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Shot to the system

I have read the Independent for years, and have always believed it offered an alternative perspective, did not align itself with "big business," and truly had the best interests of locals at heart. After reading "Calling the shots" by Pam Zubeck (News, Oct. 17), I've become severely disappointed.

For years now, I too have refused to get a flu shot, and so I took issue with how one-sided the article seemed to be. Nowhere does it state why a person would not want a flu shot, and it makes no argument for why a mandate could violate workers' constitutional rights.

In a quick Internet search, I found the minutes for the Colorado Board of Health meeting where this ruling was passed. Objections included:

• Flu vaccinations contain toxins like mercury, found to cause brain damage and linked to autism.

• Medical professionals question efficacy, since flu vaccines are created from last year's strains, which some believe are ineffective against new strains.

These are just the medical issues ignored in the article. But it also failed to address constitutionality. The nation erupted when "Obamacare" was thought to require Catholic institutions to provide contraceptives to female employees. People argued it violated religious freedom. Where's the uproar over this?

If I were a Christian Scientist and it was against my religion to be vaccinated, I would be fired over this, which is essentially firing me for my religious beliefs. And regardless, people should have the right to decide what they put into their bodies.

My heart goes out to the nurses and doctors being "bullied" here. Seeing medical professionals against the vaccination makes me want it even less.

I will be much more wary of what I believe when reading the Independent in the future.

— Sara Solomon

Colorado Springs

Put community first

If there is a time when we might need to look at the needs of the community more than focus on the needs of a "party," I find it refreshing that hard-core Republican Party members have opted to go against an incumbent and their party to select John Morris as their choice for District 3 County Commissioner.

John has stated he will work to see that limited dollars will be directed more toward servicing the programs to assist those in need — rather than to service debt for expensive buildings never voted for by the public — and high-level salaries which includes "extended-term" retirement raises!

Since the introduction of TABOR, the level of long-term obligations (non-voter approved) has risen to be among the highest of counties within the state — at a cost of being unable to fund deputies for the Sheriff's Department. Of late (really late) this matter is being addressed this election, posing some risk to the PPRTA measure. Where is the balance?

We need a dedicated servant working for the public good at a price we can afford and with integrity we can trust.

We need John Morris.

— Patricia Mullen

Colorado Springs

A time for wisdom

We could be at the most critical juncture in decades for the Pikes Peak region — one calling for the utmost in civility, cooperation and fiscal-policy formation to deal with the declining economy and impacts of sequestration, should it be implemented.

The declining level of cooperation, which the press calls "legendary" between the city and county, has recently escalated with actions brought forth by this board of county commissioners. Some rogue, party extremist members of the board work to build party strength rather than community unity.

This board needs an injection of pragmatism that only a new member can bring. What is essential is a board that has the ability to deal with the city and the new Regional Business Alliance cooperatively, not with shrill partisan posturing. Darryl Glenn, the mayor, and numerous civic leaders have spoken to the need for increased cooperation and shared services. Sallie Clark has not been a productive contributor to this issue.

The addition of John Morris to the board will add the level of wisdom, judgment and calm, plus the reasoned demeanor needed to make this spirit of cooperation become a reality.

We need people who can work for the good of the city and county community, not just for their own sandbox.

— Michael Merrifield

Former state representative

House District 18

Defending Sallie

Elections seem to bring out character assassinations in force. As the husband of an elected official, I can't tell you how hard it is to stay quiet when the spin doctors make personal attacks.

Sallie Clark started as a neighborhood activist defending our neighborhood's Fire Station 3. As a councilwoman, she was the driving force behind the citywide ban on wood shake roofs — just think about the impact this had when the Waldo Canyon Fire hit.

I see her every day, working long hours and balancing her small business and civic duties. She reaches out to help those in need, regardless of party affiliation. Unlike the Washington gridlock, she finds common ground to get things done. Recent efforts include the Interstate 25-Cimarron Street interchange, "Not One More Child" initiative, Rainbow Falls restoration, the Avenue (No Man's Land), and Fort Carson buffer zone, among others.

During the fire she averaged 18-hour workdays. Her personal integrity is something I can vouch for and observe as she makes sacrifices for others to leave this world a better place

I'm proud to be the husband of Commissioner Sallie Clark and I ask that you join me by casting your vote for Sallie's continued service to our community Nov. 6.

Welling Clark

Colorado Springs

Fed up with Gessler

It is now time, given the most recent exposé on the possible malfeasance, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds and other serious fiduciary irregularities, that Secretary of State Scott Gessler must be removed from office.

Take his latest foray into the partisanship and prostitution of his office, coupled with his oft-publicly stated objectives for his tenure as secretary of state: ... "my goal is not to encourage voters or to conduct fair elections and maintain accurate incorporation records, but to further the conservative viewpoint" (speech to Weld County Republicans). Then add his aggressive practices to disenfranchise voters during this election cycle. It's all an abdication and abandonment of his duties as the secretary of state of Colorado.

