Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content LETTERS: Nation's great military academies; Victim of pot legalization?

Letters Published: April 4, 2014

Nation's great military academies

Congratulations to the Air Force Academy on the occasion of its 60th birthday! Special note should be taken of the fact that in a relatively short history for an academic and military institution, USAFA has risen to the top several times in academic and athletic pursuits.

It is somewhat disappointing, however, that in major commemorative articles in The Gazette by the current superintendent, commandant and dean, there was no mention of the builders of the foundation of the Air Force Academy: graduates of your original academy, established in 1802, the United States Military Academy. In 2002, on the occasion of the bicentennial of West Point, the superintendent of USAFA honored local West Point graduates at a cadet review, and that was very much appreciated.

Graduates of West Point not only formulated the plan to start the Air Force Academy, but, in fact, the president who signed the order establishing USAFA was a West Pointer, the legendary Dwight David Eisenhower. The vast majority of traditions of the Air Force Academy, including the honor code, came from West Point, and most of the instructors for decades were West Point graduates. It wasn't until the 1990s that an Air Force Academy graduate became superintendent rather than a West Pointer. (Coincidentally, that first AFA-grad superintendent had been an AFA quarterback, and a contemporary West Point football star was, at that time, commanding Fort Carson.)

So, congratulations and a heartfelt, "You're Welcome," to one of the nation's great institutions, from the graduates of the great institution that was instrumental in the beginning and development of USAFA.

Jim Mesite, USMA '69, Colorado Springs

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Bear Creek Trails closure

From a hiker's perspective, these comments likely represent views of most in the local hiking community on proposed Alternative B.

1. There is an unfair imbalance in provisions for retaining foot travel as compared to the elaborate-expensive scheme for motorized use.

2. Forcing hikers to compete with motorized traffic, on "multiuse", trails is NOT an acceptable option as is being proposed.

3. Erosion - sedimentation threatening fish habitat is unquestionably the result of having allowed dirt-bike use. As proof, simply compare the condition of nonmotorized Trail 666 with "multiuse" 667 - a stark and obvious contrast.

4. With restoration, and partial relocation, the present 667 route can sustain foot travel in harmony with fish habitat, as was the case for well over 100 years.

5. If deemed necessary, it is indeed very feasible to bypass present Trail 667 with a route high on the north slope remote from the stream.

6. Denying foot-only access to Jones Park is as unacceptable as it is unnecessary. So long as it can be reached and enjoyed by pedestrians only, this historic gem need not be stricken from the list of the Springs recreational assets. It has not been demonstrated that such low-impact use will pose harm to fish habitat."

John A. Vance, Woodland Park

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$100 million swing and miss?

Thank you Dave Phillips for factual insight into the scrubber fiasco at Colorado Springs Utilities. Your March 2 and March 30 articles has raised my ire at as a shareholder (ratepayer) in the enterprise known as Colorado Springs Utilities.

I found it interesting that on a project that has risen more than $100 million in costs (approximately 10 percent of Colorado Springs Utilities annual budget) that there was absolutely no input from the Colorado Springs Utilities CEO, Jerry Forte. Most CEOs would be at the forefront, questioning how such large-scale mistakes and miscalculations were made under their management.

Any privately held corporation that had a major project come in at 400-500 percent of it's initial cost estimate using a largely untested, speculative technology without having openly bid the project would immediately come under fire. Shareholders would ultimately question the CEO and the company board for answers on the efficiency and expertise of the leadership of the enterprise. In most cases, the CEO and many board members would either resign or would be terminated for such failure. Instead City Council doesn't seek answers, but rewards the CEO with a huge bonus for outstanding leadership and performance. What about the $100 million swing and miss?

The scrubber mistakes have cost Colorado Springs Utilities ratepayers (shareholders) millions of dollars. Apparently, the technology still doesn't work as intended. I think I better understand why City Council just approved a $11.4 million dollar electric rate increase asked for by Jerry Forte. Anyone want to bet where the scrubber costs, and our electric rates, ultimately end up?

Duane Johnston, Colorado Springs

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Victim of pot legalization?

I was pulled over on a deserted two lane Wyoming highway a few weeks ago, after overtaking a slow moving tanker truck. When I reached my destination in Idaho, I was informed that Colorado and Washington drivers were providing a great source of revenue for the state police.

With a Colorado plate, any infraction would probably get me pulled over. I don't smoke pot, but if my truck had smelled like pot, I probably would have been searched. Was I profiled? You'd have to ask the Wyoming state trooper who pulled me over. Was I guilty of speeding? I had exceeded the posted limit while overtaking another vehicle, so technically, yes. I'm $82 poorer and a little bit wiser. Instead of considering myself a victim of overzealous law enforcement, I think it's more accurate to say that I am a victim of the unintended consequences of marijuana legalization.

John Mayer, Colorado Springs

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