Details, details
On Dec. 5, about a month after the closure of Cimarron Bridge, I e-mailed the city's traffic engineering section, asking why the signals on Cimarron Street east of the bridge to Wahsatch were still timed as if the bridge were open. I received a very prompt acknowledgement, stating the issue would be addressed sooner than the 45 days mentioned in the form letter.

On Jan. 25, having neither any further communication from the city nor seen any change in traffic signals, I called the city. I was told Brian Curtis was working on it, and was transferred to him. The phone was answered by someone saying Brian was out of the office and would be back on the 28th, and gave me his direct number.

I called Brian on the 28th and left a voicemail, but got no response. I called again on the 31st and spoke to him. It was apparent he was not familiar with my original submission, nor did he acknowledge my voicemail. He initially misunderstood my point; when I explained again, he listened and said he would adjust the timings "next week," saying it was simple to do.

The signal at the east end of the bridge itself has been finally turned off, and other signals on Cimarron appear to have been adjusted at last. In the grand scheme of things, this is relatively trivial. But if they can't get the obvious stuff right, it's not a good omen.

Tom Fagan
Colorado Springs

Regarding "Doin' time" (cover story, Feb. 14): What a wonderful explanation of the dogs at prisons. Your interviews of the prisoners, telling of the changes that training the dogs have made in their lives, is so good to read!

I had seen a program on television about dogs at prisons, but didn't know that it was spreading or that so much of it is going on in Colorado. It seems that every person needs something or someone to nurture. Thank you so much for giving us the details of this program.

Sally McGraw
Volunteer coordinator, 9 Lives Rescue
Colorado Springs

Lamborn's stunt
The childish Republican stunt exhibited by Rep. Doug Lamborn and his colleagues is disgusting. Why they insist on trying to implement wiretapping laws that are more than adequately taken care of with existing FISA court legislation is beyond your average constituent. No one I know Republican, Democrat or independent can see any reason for Congress to continue this charade.

It is obvious to even the most casual observer that intelligence agencies can tap any line they want with instant cause, then go to the FISA court to get the authorization necessary. This is why FISA was created; Lamborn's walkout stunts do not change these facts.

Any attempt to convince anyone differently is Lamborn playing partisan politics to the detriment of his constituency and the nation. If he continues these childish games, I will do everything in my considerable power as a constituent to ensure he is not re-elected.

I implore you, Mr. Lamborn, do not take this lightly. Any response that you give defending your current attempt at illegal wiretapping without following the existing legislation regarding FISA is purely political partisanship that should be condemned in the strongest language available.

Kevin D. Townsend
Colorado Springs

Home sweet school
To Jan Zeis ("Failing grade," Letters, Feb. 14) and others: Please don't judge homeschooling by atypical results. Some take it to extremes or are simply not cut out for the job; you will find that in every job or school system.

I was homeschooled and think of myself as a success story: In public school, loud classes drove me out of my mind, as I have highly sensitive hearing. I was bullied and ostracized; I wore glasses and braces, preferred reading to being popular and was out of the loop in the latest TV shows and fads.

In fourth grade, when I was refused a calculator to compensate for dyscalcula, and my math-loving, smarmy teacher hurt my ears just by speaking, my parents finally had enough. Mom began homeschooling me; I finally relaxed and flourished, and gained a true love of learning.

I was safe from my peers; I could read books on any subject, and my English abilities were well-honed. I progressed more slowly in math until I "got the hang of" each lesson. I chose my own physical education, such as riding my horse, and outside experience helped widen my understanding of the world.

Don't worry about homeschooled children. I had friends I could visit on weekends and holidays. I graduated high school at 16 and began community college, where I completed three years before funds became tight. Now I am able to pursue a career in metalworks and jewelry.

With most public and private schools understaffed and underfunded, homeschooling was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I don't judge people on where they go to school. Please extend homeschoolers the same courtesy; most are working their hardest toward the best possible education. Learning is not always about where one gets the lessons.

Krys Barrow

Keep 'em loaded
A law being proposed in the Colorado Senate (SB08-049) will put millions of Colorado residents at increased risk if it is passed. The bill requires homeowners to have any firearms and ammunition in a house unloaded, locked up and inaccessible if minors live in the house. This is an invitation to criminals to break into your house, as they know you will be unable to protect yourself in time. Criminals do not care what the law says.

