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There's No Place Like Homeless
I wish to write in response to Patricia Calhoun's December 5 column, "Homeless for the Holidays." What an artful job of pitting the homeless against such unpopular icons as lawyers and developers. Too bad the question of whether citizens should be able to enjoy the use of the South Platte wasn't addressed. I'm one who walks the trails in the dead of winter and uses them daily for my bicycle commute to work and weekly to the University of Denver. It's loads of fun to dodge broken forty-ouncers all the way. I don't always feel safe on this route, and I wouldn't even consider it if I were a woman.

A recent Denver Post article covered this same issue. Your story and that one both note that the "homeless" on the Platte are the mentally ill and substance abusers who reject the civilizing standards of the shelters. These are just the people I want lurking along the embankments as I ride home from DU at night. They don't exactly lurk, but they take over many of the small picnic areas along the way every night. These are places I stop for water during the day in the summer, but never at night.

As for squatters' rights, may I suggest that Patricia get with the Christmas spirit and invite the displaced to unfurl their bedrolls on her lawn February 1? Ink's cheap.

Scott Nelson
Denver

Here's a solution for the bums living along the Platte: When the city builds a new stadium for Pat Bowlen and the Pepsi Center for Ascent--as it will no doubt do--it can put housing for the homeless right alongside the skyboxes.

Taxpayers might as well get some something for their money.
Randy Stein
Denver

Since I moved to Denver a year and a half ago, one of the many things I've come to enjoy about this city is Westword, and particularly Patricia Calhoun's column, which reflects intelligence and caring.

I am writing regarding her "Homeless for the Holidays." I agree that we need to be more concerned about the human rights of homeless people rather than about developers' rights to unlimited profits. But as we discuss the issue of moving the homeless from the South Platte River, let's also consider the rights of a third party: the general public.

We all know that public space such as that along the banks of the Platte River is intended for everyone to use freely and equally. It is not designed for people to camp in, whether they are homeless or not.

This is clearly an issue that is bigger than the one between the homeless and developers. I know you will agree that what it takes is for all of us, in various segments of the community, to work together to arrive at solutions that benefit everyone. It's a matter of maintaining balance and fairness for all members. And it is not an easy thing to accomplish. But this is the challenge to those of us who care about our larger society.

Efi Antypas
Denver

The Hair Apparent
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Real Life. Real News. Real Bad." in the November 14 issue:

I can't believe your attacks on Natalie Pujo. You, Patricia Calhoun, of all people, condemning someone for their looks! You should get down on your fat dimpled knees and pray to whatever god you believe in that there are people like Natalie Pujo on the air--or would you rather see an endless procession of Aimee Sporer and Katy Keifer?

Don't hate the woman because she's beautiful and talented. And by the way, with that haircut and blue eyeshadow (circa 1960s-70s), you look like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show!

P.J. Methgarb
Littleton

I think Patricia Calhoun was a bit shortsighted in her assessment of Channel 7's new format. Granted, there are some problems, but I think many people in Denver are ready for a format like this. I did a short writeup of it on my Web site at www.net-mgt.com/~dbarnes/news.html.

Don Barnes
via the Internet

Is it possible that a former Toronto anchorperson by the name of Natalie Pujo is now working there in beautiful Denver? Well, a few of us here in T.O. miss her smiling face...so please pass along to her our best wishes for fame and fortune!

Nigel Vickers
via the Internet

Go to the Head of the Class
Two thumbs up for Alan Prendergast's December 5 article "Head Trips" for covering a variety of intense issues in an objective manner. Everyone involved (Mental Health Corporation of Denver, boarding-home managers, the City of Denver) shares the blame, yet no one is willing to take responsibility for their actions or lack of action. Unfortunately, the mental-health population gets caught in the middle--not an uncommon occurrence in mental-health treatment.

MHCD, you've tried to hide your dirty laundry for seven years (since your inception). You should be extra nice this Christmas to the hardworking dedicated employees (not the ones who call private detectives) who give your mismanaged organization an ounce of credibility. I guess you get what you pay for. Or do you?

Name withheld on request

Alan Prendergast's story was an excellent and timely look at the people we tend to forget during the busy holiday season. I hope they'll find a place they can call home.

J. Ramirez
Denver

After reading Patricia Calhoun's column on the homeless and Alan Prendergast's story on the mentally ill in the same issue, I have a suggestion: Why doesn't Westword just turn its office into a boarding house? All those newspapers would make great blankets and insulation. And it would certainly be a better use of energy than all the bleeding-heart stories you print.

Jay Calvin
via the Internet

Come See the Softer Side of Sears
I appreciated Michael Paglia's interesting article about the Sears building and other Cherry Creek architecture ("Roots," November 28). Why don't the daily newspapers print more stories about our real landmarks and less stories about trees?

