The Meter's Running
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Call Me a Cab," in the January 31 issue:
What's next for the publicity wizards in our fair city? Monitoring playground talk to make sure that no kids criticize Denver Public Schools? Spying on fans at Coors Field so that no one boos when Galarraga strikes out of the playoffs? At least no Denver cab has ever lost my luggage, which is more than I can say for the airlines.

Joel Harris

I just read Patricia Calhoun's "Call Me a Cab," and it reminded me of a question I thought of earlier: Why do we have to have the Conoco station inside the parking-garage toll gates? This way, no matter which way you're going, you've got to pay extra on your parking if you're not within the grace period to stop and fill up on gas.

And, of course, you'll need that gas, because you've just driven all that way in the vast wasteland with no gas station in sight.

Bob Nelson

Kempe Followers
In the January 31 issue of Westword, the letter by Susan W. Hiatt, director of the Kempe Center, serves to demonstrate why this state agency requires further scrutiny by the state legislature. Mental-health professionals, who work on the very same issues as the Kempe Center does, must be licensed, submit to the authority of the state's Mental Health Occupational Grievance Board and risk being sued for malpractice. The fact that none of this applies to those employed at the Kempe Center is an insult to the profession.

This combination of confidentiality, sovereign immunity and lack of licensure has turned the Kempe Center into a sanctuary for the unqualified, the incompetent and the unethical. The system is not protecting abused children. It is shielding gross negligence, by state employees, that no private organization would ever tolerate.

It is indeed sad that Hiatt rallies to support Clare Haynes-Seman but is unable to refute any of the criticism that professionals across the nation have leveled against the Kempe Center's former director of its Family Evaluation Team. Hiatt berates Westword for "denigrating" Haynes-Seman, but no one has denied any of the wrongdoings this publication has detailed. Is it any wonder that no responsible source would want to fund the "crystal ball psychology" practiced by Haynes-Seman? This is clearly a governmental entity in denial of its cloudy past.

Child abuse is a horrible plague in our society. But if past practices of the Kempe Center are any example of the state's effort to combat this evil, then the cure is as bad as the disease. Unless the legislature and the governor make some long overdue changes, Colorado will never be "the best place to raise a child."

Drew Kerin
Commerce City

The departure of Haynes-Seman from the Kempe Center--for whatever reasons--came far too late for the many innocent families harmed by her "assessments." These "assessments" were not based on facts, evidence or investigation. Just pure hype, hysteria and false allegations.

An additional lawsuit was filed in Boulder District Court within the past thirty days by another innocent Kempe victim. The "assessment" led to great tragedy for the family. More lawsuits against the governmental "program" are expected to follow. The defendants are the Kempe Center, University of Colorado Health Sciences and the Board of Regents at the University of Colorado. All of these are supported by taxpayer dollars.

The support group Victims and Survivors of the Kempe...Abuse Center testified before the Joint Budget Committee on February 1, 1996, urging the JBC to defund the Kempe. The hearing was attended by a Kempe attorney, Kempe employees and two lobbyists for the University of Colorado and UCHS. All paid by your tax dollars.

Legislators, please give innocent families and Colorado taxpayers a break. Do the right thing: Defund the Kempe.

A.J. Byrnes

More balderdash to placate and ameliorate the harm done by Kempe evaluators--no facts, no evidence, no investigations...just speculation, confabulation and opinions.

In my opinion, these Kempe assessments seem to fit the statutory definition of fraud, fraud in the court and fraudulent misrepresentations. This should be a wake-up call to the Consumer Fraud Division of the Attorney General's office.

Irresponsible psychologists and psychiatrists caused this facetious amendment to New Mexico's HB 95-459 to pass third reading in the New Mexico Legislature: "...When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant's competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts. Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than eighteen inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding the defendant's competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong..."

Psychologists and mental-health workers, clean up your act. Legislators, defund the Kempe.

S. Levy

Last week I testified before the Joint Budget Committee concerning the dangerous and reckless work conducted by the Kempe Center. It's a scam at the expense of innocent families. The state is abusing children, and the governor should take notice.

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