Letters

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
Denver

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
Denver

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.

4. I have not been compelled to return to The Forum since my one experience in 1993. I got more than my money's worth and have continued to draw on its benefits without having to take more courses or volunteer my services. It's quite possible that Mr. Jackson would have come to the same conclusions if he had admitted himself freely to The Forum experience as an open-minded participant instead of writing a cynical report based on secondhand information.

Nancy Jones
Denver

If the intent of your Landmark article was to piss people off and create sensational journalism, then congratulations!--you were wildly successful. If, however, you had even the slightest inkling of shedding some light on the work that is done at Landmark Education Corporation, to say that you failed miserably would be a gross understatement.

As one of the world's great cynics, I only agreed to participate in The Forum after a long period of severe musical "writer's block." My first day, I sat angrily in my seat with a nasty, know-it-all look on my face (a look I'm sure you're quite familiar with). I began wondering, "What am I resisting?"--and then it came to me. I realized I might actually be wrong about The Forum--about the waste of time and money I'd preached that it was. I nervously raised my hand and explained my musical dilemma. Never had I felt so completely "heard." It was unfamiliar and amazing, and yes, I did have a breakthrough (not a four-letter word) with my music. I began writing songs again, still am (after nearly four years), and that's just one of the many benefits I received.

All people have issues hindering them from complete self-expression and fulfillment. The Forum allows people to address these issues in ways they'd never before considered, which often spawns experiencing the magic and beauty of life on a much deeper and more profound level. Skeptical as I was, if I had read your article before I did The Forum, I never would have done it. And you know what? I would be perfectly fine. That's right, fine. I just wouldn't be quite as powerful or have quite as much access to communication, love, tolerance, creativity and choices as I do now.

And that, Steve Jackson, would be quite a shame.
Debbie Schubert
Littleton

Pretty Is As Pretty Does
I just finished reading Steve Boland's "Getting Pretty Hectic," in your April 25 Backbeat section. The article starts out saying they don't want to be labeled a girl band--so instead of reviewing or describing their musical abilities, Boland focuses on them being female musicians.

I felt let down. The only musical information given was "hyperactive, feel-good punk"; for me, that's not enough. A more in-depth musical review would have been greatly appreciated.

Seth Stevens
Denver

He Auto Know Better
I would like to offer my remarks to a couple of your letter writers in the April 11 issue:

An Aurora lady thinks the police shot an unarmed man. A Boulder man thinks an automobile is "a high-speed, large-velocity weapon."

Maybe the dead man didn't have a gun, but he certainly had a weapon. Every year more people are killed by motor vehicles than in any of our wars. The number of Colorado highway and street deaths on a three-day holiday staggers the mind!

If someone attacked me with an automobile, I would certainly try to defend myself with whatever was at hand.

Robert Taylor
Denver

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.

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PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
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