Living Off the Fad of the Land
Regarding your December 6 issue:
The Globeville family that Robin Chotzinoff wrote about in "Globeville Warming" is living a modern version of nineteenth-century village life like that described in a George Eliot novel. It is refreshing to read about people not caught up in getting and spending and "reinventing" themselves to conform to some brainless fad. It was a sweet story.

Speaking of brainless fads: "Who's the Boss?" by Michelle Dally Johnston, lands another well-deserved hit on the child-abuse industry operated by social workers, teachers and their true believers.

Westword does good work. I hope the "with-it" crowd the ads are aimed at realizes that.

Norman Ely

Giving the City What Fore
Regarding T.R. Witcher's "Missing Links," in the December 6 issue:
I must congratulate you on the fine investigative reporting in the Denver municipal golf courses piece. A friend of mine told me of the story and I went out to get a copy. As an avid golfer, independent consultant and Denver resident, I found that I could save the city at least 90 percent of the fee charged by Monaghan & Associates through common sense.

During the past two years I have seen many improvements on the Denver courses which I assumed came through the lottery funds... perhaps not! Kennedy golf course built a new nine which had to be redone because the erosion of the grass required reseeding and a delay of the opening of play. Wellshire underwent new irrigation systems and the planting of many new trees. Overland received a new clubhouse, restaurant and pro shop that would rival any private country club under a very favorable lease condition with a private individual. Denver acquired Mira Vista (the old Lowry Air Force Base course) and has made many concessions to attract golfers to a mediocre course.

I hail the city for improving these courses; however, $57,000 to tell them how they incur additional expense is outrageous. If "Our Miss Brooks" thinks that $57,000 is peanuts, she can pay my taxes!

R. Gilreath

Station Break
After reading Karen Bowers's December 13 story "One Last Gasp for Marlboro Country," about plans for a Marlboro train, my advice to Philip Morris spokeswoman Karen Daragan is this: Include not only fly fishing, rafting and ballooning in your Western itinerary, but also consider a side trip to the oncology floor of a local hospital to visit the lung-cancer patients.

You owe it to your passengers!
Jean G. Tuthill

The Light Stuff
Alan Prendergast's story on light rail ("Runaway Train," December 13) failed to take into account the key reason that expansion plans are moving forward: strong public support. As his own experience riding light rail confirmed, people love it! More people than expected are riding it, and the Park-n-Ride at Broadway and I-25 fills up earlier each morning, despite being expanded.

In February and again in September, overwhelming public support convinced the RTD board to move ahead with expanding light rail. In an April poll by News 4 and the Denver Post, 65 percent of the respondents said expanding light rail would be a good use of RTD money. Will it cost money to build? Of course, but compared to widening freeways, it's cheap. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) estimates it would cost $600 million to widen I-70 from the mousetrap to Tower Road. In contrast, light rail from downtown to DIA would only cost $335 million, according to RTD.

Contrary to popular myth, autos do not pay their own way. Counties and cities in Colorado pour nearly half a billion dollars a year of their own money into road construction, maintenance and other highway costs. This subsidy comes from property and sales taxes and other non-auto-related revenue, according to data collected by CDOT.

The Denver metro area will add nearly a million more people in the next 25 years. If we continue on the road (pun intended) we're on, that growth will cause a Los Angeles-style nightmare of sprawl, congestion and smog. If that isn't the future we desire, then we'd better do some things differently--including building a light rail system.

Lauren Martens
Colorado Environmental Coalition

I disagree with the thrust of "Runaway Train"--that light rail should not be built. I believe it is very important to give people public transportation options that are fast and convenient so that we can reduce automobile use.

We are driving our automobiles more and more all the time. Auto use is increasing at a faster rate than population growth. In a few years, the gains we have made in cleaning the air through catalytic converters and other technology will begin to be reversed by the increase in vehicle use. As the article points out, light rail is not inexpensive, but I would challenge the author to suggest a less expensive, viable alternative to getting people out of their cars and onto public transportation. Prendergast also takes issue with the low fares, which cover only a portion of operation costs. Does he think highways are paid for by the users only? We all pay taxes to fund highways, clean-air programs and related needs. Low fares for buses and light rail are essential in getting people who already own cars to use public transportation. I think it is wise and essential to invest in light rail now.

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