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Good Neighbor Sam
Ward Harkavy's gem of an article, "Pipeline to Palestine" in the August 14 issue, about the group of Jewish men who decided they had to act instead of cowering in fear, hit a personal note with me. My father was a Slovak mountain Jew who fully realized what was happening and what was intended to happen by the Nazis during the Shoah. Confronted by that reality, he and other committed Jews went into the mountains with their hunting rifles and made it clear to the Nazis and their Slovak fascist punks: "If you want us, come and get us. We will make it more expensive for you than your little gatherings of docile Jews at the railroad stations for 'relocation' (to places like Auschwitz)." The lesson for them was easy to comprehend: 22 out of the 27 partisans survived the war, compared to the overwhelming majority of the law-abiding Jews who let themselves be loaded into the cattle cars.

The lessons in the twentieth century have been a radical re-education for Jews, as well as for any people with their eyes open. If you are not willing to do everything possible and necessary in your own defense, be prepared to suffer horrific consequences. Sam Sterling, Bernie Springer and the other men who understood that simple fact were clearly men of common sense.

Max Winkler-Wang
via the Internet

I read with fond remembrance the story about Sam Sterling and his involvement with providing guns and ammunition to Israel in 1947-48. I was born in 1947, and one of my mother's favorite stories was how the home she shared with my father was a drop-off and pickup point that year for guns and ammunition to help the Jews in Palestine. We lived in New York City, and my father was a doctor who at the time had his office in their five-room apartment. Since there were always people coming in and out at all hours, their apartment was deemed a safe haven. First, there would be "items" dropped off and hidden; then the pickup would occur. This went on for over a year. Once, they were pretty sure that some of their "stuff" was confiscated in a government raid.

My father was a refugee from Austria and managed to escape the Holocaust in 1938. Many in his extended family weren't quite as lucky. Helping Palestine, soon to become Israel, and the displaced Jews from war-torn Europe was important to them, as well as to hundreds of other "ordinary" Americans like Sam Sterling. Great article on something very few people know about.

Elizabeth Ferber Reder
Littleton

Thanks for a great article. It reminded me of the stories my grandfather used to tell about how he sold hunting rifles out of his hardware store in Brooklyn to pretend hunters who would then take them to the store basement and put them in barrels to be moved late at night to the docks to be shipped to the Haganah.

Michael Frieman
Denver

In the Beginning ...
Regarding Ward Harkavy's "King James's Version," in the August 14 issue:
The Bible has been written and rewritten over and over again since the beginning of "biblical" time. Mr. James Dobson believes that women are the chattel of men, and so long as he touts that belief, he will alienate a little more than half of the human race. We all belong to each other. We are all part of the human race. We are all God's children. If Mr. Dobson has sons and daughters, does he love his sons more? Why would he think God would love his sons more? Men and women are links in the same chain. When God created this chain, he did not make the female links weaker. That would have weakened the whole. God would not only address men. He had to have meant the Bible to be for everyone.

Cheryl Bower
via the Internet

Behind Him All the Way
I'd always heard that Barry Fey was an asshole, but after reading Michael Roberts's August 14 article, "The Long Goodbye," I realized that Barry Fey is my kind of asshole! He's not afraid to say what he thinks, a quality that is all too rare these days.

Great career, Barry! Great article, Michael Roberts!
Judy Hughes
Denver

As a friend and former employee of Barry Fey for over 27 years, I must disagree with the overall portrait your article paints. Barry is a much more generous and giving person than your interview subjects care to remember. Perhaps they are jealous that he could succeed in areas they could only aspire to.

Barry recruited me away from the Doors prior to my moving to Denver in 1970, defended me when my own version of "Wild Man on the Loose" got me arrested, taught me the business, loaned me money for several business ventures, always took my calls, co-signed for my car and did many other favors I can't even remember.

