Bad bonus

I read with interest the article by Pam Zubeck regarding City Council giving Utilities CEO Jerry Forte a bonus of $76,383 ("Forte cashes in," Noted, May 12). In part, this bonus was based on the reliability of electric, gas, water and wastewater utilities.

Also, the article stated that Council had abolished bonuses for Utilities workers. How does this compute? The workers in the field are the ones who make this reliability a reality. While they are out in the rain, hail, snow, wind and sometimes mud in the middle of the night, Mr. Forte is comfortable in his house enjoying the electricity, gas, water and sewer that are still working. Most of those times he probably is not even aware of the men and women out in the elements working to keep him comfortable.

He may put his rubber stamp on decisions that help with reliability, but those decisions are made for him by those who know what is needed.

The $76,383 bonus would pay three workers $12.24 per hour for a year of 40-hour weeks with no benefits, thereby creating three new jobs. Many people would love to have that kind of a job.

As a former line crew supervisor, I know from personal experience what it takes to get the power back in bad weather and in the middle of the night. I have been out in blizzard conditions up in a bucket truck trying to terminate cable to get the power back on. I am not alone in this.

I retired 15 years ago after 30 years there. It appears to me that the men and women who really make reliability happen should get the bonuses, not be denied them so the big shots can get a bonus.

— Lawrence Reble

Colorado Springs

Good music

It was a pleasure to read Bill Forman's article "Survival of the fittest" (Summer Guide, May 19). I love the fact that you highlight the lesser-known bands, venues and festivals, as they are where the best value is to be had. That being said, I would like to offer my difference in opinion on a key point.

You mention that "...the Vans Warped Tour, that venerable caravan of dudes who whine, skank and scream ... pulls into Invesco Field at Mile High on Aug. 5," but have you even listened to the music the bands who will be playing this event, play? With your blanket statement, I was disappointed to see you lump awesome bands like Pepper, The Expendables, Passafire and Tomorrows Bad Seeds into a category of artists who whine and scream. These bands are amazing live, and none of the bands I have noted scream or whine in their performances. They may skank a little, but usually only in the dark.

Pepper will serenade your "Drunk Girls," The Expendables will "Prove It," Passafire will educate the "Concrete Slaves," and Tomorrows Bad Seeds will get you away from your "Vices." I have been to shows where all the artists can manage is to create noise pollution, but with these gentlemen you get the real deal. Pepper rages, The Expendables are down to get weird, Passafire is bringing the good vibes out west, and Tomorrows Bad Seeds spread conscious lyrics for those with conscious minds.

I challenge you to go see these bands and tell me otherwise. I for one plan to get down with the Vans Warped Tour, and hope to see you there!

— Theresa A. Kelly

Colorado Springs

Note to Lamborn

I just sent the comments in the paragraphs below to U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn. If you are concerned about the high price of gas these days and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, I suggest you add your voice to mine. Write your elected representatives and demand an answer to this question:

Congressman, while pushing your bill to restart drilling in the Gulf to relieve American families from the crunch of $4-a-gallon gasoline, perhaps you could explain to the American people why, despite federal laws to the contrary, the oil from Alaska is still being shipped to the Pacific Rim ("Big Oil's great deception," Your Turn, April 28).

Why should we believe any of the oil from the Gulf will come to America when our crude from the Alaskan fields, virtually given to the oil companies by the Department of the Interior, will never come here?

— Bill Evans

Colorado Springs

'The sound of death'

It is the season for the Air Force stunt flyers to make their annual invasion of our local skies to practice for, and then perform at, Air Force Academy graduation. There is a common refrain one hears that this is the "sound of freedom." I hear instead the sound of death and destruction.

Many think this a perfectly good use of taxpayer money. I see classic waste, fraud and abuse. This circus act that helps to recruit new personnel and sell the need for more military spending is a sign of a community and nation with tunnel vision.

Every year we are forced to have our clear, beautiful skies polluted with screeching aircraft which dump untold amounts of toxic exhaust material into our clean air. There is some irony in all this. We are told to expect a steep decline in piloted combat airplanes as we move forward.

One can imagine a few years down the road that the stunt flyers of drone aircraft at graduation will be geeks yukking it up in air-conditioned rooms in Nevada as they operate the joysticks of the drone entertainers at the AFA.

It is hard to see these future "pilots" as the poster children for Air Force recruiting. On the other hand, maybe the macho model will be replaced by something just like that, another sign of human progress.

