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LETTERS

California Steaming
I was disappointed to see the first category on your Best of Denver Readers' Poll: "The best way to discourage Californians from coming to Colorado."

A Colorado native, I have lived in North and South Carolina, Georgia and back in Colorado, and I was then relocated to California. Upon my second return to Colorado a little over a year ago, I was disturbed by the amount of animosity that I received because I had California plates on my truck. Once, when confronted by a woman, I inquired if she was a Colorado native. She replied, "No, but I've lived here for fifteen years." My comeback was to state proudly that I am a Coloradan. I have since then become a little embarrassed to admit that, though. Someone from California recently asked if I had a "Go home, Californian" bumper sticker.

Personally, I welcome the culture that outsiders bring into our city and state. New businesses, new jobs, new arts and entertainment. A boost for the budget of Colorado, and new ideas and input for urban and suburban renewal. Denver's current issues include expansion of mass transportation and how to raise environmental awareness. Some Californians could teach us more about the hows and whys of taking care of our state to preserve its beauty. It is possible that these newcomers don't take what they have for granted. Many come for relief from earthquakes, floods, fire, mud slides, hurricanes or crime. Possibly they can help us appreciate our fair state even more. Instead of the old-fashioned welcome wagon, though, they are viewed with bigoted attitudes and are criticized for where they come from.

I find it odd for a seemingly liberal newspaper to entice people to close their minds and to hate. Never have I been without a sense of humor regarding polls that are meant to guide us to the best food or entertainment, and I am in no way stating that your Best Of question is the problem at hand. Rather, it is a symptom of a much greater problem: the xenophobic attitudes in Colorado that Westword is perpetuating.

Geina Horton
Lakewood

Gale Force
Concerning your article about Attorney General Gale Norton's senate race, Michelle Dally Johnston's "Against the Wind," in the June 7 issue:

Let me see if I have this right. The reporter thinks that frontrunner Norton will have difficulty because: (1) she speaks slowly and thoughtfully rather than out of emotion; (2) her campaign manager is not a "professional"; (3) she doesn't listen to what the inept state Republican Party leaders tell her to do; (4) she takes cases on principle to the U.S. Supreme Court for final resolution; and (5) she doesn't want to run a flashy, "sophisticated" campaign. Am I missing something here? While the reporter was formulating this odd induction, she neglected to examine Norton's intellectual libertarian views in any detail. If Ms. Norton doesn't win the nomination, it will simply prove that the electorate still favors fluff over substance. But, as they say, we get the government we deserve.

Tom McKean
Superior

The Details Are Sketchy
I must compliment Westword on the May 31 issue, with so many well-researched and -illustrated articles. For Arthur Hodges's "Political Seance," John Cuneo's caricature of Mayor Wellington Webb is a real masterpiece. The whole HRCR organization stinks. As for Wellington Webb, has anyone found the answers to his brother's plane trip to Atlanta? Many of us would be interested in that. Who benefited?

For Bill Gallo's "Out of the Closet, Swinging," Patrick Merewether's caricature of the lady golfer makes a real point about women golfers' "boobs" getting in the way. This would make a good T-shirt picture for lady golfers!

Maymie Rolfs
Lakewood

More Graphic Details
Thank you for covering my court case against Swami Jyoti in "Hide the Swami," by Steve Jackson, in the May 31 issue. Your printing the original expose of Swami a year ago was such a help to me in confronting my own abuse by the Swami. Until I came across the Westword article, for all I knew I was the only one he'd done this with. The isolation, combined with the fear tactics Swami used on me, really put the brakes on my healing. I now think that Swami, who has traveled so extensively, has hurt many other isolated lives. Abusers like Swami count on the silence of their victims. This is why it is important to go on exposing abuse until it stops.

It is a vulnerable-feeling experience to give one's story to the press, not knowing how it's going to come out in print. I was pleased with the concise and coherent job Steve Jackson made of what is, of course, a long story.

However, I take issue with the attention-grabbing illustration you used. It gives the impression of a Lolita-like devotee stretched out naked, tempting the robed and praying guru. This is a graphic reinforcement of the old stereotype of young woman as seductress, or as having "asked for it." I trust those who read the story figured out that this picture bears no relationship to what actually happened between me and the Swami. But the message of graphic art is powerful and needs to be used with as much journalistic care as the printed word.

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