Support city's law enforcement
I want to share information regarding a recent reoccurring meeting I attended along with other concerned citizens regarding public safety, specifically law enforcement. The meetings are hosted by both Sheriff Bill Elder and Chief of Police Pete Carey. The sheriff is an elected official while the chief of police is appointed by the Colorado Springs mayor. Both are deeply committed and interested in public safety. I want to focus on Colorado Springs for the remainder of this letter.
In the recent meeting, I found the following very interesting: Due to a shortage of officers, our average response time for a call police service is 13.58 minutes, or about twice the time for a similar-sized city across the nation. As many of you know, Colorado Springs is the 40th-largest city in the nation, and yet we have a severely under-staffed police force, hence the unusual long response time.
Yes, the response time is driven by the budget, as are all city issues. Among them is our Colorado Springs policemen and women are paid $10,000 less per year than our local El Paso County sheriff's deputies, and much lower than Denver and many other locations in Colorado and in the nation. Thus, this pay disparity is contributing to the constant turnover of police officers. Of course, pay is not the only thing that drives police officers; a perception they are not appreciated by the populace and a perceived general public hostility toward police officers and seeming public distrust and perhaps unfair scrutiny are also a contributing factors. I encourage each citizen to contact their city councilman/woman or the mayor and demand greater emphasis be placed on training, pay, retention and recruitment.
Bottom line, if we want more and better city law enforcement, faster response times, improved enforcement of traffic laws, we must pay for it.
I, for one, would love to see more police officers who are Colorado Springs natives or former military, who know and understand our community, and are qualified to be law enforcement officers and respect our values.
Willie H. Breazell
Questioning immigration order
The legality of the currently suspended immigration order would appear to depend on what constitutes a "class of aliens" which may be excluded by proclamation as "detrimental" to this country's interests under 8 U.S. Code 1182 (212)f. Discrimination in issuance of visas on the basis of nationality alone seems counter to 8 U.S. Code 1152 (202)(a). To exclude nationals of a given country, therefore, would appear to require additional justification. For example, President Jimmy Carter's 1979 immigration order was in response to a criminal act sanctioned by Iran's revolutionary government - the invasion of our embassy and the kidnapping of our diplomats by Iranian "students."
The immigration orders were accompanied by economic sanctions, and the severing of diplomatic relations with Iran.
No actions by the governments of the countries named in the present order, or any other exigent circumstances, have been cited as reasons for excluding their nationals specifically. The Administration's present order is also notable for some of the countries it does not cover. These include Saudi Arabia (home of Osama bin Laden as well as 15 of the 9/11 hijackers); Afghanistan (base of operations for 9/11; home of the Taliban; and where we are still waging war); Pakistan (harbored bin Laden until 2011; sanctuary for the Taliban; and home of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik); Nigeria (home of convicted "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and the terrorist organization Boko Haram); and Kyrgyzstan (birthplace of convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev).
Finally, there is the fact that the 1979 immigration order against Iran was announced publicly, whereas the part of the present order which canceled tens of thousands of already-issued visas was secret, only being publicly disclosed during court proceedings. If this action was so necessary, why was the administration trying to hide it?
Recognize little-known heart issue
Feb. 22 marks National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day. There's no better time to recognize this common, yet little-known, disease.
As many as five million Americans are estimated to have heart valve disease (HVD), which occurs if one or more of your heart valves doesn't work properly. The disease can reduce blood flow and lead to major health complications, including death: 22,000 Americans die every year from HVD - an estimated 60 people a day. Older adults, aged 75 and over, and people who have had a previous heart condition are especially vulnerable to HVD.
Yet three in four Americans recently surveyed know little to nothing about HVD.
The good news is that, when detected, valve disease can usually be successfully treated in patients of all ages. Visit valvediseaseday.org and help raise awareness of HVD.
In this case, what you know can help save a life.
Time to cut this wasteful spending
If there was ever a need for National Public Radio (NPR) or "Public Television," it's long past. The overabundance of broadcast and internet channels provides numerous choices of information and entertainment. The fact that hundreds of stations have either gone off the air or drastically revised their formats speaks to the fact that Americans will support what they like and ignore what they don't.
If the taxpayer subsidized networks disappear, any worthy programs produced by NPR or CBC will quickly find a home on commercial radio or television. There will be competition for programming that commands an audience - as hundreds of cable channels endeavor to generate 24-7 content.
If, as Paxton Hyde implies in his letter, publicly funded broadcast news coverage "is necessary to the functioning of a representative democracy," we are out of luck - because only a tiny segment of our society depends on NPR for news. Furthermore, his opinion that "NPR and CBC are more reliable and honest than their private counterparts" is highly debatable. And who can argue, with a straight face, that having a government entity in charge of editing and interpreting the news is a guarantee against bias?
The redirecting of funds to the military is incidental and unimportant to the main point of Rep. Doug Lamborn's defunding proposal. We need to cut wasteful spending everywhere we can. Publicly subsidized broadcast networks are obviously "low hanging fruit" in our long overdue return to fiscal responsibility.