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Getting the fax

I submit this to all of you who may have submitted a request for a mail-in ballot and have not gotten it yet. On Oct. 14, several co-workers of mine tried to fax their requests, only to receive phone calls telling them that their requests had been faxed to the wrong number.

They tried several times with the same results, so it appears the fax number was incorrect or being incorrectly routed to the wrong place. They tried to contact El Paso County officials, but as far as I know, they couldn't get through.

I don't know how long this problem has existed or if it has been corrected, but if you faxed your ballot request and have not received your ballot, you may want to follow up at 575-VOTE (8683).

It was kind of the person who did get the requests to notify senders of the mix-up. I only hope she called all people who applied, regardless of affiliation. If not, I guess that would be voter fraud.

Walt Barrow

Monument

'Exceptional service'?

In a recent mailing to many residents of House District 21, I ask, "Who does Bob Gardner work for?" Gardner's own actions led to this question. Bob has kept his personal corporate Web site, rsglaw.net, active throughout his tenure as state representative.

On his site, Rep. Gardner advertises he is looking to ...

"represent clients before ... various political subdivisions and governmental entities at the local, state, and federal level. Our areas of practice include matters such as legislative hearings and investigations ... rulemaking and proposed legislation."

"represent clients before various government agencies, boards, and committees regarding government contracts."

"provide our clients with campaign management and consulting services, political communication and lobbying advice."

Bob states: "Our clients include members of the Colorado General Assembly." He underscores his conflict of interest, stating: "We work closely with our clients and provide exceptional service in ... lobbying."

In 2006, House District 21 voted over 60 percent in favor of limiting the influence of lobbyists in Denver. Every precinct voted yes on limiting that influence. Yet, in spite of the wishes of HD 21 voters, Gardner persists in soliciting clients for the professional services listed above, creating the unavoidable perception that he is essentially a "legislator for hire."

Voters of House District 21 should have a representative in Denver who works for them, not clients! Before you vote, I invite you to visit his Web page, and then mine at annalord.net.

Anna Lord

Green Mountain Falls

Robocall victim

I am a 55-year-old woman living in Colorado Springs, a Republican for most of my life; I voted for Ronald Reagan, and for George H.W. Bush twice. When my husband and I moved 26 years ago, one reason we chose this city was because it was known as a Republican enclave. I have held a lot of respect for John McCain and considered voting for him.

I just received a robocall phone message from McCain's campaign regarding Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, and the "extremist" plans the Democrats have for the nation. I am appalled at the tone of this message and the whole McCain campaign against Obama. The dark innuendos, twisted accusations and half-truths are shameful.

This is not the Republican Party I once knew, certainly not the McCain I admired. McCain was somebody we could count on to behave honorably, no matter what the cost. Sadly, no more. I begin to wonder if he was ever an honorable man, or if the McCain legend was nothing more than marketing the candidate, and now he has been unmasked.

Don't they know the horrors that can result from this vitriol? I did not need Rep. John Lewis to speak up, for me to know how dangerous the rhetoric was becoming. The moment I heard Sarah Palin say, "He's not like you and me," or words to that effect, I was reminded of civil-rights opponents in the 1960s, and Nazis in World War II history.

It is a slippery slope. Once you convince yourself or listeners that someone is "not like us," the more extreme ideas may follow (God forbid!).

Needless to say, I will not vote for McCain. I am motivated to get out and work, not only to elect Obama but to make certain McCain is defeated.

Dianne Moore

Colorado Springs

Copycat candidate

Besides my many concerns about the Republican ticket, I'm also concerned about John McCain's lack of vision. He may be one of the most unoriginal candidates we've had in years.

I've been in the creative arts all my life, and been around many creative people who think for themselves. I'm astounded at the way McCain steals ideas and phrases from Barack Obama without any shame or recognition of what he's doing. He stole the Obama "change" theme, announcing that "change is coming" and he's an agent of change (although he's not!).

When Obama came up with a six-point plan for the economy, the next day McCain also had a six-point plan. After Obama said we needed a scalpel, not a hatchet, to fix the economy, at the next debate McCain used the same term.

Does this man not have an original thought in his head? Creative people and visionary people do not need to copy ideas. Only rip-off artists steal the ideas of others!

