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Taken for a Ride
Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Beating the Train," in the July 24 issue:
As a Colorado native who moved to New York City in 1979 and who has both driven in areas without decent mass transit and enjoyed effective mass-transit systems, I disagree with those who are anti-rail systems. I rode the Denver buses briefly; I gave it up when I was left waiting in the dark in a lonely area, hoping that my connecting bus hadn't arrived early, leaving me for an hour in a dangerous location. I'm not stupid--I drove to work after a week or so. In New York City, although the subways had a crime problem, I found that they went everywhere, ran often, day and night, and were convenient and reasonably priced. They connected with a comprehensive bus system, which also ran frequently and almost everywhere. If you build a comprehensive system, link it with a comprehensive bus system that runs often to the places people want to go and price it reasonably, ridership will soar. If you do a half-assed system, with trains running every couple of hours to here and there, few people will use it.

Either spend the money you need to do the job right and leave a legacy for generations of Coloradans to enjoy and maintain, or don't do it at all. Letting the initial price tag frighten you into an incomplete system is throwing away the money that you do invest. Personally, I would like very much to see a comprehensive system in place, because it gives bad drivers an alternative and gives good drivers free time to do things other than dodge bad drivers. It will probably clean up the air, but you have to assume that more people will be moving to Denver in the generations to come. And I will be moving back in the next year or so and will be happy to pay my share for a comprehensive system that would be a tribute to the foresightedness of present planners and residents.

Sharon Campbell
via the Internet

I wish to thank Alan Prendergast for giving Westword readers a glimpse at the dark, backward-looking vision of light rail's opponents. Prendergast mentioned how lead opponent Jon Caldara, an RTD boardmember, wanted to play the RTD board's split to his advantage. We have to remember the origin of the split. There is a crafty minority taking ideological guidance from the far-right-wing libertarian Independence Institute. Their real goal, since the election back in November 1994, has been to tear down the RTD in the public's mind. They simply don't believe in the RTD's mission of utilizing public monies to offer transportation alternatives to metro Denver.

To the extent that RTD boardmember Caldara and his allies can divide the RTD board or get press for embarrassing statements that put the RTD in an embarrassing light, they have succeeded. So if Caldara is internally inconsistent, what the hey! It still makes the RTD board look bad. Thus, Caldara charged that only three of the seven corridors have had major investment studies (MIS) for light rail. He, of course, was against all of them. But despite his opposition to light rail and the studies that often preceded any light-rail proposals, I watched him fight tenaciously for an RTD board commitment to an MIS for Boulder's U.S. 36 corridor, his own RTD district. Speaking with forked tongue? Maybe, but really it was just another battle in a long, strange war he's waging.

Thank you, Mr. Prendergast, for warning us of the Caldara cabal's campaign based on a "need to play on fear." What transportation solutions do they offer to the problem we all suffer when we drive to work? Well, it seems to be "just say no." Have they offered anything other than getting back in your car and joining the gridlock?

If we ever hope to make a dent in worsening transportation problems in our area, we have to offer incentives and alternatives to the single-occupant vehicles clogging our roads. In lieu of any more serious thinking about the problem, when Caldara offers his "just say no" approach, his anti cabal seems to be offering the metro area a vision that resolutely looks backward. How can we move thoughtfully into the 21st century by only looking backward?

David Ruchman
Lakewood

I went from Denver to L.A. in '87, so I'm used to traffic. But I spent two weeks in Denver earlier this month and was amazed at all the goofy people driving around, one person to a vehicle. Denver needs some form of workable public transportation. I plan to return to Denver soon, and I'd rather not pay for a Humvee to crawl over the carcasses of all those SUVs and econoboxes.

P.S.: I've watched Westword grow since its beginnings. This month I was knocked out by the quality of the reporting and the editorial content. Good job! Heavy on the muckraking, easy on the hype.

Harry Spetnagel
Los Angeles

I applaud Alan Prendergast's exposing the tactics of the opponents to Guide the Ride. The opponents not only mistakenly claim that RTD considers light rail to be the panacea for all of Denver's transit problems, but they apparently feel the real answer is to defeat any non-highway proposals.

First, the Denver area transportation system and its problems are immense. No one has claimed that light rail or commuter rail is the sole answer to all of our congestion or pollution. Considering the current investment and additional investment it would take to reduce congestion on our highways over the next twenty years, light rail is one solution representing a minor share of the overall investment.

