I was pleased to see Steers acknowledge the Colorado Legislature's failure to address the low staffing ratios. One thing he missed, though, is that Colorado is one of seven states that does not have mandatory reporting of abuse of the elderly in nursing homes. I was told this is due to the Colorado Legislature not approving the necessary funding.

The trend is to elect a fiscally conservative Republican majority. As a result, the most vulnerable population of our society, the elderly, are not protected as they should be in the state of Colorado. I urge voters to call any candidate before voting and demand legislation for mandatory reporting of abuse of the elderly.

Marty Smith

The Dead Zone
Regarding Steve Jackson's "Death Takes a Holiday," in the
October 15 issue:

Death takes a holiday? It doesn't seem like it took a holiday for Brandy Duvall. Francisco Martinez--what can you say about a lowlife like Martinez and members of the CMG, other than he doesn't deserve a life? Was he abused as a child? Probably. By his alcoholic, violent, spineless father (if he knows who his father is) and equally disgusting, uneducated excuse for a mother. Did drugs make him do this? Easy to say yes. And this isn't the first "murder" he's been involved with. Why mess around with his rights now? They should be forfeited for this type of savagery. Who is the crying "bitch" now? He should be introduced to a broomstick or equally penetrating device, and he probably will. What scum he is to the Hispanic heritage.

John Rael
via the Internet

I'm appalled you used pictures of my husband, Francisco Martinez. I'm also appalled at the media. This is the reason my husband did not get a fair trial, because of the media and all the publicity. You don't realize all the trouble this has caused his family. Everybody has lost, not just that Brandy Duvall's family.

I have children who one day might see these things. You people do not realize what you put people through.

Nicole Martinez

State GOP chairman Steve Curtis is now reaping what he sowed. Asking the judges who might decide the death penalty to not discuss the case shows that Pandora's box is still open.

What was wrong with a jury of twelve deciding such cases? That is working well in most states. Life without parole is bad enough, if one juror goes against the death penalty. It was a working system, and now justice will be delayed again while this new system is tested.

Nick Werle
via the Internet

Park and Chide
Regarding Gayle Worland's "Lots of Bad Luck," in the October 8 issue:
While I sympathize with the commuters who are getting towed out of the Broadway Marketplace, I fully support the center's owners' efforts to "reclaim" parking spaces for their customers. RTD built the first leg of light rail "on the cheap," just to get it up and running in Denver, and parking is the one area where major "savings" occurred, in both land acquisition and construction. If these stations were serving primarily local commuters, I would agree with RTD's premise that a minimal number of parking spaces could be adequate. Unfortunately, the reality is that the parking currently provided by RTD for light rail is being used almost exclusively by commuters from outside the neighborhood who choose not to drive downtown! The parking for use by residents for non-commuter trips is simply not available after 8 a.m. on weekdays. By being "penny-wise and pound-foolish," RTD is now facing significantly higher land and construction costs for additional parking, unhappy riders, unhappy neighbors and a major disincentive to transit use.

In the short term, if the existing spaces get filled, commuters should be encouraged either to take the bus from closer to where they live or to continue to drive downtown. They definitely should not be "encouraged to park in the neighborhood"! RTD is like any other business or governmental agency, and its clients should not be allowed to intrude or place unusual demands on surrounding businesses and residents. Sure, it's going to cost big bucks to add more parking now, but that's just the cost of doing business and, unfortunately, bad planning.

History appears to be destined to repeat itself along the southwest extension of light rail along Santa Fe. RTD is projecting 1,800 riders a day at the Evans Avenue station and is building fewer than 100 parking spaces. RTD's response is that they'll deal with the problem if there is one after the line opens, and/or Denver can place parking restrictions in the surrounding neighborhood. The Cinderella City station is being presented as a major Park-n-Ride that will reduce parking demand at the Evans, Broadway and Alameda stations, but what happens when customers can't find spaces to patronize the businesses? The same sort of restrictions as at the Broadway Marketplace?

The numbers in Westword's article don't lie. RTD now has 18,000 riders a day and 1,560 spaces (for 9 percent of the riders), and that's not nearly enough. Assuming a 50 percent increase in riders (to 27,000) with the new line and a total of 4,000 spaces, you're still only providing parking for 15 percent of the riders. This isn't rocket science. If you want customers, you have to meet their needs. If they want to drive to a light-rail station, give them parking! In the long run, you'll have more riders, happier riders and a more successful system!

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