Dr. Linda Seger

Cascade

Duck, duck, Doug

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has failed to face to his challenger, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Hal Bidlack, in a single debate. Only a face-to-face debate on the serious issues will permit voters to make an informed decision.

Does ducking Bidlack reveal Lamborn's character at a critical time? Avoiding debate demonstrates Lamborn's cavalier attitude toward the voters.

We must demand our representative remedy this by promptly agreeing to more public debates as soon as possible.

Steven Silz-Carson

Colorado Springs

1A from inside

I work for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, but I am writing as a concerned citizen of the county. I feel privileged to see both sides of the issues facing us in today's economy where our county is concerned.

Being a taxpayer, I would be hesitant to vote for anything that raises taxes. However, I also understand as a citizen that public safety is not a luxury, it is a necessity. As a 911 dispatcher, I understand the frustrations of receiving 911 calls in an understaffed and overburdened system. Seeing emergent calls coming in and knowing I don't have anyone to send because of staffing shortages is stressful and sometimes heartbreaking.

Without the support of our citizens, our public-safety system will suffer dramatically. We all know this. Our population growth has outpaced our ability to keep up.

For people who don't support our public safety, I say shame on you. I know people who put their lives on the line every day to help ensure my safety and yours. If voting "yes" on 1A will improve public safety and help improve the safety of deputies, both at the jail and on patrol, I will vote for a higher sales tax in a heartbeat.

It is my duty as a citizen to help my community in any way I can. I will not take my community for granted, and I hope other people are willing to step up and support it as well.

Darcy Dittenber

Colorado Springs

Opposing 46

Once again, out-of-state groups are trying to influence politics for the people of Colorado. In 2004, state Sen. Ed Jones introduced a bill to remove affirmative action laws from the constitution. The state Senate did the right thing, killing the bill in committee.

It was questioned then how much financial influence Californian Ward Connerly's group had on the proposed bill. This year, Connerly's group raised its head again, this time by getting enough signatures to put the initiative on the Colorado ballot as a constitutional amendment. The signature-gatherers were paid by Connerly's out-of-state group.

The American GI Forum, a congressionally chartered veterans organization, since 1948 has been involved with veterans, education and civil-rights issues. Colorado members request the people of our state join us in opposing Amendment 46. Ethnic and racial discrimination continues in today's society. Affirmative action laws signed in the late 1960s still have not leveled the field so all can compete equally. Department of Labor figures show women and minorities (ethnic and racial) make less than white males doing the same jobs.

What type of programs might be affected? Apprenticeship, education and training for non-traditional occupations. Outreach and funding for women and minority math, science and technology teachers. Higher education funding for minority health professionals who, along with women, are more likely to practice in underserved communities.

This measure's financial impact is uncertain and far-reaching. Lawsuits have been filed in other states, first to prevent the proposal from being put on the ballot, secondly to clarify what the amendment means. Too much is left for legal interpretation and possible lawsuits, all funded at taxpayer expense.

Albert Gonzales

State commander, American GI Forum

Colorado Springs

The 'L' word

Webster's second definition of liberal is "marked by generosity." Current political advertising turned liberal into a dirty word. No wonder the world is in a state of hate and fear. What's wrong with being generous? Look at our world economic crisis: The excessive greed of some harms all of humanity and the planet.

The first definition of fundamental is "serving as an original or generating source." The basic tenet of every major world religion is to love one another. Instead, we kill each other because of one group's strong belief that one god is "right" and another is "wrong."

Judaism, Christianity and Islam are offshoots of the same godly root. God said to Moses, "Thou shalt not kill." How are we doing so far? If all the gods say we are to love and not kill one another, all of humanity must be wrong.

America can show that different races and nationalities can cohabitate in peace. Our record is marred, but we proved it's doable. At this point in human history, we are all "mutts." There's not a purebred human on the planet, yet we continue to squabble over race, sex and nationality. We sit in the sandbox yelling, "My god's better than your god."

Contrary to the media, more people help one another than hate one another, as natural disasters or global economic crises demonstrate. During my life travels through many states and countries, I've received more generosity from the poor than the rich.

Let's all become fundamentally liberal. What a world it could be!

Vivian LeFebvre

Colorado Springs

Correction

Last week's Best Of coverage stated Mediterranean Caf had won five awards for Best Gyros. In fact, it has won six such awards. The Indy regrets the error.

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