Letters to the Editor

From the week of May 10, 2001

Tiers for Fears

Big deal: After reading Julie Jargon's "Culture Clash," in the April 26 issue, I think it is high time we revisit the concept of how SCFD funds are divided. The Big Four in the top tier just keep getting bigger and greedier. (Haven't Denver residents also approved bond measures that benefit the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Zoo?) Meanwhile, the truly exciting cultural developments in the area are coming from the lower two SCFD tiers -- and they must share a relative pittance, if they get a cut at all.

The issue is not whether Colorado's Ocean Journey should get a cut of the SCFD take. The issue is whether institutions like Ocean Journey, and the Big Four in general, should be allowed to suck up our tax funds when other worthy organizations go wanting.

J.T. Adams
Boulder County

Are we having funds yet? As Wal-mart did to small local retailers, as Starbucks is doing to the neighborhood coffeehouses, so shall the Big Four do to the little guys. Big money not only allows financial freedom, but it can also buy political power. Clinton taught us that.

I agree that we need a restructuring of the SCFD funds-disbursement policy. I say we, because I mean we. Have all these organizations forgotten where the money comes from? It seems so.

An artist, I went to the Denver Art Museum yesterday. I wanted to inquire about resources available to further my passion -- but I was overwhelmed by the sense that I would be lucky to get a free admission on Saturday. I want to see accessible funding for individual artists, both performing and visual. I can't go to corporations, philanthropists and pillars of the community and to ask for funding. If I tried, laughter would ring in my ears. (I'm frustrated enough, however, to cut one of those ears off.)

In the past, I voted for the SCFD tax without much thought. Now I just don't know.

Roman Christopher Hildt
Evergreen


No Home on the Range

Something's fishy: I'm outraged and appalled over what happened to the Veasey family! No wonder these kids are behind. Look at what they have been through! And to not let them attend their father's funeral was just a crime. Karen Bowers's "A Range of Harsh Lessons," in the May 3 issue, shows there was no apparent evidence of sexual molestation (unless there was evidence in the information that had been sealed), and for Elbert County officials to accept the word of someone who lived in a totally different state and then take the actions they did seems fishy.

Is this legal? It smacks of discrimination to me. There really needs to be an investigation into all of the parties that broke this family apart. There seems to be no reason for taking all of these kids out of the house; only the kids involved in the accusation should have been dealt with, if any at all. Elbert County officials have some questions to answer, and I sincerely hope that they are publicly called on the carpet after this article.

Name withheld on request


An American Tragedy

Where the Columbine stories grow: Even a gruff, often insensitive person like me is heartbroken every time I read stories like Alan Prendergast's continuing exposés of the Columbine betrayals and Karen Bowers's tracking of the Veasey tragedy. We see stories like these every day on programs like 60 Minutes, Dateline, etc. -- and more and more often.

The great utility of a free press, and one we must preserve despite the attending pitfalls, is that we are able to learn about these things and can try to do something about them. In his May 3 "The Do-Nothing Defense," Prendergast points out that, counter to the intuition of all citizens -- and maybe to the chagrin of honest-thinking, anti-Second Amendment people -- the government has absolutely no duty to protect you from the harm of others; you're left to fend for yourself under the Constitution. And it does not matter how much you pay in taxes! Bowers's story, "A Range of Harsh Lessons," shows that the government can royally screw you and destroy your family based upon precious few reasons. How many times have we seen innocent people's lives destroyed by empty accusations and overzealous prosecutors?

I wonder when people in this state, and in our country in general, will realize that ultimately, you cannot really count on the government to do anything but potentially destroy your life; if we want to preserve freedom, the best thing we can do is revoke as much of its power as possible. Too many people in this country are seeking safety rather than freedom. Wake up, folks: The price of freedom is risk. If you want to be safe, learn how to protect yourself, take the risk of self-reliance and preserve the Second Amendment. No cop has a duty to protect you, anyway; if you want to ensure the happiness of your individual families, whittle away the government's power to seize children and divide families.

Mike Heimos
Denver

Mind over factual matter: Alan Prendergast's "Chronology of a Big Fat Lie," in the April 19 issue, was the best-written, most factual article I have seen on the Columbine tragedy. But there's something missing in this whole story: Eric Harris's therapy. Evidently, it wasn't a success. When and why did the therapy start?

Enlightened Through Darkness, by Kelly Hartman, is a true Colorado story. It could help parents like the Harrises!

Maymie Rolfs
Denver

Culture crash: In response to Paul Roasberry's April 26 letter about Columbine, here is an answer, in Roasberry's lifetime, to "what would drive two teenage boys to the kind of desperate and reckless violence that was committed on April 30 two years ago."

Universally, a "death culture" has developed. Every day, people kill with no misgivings. Are you inclined to dismiss this fact? See your TV news! Contract killings, genocide and ethnic cleansing are demonstrations of the importance placed on life. Thousands of children are killed each year. Children are murdering their parents as well as other children. The "death culture" is being advanced by the sale of weapons, exploitation of death in entertainment, video games and on the Internet, and self-destructive behavior. More important than human life are power, dominance, wealth and gratification.

Although I was a cheerleader, was involved in Pep Club and excelled in my studies, I did not "fit in." I grew up in a religiously divided and abusive environment. The Bible states: "Mere oppression may make a wise one act crazy" (Ecclesiastes 7:7), and at times I wanted to "go postal." My mom was not a lazy person. She took an interest in our likes and dislikes, conversed with us regularly about our problems (including the anger resulting from not fitting in), consistently set boundaries and, most important, provided spiritual guidance.

The Bible says death is an "enemy" (1 Corinthians 15:26); it also gives assurance (Psalms 37: 10, 11, 29) that a time is on the horizon when only "meek ones" who "fit in" a "righteous" society will inhabit the earth!

Veronica D. Jackson
Aurora


Our Daily Dread

Holy mackerel! Michael Roberts did a thorough job of explaining the halcyon days of the Colorado Daily yore in his April 26 "Paper Trail." I'm impressed. In fact, I'm so impressed that I don't mind that his piece revealed my secret method of writing (pounding frozen mackerel on pianos). I don't even mind that everyone now remembers that nothing interesting, thoughtful or important appeared in the Daily between 1986 and 1998, when I was editor.

No, all of that is fine. Doesn't bother me a whit. I write only to point out the correct spelling of my name.

Clint Talbott
Boulder


Luis, Luis

Clueless in Colorado: I've heard around the art scene that Michael Paglia is less than democratic in his choice of what he reviews and that he's biased toward the Havu and Rule galleries. I suspected this might be true based on his previous work in Westword. I was convinced, however, when I read the April 5 "Meet Me in San Luis," an entire page devoted to Emilio Lobato. I have nothing against Lobato. He's a very nice person and does very competent and skilled design work, but I would hardly classify it as significant or "high" art. There are loads of artists like him whose abstract works clutter the file cabinets and storage rooms of galleries, designers and art consultants throughout the world. None of them are ever going to make it to high prominence in the art world.

It's quite evident, however, that Mr. Paglia is convinced Lobato is different. He makes a concerted effort to elevate Lobato's stature by painting a picture of struggle, perseverance and dominance over his circumstances. All that talk about the Penitentes, the Catholic Church and Christ almost borders on hokey. How trite can he get when describing "Trinidad" -- three painted circles representing the Trinity? Doesn't he know how many times that theme has been played out by all the different artists out there with the Christian religion in their backgrounds? Not very original, but Mr. Paglia seems to be impressed.

The fact that he allows Chenoweth and Reed's influence to dominate his oeuvre doesn't say much for his own vision. Stating that Lobato's well of creativity is apparently bottomless only shows that he is either extremely biased toward Lobato's myopic vision or clueless. Why is Lobato worthier of Mr. Paglia's praise than any number of truly relevant artists in the Denver community? The answer is clear: They are not represented by any of the "in" galleries on his narrow list.

Wake up, Mr. Paglia. Broaden your scope and become a better critic. And stop spending so much valuable space describing works in detail. Learn to entice readers into looking up the artist's work and checking it out for themselves.

Joseph Anderson
Denver

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