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The Apes of Wrath
I don't know how much Bill Gallo and Robin Chotzinoff are paid to write for you, but it can't possibly be enough.

As for Patricia Calhoun's "Once Upon a Mattress," her August 21 column about Keith Weinman--isn't he the missing link?

Thank you, Westword.
Mike Cooper
Westminster

Good work by Calhoun in her last column. Domestic violence is too important an issue to ignore. Even worse, Keith Weinman's media employers are essentially endorsing it by refusing to deal with the accusations.

Louise Smith
Denver

Ramsey Tough
Regarding the August 21 Off Limits:
I heard (on some talk show) that at least one person who doesn't subscribe to newspapers (probably gets his news from Rush) went out and bought the Ramsey Edition.

I, on the other hand, who subscribe to everything, scanned the pictures but didn't read a word of the text. I suppose I should go dig that edition out of the recycling box and save it. After this is all over, I might be inclined to read the unpaid advertisement, courtesy the Rocky Mountain News.

Dorsey Hudson
via the Internet

I want to mention one name to the grandstanding media speculators who have risked their careers on the tragedy that befell the Ramsey family. That name is Richard Jewell. One year after he was falsely accused by the FBI and dogged by "journalists" willing to entertain the wildest of speculations, Jewell is going after the offending parties in court and winning. Lawsuits against NBC and CNN have been settled, and more are pending.

Recently, KHOW's finest, Peter Boyles, ran an ad in the Boulder Camera stating that he was "angered by the Ramseys' behavior in hiring investigators, experts and lawyers" in what appears to him to be an "effort to protect their own interests rather than to find the killer." Hello, Peter--what, are you new here? The police, whose job it is to find the killer, have nothing and appear to be giving up. At least John Ramsey is doing something, anything, to find the killer. That same Sunday, Denver Post columnist Chuck Green blasted the Ramseys for not disclosing the entire note. Hey, Chuck, here's an idea: Why not blast the police for failing to disclose it?

In all your scandalous speculations, you seem to have forgotten who is supposed to be responsible for law enforcement and who the victims are. You leeches should just be counting your lucky stars that John Ramsey is more interested in finding his daughter's killer than holding you responsible for your opportunistic grandstanding.

D. Eric Maikranz
Denver

Tobacco Road
I thought that Scott Yates's article regarding our state legislators accepting very liberal travel and expense gratuities was very revealing ("The Marlboro Hombres," August 21). It seems that Messrs. Powers and Wells enjoy pandering themselves to the tobacco lobby, and it shows the present extent to which the tobacco industry and other industry lobbies have corrupted the politics of our legislature here in Colorado.

Not so long ago, this kind of activity was termed "bribery of public officials" and was prosecuted by district attorneys, with maybe the occasional "showcase/example" prosecution by the state attorney general. However, as the present situation is here in Colorado, our current secretary of state gives no guidance, our AG is "asleep at the wheel" and won't prosecute anybody/anything that isn't in her best interest, the DAs won't do anything for a variety of reasons, and our elected representatives in the Colorado House and Senate for the most part display zero/zilch/nada respect for any existing campaign finance laws--in fact, some of them, like Messrs. Powers and Wells, overtly flout the present laws and rules and spend (apparently considerable) time and effort seeking ways to "end-run/out-flank" them.

It is a sad commentary to see how much political destruction to our institutions, as well as damage to the character and respect of elected legislative representatives, has come about here in Colorado (and elsewhere) through filthy special-interest lobby money. On this issue, what are the chickens to do, when the foxes (i.e., the legislature) are elected by the chickens to run the henhouse (i.e., enacting "real" campaign finance reform)?

Gerald Naugle
via the Internet

Labor Pains
Regarding Stuart Steers's "Up the Organization," in the August 14 issue:
That Jack Hawkins is quite a guy. Tells Westword he doesn't want to "trash" Bob Greene, president of the Colorado AFL-CIO, and then proceeds to do the same. Hawkins's track record indicates that if he were ever--heaven forbid--elected leader of the labor federation, he would certainly be the head lemming guiding the rest of us out to sea.

