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From the week of September 26, 2002

The Wheel Thing

Taken for a ride: I just read Harrison Fletcher's "Wheels of Misfortune," in the September 12 issue, and I have a few comments.

Latinos come to this country to work and make a new life, which is almost impossible at home. Over time, some become quite successful. The real issue regarding these buses is that many in the "majority" just don't like that. In addition, Latinos have a little bit different cultural home life, and the "majority" doesn't like that, either. If these successful businesses were stealing, cheating and robbing, then the "majority" would complain that they are no-good aliens.

I have ridden the Golden State bus some four or five times over the last few years and found the experience to be clean, cheap, fast, more fun and nowhere near as interminable as a Greyhound ride.

To those who are bothered by the buses, I suggest they build their $300K condo somewhere where homogeneous-population desirables are welcome, like Boulder or circa-1963 Mississippi.

M.S. Mora
Indio, California The white stuff: I have to agree with the complaints on the Mexico bus travel. I drive by there every day to see some Mexican puking or doing something socially unacceptable. Why doesn't the city do something about it? If someone was puking and acting disorderly in LoDo, you can bet something would be done. The white person would be pepper-sprayed or arrested or both. I am so tired of this minority-pandering. It is ridiculous. When a white person does something, it is against the law; when a Mexican does the same thing, we are told to be understanding. Bullshit! I don't see my tax dollars go down because I am understanding. I don't see them paying the taxes, either. John Rosemeier
Denver A terminal situation: Thanks so much for the excellent article on the buses at 23rd and Park Avenue West. We in Curtis Park are so afraid of talking to the press, because words and meanings get twisted, and we get crucified as racists. Harrison Fletcher really showed the condition of those bus companies and how they take advantage of their customers. Sue Glassmacher
Curtis Park Neighbors The bus stops here:All of the solutions to the bus problem are in Harrison Fletcher's article. 1) The determination to do it. All this hemming and hawing is gutless. I am amazed and furious at the laziness of all the parties: the cops, the city officials, the bus managers and especially the riders. 2) Knock down those two duplexes right now and pave the area, and reroute the street congestion into the lot. Get those damned buses and people off the streets. 3) Move Greyhound to Union Station and move the Mexican bus companies into the vacated Greyhound terminal. Not everyone has to move to Union Station. 4) However much money it takes, do it. The death of the boy should have been enough to move on all this. 5) Since all of these managers claim "they are getting no complaints," then, by God, people -- start complaining! Go in there yourself and make your anger known, and if you speak and write Spanish, make up signs in Spanish and put them in the windows of the businesses on the streets where families are forced to wait all day. Put them on phone poles. Walk the crowds and hand them out as leaflets. Get some public awareness moving; get the complaints rolling in! I used to live in Denver. I have been out in L.A. for nine years now. Out here, we had to form a "Bus Riders' Union" to organize our anger at the bus companies and have riders' strikes, bring court actions and get media attention before the top offices took us seriously and realized that without us, they had no reason to be in business. We paralyzed the citymore than once before they finally gave us what we demanded. I can't believe you guys in Denver have become such powerless wusses. This is not the Denver I left! What's the matter with you? I remember Curtis Park. Looks like you've let it go to hell and forgotten the lessons of the past. Wake up. Get up. Turn on your printers and get to the copy shop and get going on this. What the hell are you waiting for? J.P. Schwartz
via the Internet Paint the town read: I just got through reading Harrison Fletcher's article and was so impressed that I sent it to everyone I could think of in the city who might be part of the solution. Along with being an extremely good read, I found it to be thorough, comprehensive, accurate and balanced. Fletcher is the first person to so carefully and vividly lay out all of the convoluted pieces, players and history. He's painted the picture, and it ain't pretty -- although it's very human. Alana Smart
Denver Penned Up Emotions Prisoner of the heart:I wish to thank you from my heart for Alan Prendergast's "The Long Silence," in the September 12 issue. You have given me hope that someone out there truly cares enough to see the truth! All too often, "the truth" is locked away with inmates, and even their families fear to speak out for fear the prisons will retaliate by taking away phone privileges, visits, even correspondence. It appears that the federal prison system hides under the guise of everything being a threat to the safety and security of the system, when this is mostly hogwash. I also read "System Failure," Alan's story in the August 28 issue about the young woman who was murdered by her ex-husband due to a system and judge who couldn't care less about protecting people or their personal pain, simply because they have "heard it all before." What's that attitude about? Why do these people hold positions of authority if they will not fairly execute that authority? Mark Jordan, my son, is in Florence ADX federal prison, and he and many other inmates do not enjoy "freedom of press and free speech," due to terror tactics of what's called "The Justice System." My stand on it is this: They do "justas" they please, not even holding to their own rules when it comes to public scrutiny. The hard-core, cold-hearted bureaucrats see people as nothing more than "stepping stones" for their glory, power and funding, and the self-righteous pompous powerhouses of wickedness set out to gain these things at the cost of even human lives! Barbara Adkins-Jordan
Philadelphia Caged copy: Regarding "The Long Silence," isn't this situation restricting freedom of the press? The press cannot write freely about prisons without prisoners' input. Westword should sue. Nick Werle