It is obvious to anyone that building more and more highways has not eliminated congestion; it would be naive to think that one sole technology could solve a problem that has been so haphazardly allowed to develop and grow.

Our current light rail is popular with our citizens, as attested by its user levels. With rail service in our area's major arteries integrated with bus service, HOV lanes, moveable lanes and other system enhancements, we can provide efficient movement using less land. Light rail is not a panacea for pollution, but it would give those who like to ride comfortably in something other than a high-stress petroleum-fume-generator a real option.

In contrast, the conservative extremists only attack the efforts of their fellow citizens to deal with a problem; to date they have not proposed another feasible solution. One point well made: The politics of fear ("We need to play on fear") are alive and well! I trust the public will be more rational on November 4, 1997.

Larry Schulz
Lakewood

Toilet Talk
Regarding Mark W. Milburn's July 24 letter assessing Mile High Stadium's women's rest facility:

How does he know?
Charlie Haviland
via the Internet

A Different Drummer
In reference to the July 24 Feedback and L.K.G.'s statement that "white people" are "devils"--I had to stop and think for a moment after reading that. I guess I'd always sort of known it subconsciously but had never really admitted it to myself before: I am a bit of a devil.

It's so obvious and clear now why I've been behaving so terribly. I was born to raise trouble and nothing else. The reverberations of my being continue to ripple throughout space/time, wreaking havoc, chaos and discord.

Ah, well, somebody's got to do it.
Speaking of reverberations, in the same article, Michael Roberts bemoans the fact that Fuck Yo Punk Ass doesn't get many gigs. I know exactly how they must feel. My band contains the word "evil," and we are constantly prejudged on the name alone. And yes, it is annoying at times, but we believe in ourselves and we continue to evolve and improve. We're true to our sense of adventure and transitoriness. "If the fool would persist in his folly..."

In closing, I would like to say that I have learned to contain my more satanic inclinations. I haven't been out sacking, looting, raping, killing, burning, exploiting, torturing, enslaving, dominating, conquering, persecuting or brainwashing anybody lately--activities participated in by every segment of the human population at one time or another as is historically recorded over and over again in books, paintings, songs, scrolls, tablets and temple walls. Read it and weep.

The goal of hip-hop is the same as any other form of expression: to enlighten and to entertain.

Play on, drummer.
Bruce Kaufman
Boulder

This is regarding the Feedback article about hip-hop in Denver. I just want the readers to know that the group Fuck Yo Punk Ass and 1332 Records do not represent the majority of local hip-hop talent and fans here in Denver. Being an upcoming local hip-hop artist myself, it is quite embarrassing to see such ignorance displayed in the name of hip-hop. I don't mean to "Playa Hate," but I want the readers to know that there is some real hip-hop in this city and not some so-called gangstas talking shit on record. Hip-ho p has already gotten negative connotations in this city through radio and concert promotion; we don't need some so-called rappers giving us more bruising by way of the old and played-out "gangsta rap."

This kind of representation holds hip-hop down as a nation, culture and way of life. We need to move past this mentality and go to the next level.

Quibian "Q" Smith
Denver

The Diner Things in Life
Thanks to Robin Chotzinoff for an extremely insightful and well-written review of the Southside Diner ("Easy Kids' Stuff," July 24). It is reassuring to find a writer who truly appreciates variety in food, service and ambience. I believe diner food is an undeniable restaurant category with definite quantifiable standards. Robin hit them dead on the head. Diners as a group are often overlooked by restaurant reviewers. But be that as it may, somehow they are the place where we end up when all other types of food fail us. The diner experience, done right, is equally fulfilling for the body, mind and soul.

Carl Svec
Northglenn

The Ego Has Landed
Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's review of Cafe Brazil, "Mouth of the Border," in the July 17 issue:

Less reviewer, more restaurant.
Check your ego at the door. Try using the third person once in a while. I read these reviews to learn about Denver restaurants, not about your life.

Kyle Wagner's last piece on food at Elitch Gardens ("Taken for a Ride," July 10) was a great example of a seamless blending of food, ambience and people with perfect aesthetic distance. She came off as an invisible gastronaut in the food cosmos.

Jim Dumas
via the Internet

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 (include your full name and hometown) to: editorial@westword.com

Missed a story? The entire editorial contents of Westword, dating back to July 1, 1996, are available online at www.westword.com/archive/index.html

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