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Choices abound

In last week's Letters, Athena Roe indicated ("The oil solution") that we should demand commitments from, among others, automakers. Such an action really isn't necessary.

We recently decided to trade cars and were surprised to find a wide range of good cars in the 30-50 miles per gallon (and more) range. In the end, we decided to go for the gusto: 100 mpg! We picked out a Chevy Volt and are extremely happy with it. So far, the only gas it has used was driving it home from the dealer. Since then, it has used exactly zero gas. And as our intended use for this car is commuting and running errands, it may go for months on zero gas.

If you drive about 25 miles per day, your monthly electric bill will be about $30 — about the equivalent of eight gallons of gas. That's about 750 miles per month, the equivalent of almost 100 mpg. And, it is a very nice car!

Here's the great part. Yes, it uses energy. All movement uses energy. But we're using coal, natural gas, and alternative energy sources — all in small amounts. Those things are abundant in the U.S., are not as subject to international demand, and have been dropping in price lately. A win-win-win.

So Athena, I agree with your desire to use less oil. But I'm not sure it takes any more mandates. The choices are truly starting to blossom. Go investigate the possible.

— Niel Powers

Colorado Springs

Boycott Starbucks

I have just learned that the Starbucks corporation has begun a public campaign to rewrite our marriage laws and to recognize same-sex marriage. I was shocked to hear of a major corporation willing to alienate such a large portion of their constituents in favor of a political agenda.

I have decided that I will no longer buy my coffee at Starbucks — there are plenty of community coffeehouses that both support my values and need my business. While there's little that I can do alone to make Starbucks reconsider their position, together we can make a statement.

There are many in our community, I know, who believe in marriage and would be deeply offended to know that a portion of every cup of Starbucks coffee they buy is being used to lobby in favor of same-sex marriage.

It's time to dump the Starbucks habit, at least for my family. And I invite others to join me by learning more at DumpStarbucks.com.

— Philip Sargent

Colorado Springs

Encouraging response

Last week Ariel Siegel was quoted ("This happens to real people," Seven Days to Live) on how slavery is real, that "it has a face. It has a name. It has blood. It has skin. It has hair. It can happen to any of us," while speaking about Somaly Mam's story as a survivor of human trafficking.

Trafficking, the selling of young girls for sex, happens under our radar and we just choose not to see it. Slavery is real, and it's happening to real people in Southern Colorado.

There are organizations in Colorado Springs working to end human trafficking in our city. They work with people who were born and raised here, people who started being exploited for a number of reasons, many resting on being in a place of vulnerability. And it starts young – the average age of someone starting to be sold is twelve. They are sold up to 25 times a day for about $1,000 total.

They are hard statistics. But if we want to assert that slavery is real, we need to take it a step further and state that it is real in our backyard.

I am glad so many people came to see Somaly Mam and hear a personal story of what it is like to be sold, repeatedly, every night for sex. If people would like to learn more about what is happening here, in our neighborhood, almost unchallenged, Playground, (a documentary produced by George Clooney, will be screened at Stargazers on Wednesday, April 11 (tickets at stargazerstheatre.com). It will include a panel discussion on what organizations and individuals are doing locally and tell people how they can get involved.

As long as we pretend human trafficking is not happening here, to our children, and to people we overlook every day, the more people will be exploited and abused.

— Amanda Reynolds

Let Them Have Faces

Colorado Springs

Pro- and cons

Your March 22 article on "Lamborn alternative" Robert Blaha ("Political class warfare," News) made it sound like he was a totally new type of Republican until I got to the part where he describes himself as "a pro-life, pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-Second Amendment and pro-10th Amendment person." Your interviewer didn't ask him whether he would support legislation to ban contraceptives, but he sounds party-line to me.

I do wonder how he feels about the bill to legalize church electioneering, proposed by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones. HR 3600 would change our tax code to allow not only churches, but all nonprofit, tax-exempt groups, to participate in partisan politics.

So, using my tax money, all kinds of religious right groups, TV ministries and religious right radio stations would be able to campaign for candidates who want to ban contraceptives and abortions — actions I don't believe in, but would be forced to support. These same groups have adamantly refused to let their tax money be used to fund abortions, yet they want to use my tax money to fund their anti-abortion views.

This isn't right. Those groups can participate now in politics by forming political action committees, but doing so requires them to give up the privilege of tax exemption. Now they want to have their cake and eat it, too.

I hope every reader will contact Mr. Blaha as well as our current congressman, Doug Lamborn, and ask them, in the name of fairness, to support keeping the tax code as it is.

— Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

Badge of (dis)honor

Today we received an unwelcome postcard from Rep. Doug Lamborn at our house. He is the guy who represents a lot of people in this district, but does not represent me. You see, Doug is proud to tell us that he was rated "Most Conservative Member of Congress" by National Journal.

Not the smartest, not the most innovative, not the most resourceful, not the most able to reach consensus, not the one with the best ideas, just the most conservative.

What would it take to get the voters in this district to find and elect someone who is at least a little moderate, who thinks, who brings folks together? I wouldn't expect a liberal, but I would like someone who represents something besides just one view. So for now, I have no representative in Congress, just a guy who mindlessly toes the conservative mark without embracing — or respecting — a single different opinion.

What a pity that Doug Lamborn cannot see that there is value in other perspectives and be a real representative to all of us.

— Ed Brady

Colorado Springs

Victim after death

I'm getting sick of the media slander and hateful comments against Trayvon Martin, a black unarmed teenager unable to defend himself against a burly "self-appointed" neighborhood block captain with a gun.

