Outside Penrose library
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Penrose Library no longer a library

Enough is enough. I realize Penrose LIbrary is a public library and, as such, cannot deny access to any patron. But it has turned into a homeless shelter, and the parking lot has turned into a campground. On any day, one can walk into the library but cannot find a place to sit because every chair is occupied by a homeless person.

There is now a four-foot pile of sleeping bags and possessions in the middle of the open area. Carts are lined up outside the doors. They are now allowed to bring food, drinks and pets into the library.

I have no problem with anyone using the library as library.

When the library closes at night, all the homeless people head out to the parking lot to claim their spots along the building. Patrons cannot even approach the outdoor book drop because of all the people sleeping there. The piles of trash outside the doors in the morning are horrendous. I have seen dirty underwear next to the trash can.

Property taxes pay for the library. I understand it is city property. I feel all property owners should have a say in how the library facilities are used. This is not one I’ve authorized.

Library Board of Directors, where are you? City leaders, where are you? Can we turn Penrose Library back into a library?

Mary Jo Piccin

Colorado Springs


Grinch has stolen Christmas

I cherish memories of my past Christmases. This week I viewed the Festival of Lights parade via my TV. So many children attended and I wonder what their memories will be after an evening of Santa, snowmen, polar bears, the Grinch and bands playing music with no traditional carols. I kept thinking “Bah Humbug.”

What is Christmas? My parents taught me that it was about the most special event in the history of the world. No hint of this was apparent in the parade!

Today’s children will most likely believe that the holiday is about getting stuff, but not the real gift. I guess the Grinch has indeed stolen Christmas!

Viewing the festival parade made me sad. Let’s give our children the true joy of Christmas. It’s long past time to put Christ back in Christmas.

Margaret Henkens

Colorado Springs


Springs has the total package

I am currently a college student attending the University of Alabama but lived in Colorado Springs for the longest of any city in my life up to this point and graduated from Discovery Canyon High School.

I’m writing to satisfy a requirement for my Eagle Scout badge and have decided to write about how much I appreciate and miss the city of Colorado Springs now that I’m living somewhere else.

I am the son of a retired military officer and our family, like every other military family, moved around our fair share. As such, I am able to be perhaps a bit more objective than most when it comes to making judgments about the quality of life in different parts of the country. I am lucky to have lived in some great places — my Dad retired as a Captain from the U.S. Coast Guard and, as many may or may not know, the Coast Guard owns some of the absolutely most prime property locations in the whole country. I was born in Mobile, Ala., lived in Elizabeth City, N.C., Eureka, Calif., Novato, Calif., Colorado Springs, and now Tuscaloosa, Ala.. Each has its own high points, but none has the “total package” like Colorado Springs does.

From great schools to fantastic parks to unbelievable trails, to the view of Pike’s Peak I had every morning, it is a great place to call “home” and I miss it a lot and look forward to visiting soon!

Cade Sundgaard

Tuscaloosa, Ala.


Handling citizens’ initiatives

Regarding the Nov. 27 editorial: “Turnout raises bar for ballot measures,” yes, “Coloradans wisely rejected a list of ill-conceived, poorly written ballot measures…” while “had this gone the other way, our state would be in trouble.”

The editorial seems to consider all initiatives proposed by citizens as ill-conceived: not only the ones sponsored by out-of-state activists, but also the two that received separate endorsements by our governor and mayor of Colorado Springs.

The editorial asserts that “American founders created an assortment of checks and balances to protect us from governance by direct democracy.” I believe it could be successfully argued that citizen initiated measures serve to provide similar checks and balances to representative democracy. Also, like Propositions 109 and 110, citizen’s initiatives have been used effectively to deal with those issues that legislators seem unwilling or unable to address.

I agree with the editorial that “Laws imposed by elections do not typically compare to the quality of those crafted by our representative process.”

So how could we expose each initiative proposed by citizens to the same scrutiny, debate and torture-test that all bills proposed by our legislature must go through?

Here’s one way.

a. Once a citizen’s initiative meets all the current requirements to go on a ballot, it would not go on a ballot until it goes through one legislative cycle.

b. During the legislative cycle, legislators would either support the proponent’s initiative (a benefit to the proponent), not support the initiative, or recommend changes to make the initiative acceptable to the legislators (proponents would have the option to either make the changes proposed by legislators or not).

c. Finally, once the initiative goes through a legislative cycle, the proponent would still have the option of putting the initiative on the next ballot as originally proposed, putting it on the ballot with the changes recommended by the legislators, or totally withdrawing the initiative.

My guess is that it would require a citizen’s initiative to make this change to our constitution.

Vince Rusinak

Colorado Springs

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