Colorado Springs Editor's note: Westword is one of over a dozen plaintiffs -- including both publishing groups and prisoners -- in a lawsuit filed two years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Colorado Department of Corrections, challenging the DOC's pattern of arbitrary and irrational censorship of incoming publications. Hot Times Feeling burned: After David Holthouse's September 12 "Burn This" and Leslie O'Donnell's rhapsodic letter in response, I would like to offer an overlooked fact regarding this "counterculture" event. I attended in 1996, and yes, it was a unique, mind-boggling event that I will never forget. That year, around 12,000 people attended, at $50 a head. This year, I think Holthouse said it was 30,000 at $250 per. As one of the Burning Man "inner circle" wondered when we were engaged in conversation, where did all the money go? All the organizers provided was the Man (lumber and fluorescent lights) and any potential emergency medical assistance (from Reno), and maybe an ice delivery. Everything else was provided by the participants themselves. As organizer/promoter revenues have gone from half a mil six years ago to $7.5 million this year, someone is certainly getting rich from this "non-commercial" gathering of the art tribes. Not that they shouldn't. I realize that one (who could afford it) could spend $250 on a hot date in the city and forget it the next day, while the Burning Man experience is really impossible to quantify (except for those who can't afford it). Let's just not forget that as tribal gatherings go, this one is not so untainted by greed and elitism. Jim Bernath
Denver Asia Like It Fruit loopy: Thanks so much for Jason Sheehan's September 12 "Singapore for Your Supper." After reading his paragraphs on the dubious virtues of the durian fruit smoothie, I couldn't possibly resist! I called my most "game" friend, and we trotted right over. After enthusiastically placing our order (we skipped dinner and went right to the main attraction), we were delighted that a second staff member came out of the kitchen to confirm that we were aware of what we were ordering. Anyway, you are not paying to hear my restaurant review. The point is that Westwordgave me a great life experience, and I am grateful. Keep up the good work; I am going to be a more religious reader from this day on! Wendy J. Werpetinski
Denver Singapore sling: I feel Jason Sheehan has done a wonderful job. A former Denverite and longtime toiler in some of the best kitchens in that city, I never fail to keep up with Westword online to see what is happening in the restaurants at home. For the past three years, I have lived and worked in Singapore (I run two kitchens here), so it was with interest that I saw "Singapore for Your Supper." One thing that jumped out at me while reading was Sheehan's constant referral to these restaurants as Malaysian. Malaysia is a country, as is Singapore. Singapore is not a part of Malaysia; it is a country made up of 77 percent ethnic Chinese (with Chinese cuisine making up the vast majority of food to be had here), with only 12 percent of the population being ethnic Malay. Why should it be a "sin of epic proportions for any Malaysian restaurant" to not offer roti canai (which is an Indian dish, by the way)? Judging by the names of the two restaurants reviewed last week, they aren't Malaysian restaurants, but Singaporean, so why the expectation of Malay/Indian food? That would be like eating at a restaurant in Mexico City and requesting a hamburger, saying that it is "a sin of epic proportions for any American restaurant" to not offer hamburgers. P.S.: Props to Sheehan on using the F-word in his review last week. Tres punk rock! Dan Durkin
Singapore, Singapore Jason Sheehan responds: I'm tempted to agree with you, Dan, simply because you're there in Singapore, where I've never been. The fact of the matter, though, is that cuisine does not stop and start at borders, but exists on a spectrum of taste. When I was referring to these places as "Malaysian restaurants," I was talking about them in terms of flavor, not geography. Despite their names -- Singapore Grill and Isle of Singapore -- these restaurantsare Malaysian. Singaporean cuisine, by reason of those statistics you mention, is essentially a slightly spicier version of Cantonese broadened by the inclusion of certain spices and techniques borrowed from other regions. The population of Malaysia, on the other hand, is made up of more than half Malay, 30 percent Chinese and 10 percent Indian, and it's this marginal difference in ethnicity that sets the cuisine apart (in my opinion) by building for it a mellower, more complicated, almost tropical base. Yes, both restaurants had Chinese sides to their menus, but they also featured dishes from all over Southeast Asia's culinary spectrum, and woven through many of those dishes was an essence of Indian cooking that -- for me, anyhow -- is what separates Singaporean chow from Malaysian. Crash Landing Rocket man:I found Marty Jones's "We Have Liftoff," in the September 12 issue, extremely disappointing. I would think that he would have enough knowledge and respect for local bands (especially when writing an article to promote a show) to dig a little bit deeper than he did. Rocket Ajax wants to be Korn? Go back to Rocket Ajax and ask them what they thought of the article, and I'll bet you find some very disappointed musicians. It seems to me that Rocket Ajax getting an article in Westword before pushing off for the struggle for fame in Los Angeles should be a promotional benefit, not an embarrassment. Getting a mention in Westword should feel like an accomplishment, a compliment of sorts, but instead Marty Jones just dragged them down and made them seem like complete losers. Perhaps Marty Jones is not familiar with Rocket Ajax. Perhaps Marty Jones is biased in his music preferences. Whatever the problem is, I hope other bands (especially the tightly knit family of musicians here in Denver) will be forewarned about Marty Jones's poor journalistic skills and lack of musical heart. Allison Scobey
Denver He Write Pretty Someday Quote notes:I just read Marty Jones's excellent "Pretty Poison," his September 19 review of John Davis's CD Dreams of the Lost Tribe. John must be thrilled with the praise Jones bestowed upon his efforts, especially these two lines: "...a debut that plays like some Tennessee Williams version of O Dixie, Where Art Thou?" and "Dreams of the Lost Tribe is a stunning piece of work by any standard, and a debut of masterful, almost scary proportions." Hell, if I were John, I'd immediately get labels printed with those quotes and affix them to every remaining copy of the CD! Anyway, great writing. Carey Driscoll
via the Internet

 
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