By Jonathan Shikes
By Michael Roberts
By Jonathan Shikes
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By William Breathes
By Melanie Asmar
Am I the only person who noticed that Patricia Calhoun's most recent columns ("A Federal Case," March 14, and "Patching Things Up," March 7) were set in bars? Although I appreciated her writing, it seems to me that Westword's editor could focus her attention on more worthwhile places.
Bravo, Calhoun! I was at the Lower Downtown District Inc. awards dinner and was appalled to find the Terminal Bar singled out for such a humiliation. Why doesn't LDDI pick on someone its own size, at least in ego?
Name withheld on request
Now the Fur's Flying
Thank you for Eric Dexheimer's "Fur Fight," in the March 7 issue. I was pleasantly surprised to read a city newspaper in which such a volatile subject was presented with a positive angle. My grandfather and my father were both fur trappers, and my nephew will most likely carry on the tradition. Contrary to what either Mr. Brock or Ms. Sommerville think (Letters, March 14), these men were/are neither cold-hearted (sic) nor were they ignorant bastards. I have no intention of trying to convince these two people that they need to mind their own fucking business; it wouldn't do any good. However, I would strongly suggest to them that if they were to become more concerned about pregnant teenagers, runaway children, gang-related violence, drug-addicted babies and a host of other societal ills, they could use their energies in a much more positive manner.
Thank you for your informative article about the Deliverance types living in Colorado. It was especially heartwarming to learn how to drown a beaver, a class DPS should look into scheduling. Just a few words to the Grizzly Adams wannabes:
To Les Deason: You are an animal. Humans, to be exact, are two percentage points genetically from being chimps. To be even more exact, we are kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Vertebrata down to Pongidae family, which includes gorillas and gibbons. And having studied the Bible, I'd be real surprised if you did remember a verse that Christ killed any animal. Because he did not. Christ's compassion was for all living creatures. We are the ones who granted our superiority, not God. He gave us the responsibility to care for the world. He did not give us the world. Since I can see by the grammar in your quote that you are barely educated, I forgive your ignorance. But don't place too much importance on yourself.
And to Spencer Bridges: If man has always been a predator, why all the fuss about gang shootings or any murder? Just acting out our predator instincts.
To respect any life, one must begin with all life.
If the animal-rights activists get their way, the state legislature will be adding fish, mice, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates to the "pet list," which means that if a person severely abuses or kills one of these critters they may go to JAIL under pending animal-cruelty legislation. Step on an ant from your ant farm or a cockroach from your collection, flush a guppy or stab a nightcrawler with a dull fish hook and you could be off to the Big House. This legislation is ridiculous in view of the crime and other problems facing Colorado citizens. If this is all our state representatives have to do, they should close the session, pack up and go home.
I had to write and compliment the objectivity of "Fur Fight." Professional work that tells it as it is on emotional and controversial subjects seems more difficult for others in the media. I've always preferred to form my own opinions, whether for or against.
I would like to say that even though I hunt and fish, trapping never really rated high on my list. However, after talking to a Colorado rancher who, along with his neighbors, lost around 700 sheep one year to coyotes, I cannot see eliminating it as some people would like to do. These people hired an experienced trapper to reduce the coyote population, preventing some of the families from serious financial devastation in a market that does not provide much for profit margins. I'm sure that this not only spared much livestock, but also many a fawn and elk calf not yet able to rely on their own defenses against an overpopulation of coyotes.
The Right to Bear Alms
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Alms for the Not-So-Poor," in the March 7 issue:
Hooray for Jefferson County assessor Judy Pettit! For far too long, businesses such as Lutheran have oozed in/around/ under state and federal laws with their so-called nonprofit status, getting out from under their tax liabilities to the communities in which they flourish. They demand all the same services tax revenues provide but cringe in horror and amazement when expected to pay up.
Kelly A. Johnson
With the assistance of our legislators, charity has become a business. The Devil made a home run when he came up with government assistance to tax relief for charity. Other government programs have helped the Devil with the three-run homer, too. When will charity be an act of compassion instead of a tax-deductible contribution?
What I don't understand is how--and why--getting a tax break is "like turning a key in a lock."