Trayvon is unable to tell what happened since he was shot to death by a man with a violent past.

Was it justice to drug-test the deceased victim and not the perpetrator? Is it justice to condemn the victim and make excuses for the killer by creating a feeble case against a lifeless kid?

— Sharlene White

Oceanside, Calif.

Collateral damage

Dear editor, I want to apologize to you and the readers of the Independent for my choice of words concerning President Obama ("Obama's 'Enemy No. 1,'" Letters, March 22).

I have no right to disparage any person. I was trying to show that the so-called "war on women" has many different fronts and it is not limited to one political party or agenda. I am sorry for any hurt I caused anyone by my previous letter. In the future, I will do my best not to hurt anyone when trying to get my point across.

— Fr. Bill Carmody

Respect Life Director

Diocese of Colorado Springs

Out with Obama

I have never felt frightened before of whoever occupied the White House as I am with President Obama because of what America and Americans stand for. A president's primary responsibility is national security. Obama spits on our allies and embraces our enemies. He is economically ignorant and visibly anti-American. He was elected by affirmative action because of America's guilty racial conscience. Forget about race; we are all the same human beings before God.

The presidency is too important a position, given America's history, to be emotional and careless in our selection of leadership. Class warfare is his national policy, a tool that all totalitarian governments used. Regardless if it was rooted via fascism, socialism or communism, the end result is the same: the subjugation of a nation.

Arrogance is not intelligence. It is weakness and blindness. Either a congressional committee should force this pitiful man to step down or I pray for the common sense of Americans to vote him out of office.

— Joan Christensen


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Suffering among us

Bobby needed a place to rest. He was very sick, dehydrated from either food poisoning or an intestinal virus. For days he could not hold down food and he grew weaker every hour that passed.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade went right past his most recent sleeping spot, a small patch of boxwoods just off the sidewalk. Due to the no-camping ban he was not allowed to sleep anywhere on public property. He has no place to lay his head without risking arrest.

Malnourished and dehydrated from vomiting, his first attempt to rest concealed behind the dirt and leaves of the boxwoods was interrupted by a thin laser beam shown into his tiny hiding spot. Probably a policeman clearing the parade route of embarrassing signs of the homeless population known to seek shelter in any bush or darkened crevice in the downtown area.

The sight of the laser beam panicked him into quickly moving or else risk a fine for violating the no-camping ban, a jail sentence considering his inability to pay.

He was blatantly told, by a uniformed officer, he had to move on from his second choice of a sleeping spot.

By daylight, his strength was exhausted but he walked another several miles and finally curled up on the concrete beside the VA building. After only an hour of twilight sleep, he was attempting to make his way back to the downtown area where he usually gets his meals and a place to sit inside off the street. He called me from the spot where he had collapsed from sickness and exhaustion outside Denny's on Bijou Street. The only words I remember were, "Lisa, I'm sick!" He gasped out his location and that is where I found him, barely able to stand under his own power, collapsed on the sidewalk.

— Lisa Ruffin-Smith

Colorado Springs


Accepting reality

The five dominant drivers of climate are:

1. The earth's orbit and tilt.

2. Solar intensity.

3. Volcanic activity.

4. Greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, nitrous oxide, ozone).

5. Ocean currents.

Climate change has happened throughout earth's history. Fossil records indicate atmospheric carbon as being very high (over 800 ppm, compared to current level of 393 ppm) during a time when our planet experienced tropical weather. The cause is generally thought to be the release of carbon from the ocean floor during tectonic activity.

Carbon levels are now increasing rapidly. Burning of fossil fuels releases carbon into the atmosphere. Scientists have correctly predicted major changes in climate associated with higher carbon levels. This information is objective scientific data.

The fossil fuel industry spends millions to blur the connection between their livelihood and our changing climate. When you hear about the vast number of scientists who deny our influence on the earth's climate, do a quick Internet search. These are mostly physicists with a connection to the oil industry, not climate researchers.

Would you hire a dentist to perform heart surgery? Please, get the facts.

— Andrea Storrs


Fringe rules

In the March 29 Independent, Rob Annese was "amazed" that his March 1 letter ("Defending Santorum") "drew out the progressive vitriol" ... "[the letters] have resembled those of so many liberals, full of spite but lacking any substance or understanding."

It's interesting, I would use the exact same words to describe actions of conservatives. This puzzles me. If we both see the same kind of responses, he from the right and I from the left (although I'm actually in the center, but in this town I would be considered a liberal), then maybe what we're seeing is what's really wrong with this country today: Moderates no longer have a place in the debate of issues. That forum has been hijacked by the extremes of both sides. In this political climate, moderation and compromise are considered weaknesses, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Recently, moderate U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced she was fed up with the partisan bickering in the Senate and would not run again. That's sad for this country but understandable given the vitriol coming from both fringes. Until people get fed up enough with these fringe lunatics, things are not going to get any better.

It frustrates me greatly that people listen to the fringe TV and radio screaming heads for "the truth," rather than studying the issues and drawing their own informed decisions. Those who scream the loudest are the ones who get listened to.

There will always be the fringe, but I really believe that the great majority of Americans are more moderate than we are given credit for. Hopefully people will get fed up enough with this fringe form of government and move back to the center where the U.S. has been the greatest.

— Jim Copeland

Colorado Springs


In previous stories on Colorado Springs' branding effort, we reported that original contractor Stone Mantel is based in Castle Rock. While calls to the company are answered by someone in Castle Rock, it has no physical headquarters, and actually is owned by a Colorado Springs resident. We regret the mischaracterization.

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