September 15, 2005
BOARD DISCORD Commissioners’ antics are shortchanging voters In our political system, it is not required that one have any qualifications, background, education or professional demeanor to run for public office.
When all candidates lack any qualification to hold public office, voters must choose not among who may be best qualified to serve, but who would be the least unqualified and do the least harm. Ample evidence of this is available each Monday and Thursday at 9 a.m. in the hearing room for the Board of County Commissioners. While the petty antics of Jim Bensberg, Sallie Clark and Douglas Bruce provide some amusement, is this what the voters had in mind on election day and are we getting what we pay for (“Bickering on agenda for Bruce, Clark,” Metro, Sept. 11)? I think not. Comparing the effectiveness and professionalism of the $6,500 City Council members to the silly antics from the $65,000 county commissioners, the county residents are getting the short end of the stick. One corrective option is to ensure there is no second term for the above politicians. Rick Wehner Manitou Springs DISASTER GROUPIE In flood of helping, don’t forget local needs Colorado Springs recently received its first contingent of exhausted, shellshocked Katrina evacuees. I went down to the Red Cross disaster relief headquarters with a basket of clothing, and to offer pedicures to the weary women from New Orleans. But I was met at the door by a uniformed police officer guarding access to the evacuees. He directed me to a notice informing me I could drop off my donation at one of the thrift stores in town. And as far as the pedicures went, he wanted to know if I had a license? A license? I had taken my cue from Oprah, who days before pointed to women painting fingernails and invited her TV audience to perform the same kindnesses. They didn’t have licenses. I never expected that doing a good deed would be so hard. Then it hit me: the Katrina evacuees are now coveted celebrities and I am an evacuee groupie. I know this about myself, because when a friend at work suggested I drop off my clothing donation at a local low-income housing project, I secretly balked. I wanted to see the faces of people grateful for my largesse. But more telling by far was my desire to rub shoulders with not just any needy people, but those folks I’d seen on Oprah and Dr. Phil — the celebrity evacuees of New Orleans. We should continue to support the Red Cross and other charities in their efforts to stem the tide of suffering on the Gulf Coast. But the face of human anguish is as accessible as the alleyways, public shelters and underpasses of Colorado Springs. And you don’t need a backstage pass to get up close and personal with these people. They can use your help right now and tomorrow and between national catastrophes. Roberta Rand Caponey Colorado Springs FALCON FOOTBALL Fair-weather fans drop ball by not supporting team For those so-called fans who gave up their season tickets to Falcon football, we have three questions. First, are they aware that Falcon Stadium was among the very few Division 1 schools to permit outside food? Second, are they attending the game to eat or are they there to cheer on our Falcons? Last, will they please let us know what they are buying that has not gone up in price in the past few years? We’ll take a dozen of them. Shame on you. You missed a great game and most of all you missed the opportunity to support the very men and women who will in the not-too-distant future support our nation each and every day. Go Air Force! Dave and Chris Stevenson Colorado Springs BROKEN PROMISES Serve if you want, but don’t trust government Every day, more of our young men and women are giving their lives for their country. My heart aches for their families. With all kinds of promises, military branches try to lure young people to join their ranks. I wish to give them this warning: don’t listen. These promises can easily be broken. My husband died Dec. 26, 2004. For more than 30 years he was proud to serve his country during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was one of the original Tuskegee Airmen. He endured the segregation of the military services, and the discrimination continued throughout his military career. Despite all these hurdles, he stood strong and tall and performed his duties in a superior way. My husband was 100 percent disabled due to Agent Orange in Vietnam. He was treated off and on for cancer since the 1970s. He finally succumbed to that horrible disease last Christmas. As the widow of a veteran, I was entitled to several benefits. I am not entitled to his Social Security, since I receive a PERA pension. The only thing I am entitled to from Social Security is $255 for burial expenses (which eight months after his death I am still waiting for). Social Security has been the most frustrating organization to deal with. I can’t tell you how many times I cried myself to sleep after conversations with Social Security employees. Their system declared me dead along with my husband. They notified Medicare that I died. I no longer had health insurance. They resurrected my husband and left me dead. After several months, I am finally alive again, officially. The government does not care what promises to veterans’ families it breaks. I have written to so many agencies as well as congressmen and senators for an answer. Their responses are courteous, but they are unable to help. I believe people should be proud to serve in the military, as it is a very honorable profession. However, I would strongly suggest you do not count on services and other benefits the government promises. Annemarie Mason Colorado Springs PACK OF JACKALS Counting on U.N.’s help can be fatal mistake Regarding the Sept. 13 letters from Jeff Courtright (“Gazette overreaches in attack on U.N.”) and James J. Amato (“Despite its problems, world body saves lives”), respectively, it is nearly impossible to “overreach” in critiquing the United Nations. The U.N. is a people killer. I will admit my own bias against the U.N., which stems from common sense and patriotic thinking. I’m naturally biased against “diplomats” from outlaw dictatorships running amok in New York: racking up unpaid parking tickets, trashing hotel suites, sitting on “human rights” committees, voting on affairs dealing with our sovereignty, etc. As for Amato’s statement that the U.N. saves lives — does the name Rwanda ring any bells? The U.N. stood by while the machete slaughter unfolded. Then the U.N. sent in a bunch of child molesters to set things “right” in the aftermath. Where was the U.N. when the United States withdrew from South Vietnam, the South Vietnamese government collapsed, and the communists rushed in to slaughter, imprison, and torture hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese? Where is the U.N. while the Sudanese government bombs villages, burns farms, rapes women and takes children as slaves for wealthy government agents? And what about the time the Syrian government surrounded a town of troublemaking Palestinians in Syria and shelled it to rubble? Oh, yeah, the U.N. was busy voting to condemn Israel for defending itself against people who blow themselves up in pizza parlors and city buses. The U.N. is led by a pack of jackals, beginning with Kofi Annan. It operates outside the consent of the governed (antithetical to the very concept of freedom and the common good). And if that’s not enough, because it has been so successful on land, it wants total control of the seas though the Law Of the Seas Treaty. Mark L. King Colorado Springs