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Can't trust 'em

Regarding the brew-haw over extension of county commissioners' term limits:

Voting is not intended to be a test of voter IQ. One pompous polling judge commented how stupid she found many voters to be. Yes, god gave us all different levels of IQ. However, age and medication for seniors can all affect ability of comprehension to decipher tricky, deceptively worded phrases.

Voters are also very busy — jobs, children, school, elder care, community, etc. We should not have to read and re-read a ballot measure. We should just be able to vote as we intended.

When one political party dominates city and county offices in Colorado Springs, and we get no checks and balances, the result is a very one-sided, Wild West type of government.

I do feel sorry for those who misunderstood, as this vote was never intended to be fair. They intended the wording to be complex and not straightforward.

The next time you walk into the voting booth, remember the commissioners who did this and remember their political party. We need a better political balance.

— Lola Nafziger

Colorado Springs

Let's not forget

Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The county commissioners, having decided to delay action on the misleading wording on the term-limit issue in spite of significant community outrage and feedback, is at it again. Their obfuscation on this might well have as its objective the hope that it will just go away, and will be forgotten by the voters.

The old adage "Out of sight, out of mind" seems to be the ploy, but is this really what the electorate wants? I think not.

If commissioners are truly interested in seeking the will of the people, let them put it to a vote at the earliest opportunity and let the chips fall where they may. That might not serve commissioners' best financial interests, but it might restore some credibility to them. In the meantime, wake up voters, and don't let this matter go quietly into the night.

— Jim Oberhofer

Colorado Springs

TSA's real joke

As an air traveler, after inspection and putting myself back together, thanks to TSA, I have sought out the senior officer present at every airport. I ask how many terrorists they have caught and had police arrest? How many this month, or quarter, or last quarter, or so far this year?

Only two have answered forthrightly: none! The rest tell me such information must come from Washington, which it hasn't. The police officers will often tell me, "Never, not one! ... Some disorderly drunks, but no terrorists!" When I am in line for inspection, I ask those around me, and that I pass, do they feel safer now? The vast majority say no, a few laugh, some vocally claim this is all a bad joke, and only senior women say yes. All these millions spent to insult 99.999999 percent of the population in order to catch .000001 percent terrorists, and they haven't even done that. It's a wasteful joke!

Leaving a large western city, I didn't take off my boots, and the young man, one of six staff there, asked, "...and your shoes, sir?" My answer: "These cowboy boots were made in Texas, and that is the home of our president!" He said meekly, "Oh, OK, go ahead," and no one else said anything. All in all, this is no protection, an exercise in fear-mongering, and a really bad education for the public.

Now it's getting even worse! Are we really constitutionally protected? What we need instead of all this waste is real intelligence, in people and systems. Apparently we don't have much of either and our taxes are being wasted when they could be well-spent while making us really safe. How do we stop this nonsense and start being brighter, smarter?

— Dean E. Tollefson

Colorado Springs

Watch out, Bush

Oh, what a world we live in. Last month a former president told the world on national television that he is a war criminal. Make no mistake, that is how much of the world views his admission.

Here at home we make excuses. Even those of us who lean to the left are reluctant to apply this label. He admitted to authorizing waterboarding as part of the interrogation procedures to be used at Guantanamo Bay, and most of the world thinks waterboarding is torture.

We have been arguing about that definition. Is it torture, or simply one of many enhanced interrogation techniques to wrench the information out of the terrorists?

The president seems to think that as long as his lawyers said it was OK, it was. Apparently his lawyers overlooked the war crimes tribunals after World War II and court-martials during the Vietnam war.

One of the chief defenses has been that some U.S. soldiers were subjected to waterboarding as part of their training. Certainly we wouldn't torture our own troops, would we? I find this defense most disingenuous. The fact is, these troops were being vaccinated against waterboarding. Like a vaccination, the troops, while still experiencing the suffering, knew at a deeper level they were not in a life-threatening situation. That makes all the difference.

While the new president may have put a stop to the practice, the consequences still continue. It is difficult if not impossible to mix Gitmo-style detention and interrogation techniques and the rule of law. Going forward, anything we do will make a bad situation worse. There is no good solution.

As for the man who got us into this mess, I'd be careful about traveling out of the country anytime soon. He's liable to wind up in the pokey.

— Michael Augenstein

Colorado Springs

Insensitive Indy, part 1

I read with interest your online review of the movie The King's Speech ("Bait and bombs," Film, Nov. 18). I really wish you had not referred to stuttering as a "personal hang-up" in the caption under the photo of Colin Firth. Last February, researchers identified specific genes that cause stuttering in 9 percent of cases. While an exact cause has yet to be detected for all stuttering, strong evidence points to both genetic and neurological factors. Your use of the term "personal hang-up" is insensitive to people who stutter.

This movie will put a human face on stuttering, not seen in other major movies that portray people who stutter in stereotypically insensitive ways. King George VI has always been the most prominent name on the list of "Famous People Who Stutter" at stutteringhelp.org. Those listed either stutter, have stuttered in the past, or still use neat tricks to guide them to fluency. Some are Bruce Willis, Peggy Lipton, James Earl Jones, Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, Emily Blunt, Bill Withers and many more. Aside from the celebrity aspect, the website offers free resources on stuttering.