For those who don't know, Hawkins was labor's lobbyist in 1991 when SB 218, the so-called workers' compensation reform bill, was passed. Every worker, both union and non-union, now realizes how devastating that piece of legislation has been to injured workers. Hawkins has also spent a lot of time sponsoring ballot initiatives, but he has never won any of these campaigns. In fact, the last one he sponsored was overwhelmingly defeated by the voters. Working men and women don't need more defeats, which Hawkins will certainly give them if he is elected president of the Colorado AFL-CIO.

To my knowledge, Hawkins has never negotiated a labor agreement or been on strike as a worker. And this guy wants to represent workers? Don't be silly. If Hawkins expects to generate support among the state's unions, he won't do it by spouting horse crap to Westword. He'll do it by making his case among union leaders.

So far he hasn't been able to do that, and I doubt that he can.
Chuck Conner
Aurora

Editor's note: Earlier this week, Jack Hawkins announced he was dropping his challenge to Colorado AFL-CIO president Bob Greene. Hawkins says his candidacy was causing too much dissension within Colorado's labor movement, and he didn't want to divide labor's ranks unnecessarily.

The Uncommon Cult
Alan Prendergast's August 14 article, "Hush-Hush Money," detailing much of the cult of Scientology's practices, was well-done. However, while he mentions that the Cult Awareness Network (CAN) has been driven into bankruptcy by the cult, he missed the most terrible aspect of that case. Specifically, if you call the CAN phone number in search of information on what to do if a loved one is in a cult, you get a Scientology operator. Of course, they won't tell you that up front. The judge who allowed CAN's assets, including its name and number, to be sold to the cult of Scientology has put families and vulnerable individuals at great risk. That is the terrible and surprising news. That the cult of Scientology would take advantage of unsuspecting victims is not.

Dick Cleek
via the Internet

Order on the Court
Bill Gallo remains the finest sports columnist in town. I especially appreciate his continued interest in professional tennis ("Quit Making Such a Racquet," August 14). His is the only commentary on the sport you will see in a local publication.

Gary Williams
via the Internet

Copping a Plea
Peter Rainer has to be a complete moron. I am tired of his crap, and I don't agree with his comments on Cop Land ("Bad Cop, Bad Cop," August 14). I felt it was an excellent movie, and I also felt Stallone did his best to make this movie into something that would have gone nowhere without him. Someone who has his finger up his ass has nothing better to do than to tear him down. It's time for you to get a new career, Rainer-boy.

Wayne A. Cordova
Arvada

Chew Do You Trust?
I complained earlier about Robin Chotzinoff's self-focus in her reviews. She appears to have overcome that distraction with "Matzo Luck," her August 14 review of the New York Deli News. Good work.

Jim Dumas
via the Internet

Never before have I encountered such a confounded group of neophytes for food critics, leading everyone to assume that Robin Chotzinoff or Kyle Wagner wrote the book on cuisine and restaurant service. The fact that one eats out all the time does not make one a food expert. Furthermore, the simple fact that one has been to a country of that particular food's origin doesn't make him/her an expert, either. All in all, from the looks of things, your writers seem most experienced in using a credit card.

Judging from Chotzinoff's July 17 "Mouth of the Border," with all the dirt spoken about Portugal, you obviously need some guidance. Bacalhau varies from house to house. Just because she didn't like it doesn't mean the food of Portugal is bad. It just means her tastes are still accustomed to the Macaroni Grill.

To properly critique a restaurant, you need someone who has experience running a restaurant, one who knows what a waitstaff is supposed to do, one who knows what foods should taste like. I guess writing about "diners and greasy spoons" is a start, but maybe try someplace else. Whether you know it or not, you have sheep reading this paper: They follow whatever you say. If you say it's bad, then they think it's bad. You can make or break a restaurant by writing about things you may not be too well-versed in. It's time for a real Cafe section.

Nick Mello
via the Internet

Editor's note: Well, Nick, you'll be thrilled to know that Kyle Wagner returns to her Westword dining duties in this very issue. Look for her dissection of the Cheesecake Factory on page 61.

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:

Westword
PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail (include your full name and hometown) to: editorial@westword.com

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