Unhappy with Plan for Square

The present design of Fountain Square was much lauded when it was built. Its beauty is in the interesting architecture, the fine quality of polished stone, different construction materials, the vari

The present design of Fountain Square was much lauded when it was built. Its beauty is in the interesting architecture, the fine quality of polished stone, different construction materials, the variation of levels and the various nooks that gave it variety.

This beauty hasn't diminished over the years. The square should remain a raised oasis in the center of the city as it is now. This would keep it above the hustle and bustle and noise of the busy surrounding streets. Turning the square into an extension of the commercial streets, with stores and advertising signs, would defeat its purpose as a refuge for people and an architectural ornament to the city.

The fountain shouldn't be moved, though the stage, which detracts from the square's beauty, would best be removed. The addition of many more trees would add to the problem of bird droppings on the pavement and on people. A totally flat square level with the street would be much less architecturally interesting.

The skywalk across the north end of the square serves a practical purpose and adds architectural interest to the area.

With the increase of more residential units being added downtown, it would seem an extension of the skywalk system, rather than its elimination, would be preferable.

Thus the total rebuilding of Fountain Square seems to be a fiscally irresponsible decision and appears to be nothing more than change for change's sake, not an improvement.

— Clyde Bowen, Hyde Park

Not Worth Boot Dust
I've heard we should never criticize the military. I don't agree.

I think that behind the scenes — behind the facade of representative government — the military practically runs this country. It's reported they get half our tax revenues already, and the new budget is likely to be half a trillion dollars. And they're hard-pressed to tell us where the money goes. Nor do we hear much more than token debate on the subject. The Pentagon basically gets what it wants. Or it kicks and screams a bit and then gets what it wants.

Apparently, we've all been terrorized into believing we need this 800-pound gorilla, this sacred cow that's sucking up so much of our resources. Like we need SUVs, you know? Create a need and then fill it. Or, more to the point, instill fear and then sell protection.

I know it sounds trite, but what President Eisenhower warned against many years ago — the growing power of the military/industrial complex — sure seems to have come to pass in spades. The giant bureaucracy, the vast array of companies that sell to it, the billions in profit. And the jobs. My God, the jobs. It all adds up to an economy based on war and preparation for war.

Then there's oil. It's not only the lifeblood of the economy, unfortunately, but also of the military. If there's anyone who needs a steady supply more than them, I'd like to know who. And so the oil wars have begun.

Who are the military anyway? The soldiers being sacrificed in Iraq and elsewhere are just the bottom rung. Not that we see very much of them. We see plenty of high-tech weaponry, though. That's good marketing. Wow! We must be getting our money's worth. Never mind bodybags and burials or amputees or homeless veterans torn up by what they've seen and been forced to do and then abandoned by those who set them up to be killers and targets and torturers in the first place.

I must confess, I'm surprised they haven't reinstated the draft. But I still think it's coming, given all the publicity about unmet quotas of late. What's not surprising is that enlistment is down. I guess not that many people are willing to get their asses blown off for someone else's bottom line. Or for a lying president whom I personally don't think is worth the dust off a GI's boots much less an arm or a leg or a life.

— James Byrnes, Hyde Park