Michelle Landers
Denver

Yet another tired refrain about the horrors of modern urban development! If people are shot in their homes to make room, please let us know! By the way, can anybody tell me if Spinnaker's is still in the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which I believe to be structurally sound and quite beautiful? And can anybody tell me where Ken Hamblin's Quizno's is? I'm hungry for a sub.

Bruce V. Bracken
via the Internet

Boys Will Be Boys
Regarding Chris LaMorte's "Boys and Their Hoods," in the November 14 issue:
If you can stand one more letter about male circumcision, I'd like to relate that fifteen years ago, while pregnant, I saw a TV show on the subject. It gave the pros and cons and then showed the procedure being done on an infant. I cried and vowed that if I had a boy, I would not subject him to that, whether he'd remember it or not. Sure enough, my baby is now a strapping youth, uncircumsized, and healthy in every way.

Education is the key: Please keep talking about this issue. If mothers knew the facts, they would never accept genital mutilation. My roomie in the hospital and I talked about it, and she tearfully confessed that since she was the wife of a rabbi, not only would her son have the procedure, but it would be done in front of a room of people! She wasn't looking forward to putting on a happy face about it.

Please withhold my name--my son would die of embarrassment!
Name withheld on request

I live in British Columbia, and with all the naked boys and men I have seen throughout my life, I can assure that I have only seen a few with foreskins. I can remember that of all my schoolmates I saw naked in the showers after gym, only a few had foreskins. I was born in the early 1950s and was subjected to this form of abuse--which is what I call circumcision without hesitation. I don't accuse my parents of this abuse, but I blame them for not considering that this is my body and it should be my right to cut part of it away.

This week in the newspaper, there was an article stating that in the U.S., a law has been passed that female genital mutilation can no longer be performed before the age of eighteen. I can only wonder when male genital mutilation, which is what it should be called, will get the same consideration! This process should be banned throughout the world except for only the most serious medical cases that require it.

I can only hope that this will happen soon--but it won't until pressure is put on governments to enact the legislation. Unfortunately, I don't believe there are many of them that have the "balls" to do it.

Alex Ellison
via the Internet

Congratulations on a nice, clear article on foreskin restoration and the mythology underlying routine male-infant mutilation.

Matt Hogan
via the Internet

Editor's note: One last time, if you missed Chris LaMorte's original story, it's still online--complete with links--at www.westword.com/extra/foreskin.html

Social Misfits
Michael Roberts's December 5 "Social Diseases," about Social Distortion, was excellent. It brought to light the wave of young people who do things just to be cool. However, once these types of things are published, people learn about them from others and do not learn for themselves. It is a Catch-22.

Anyway, I'm glad you did an article on Social D and am happy that they are receiving so much success after all these years.

Ben Hrouda
via the Internet

Just Say Yes
Regarding Serene Dominic's "Heavy, Man," in the November 14 issue:
A blast from the past--not! Just more wasted trees. And speaking of wasted, Dominic must have been seeing double when he put this article together.

He said Steve Howe (from Yes) repeated a riff from Close to the Edge in "one of the worst concept albums of all time," Tales of Topographic Oceans. Well, Steve shifts through more riffs in the song "Ritual" than Dominic will have shifted through brain cells if he lives to be 950 years old!

What about ranking the most criticized Backbeat articles? I think this is Number One!

Chuck Dodge
Denver

It's tough to decide who's more ignorant: Serene Dominic or Michael Roberts--Roberts back when he presented the Jerry Garcia editorial or Dominic with his ten worst concept albums list.

I'm not about to touch the nine others, just the one dealing with my favorite band, Yes. The same band that put Tales together in '73 just performed Tales in March with Wakeman gladly performing and recording a release at San Luis Obispo, California.

Educate yourself, Dominic, before you open your bias trap! And what makes you think people want to be reminded of that list of bullshit? Are you that desperate? Why are you following in the footsteps of Roberts and kind? Why don't you try opening your mind and really listening and perhaps getting to know Tales? It's a beautiful piece of work.

If you guys are that desperate for material, print the lyrics and let the readers judge for themselves. No, I suppose that would be too new-age for Westword and its teenage-wasteland mentality. But these four classic artists will continue to inspire well into the 21st century.

No doubt you guys will be extinct!
Name withheld on request

Claim Check
We were so impressed with Kyle Wagner's November 14 review of Claim Jumper, "Big Deal," that we put it on our list of new places to try. What a disappointment.

Instead of the monster portions your article suggested, we found otherwise. For the prices charged, the portions should have been much larger. Even if we would have finished everything, we still would have been hungry, and my wife is not that big of an eater. Also, our waiter spent so much time trying to sell desserts for the holidays that he hardly ever came around. And from the time we got our bill, we waited 22 minutes for the check to be collected. Strike three.

After all that went wrong, we have to wonder if we went to the same place you did. Egads, did you ever miss on this one!

Jim Schoendaller
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.

Write to:
Letters Editor
Westword
PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail to: editorial@westword.com

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