Letters

Teacher's Petting
Scott Yates's story about the Vietnamese boy victimized by his teacher ("Little Boy Lust," July 3) was the most frightening thing I have ever read. It almost broke my heart to see how the Tran family still honored Ava Owens, even after all the horrible things she had done to her son. I hope this family finds the help they need.

As for Ava Owens, she's beyond help. I hope she stays in jail for good.
Laura Muller
Denver

Once again, it's the classic tale of an immigrant arriving in the U.S. in the Nineties looking for a quick lottery win. Duc Tran arrived here in 1995, claiming not to speak any English. Yet, only two years later, he states in reference to his son's allegations against the DPS: "I want to make him whole again." Just where is Mr. Tran taking English lessons at? The University of Denver School of Law?

Well, Mr. Tran, here's a new word you can add to your newfound legalese vocabulary: It's "governmental immunity." It's what we here in America apply as a valid defense to stop frivolous and absurd lawsuits.

John Lombardi
Conifer

Behind the Eight Ball
Before the politicians and their hired hands do themselves serious harm with self-congratulatory back-slapping on the outstanding work they did in putting on the Denver Summit of the Eight (Off Limits, July 3), I would like to register a contrary opinion with regard to the organization and the utilization of the volunteers.

Rather than be proud of what they did, the responsible individuals should be embarrassed that they wasted the time, skills and efforts of many of the several thousand volunteers.

There was no coherent organization. There was no attempt to hold individuals responsible for their assigned functions. Unqualified persons were assigned functions and then were not supervised. No timetable was established to ensure that required tasks were accomplished when necessary. The bottom line is that the person selected to direct the volunteer effort was totally unsuited to the task, and many volunteers wondered on what basis the individual had been chosen.

There never was a comprehensive, accurate data bank listing the pertinent personal data on the volunteers. Yet a great deal of time was devoted to constructing one. The original data input was lost because an inexperienced data-entry person wiped out the system memory and no back-up procedures had been established. A helter-skelter effort was made to retrieve the volunteer applications and to input them again, but because of a lack of supervision, the use of unqualified data-entry persons and the use of different programs (Lotus, Excel, etc.), no complete and accurate data bank was ever achieved.

Hundreds of volunteers were called multiple times to ask if they would do certain tasks, even though they had already agreed to do other things. Yet hundreds of volunteers were never called, either to ask them to do something or to thank them for applying, even though they were not needed. All this because of a lack of organization and of a proper data bank.

Several hundred volunteers who had agreed to work at the National Western Center Saturday evening were called to come there in the afternoon to be briefed on their duties. After they had stood around outside for some time, a person came out and started to read a list of "pre-selected" names. When he had finished his list, he told the others to go home, that they would not be needed. This created a vociferous, angry outcry from the "unneeded" volunteers. And even when one of them remarked that not all the persons whose names were called had responded and suggested that others present be taken in their stead (it seems reasonable to me), the "staffer" said no.

I realize that my letter will serve no useful purpose. First, no local newspaper, after participating in the self-congratulatory orgy, wants to publicize the fact that the City of Denver botched the volunteer program. Second, it is not likely that the City of Denver will be hosting any other high-level international meetings in the lifetime of the youngest Denverite. My only hope is that in the future, when City Hall and the local newspapers start hyping the excellence of Denver's municipal performance, they take a more skeptical look at what is being hyped.

Benjamin L. Landis
Littleton

Sick Days
Once again I must applaud Westword's tenacity at bringing to light the sicknesses that have spread across this great land. The June 19 issue was no exception.

The issue started off with Patricia Calhoun's "Putting the Boulder Police on Report," reminding us that nothing has been accomplished as far as progress goes in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. Yet Calhoun did show kindness to the BPD (Botched Policing Directive?) by not mentioning the fact that seemingly anyone can get access to and tamper with the computer the BPD uses to store evidence of the case. I can't help but feel the BPD wishes that everyone who remembers that JonBenet died would just do the same.

Then, as I read Eric Dexheimer's excellent article on hunting fossils in Wyoming ("Skeletons in Their Closet"), the sickness surfaced again. I can't believe that Brian Wade was sentenced to fourteen months' imprisonment and a $2,000 fine for "theft over $100" for digging in the dirt looking for neat stuff about our planet's past. He didn't hurt anyone. Child molesters, rapists, stalkers, murderers, you name it, often get off easier than that.

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