The U.S. Supreme Court has found that police agencies have no requirement nor responsibility to protect individuals. This means we must protect ourselves.

This bill removes an important protection for our families, and should not be passed into law.

Frank Sayers
Woodland Park

Sex-ed solution
In defense of state Rep. Larry Liston ("Firing back at Liston," Ranger Rich, Feb. 14), I believe that in his profession as a financial planner (and a good one, I might add), he is results-oriented. And he is correct in that the shame of having an illegitimate baby did strike a terrible note of fear in my generation. It undoubtedly held down the rate of out-of-wedlock births, as it was politely spoken of in better circles.

There were, unfortunately, other results of this "shame" policy. I first became aware of them when the morning news in my hometown told of a woman who committed suicide by jumping off a railroad bridge. The fact that she was pregnant provided gossip for our village for days! My reaction was grief for her heartbreak, as she chose death rather than a life of humiliation and raising an "illegitimate" child who would be ridiculed. Perhaps she had been a similar victim herself.

A letter I wrote about this incident became part of the Supreme Court case in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 1986. It was part of NARAL's "Silent No More" campaign to collect letters telling how access to abortion had helped women's lives. Mine started out: "This letter is not about abortion. I wish it were." Had that poor woman had access to abortion, she could have had a future where she could make wiser choices.

Liston is not the only one to suggest bringing back shame you have only to read letters from other conservatives. I, however, believe that good, comprehensive sex-education will let teens know what's happening to their bodies and how they can handle their impulses. This is even more critical now with the temptations of modern society.

Knowledge is always better than name-calling.

Janet Brazill
Colorado Springs

Justice on Tejon
While it has been very interesting to see so much discussion regarding the "unruly" patrons of the Tejon Street club district ("Club chameleon," News, Jan. 24), it seems we have, once again, overlooked the simplest solution.

Once the new Cowboys bar opens, and the urban, suburban and "real" cowboys start frequenting the place, there will be a "new sheriff" in town. It is called "prairie justice." If the "unruly" rap-crap-loving a-holes start anything, it's gonna be like Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. You didn't really think those gun racks in pickups were for hat storage, did you?

I would further offer that if Colorado Springs police will just stand back and watch, they will very quickly just have to scrawl a few caulk lines around the remains and, like a plague, the word will spread, and the downtown club scene will soon follow the rest of downtown into oblivion. Except for Cowboys, the last viable business in what was Rustic Hills shopping center, soon to be leveled for "future development."

Steve Fowler
Colorado Springs

Dissecting Dobson
It's puzzling that Dr. James Dobson announced he'll sit out the general election if (i.e. when) Sen. John McCain is the Republican presidential nominee (see "Focusing on evolution," Ranger Rich). Whether this is just pre-election posturing remains to be seen, but if so, it's a dangerous game best left to the experts.

Dobson may think this announcement was merely his "personal opinion," but he didn't have to broadcast his personal opinion to millions of Americans. His statements are being interpreted as a public call for like-minded conservatives to follow suit.

I'm no enthusiastic McCain supporter, and I have nowhere near the kind of cultic adoration for him that many of Barack Obama's supporters direct toward this proclaimed messiah. Nevertheless, McCain's pro-life and conservative voting record on judges is widely acknowledged, and we all know the kind of judicial nominees the ice queen or the empty suit will push for if either is elected.

In his litany of reasons not to support McCain, Dobson is guilty of scraping the barrel; for example, that McCain shouldn't be president because he cursed on occasion. This suggests Dobson is somewhat out of touch with the world around him. I think we can give McCain just a little bit of leeway on the potty-mouth problem, given his record of defending our nation. I'll vote for a cursing Truman over a born-again Carter any day of the week.

If Dobson wants to spend election day sulking at home, fine. However, if a Democrat is elected, then how much credibility or moral right will Focus on the Family have to ask for support to further the pro-life cause when its leader advocated that conservatives sit on the sidelines and all but hand the shaping of the Supreme Court to a strident, abortion-rights Democrat?

Mike Burnat
Fairfax, Va.

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