When Pigskin Flies
I agree with Bill Gallo's "Let's Get Ready to R-r-r-rollerblade!" in the March 7 issue. Give us a break--just how dumb does Pat Bowlen think his fans are? He states that 25 percent of the new stadium will be paid for by him. Of course it will, when pigsEfly. The higher ticket prices, higher prices on the luxury boxes, extremely high prices on food and drinks--that's where the 25 percent is coming from, not from Patrick's pockets. I don't see Elway offering any of his salary for anything; at least Troy Aikman gave a million of his salary to get Deion Sanders to play for Dallas. Elway is like Pat Bowlen--greedy--and he's not going to donate any of his salary. The $20 million they offered Deion would go a long way toward fixing up Mile High.
Say, Pat, you want to leave? Be my guest. First of all, you'd better find a city that will take all you losers. Ever stop to think you won't fill up other stadiums? So move--take your Broncos, your has-been quarterback, and leave. I myself think your Broncos couldn't beat a class of first-graders. I'm not a fan and never will be one. Give me any team but Muleface Elway and his burros.
What a joke.
How come the other five counties in the Coors sales-tax district seem to have nothing to say about the proposed Bronco stadium? All I see in the newspapers is that Pat Bowlen wants this and that in his stadium, and Mayor Webb and the city council go along with whatever Pat wants. I never see anything that the other five counties have to say.
If Pat Bowlen wants a stadium, let him put some of his money into it and not expect the people of the six counties to fund it. He wants luxury boxes, a dome, natural grass, etc., etc., to be paid for by the sales tax; he is also dictating the items on the contract he wants. And no one gets to say anything pro or con. Before the stadium is voted on, let's see the contract. Some of the things I want:
1. Ten percent of the seats in the stadium between the forty-yard lines will be allotted by lottery on Wednesday before home games to non-season-ticket holders. This will give everybody a chance to see the games.
2. Ten percent of parking and advertising revenue will be used to pay off the stadium. Also, concessions and other revenue.
3. Sales tax will be deleted when the stadium is paid for.
4. No members of the stadium committee will be allowed to work for the Broncos for five years after completion of the stadium.
There are other items to be put into the contract--like the Broncos will not move until the six-county area agrees to the move by vote--but you get the idea.
As you can guess, I am not in favor of paying for a new Taj Mahal for Pat Bowlen. If he can afford to live in Cherry Hills and buy a football team and all the extras that go with a millionaire's life, why should the ordinary people be asked to build a castle for the Bronco millionaire club? Before this becomes a done deal, how about sticking up for Joe Sixpack?
John I. Goetschius
Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's "Life of the Party," in the February 14 issue:
I think this was an unforgettable piece of writing, hilarious and sad. Robin handled this truly bizarre story with humorous facts but never laughed at "weeping widow Shaun."
The story reminded me of a Woody Allen skit. I read it three times, because I was laughing so hard I missed some of the gems. I was also touched by Shaun. She took her widow mission seriously and did a darn good job of it. Louie would have been proud.
As a member of the Douglas County Water Resource Authority, I read with interest Stuart Steers's "Dry County," in the February 7 issue. The county must act responsibly to insure a continuing and economically feasible water supply, and the county and its water providers are doing just that through the Douglas County Water Resource Authority. However, it is hardly time for panic, as your article implies.
Douglas County is not running out of groundwater today. Water providers currently have access to 9,100,000 acre-feet of groundwater underlying their service areas that can be legally withdrawn at a rate of 91,000 acre-feet per year. This is only the groundwater underlying the service areas of water providers in the county, and it represents only a fraction of the groundwater available in the county.
For 1994, records show, the major water providers used only about 10,000 acre-feet of groundwater. Using 10,000 acre-feet of a 9-million-acre-foot supply is not overdevelopment of the aquifer system. This is evidenced by the fact that the aquifers are still "full" and the declines that you talk about are only in the pressure head above the aquifer.
