good education only for the elite?

The problem with CSAP scores does not lie with teacher ability, but with student motivation. When parents make sure their students are learning, when parents and students take responsibility for their education, and when schools stop socially promoting, we will not have the multitude of problems we have today.

Does the general public know how much money the district spends on programs to "help" the schools? In the last five years, I have attended a multitude of training sessions on programs bought by the district with several-year contracts. No one really has a clue as to how these work in schools versus business, which they were designed for.

On top of that, we do not spend enough time on any one program to see it through and see if it works before adding yet another program to the mix. Millions of tax dollars are being wasted. If business ran this way, we would be bankrupted!

Angela Adams

Colorado Springs

Weight of the world

The upcoming election cycle is the most important election cycle in the last 50 to 100 years.

We must choose what kind of government we want. Do we want an authoritarian "Big Brother" type of government (one that tracks who you phone, who you e-mail, who you associate with, what Web sites you visit, what books you read, what organizations you support, and where you spend your money), or do we want a government "... of the people, by the people, and for the people ..."

Do we want a strong military, or do we want a strong America? I mean an America that is strong economically, is a respected role model, a valued ally, a leader in solving global problems and a good neighbor in the global community.

Do we want free (unregulated) markets, or corporate responsibility and equal opportunity?

Do we want lower taxes for the wealthiest 2 percent, or do we want everybody to pay their fair share?

Do we want smaller government that protects only the wealthy, or do we want fair, balanced government that protects the rights of all?

Do we want right-wing fundamentalist "family values," or would we rather acknowledge that regardless of our personal beliefs, we each have a shared responsibility to those around us?

These are the choices before us this election year. The choice is yours! The government is only "of the people, by the people, and for the people" if the people are informed, active participants in the political process. What kind of world do you want to live in, to leave for your children or grandchildren? Vote!

Sharon Karson

Colorado Springs

'It's a number'

The United States has absorbed the deaths of 2,500 troops in the three-year conflict, which began when a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, but quickly turned sour in the face of a brutal insurgency.

Reacting to the new milestone on combat deaths, White House press secretary Tony Snow said, "It's a number."

What a callous, insensitive statement by a press secretary for an administration that has lost touch with reality.

Here in Colorado Springs at Fort Carson, we continually see the pain of families that have either lost loved ones or are seeing them assigned back to Iraq for the third or fourth time. The arrogance of this administration and the absolute inability to admit their obvious mistakes harks back to a time more than 30 years ago, when so many soldiers lost their lives when the Vietnam conflict was obviously lost.

Are the egos of men and women in this administration and a Republican-controlled Congress more important than the lives of our brave servicemen and women?

You decide.

Vote 'em out!

Dr. Ray and Patty Pettus

Colorado Springs

God is a Libertarian

With Democrats voicing concern that God is a Republican, I decided that the proper way to resolve the issue was to ask Him. God replied that he was not a Republican. He stated that His political philosophy was most consistent with Libertarian thought.

God said that He supported the Libertarian position that all of His people have the right to live their lives as they wish, without the government interfering as long as they do not violate the rights of others. God stated that all people have a right to a high degree of personal and economic liberty, and the right to choose their own personal habits and lifestyles. God stated that He found it deplorable that both major parties are intent on taxing people's productivity, to the extent that most people can do little more than work their lives away for the benefit of government.

God expressed His concern and sadness that both major parties support policies of intervention in and control of the affairs of foreign countries, stating that His creatures were intended for a much higher purpose than waging horrific warfare on each other.

So there you have it. God is neither Republican nor Democrat, but strongly supports Libertarian doctrine.

Dr. J.C. Elgin

Colorado Springs

Seeing the Truth

I am writing to express my concern about the lack of attention to and attendance at the current release regarding global warming. This is a very important issue that should concern all of us. Only one theater is showing An Inconvenient Truth, and when I attended, the theater was not even 25 percent full.

Contrary to what those who are exploiting the environment for money say, global warming is real, and within 10 years will reach the point of no return. I have not been in Colorado Springs three years yet, and I have already recognized the lack of regard for the environment that exists in this community.

The majority of citizens here take what we are surrounded with for granted. They vote for people who could not care less about protecting our mountains, forests and streams. Our creeks are full of debris and litter. For heaven's sake, we even have a Hummer dealer here, and people actually buy those polluting monsters!

We can no longer pretend that global warming does not exist or affect us. It is real and a major threat to our planet's existence. We all must see An Inconvenient Truth and immediately begin taking the steps outlined in it to save our planet. Our children's lives depend on it.

Jane Madden

Colorado Springs

Web extra

To read a special music feature on Pearl Jam and Tom Petty this week, visit csindy.com.


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