Attitude Adjustment
Michelle Dally Johnston's story "Adopting an Attitude," in the April 25 issue, was mean-spirited, inaccurate and biased. (Whatever happened to the tradition of objective reporting?) She said there were 42 private adoption agencies in Colorado and then proceeded to lump them all together as incompetent, overpriced and non-essential.

Furthermore, my experience with adoption has been that most attorneys don't know anything about the subject and don't want to. If questions about adoption arise, they call an experienced and reputable agency for the answer. Adoption is a great way to build a family, but it is different. Most birth parents appreciate the screening and training of adoptive parents done by agencies.

Barbara Moe

Three cheers for Michelle Dally Johnston, whose investigations and common sense continue to expose the horrible incompetence of Social Services: the abuse of power and the abuse of children by those who are supposed to protect them, as well as the destruction of caring families.

I challenge the Department of Human Services to list the names of employees and judicial officials involved in the 2,039 adoptions that took place in Colorado last year. Did any of these people profit?

How many of these adoptions involved parents coerced into giving up parental rights because they had been falsely accused of child abuse? How many children are now unbonded from loving parents because of the stupidity of social workers who put them in foster homes where nurture is lacking? How many cases were based on the opinions of social workers with closed minds, anti-intellectuals who are biased and lacking competence in psychology? How many psychologists and therapists, as a means of guaranteeing steady income, provided the opinions desired by Social Services?

Poor parents have no way of fighting the conspiracy that exists. We need more lawyers to lend credence to the efforts of Boulder's Jim Downey and to help reveal the problems that hurt young children, destroy families and cost the taxpayers a small fortune.

Name withheld on request

The Shell Game
Regarding Michelle Dally Johnston's "Shelling Out," in the April 25 issue:
We were amused at the comments of Diane Rees of Gale Norton's U.S. Senate campaign when she attempted to trash Tom Strickland as the environmental candidate because he supposedly took PAC contributions from Newmont Mining and Westmoreland Coal. Let's set the record straight: These were not PAC contributions. The Strickland campaign received a personal donation of $250 and one of $1,000 from acquaintances who are employed by Newmont Mining and Westmoreland Coal.

Gale Norton, on the other hand, in one reporting period alone, has received over $12,000 in personal contributions from the CEOs of Feather Petroleum, Evergreen Oil Company, Elam Construction and S.M. Petroleum and their extended families. Lobbyist Frank "Pancho" Hays has also contributed to the Norton campaign.

Given the kind and the level of extractive- and development-industry contributions the Norton campaign attracts and Norton's background in the Reagan Interior Department under James Watt, who gave away or sold off public lands, we'll take Tom Strickland any day.

Carmi McLean
Colorado director, Clean Water Action

Who'd have guessed Patricia Calhoun was a Republican? How else does she explain supporting Gene Nichol, who voted against the Democrats when he helped redistrict Colorado after the 1990 census (and cost Pat Pascoe her legislative seat)? Meanwhile, that non-environmentalist, Tom Strickland, got the state to use the lottery money for parks and open space as it said it would. I wonder if he could have done that with no friends and no money.

It's a funny thing about people. When they get along and settle their differences amicably, they don't need lawyers. Yet it seems some still manage to make a good living. But I guess only Republican lawyers are supposed to do that.

What exactly is Patricia Calhoun's problem?
Carolyn Stoffel

Editor's note: Whatever her problem might be, it is not making early endorsements. Westword has taken no stand on the Senate race.

Be True to Your School
Steve Jackson's April 18 article, "True Believers," which described Landmark Education as a cult, was so full of unfounded allegations and misleading statements that I am hard-pressed to counter them all in the prescribed 200 words. As a participant in a July 1993 Landmark Forum, I can at least attest to the following facts that escaped Mr. Jackson's "investigation":

1. The Forum is not a cult. It does not promote any pre-set religious or political agenda and does not espouse allegiance to any leader. On the contrary, it challenges participants to take responsibility for their own moral and political choices, to throw off the excuse of being "victims of the system" and to incorporate ethical standards into their relationships and their professional lives.

2. In direct contrast to Mr. Plywaski's mistaken notion that The Forum asks participants to ignore or bury the past, they are instead urged to directly confront their personal histories and to clean up any omissions, injuries or unresolved relationships before going forward with newly stated goals or resolutions. Mr. Jackson's inflammatory comparisons to "groupthink" and Nazi indoctrination were, at the very least, lazy, and at the most, falsifications.

3. The Forum I attended did not elicit any hysterical behavior, writhing on the floor, mental breakdowns, etc. The interactions I experienced there did, however, result in a renewed sense of my power to have a more fulfilling life if I keep my word, take responsibility for my actions and show compassion for my fellow human beings.

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