When youthful "Inheritance Coupon Clippers" in college got their hands on their daddys' dough during the early Seventies, they thought they were going to "do it better" and teach Fey a lesson, maybe take over the Denver market. They lost their asses and I was there at the gig when the shit hit the fan. I called Barry for advice and he had everything straightened out in five minutes, for free! Barry had no financial stake in bailing out idiot kids who had vowed to bury him and Feyline, but he helped them anyway. He helped Chuck Morris, Jeff Crump, Marty Wolf, John Ruby, myself and scores of others in other towns/cities get started in the business over the years.

There are many other instances but the point may be moot. I know he has been my friend for many years and still is, and I wish him the best; he earned it.

And I choose not to attend most concerts these days. Like Barry, I've had enough. I still enjoy helping out new local bands; they have yet to become greedy, self-centered assholes.

Tony Funches
Denver

Rebound on the Rebound
I guess I should be neither shocked nor surprised that Scott C. Yates's story "Bad Boys, Bad Boys," in the July 31 issue, used the "neglect" school of journalism. Neglect journalism is when reporters purposefully neglect to include facts that would make their stories more accurate, though less enticing to editors and their readers. While this method does enhance the story's excitement, it also misinforms and violates historical journalistic integrity.

Mr. Yates uses two extreme examples of troubled youth who at one point attended a Rebound program. Indeed, each of these stories is tragic and regrettable. What Mr. Yates fails to point out anywhere in his story is that the examples he used are exceptions. We readily admit that, despite the best efforts of our staff--some of the best treatment providers in juvenile programs--we are not able to help 100 percent of the boys who come through our doors. No one can claim that. Not other private operators. Not any state-operated program. If Mr. Yates has the 100 percent solution, we will hire him on the spot. What Mr. Yates fails to point out is that, of those youths we are able to track who have completed our programs, three out of four do not reoffend within a year. We're always working to improve that percentage, but it's a good start.

Quoting Loren Warboys, the director of the Youth Law Center in San Francisco, Mr. Yates allowed the statement that private juvenile program providers are not as accountable as publicly run programs. Wrong. Private programs are stringently monitored by a number of agencies, including the State Division of Youth Corrections, Social Services, the Department of Education, health and safety officials and more.

Mr. Yates's analysis of savings of private versus public operations is also in error, but this may be attributed to his lack of understanding of public financial reporting. The figures used by Mr. Yates for private operators include all capital, operating and administrative expenses. The figures he quotes for state operations do not include capital costs and a number of other services provided by other state agencies. If he had taken the time to compare oranges to oranges, Mr. Yates would have discovered a much larger difference in per diem between private and public, ranging in the $20 to $50 range.

Mr. Yates refers to the per diem cost of out-of-state placements, saying "prices are set by Rebound." The fact is, states set the budget range depending upon the services provided by the youth program. If a program falls outside of that range, the states do not send youth to the programs. Rebound does not control the price for juvenile treatment programs.

Mr. Yates bemoans Rebound's use of lobbyists at the state legislature. The fact is, all human services agencies and corrections programs, both public and private, are political. Political situations require politically savvy people in order to function appropriately. If Mr. Yates is not aware of this, he needs to spend some time at the Capitol, or check with his Colorado Press Association lobbyist.

If Mr. Yates is truly concerned about improving results of juvenile programs, he should look into the underfunded, understaffed, over-worked probation and parole program, where case workers have thirty or more clients each. Recent studies demonstrate that aftercare is where today's juvenile programs are failing. Youth who, through programs like Rebound's, gain the tools needed to succeed outside the juvenile system find it very difficult to maintain their newly learned behavior when they are returned to the same dysfunctional neighborhood or family where their trouble started. Congress, state legislators and responsible journalists need to focus on this critical issue.

As I stated earlier, we don't run a perfect juvenile program. Neither does anyone else. Try as we may, no program--public or private--is 100 percent effective. But because we can help six or seven out of ten learn to become productive citizens, it is a better world for us and them.

Jane O'Shaughnessy
CEO, Rebound

Editor's note: Scott Yates, who already spends enough time at the Capitol, relied on figures that did include administrative and other expenses, so his examination of public and private expenditures did compare "oranges to oranges."

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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