Letters to the Editor

From the week of October 5.

Coverage Coverup

Premium gas: Let's see if I've got this right -- insurance companies are in the business to provide...insurance? Wrong! They fight you every step of the way, whether it's medical insurance or auto insurance or legal insurance, as described in Patricia Calhoun's September 28 "Duty Calls." Although what the deputy sheriff did was wrong, he'd paid his premiums. What an outrage that Bruno, Bruno & Colin said they'd represent him -- if he paid thousands of dollars more! The law firm owed him a defense, but apparently it's too busy spending its time with Officer Joe Bini -- who only got a man killed instead of lying about a few receipts.

James Vigil
via the Internet

Put it on my tab: If Patricia Calhoun thinks it's no big deal when an employee falsifies an expense statement, I'd like to apply for the next job opening at Westword.

C.T. Riley

It's Off to Work We Glow

Danger! Danger! Each new story about Rocky Flats is more frightening than the last one. But Eileen Welsome's most recent article, "A Cure for the Common Cold Warrior," in the September 28 issue, was the very saddest. It is hard for us to imagine the dangers of plutonium 20,000 years into the future, even though those dangers will still exist. But we do not have to imagine the dangers when we hear from workers who are suffering horrible diseases after working at Rocky Flats. The least our government should do is pay their medical expenses -- they became ill working for our country!

Megan Grant
via the Internet

No clean sweep: The plan to clean the Rocky Flats site in six years is clean according to the government's definition, but it leaves tons of radioactive waste. The cleanup of Rocky Flats is like a sweeping of nuclear garbage under the rug of political corruption, at America's expense.

M.A. Eckels

House arrest: It is a very sad day for the workers made ill from their work at nuclear-weapons plants. The House has reached an impasse on passing legislation that would create fair compensation and medical benefits for workers who have become ill from beryllium and radioactive-element exposures.

What are they thinking? For fifty years, the Department of Energy has directed their contractors (and subsequently the contractors' insurance companies) to fight tooth and nail any worker's compensation claim filed against them if it related to beryllium or radioactive contamination. In the past year, President Clinton, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and the U.S. Senate agreed that these workers should be treated fairly. Testimony was heard by the House Judiciary Committee two weeks ago, and yet the House refuses to pass this very important and needed legislation.

Do they not realize that people are sick from working at plants like Rocky Flats? Do they not realize that those same people are suffering immensely before they succumb to death? What more has to be done to have these ill workers receive the same compensation that a ditch digger would get if he were injured on the job?

Excuse the slang, but this sucks. These ill workers cannot breathe, are in constant pain -- some have died from cancers from their exposure to contaminants. And it boils down to money. The House's concern is that it may cost the government too much to fairly compensate these workers.

Didn't bother them to pass the legislation to make the bombs that made these people sick!

So maybe the legislation will be passed in the next Congress. How many people will have died by then, or their conditions deteriorated? Is this fair?

I thank Richardson and Congressman Udall immensely for their sincere efforts to pass this legislation. I just wish congressmen from other states were as enlightened.

Terrie Barrie
Craig, CO

Vroom Service

Get Bentley: Thank you for Alan Prendergast's extensive article on the new Bentley Arnage Red Label ("Big Wheels," September 28). It was rewarding to read in detail just how much Pat Bowlen will enjoy his new toy that I helped pay for with my tax dollars.

Jim Burness

Stream of consciousness: Wow, Cool River must really be cool to rate a mention in two different articles in the same issue of Westword. For my money (not that I have enough to buy his '93 Sable, much less a Bentley), Prendergast really captured the place. Tell Kyle Wagner to skip the food next time ("Not So Hot"), feast her eyes on the crowd, relax a little and just go with the flow, as they say.

Jayne Carpenter
via the Internet

Who's the dipstick? Alan Prendergast's article on the Bentley Arnage Red Label, though flawed, was an intriguing and informative insight into the world of luxury supercars and the types of people who drive them. As he is a "real journalist" and not a motoring aficionado, it is excusable that his data on the car contains glaring inaccuracies. The most powerful four-door sedan in the world is badged with a B, but it is not the Bentley. The Brabus E V12 Mercedes is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the holder to that title, with 592 plus horsepower and 792 Nm torque, a figure achieved without turbocharging from a motor far ahead of its time, emission-wise. It also seems convenient that the author uses the generous Bentley brochure's 0-60 figures instead of those tested by the major motoring magazines, Top Gear and Car magazine, both of which produced noticeably slower figures. Of course, credit must be given to the author, who mocks the brochure and then proceeds to sound exactly like a PR kit when describing the acceleration, but not the boatlike handling tendencies that are appalling compared to anything in its price range. But alas, money is no object for the cigar-smoking, image-conscious superhero of the story.

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