The list has inspired many young people struggling with stuttering because it shows them that success can be achieved despite stuttering, and in some cases the speech problem can be overcome. It is the hope of the worldwide stuttering community that The King's Speech not only will give young people around the world a most inspiring role model in the late King George VI, but also that the movie will put a human face on the speech problem, educating the public and instilling more compassion for the struggles of people who stutter. The movie will also put the role of speech therapy in the spotlight and hopefully inspire many people to seek treatment.

— Ed DePhillips

Fort Lee, N.J.

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Insensitive Indy, part 2

Chet Hardin wrote a Long Story Short column (Nov. 11) on a city cleanup nightmare where an apartment floor caved in onto the apartment beneath. His description was strong enough to make me cringe.

What I fail to understand is why he chose to describe the landlady as "a Korean woman." What difference does her Korean ancestry matter to the story? Perhaps if this had been a work of fiction where he chose to develop a character it might have made sense; however, in this context it only served to underscore our region's inability to see people as people.

How might it have read if he had included "the landlady, a brunette with blue eyes of European descent?"— Nadyne Guzmán

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: We included the woman's nationality to indicate why her quote ("Human being not live like this!"), which helped illustrate the chaos of the scene, would be in less-than-perfect English.

 

Our star chamber?

The Star Chamber, a circumvention of their own court system invented by medieval English monarchs, is one of history's favorite metaphors, together with inquisitions and burnings at the stake, for describing a secret, illegal "engine of royal tyranny" and described by our own U.S. Supreme Court as "symbolizing the disregard of basic individual rights."

Now, we in Colorado Springs have our own nine-person panel about to operate outside the law — a Human Relations Commission (HRC), authorized last June by city ordinance 10-48. HRC is exhaustive in utopian pretensions of contributing to our local "quality of life," including our economic prosperity, clean air and water, employment, neighborhoods, environment, education, recreation, etc., etc., etc.

These noble goals will be driven by the impulse of "respect for diversity" and for "discouraging discrimination in any form" using "mediation" and "informed advocacy."

The HRC is a solution in search of a problem. Its mandate places it outside the law. It shall have no "regulatory authority" or "enforcement powers." It will engage only in "voluntary mediation" and have no subpoena powers. Nor is it funded by city dollars. What then will it do?

If an HRC is "voluntary," what happens if an "accused" doesn't show up? Why would anyone? Why should City Council be in the "advocacy" business at all, where, by definition, "advocacy" favors one member of its constituency over a second member? "Mediation," in contrast, occurs between parties of equal standing and recognition.

You cannot have it both ways, City Council. Advocacy is not neutrality. You have created an open season on any citizen who has something somebody else wants.

— Whitney Galbraith

Colorado Springs

Same song, new verse

The local NBC affiliate reported Sunday that Colorado Springs led the state in DUI arrests. During the holiday statewide dragnet, of 87 DUI arrests in Colorado, Colorado Springs had 33, Denver only 15.

Law enforcement officials will tell you our city's higher DUI arrest rates are from great police work. The truth is the severity of alcohol abuse in our city.

If alcohol-impaired drivers are involved in an accident, or far above the legal limit of blood-alcohol content, hospitals do not want "drunks" in their emergency rooms — so they are hauled to the detox (aka "drunk jail"), where they sleep it off in a bunk with no privacy. When they awaken, they will be out in the middle of nowhere. On their way out, they receive handouts from jail staff about some program, usually connected in some way to religion.

The former (old) detox was near the current Peak Vista close to downtown. Many of our homeless also suffer from substance (alcohol) abuse and are veterans of past and current wars. By having the detox at CJC, it virtually prohibits access by veterans to VA facilities (all located in/near downtown) and others seeking help from assisting organizations (ESM, Homeward Pikes Peak, United Way), all located in the downtown area.

There aren't a lot of options for people unless they have a lot of money. A 28- to 30-day treatment program (including medical detox) starts at $10,000. Non-medically supervised programs are a fraction of that cost, but you get what you pay for.

Meanwhile, DUIs keep a-comin'. Big arrest rates mean big money for local law enforcement. And don't worry, Colorado Springs will continue to increase arrest rates because alcohol abuse is so prevalent. It is not going away ... until local officials decide to really do something about it.

— Addy M. Hansen

Colorado Springs

Pointed logic

A Brit is in court for using his Twitter account to jokingly threaten an airport. How stupid do you have to be to make public threats? Globally? In public? And an airport no less.

This isn't about free speech, it's about stupidity. We allow a plea for insanity in legal cases; why not let people plead stupidity and get off easy? Make them walk the streets in a tall pointy hat that doesn't fit and says "STOOPID" in big block letters so everyone knows they're a menace to society. Then we can put them on an IQ offenders list and track where they live. We certainly don't want them near our schools!

Stupidity could save the economy! Between Washington, Hollywood, the Palin family, those talk shows, and cuts to education funding, pointy hat sales would be an industry with a very promising future...

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs

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