By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
History in the making:Please consider that the diminishing support for your editorial views is because you are out of touch with the common, decent people of America. Change or wind up on the ash heap of history.
Soul on nice:Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's "Soul Food," in the January 18 issue:
I, too, received help from Rob Sawyer when I could not pay my utility bills and could not afford to buy food. I was single, a professional, but I had sunk into a deep depression due to overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable personal and business problems. Neither my mother, sister, nor grown children provided support. In fact, they continued, undeterred, coming to me with all of their problems.
Rob Sawyer probably saved my life. He saw how gravely serious things were. Rob provided practical encouragement, intelligent advice and temporary material help. Over the last few years, I have stopped into Rob's office and the Kosher Pantry several times when my new business was foundering. The occasions have become fewer and farther between.
Rob is a deeply righteous human being who respects the dignity of all who participate in his programs. Long live the Kosher Pantry!
Name withheld on request
Bull's-eye: T.R.Witcher's "Target Practice," in the January 25 issue, really hit the mark. How can Denver police deny that profiling exists? And if any Westword readers aren't convinced, they should just ride alongside a black man driving a hot car in the Cole neighborhood some Friday night.
Caught mapping:Whoops! Major mistake. Either the proofreader or the author does not know Colorado very well. Witcher's article states that "on the eastern outskirts" of Grand Junction, the Whitfield sisters "spotted an Eagle County Sheriff's Department cruiser..."
Grand Junction is in Mesa County. To get to Eagle County from Mesa County, you must go through Garfield County. If an Eagle County Sheriff's cruiser was following the sisters in Mesa County, it was out of its jurisdiction by over 100 miles.
DenverEditor's note: Tony Trampler has his geography right -- but T.R.Witcher had his facts right, too. According to Jhenita Whitfield and court documents, the Eagle County sheriff's cruiser -- outside its jurisdiction, but on drug task force duties -- was just short of Grand Junction when it pulled over Whitfield's car.
What's in a name? The word "Denver" wasn't the only thing the Rocky Mountain News gave up on Monday, January 22. Wasn't there also the tiny matter of a $60 million payment that Scripps had to make to Dean Singleton in order to be a full partner in the JOA? I was surprised Michael Roberts didn't mention that in his January 25 "The Name Game." Sixty million buys a lot of balloons.
via the Internet
Message therapist: I wanted to let you know how enamored I am of Michael Roberts's The Message. Pithy, succinct, riveting -- I never miss an issue. I especially enjoy the eagle eye on the JOA -- there's enough there to keep Roberts writing for five years. Keep on them! There's even more than meets the eye! Good job.
Name withheld on request
Lost innocents: I am constantly amazed at how horrible life can be for some children. The two profiled in Julie Jargon's January 18 "Home for Dinner," as well as countless others, will not recover, they will not get better, and their lives will always be scarred. I look at my children, and I am so glad that they are mine, that they can be loved, cherished and appreciated the way they should be. I am a medical student, and I fear the day when, on an ER rotation, I see a case of child abuse or molestation. I cry on the floor of my bedroom every time I have to review child abuse for school. I can imagine their pain, and I feel so sorry that life couldn't have been good to them. They started out just like my kids: innocent. Nothing in the world is lower than a bad parent. If you're a bad parent, then you are nobody.
Social Services doesn't actually help. What they do is take the kids whose parents have some money, stick them in group homes (where some of them get raped -- as though their life wasn't bad already) and make the parents pay for part of it. They investigate the heck out of minor things like "I left my kid in the car while I walked about ten feet to drop off my video, and some idiot called in saying there was an abandoned child." They just let the big things slip. They are a bunch of incompetent boobs. Yes, I know this is a huge generalization, but five of the eight people I know who were in group homes had it worse there than at home. Never mind that the "abuse" at home wasn't some dramatic beating, sexual practice or biting the heads off of chickens. A complete revamping of the system needs to be done, and quickly.
Name withheld on request
Child's prey: For children's sakes, please correct misinformation transmitted via letters in the January 25 issue that responded to Julie Jargon's "Home for Dinner." Esther Cook writes that foster care is more dangerous for children than being left with their biological families. This is a common, mistaken perception. Foster care abuse rates in the U.S. have remained steady at .5 percent of all abuse for decades (NCAC, APWA). Almost 100 percent of children are abused or killed by their biological relatives or stepparents.
Cook and Richard Wexler accuse EPP of quick destruction of a child's family. The truth is that Family Preservation at the beginning of cases has never been so quick to offer excellent services and support to quickly reunite families. First and foremost, EPP is a Family Preservation law. This is balanced with the reality that a young child cannot afford to wait in limbo while parents decide whether they want to do the work needed to return the child safely home. Waiting too long always causes permanent damage to the child.
Wexler touts the return of barbarous laws in place before the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Yet under those laws, which pushed Family Preservation and Reunification above child protection, almost half of all children who died at the hands of their caretakers died after social services intervention. They were sent home or left home by social workers and then died. Over half of these dead babies were under the age of one, and about 80 percent of these dead children were under age five. It would be shameful to go back to such cruel, so-called "child protection."
