Letters to the Editor

From the week of October 3, 2002

Cell Hell

He's got our number: I'm here to say thank you for Patricia Calhoun's "A Hard Cell" observations in the September 26 issue.

I, too, believe cell phones are a menace to our societal well-being. Bravo to Calhoun for putting her beliefs in print and on the air via Channel 12's Colorado Inside Out.

Oh, and for employing the mirth of Kenny Be.

Joseph B. Green
Denver

It's a lock:At the World Affairs Conference at the University of Colorado this spring, the topic was robber-baron CEOs. I got a good hand when I mentioned Joe Nacchio and his $100 million retirement package and referred to Qwest as "the company that made a science out of antagonizing its customers."

In Patricia Calhoun's "A Hard Cell," a former Qwest employee refers to Nacchio's "earning $100 million." He might have made off with, taken, grabbed, etc., but he sure didn't "earn" it. Amazing how somebody can come in, take over a good company, drive it on the rocks in no time and walk away with a big fortune.

The whole bunch, including the boardmembers, should be locked up for a long time.

Frederick C. Sage
Boulder


Blinded by Science

Pearls before swine: Julie Jargon's "A Spaced Odyssey," in the September 19 issue, was excellent, albeit sad. Christ said, "Do not cast your pearls before swine, lest they be trampled underfoot." Handing our city and nationally acclaimed Museum of Nature & Science to the likes of Raylene Decatur is doing precisely that. Like so many current CEOs, she will bring that which she should handle most responsibly to utter ruin.

I have lived in Denver for over 51 years and have enjoyed going to our esteemed museum, often taking friends. I will never set foot in it again as long as she is allowed to put her staining imprint upon it.

How could anyone hire someone who is proud to boast: "My philosophy is: If it ain't broke, break it." Iconoclasts should not be put in charge of museums. Those who put her in charge of our treasure remind me of this line from the Wizard of Oz: "If I only had a brain."

Francis J. Galmish
Denver

Space case: I just celebrated my one-year anniversary at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. I learned much more about the Space Odyssey project through reading Julie Jargon's "A Spaced Odyssey" than I have by working here during this past year. We aren't really involved or informed concerning those major changing issues, unless you're someone in the top circle. Thank you for the insight of our past and voicing concerns of our future here at the museum.

Name withheld on request

Funny business:What are they doing to our museum? Focus groups? Interactivity? All the latest buzzwords, huh? It seems that president Raylene Decatur is just another lemming quoting modern business babble. (If it ain't broke, then break it? Ugh!) Our Museum of Nature & Science is a grand legacy and should be entrusted to venerable hands. It should be directed like a museum, not a hamburger chain.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a museum as an "institution devoted to the acquisition, conservation, study, exhibition, and educational interpretation of objects having scientific, historical or artistic value." Quite a noble thing, I'd say. Nothing is mentioned about a museum being a faddish funhouse competing for the greatest number of dollars. (After all, one can experience G-forces at Elitch's.)

I have to say I'm curious now and want to know more about the background of our -- and I do mean our -- trustees, as their oversight appears not unlike that of Enron.

Jo Deringer
via the Internet

Up the organization:I thoroughly enjoyed the article on the Denver Museum of Nature & Science's current plight. As a former employee in the anthropology department (working for Bob Pickering), I am aware of the vast frustrations caused by the entrance of Ms. Decatur. Since making the switch from the scientific community to the corporate world, I can understand the need for reinventing one's organization in order to maintain a viable product. But even in the perceived "coldness" of the corporate world, "reinventing" is rarely done without significant input from various department managers and often has widespread employee support (or at least knowledge) -- which apparently was not the case with Space Odyssey.

This is in stark contrast to the Prehistoric Journey project (whose origins pre-date Ms. Decatur), in which several departments had significant roles to play and employees were given regular updates of progress on the project. At the time of my employment (1994-'96), the museum was considered one of the preeminent scientific institutions west of the Mississippi. I believe that many people saw the preeminence start to fade with the change in leadership. They began to realize that the demands for accountability and reproducibility in results and decisions were destroying the benefits of their expertise, and as a result, many left for better places.

When this happens, the final product suffers. While Ms. Decatur may be an expert in organization fundraising, she is certainly not an expert (and needs help) in organizational behavior.

Aaron K. Lechner
Broomfield

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