LETTERS

Block of Ages
I wanted to comment on Michael Roberts's article about Dennis Powell, "Experience Not Needed," in the February 16 issue. I thought it was wonderfully well written. I know Mr. Powell only slightly, but I know he's a very good person. He doesn't deserve what they're doing to him. Thank you.

Name withheld on request

I'm a student at Machebeuf Catholic High School. I had both Mr. de Vangel and Mr. Powell for teachers. I also had Mrs. Williams as a counselor for two years. These three people were incredibly nice and very intelligent, but they did their jobs poorly. Mr. Powell had no control over the class. The students would just talk over him. They would run around. At least 90 percent of the students cheated, even on final exams. De Vangel had control, but I never learned a thing from him. We listened, copied homework from others and cheated. Mrs. Williams had not a clue as to how to talk to a student, and she did very little for the student body.

Dr. Mantelli is a smart, compassionate woman who was doing her job to the best of her ability. These former teachers were at Machebeuf longer than they should have been.

Name withheld on request

A Family Affair
I was very moved by Patricia Calhoun's followup on her friends Terri and Phil, "A Touching Story," in the February 16 issue. Since I first read about this family in Westword, I have noticed many more publications discussing the issue of false allegations of child abuse. Once again, Westword did it first--and best!

Jo Simons
Denver

Hats off and a big thank you to Patricia Calhoun.
Families, if you have a complaint of abuse of your family by the Department of Social Services or the courts, call Senator Bob Martinez at 866-4865. Tell him you support Senate Bill 163 and his efforts to establish a grievance procedure for system-abused families.

Legislators, there isn't any room left under the carpet to sweep family testimony and political rhetoric as to the reality of system abuse of families. Support Senator Martinez. Make SB 163 a bipartisan bill. Show Colorado families that you care. After all, families are your constituents. Isn't it a fiduciary responsibility to protect citizens, by law, from abuse?

Norma Hill
Denver

The Zeal to Conceal
In regard to Kenny Be's February 16 Worst-Case Scenario, "Have Gun, Will Travail," I must say I'm looking forward to his cartoon dealing with the abduction, assault and repeat performance (within minutes) by the criminal in the Rhonda Maloney case. I keep thinking of her helplessness the night she was attacked.

So, Kenny, as far as concealed weapons are concerned--isn't one life saved worth it?

Daniel Leffler
Denver

Arrest Stop
Regarding Karen Bowers's "What Rhymes With `Jerkwater'?" in the January 26 issue:

I am surprised that you found the deplorable situation in which Myke Johnson and her daughter found themselves worthy of coverage. Like the majority of your readers, I, too, found the conduct of the Edgewater officers appalling and the ensuing criminal process ludicrous. The fact is, however, that this is not an aberrant case.

As a lawyer whose practice is limited to defending those who are accused of crimes, I see this scenario played out time and time again. The horror, frustration and anger that good citizens experience when they mistakenly get ensnared in the criminal justice system and are treated like "criminals" is commonplace today. A great number of my clients are truly victims of law enforcement officials who are overzealous and undertrained, and overburdened prosecutors who are hand-tied by political bosses whose only concern is re-election by mimicking "zero tolerance" and "tough on crime" slogans.

The sad reality is that it is going to get worse. Our current method of dealing with crime is outmoded and ill focused. More police and prison beds are not the answer. If President Clinton follows through with his promise of 100,000 more police officers on the street without redefining their objective ("To Protect and to Serve" may be a good starting point), it will be inevitable that more and more ordinary citizens will be put through the meat grinder. Once the true dangers to society are imprisoned, where do you think these vast legions of gung-ho officers will go to keep their arrest records up? You guessed it, good citizens.

Gregory D. Robinson
Denver

Uncivil Liberties
"Civil Wars" in the February 9 issue was shoddy and misleading reporting by Steve Jackson and won't go unanswered.

There are many false or misleading issues in the story, but let's begin with Glenn Morris. I know what I'm talking about with Glenn--he's my son by sacred, traditional American Indian ceremony. In Indian society, when a person's name or character is attacked, the attacked person is not supposed to respond. Rather, those who love and respect him will respond, and that reflects the measure of respect that he holds with his loved ones and with his community.

Jackson's ignorance of the Indian world blinded him to certain essential qualities of Glenn's character and his "Indianness"--things that Glenn should not feel obligated to reveal to a reporter. First, let's get one thing clear: Glenn is racially Indian, he is spiritually Indian, he is culturally Indian, and he is politically and socially Indian. He knows his relatives and his lineage and he loves his people.

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