Wexler and Cook, and all who believe as they do, need to do two things. First, they need to spend time on the front lines as foster parents so that they see how very hurt children are and how impossible it is for many of their parents to heal. Second, they need to work very hard to suspend the confidentiality requirements of the child protection system, so that its function is open to public scrutiny. Only in this way can the reality of very hurt children, parents who don't heal and some poor practices bring change to public misperception and improvements for families and children.
In the early '80s, the Kamikazi Klones were the undisputed kings of Denver's original music makers. At that time my band, Lunch, played second fiddle to the Klones on the many occasions that we shared the bill with our good friends Jimy Murphy, A.J., the Marks, et al. We had some great times together. Glad to see Jimy's still a part of the region's creative element.
Trickle-down economics: Just finished reading Jonathan Shikes's January 25 "It's a Jungle Out There," about the "forests" in Denver. Coincidentally, I also happened to pull the November 2, 2000, edition of Westword from a pile that had missed the recycling bin and reread Stuart Steers's article about the grandiose plans of Denver planners regarding where we were going to put an additional 100,000 people.
To the best of my recollection, there was not one mention of water supply in either piece. Coming from Ohio, I like trees. I love trees. I don't hug them, but I admire and respect the function they serve. I have never understood people who cut trees to clear their property (unless there was imminent danger from a decayed or dead tree). I believe a mature tree pumps about five pounds of oxygen into the atmosphere per day. Hell, the air's thin enough as it is -- why not let some additional oxygen waft through the neighborhood?
Actually, the 30 to 40 percent coverage does make sense. But I question some of the practices of developers and major corporations in their office parks like the Tech Center and Interlocken, to name only two. It is really necessary to have such large expanses of bluegrass or other grass mixtures and to water those huge expanses to ensure they are green? Companies moving in from the Northwest, Northeast, South and other points with substantial annual rainfall seem to believe the myth that we are all created equal when it comes to water supply. Not so! Couple this with our anticipated growth of 100,000 more souls, and the color green (excluding money) may become a rare sight indeed. Excluding a major natural disaster, our official disregard for water and its uses could render the discussions of growth, light rail, reforestation, etc., moot.
We live in the "Great American Desert," but most of us have conned ourselves into believing that this just can't be true. Summers like the one we had last year should serve as a wake-up call. While its effects will not be felt this year, what happens if we have a succession of three or four in a row? The only recreational activity we could engage in on the reservoirs would be in dune buggies.
Name withheld on request
Sex and the single artist: Michael Paglia's review of Mexicanidad: Modotti and Weston, in the January 25 issue, was thoughtful and sensitive when he discussed the photographs, but I was disturbed by his historical ignorance, sexism and Cold War bigotry when he commented upon Modotti's life and history.
Paglia's ignorance was evident when he stated that Modotti was married to Antonio Mella and Vittori Vidall. If he had consulted one of the best scholars who has written about Modotti, Paglia would have learned that she was never married to these men. He also suggests that Modotti may have been involved in an assassination attempt on Leon Trotsky's life and may have murdered Mella. Where does Paglia get his information? As an art historian on Mexican art and culture, I would have been aware of these facts, if true.
Paglia's sexism was revealed as he expanded on Modotti's alleged marriage but never dealt with Weston's many sexual conquests -- including his last marriage, to a woman young enough to be his daughter. Finally, this Paglia statement -- "Knowing what we know about Modotti, it's hard to believe that the sensitive and evocative photos in Mexicanidad are the work of this Marxist Mata Hari" -- smacks of the hysteria of McCarthyism. The assumption is that a Marxist could not be creative. But possibly because Modotti was socially concerned, she was able to create works that were beautiful as well as being strong social statements about Mexico. Creativity and genius cannot be pigeonholed and can occur in the least expected places.
In the future, Paglia should stick to his reviewing and be more careful about his historical facts. Of course, he is entitled to his regressive political opinions.
Mary Motian Meadows
Editor's note: Michael Paglia stands by his column.
The tooth hurts: Thanks to Gregory Weinkauf for not propagating the ill-researched myth that the real Max Schreck made his debut in Nosferatu and then "disappeared" ("Vein Glory," January 25). He was, in fact, a character actor in more than thirty German films in the '20s and '30s.
So Weinkauf does him a disservice by describing him as little-known, since the concept of "stars" was, and is, still less a factor than the artistry of a well-suited character actor. Max Schreck was highly regarded as such in his time.
Guitar man:After reading Marty Jones's "He's Still Standing," in the January 4 issue, we went to see Trace Christensen on January 6 at the Stardust Lounge in Arvada. He blew us away! Even our redneck buddy and his girl were impressed! The guy really wails on that guitar, and he's got the look.
Thanks for the tip!
Bill and Diane Towne