Gessler must go!

— James M. Hesser

Colorado Springs

No laughing matter

When my brother and I were kids we'd watch Big Time Wrestling, Saturday nights on one of our two TV channels. Asked what advice he had for viewers, one wrestler said in a gruff voice, "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!"

My brother and I sat there for a moment, dumbfounded. Then we laughed, of course; part of the big show and all that.

Well, laugh, cry and then get angry because Republicans seem to have adopted this concept in order to suppress the Democratic vote in an American election: billboards in parts of Ohio and Wisconsin (where many people are likely to vote Democratic) warning that voter fraud is a felony; scams in Florida and Virginia attempting to trick voters in Democratic-leaning areas into thinking you can vote by phone; and Colorado's own secretary of state, Scott Gessler, accused of removing Democrats from the voting rolls. Has the GOP sunk to the level of Big Time Wrestling?

— John McVay



Supporting Pete Lee

Although there have been several letters in support of Jennifer George for House District 18, I personally feel that it is vitally important to re-elect state Rep. Pete Lee for this position. Pete has served us well in the two years that he has been in the state House, and people know that he is a level-headed, moderate person who can be counted on to use good common sense to represent his constituents.

George, in comparison, has some very extreme ideas. Her economic theories sound like they come from an Ayn Rand novel.

She is also a mouthpiece for the oil and gas industries, freely restating their positions that "fracking is perfectly safe" and "has never caused pollution of water supplies," or that Colorado's statewide regulations are "the strongest in the nation." George sees no room for local control of drilling operations since she believes our community is perfectly well-protected by the Colorado Gas and Oil Conservation Commission in Denver!

Several writers have also claimed that George would be good for education, but on what basis? Her Republican Party has never supported adequate funding for our schools, and as a result, layoffs and cutbacks have hurt our districts. Local bond issues have been needed to plug the gap caused by decreased state allocations. This has caused hardship for many property owners, as bond issues are still tax increases.

In comparison, Pete Lee has an actual track record of supporting our schools. He has been an advocate for increased funding for K-12 schools throughout the community, as well as for finding solutions to Colorado's increasingly tight budget conundrum.

So I will proudly support Pete Lee in his re-election bid for HD 18 and urge other constituents to do the same.

— Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

A green record

With a lifetime score of 100 percent on the Conservation Scorecard and the endorsement of Colorado Conservation Voters, Rep. Pete Lee has proven his pro-environment record.

Lee has worked tirelessly to encourage Colorado's clean energy future by supporting renewable and efficient energy across the state of Colorado. He believes in education and economic incentives to ensure we have clean and sustainable environment.

Lee has a proven record in helping the community save energy and money, by working with his local school to improve energy efficiency, and by sponsoring Home Weatherization (HB11-1132), which assists homeowners in paying for energy-efficiency improvements.

Rep. Lee is the pro-environment candidate and deserves your vote.

— Faith Winter

Program director, Colorado Conservation Voters

It's the Court, stupid

With all the hoo-hah and misdirection of this year's presidential campaign, it's real easy to lose sight of the most important numbers in the race. These numbers are 76 and 76, the ages of conservative Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Kennedy, both Reagan appointees.

If Romney wins, these two justices will be replaced by two more conservatives who will ensure that cases like Citizens United continue to be decided wrongly, in 5-4 votes. A vote for Romney is a vote in favor of a Supreme Court that ordered the state of Florida not to determine who really won the election. Such a vote is also a vote that states don't have the right to regulate medical marijuana, but do have the right to intrude on reproductive freedom. But most importantly, a vote for Romney is a vote to ensure that Citizens United never gets overturned, and to insure that eventually corporations will rule this nation.

So if you think that a vote for Romney is a vote for good ol' American values like freedom and democracy, then you are deluded and/or ignorant.

— Gina Douglas

Colorado Springs


How does a candidate for president manage to have support among voters who dutifully pay their taxes and follow the rules while he maintains secret overseas bank accounts and invests hundreds of his millions in foreign countries?

How does a candidate who made his fortune by stripping American companies of capital, then closing them down and shipping their jobs overseas earn the trust of American voters concerned about their own job futures?

How do Americans who lost so much of their retirement savings during the 2008 financial crisis relate to a man who made millions from the auto industry bailout by transferring business activity to his wife's name while pretending to have his investments in a blind trust?

And in the end, how can so many voters want a Republican government so badly they're willing to elect a cardboard cutout to the most powerful office in the world?

— Jerry Newsom

Colorado Springs

Correction ...

MaryAnn Johanson's Paranormal Activity 4 review last week ("No fear," Film) indicated that screenwriters Christopher Landon and Chad Feehan weren't involved in prior Paranormal Activity projects. Landon did have a hand in the second and third movies in the series. We regret the error.

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