Your article is also critical of a $600 million plan to bring renewable supplies to the county through conjunctive use of surface and groundwater. This is a long-term plan to bring an additional 60,000 acre-feet of supply into the county and to eliminate long-term depletions in the groundwater. The plan and its funding would be implemented over perhaps a fifty-year period, and costs would be shared among as many as 235,000 taps. This level of investment is not overly burdensome when compared to the investment made for water supply by any of the major municipal suppliers.
This letter is in response to the articles by Michelle Dally Johnston in the February 14 issue. The author did a remarkable job of addressing several issues that are critical to children, especially children in foster care. In "Home Again, Home Again," she demonstrated that the major flaws in the system lie in the foundation upon which it is built more so than with the specific agencies or people charged with interpreting and utilizing it. In "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," she reminded us that confidentiality is something to be respected, not hidden behind.
Like so many others, there was a time when I viewed the role of foster parents to be much like that of a babysitter. Gradually, I began to realize that the original perceptions of my role could not have been further from the truth. Simple decisions became major ordeals, and every day brought at least one new challenge I was sure I couldn't meet. In retrospect, I am sure that without the support and accessibility of my workers, I would have quit. Instead, I evolved. In addition to providing me with a strong skill base, the more than 500 hours of training (including laboratory activities) enlightened me to the plight of foster parents everywhere. The laws and policies governing the foster-care system basically require that we be given the responsibilities of parenting without enough authority to do so. The public must remember that foster parents volunteer to bring the children of strangers into their homes, and by doing so, they are often placing themselves (and their families) at risk.
Recognizing the need for change, the Fostering Families Coalition was established. Together with our local foster parent association, the coalition has presented several of our concerns and ideas to the administration in Adams County. In my capacity as a foster parent and director of the coalition, I have been called upon to play many different roles: advisor, counselor, sounding board, facilitator, diplomat, mentor, teacher, nurse and friend, to name a few. But perhaps the most important yet difficult role of all is the one I play today: an advocate.
Congratulations to Michelle Dally Johnston. I cannot express how on-target she is in identifying and reporting the tragic problems with the social services system and how it affects children in care.
Johnston's article touches on some of the retaliation I endured in my efforts to advocate for better decision-making concerning abused and neglected children. The charges against me were completely dismissed on all counts. As for the state's child-abuse registry, one allegation was expunged, and I have requested a hearing before an administrative law judge to conclude the rest. The courts do not put you on the registry; social services does--and the director of the registry bases his decision on the information social services gives him. They write down whatever they want and send it to the director; your name goes on, and you have no input. Due process was never in their vocabulary. And without that, how just are they?
Society needs to become more aware of the system and the fact that there is virtually no accountability when it comes to social services officials and their decision-making. Who do they help? Who do they destroy, and why? I lost two children I hoped to adopt, as well as over $30,000 in legal fees, because of their non-accountability. Citizens need to know and demand answers.
Many thanks for Michelle Johnston's articles, which are the best I've seen about the pain children in the child-welfare system endure.
A few follow-up notes: Social workers quoted in the story cite what they consider "cultural bias" when foster parents advocate on behalf of a child. Yet most foster parents' advocacy has nothing to do with whether a child's family has money. The child can live in a tent or a car, as long as he or she is fed, kept warm, loved and protected. Too often, these things are not offered by biological parents, whose wells of need are too deep for them to ever care for themselves, much less their children.
Unfortunately, retaliation against foster parents happens, and often. I hear of at least three to five new incidents each week from foster parents in this state. Until I became witness to the Newton retaliation, I did not believe that families were falsely accused. I continue to be amazed at the power wielded by counties. They are accountable to no one.
Until we stop rewarding poor practice with funding, children's pain will continue. Taxpayers need to insist on accountability for their dollars spent.
In the February 29 issue, I read Michael Roberts's article on Hardrock Gunter, "Rock's Roles," and was stoked. Then I came upon Feedback and found myself wanting to go see the Denver Rock N' Rhythm-Billy Weekend right there and then. It sounds like a really good idea that should have been brought up a long time ago. I've been looking for a concert of this type for a while now. I love to listen to R&B, and I enjoy such bands as the Hillbilly Hellcats, the Spuddnicks and most of the other bands playing at the show in July. I'll make sure I'm there with fifty of my closest friends to have a hell of a good time.
Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number.
PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail to: