Letters to the Editor

From the week of September 12, 2002

I love my daughter very much and would like to be a bigger part of her life; I don't want the inertia of the past years' status quo to be used as an acknowledgment that I agree with this arrangement.

Glenn Markos
Venice, Florida

Son damage: Thank you for the informative article on the divorce situation in this state. I felt Julie Jargon was non-biased in her report and showed some real problems that exist in the courts when a family splits. I have spent the past two years fighting for my son through the courts and have been treated like a criminal. Accusations are thrown around by my ex and believed constantly by the people placed in charge of finding out what is in the accusations and getting down to the division of my son's time, only at a considerable expense.

I found it interesting that she followed a case that occurred in Douglas County: I, too, have my divorce proceedings through Douglas County and must say that fathers are not listened to by the courts or the child advocates. My soon-to-be ex and the courts would rather I disappear and just pay child support so I can be labeled as a "deadbeat dad." It's difficult to accept this when you were home every day since the birth of your child and now are forced to be a visitor and pay money as if you victimized someone. The only victims are the children. Children need both parents, not driven-away parents.

Again, I appreciate your article on this growing problem. It's unfortunate that it will take years of legislation to improve the process of divorce when children are involved.

Darren Dennstedt

X Marks the Spat

Cover your children's ears: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Good Sex, Bad Sex," in the August 29 issue:

I find it hypocritical that a cluster of stations that air sex-themed shows like The Zoo, Loveline, the KOA morning "news" program and Lewis & Floorwax considers ads from sex-themed stores to be inappropriate. To quote Clear Channel's Don Martin from a previous Roberts column: "It's the year 2002. Give me a break."

John Ravetti
Colorado Springs

The Skyline's the Limit

Park place: Regarding Michael Paglia's well-intentioned but somewhat wrongheaded defense of Skyline Park ("Showdown at Skyline," August 29):

Lawrence Halprin's design for Skyline around 1970 shares much of the same design merit shown by other Halprin works -- like Ira's Fountain in Portland and Freeway Park in Seattle -- in its evocation of natural form, its boldness, and its attention to detail. Skyline, though somewhat of the sunken living-room school of park design then in vogue, addressed a problematic site (long and narrow, with five lanes of traffic rushing by, in a then-disused part of town) in a creative and picturesque way. Since then, the neighborhood surrounding the park and American notions of urban design have changed. Where we once saw streets as grim channels meant exclusively for conducting car traffic, we realize now that they are as essential to the life of the public realm as parks and that parks that turn their backs on the street are likely to be relatively unused.

Michael Paglia evinces surprise that all the consultants invited to make recommendations for Skyline came to the same conclusion: that the grade of the park should be raised to that of the surrounding street. While he is probably correct that the style of the park makes little difference to its function, he ignores the fact, obvious to all the consultants and to any first-year design student, that the form of the park, namely its bunker-like character, is a serious design flaw having implications for its use. Generally speaking, sunken plazas tend not to work. To be widely and democratically used, a city park needs to be visually and psychologically accessible, not hidden behind walls, berms and shrubbery. It is also, contrary to Paglia's water-use red herring, a perfectly appropriate place for the city to use a bit of water on a patch of turf for the enjoyment of the large and diverse crowd who would enjoy it.

In addition to raising the grade of much of the park, one move that could show the city is serious about Skyline would be for the nice engineers at Parking and Traffic to give a couple of traffic lanes in Arapahoe Street back to the park. They will protest that it can't be done; don't believe them. But at the least, before we do anything else, let's take down those signs that now deface the fountains and read "Do not deface monuments." Those crappy placards are a far greater insult to Halprin's legacy than the worthwhile efforts of serious and intelligent people to improve downtown for everyone, including those who snipe at their ideas from the sidelines.

Grayson Baur

Party On

Minor concerns: After reading the three letters responding to Michael Robert's August 22 "Minor Threat," I was encouraged and hopeful that someone at Westword would take notice. Personally, I am so sick of Republicrats (as Ralph Nader dubbed the growing number of unrecognizable Democrats in his perceptive new book, Crashing the Party), that I am amazed by the media's token coverage (if that!) of real alternatives to the same old political bullshit. How long will it take the media to allow us to see and hear from those who have something new and pro-active to say, instead of being forced to choose, once again, the least obnoxious (and potentially dangerous) of two boring candidates?

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