— Bill Sulzman

Colorado Springs

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Mayoral musings

It has completely blown me away, why my fellow citizens have allowed our mayoral race to be bought out by out-of-state special interests. Did the voters even ask who these groups were that backed Steve Bach, or why they would?

Steve Bach has already demonstrated how little he cares about the less affluent in this community. As reported in Ralph Routon's "Between the Lines" column (May 19), Bach has snubbed the Gay Pride events and is negative about the Human Relations Commission ... what a great start!

Of course those loving Christians who overlooked Bach's alleged past domestic abuse, his apparent attempt to take his former father-in-law's family business away, and other questionable business dealings, seem to be pleased.

For the moment, at least we don't have to fear Bach's big developer friends coming in, because there is no money in that.

But why should we worry ... We won't have to face those nasty tax hikes! I am sure all the rich out-of-state friends of Bach will bring back our parks, roads, bridges and infrastructure to pristine condition without exploiting the working citizens of Colorado Springs.

Can't wait to see who our new strong mayor will really represent!

— Elaine Brush

Colorado Springs

Misguided protection

I have a problem with the way the government and news media handle the reporting of the illegal immigrants.

Our immigration policies are fine, and the people coming through that way are screened and selected for their use to our country. They have to have family, or working experience that we need here.

I don't understand how people who break the law have rights, or the government wants to give them rights that Mexican-American citizens don't even have, and they need help. Our country is based on laws, and to have government projects that help actual criminals does not make sense.

I feel for the children, but their parents are at fault and the people who hire them should be put in jail. I am positive, with the labor situation in our country now, there is a workforce that will work for them.

— Rodney E. Hammond

Colorado Springs

The 'care' in Medicare

When taking a look at the socialized medical systems of Canada, Great Britain and France, and the benefits those citizens receive, I find it appalling that a country like the U.S. would even consider making cuts to our comparatively meager Medicare health-care program for seniors!

In a time when we see huge spending for the military as well as immoral tax breaks and bailouts for multimillion-dollar corporations and banks, claiming there's not enough of the pie to aid our seniors is just plain absurd and shows the blatant transparency of a government that is obviously supporting the war machine/corporate agenda while its citizens remain a very low priority when it comes to spending.

I feel it is time for "the real people" to stand up and demand a government that serves our health and well-being, since we are the ones who fund it!

— Diana E. Moats


Old, poor and angry?

Most working Americans have paid into Social Security and Medicare with the understanding that when they are old they will draw these benefits to keep from starving.

Any corporation and its owners would expect to draw benefits that had been earned by their payments into a system. Where is the logic, where is the morality, of once more stealing from the elderly and poor? Is there some serious lack of integrity in our elected officials that they are not willing to admit that they have wasted our country's resources by shifting them all to the über-wealthy?

At what point can they be held liable? Is this not a place for a class-action lawsuit?

— Betty Harris



It's our problem

In the wake of last week's tragic murder/suicide in Fountain, I understand there is no confirmed history of domestic violence in the household, but what we know about intimate-partner homicides indicates a strong probability that domestic violence played a role in the incident.

Domestic violence is about power and control. Patterns of behavior including emotional, financial, sexual and physical abuse create an environment of fear and intimidation that allows abusers to control their victims; and leaving the relationship is one of the most dangerous times for a person in an abusive situation. Abusers often view the victim's separation as the ultimate betrayal — and the violence escalates.

In El Paso County, more than 65 domestic violence-related homicides have occurred since the mid-1990s. These statistics are staggering, and sadly these murders are sometimes preventable.

Devastating incidents such as this remind us that domestic violence is not a private family matter or just a "women's" issue. These crimes leave permanent scars on families, friends, neighbors and entire communities. Fortunately, we know that tragedies like this one may be preventable through increased community awareness, education and intervention.

With one in four women estimated to be a victim in her lifetime, we will all encounter someone experiencing abuse — whether or not we are aware of it. It is important to be equipped with at least a basic understanding of domestic violence and to know about resources available to support people in abusive relationships.

TESSA provides safe shelter and confidential support services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in El Paso and Teller counties. Our programs provide emergency shelter, information about domestic and sexual violence, assistance obtaining temporary protection orders, court support, counseling, group therapy, children's programming and other vital services. If you or someone you know has questions, please contact TESSA (719/633-1462 or tessacs.org).

— Connie Brachtenbach

Executive director, TESSA

Colorado Springs

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