Internet Interruption

Web-radio legislation gets tangled in politics.

This proclamation undoubtedly rang in the ears of staffers at the Oakland Tribune, who remain locked in a long-running labor conflict with MediaNews Group, the Singleton-led company that owns the paper ("Trouble by the Bay," October 10). Tribune reporters have been complaining about low salaries and short staffing for years. But on October 29, they received a unanimous vote of confidence from the Oakland City Council, which issued a resolution that sides with employees of the Alameda Newspaper Group, a cluster of MediaNews papers that encompasses the Tribune. The document asks management negotiators to "immediately bargain, without delay, a new contract that is fair and equitable to its editorial employees."

Wonder how that would have played in Baltimore?

An ill-fitting suit: If KHOW talk-show host Peter Boyles sounds a little more relaxed than usual these days, there's a good reason. On October 21, Denver District Judge Frank Martinez tossed out a lawsuit filed against Boyles by Denver police officer Bryan Gordon.

Matthew Strauss

The suit stemmed from an altercation that took place in the wee hours of February 1, 1997, outside Pierre's Supper Club. Rumors circulated that Gordon had stabbed Ron Thomas, a fellow officer who often worked as a bodyguard for Mayor Wellington Webb. As disclosed in a Westword article on the topic by reporter Karen Bowers ("Sliced and Diced," April 17, 1997), Thomas said he was unsure if he'd been stabbed at all and denied that Gordon had been involved. But Boyles was told by some gang sources that Gordon had indeed injured Thomas, a contention that, when broadcast, led to Gordon's court filing. Judge Martinez eventually brushed aside accusations of defamation and libel, concluding that Boyles's assertions were protected by the First Amendment

The Gordon suit was one of three that landed on Boyles over a rather short period. He was sued in 2000 by fourteen SWAT officers after James Kearney, a retired FBI agent, argued on his show that cops were hiding facts in regard to the slaying of immigrant Ismael Mena during a no-knock raid at the wrong house; Clear Channel, KHOW's parent company, ponied up $55,000 to settle the matter last year, claiming that such a deal was in the best interest of the community following 9/11. That same year, Boyles and the Denver Post were sued by the parents of Raoul Wuthrich, a ten-year-old boy accused of inappropriately touching his five-year-old sister in 1999; charges of aggravated incest and sexual assault on a child initially leveled against Raoul were later dismissed. According to a May 24, 2000, Associated Press story, the suit charges Boyles and the Post with "defamation for airing and printing allegedly defamatory comments made by Jefferson County authorities."

With the Wuthrich case still pending, Boyles may have a few more conferences with lawyers ahead of him. But he says he's "very relieved and very happy" to have been exonerated in connection with Gordon's grievance. However, he adds, "I'm also angry that I was dragged through this for five years. It's been a rough experience, and why I was singled out is beyond me. But for the first time in a long, long time, I have some peace."

Could it be magic? This issue of Westword was put to bed on November 5, before election results were final. Nonetheless, I can say with absolute certainty that one winner of this year's campaign is the general public -- because the lead-up to the election is finally, blessedly over.

On the other hand, the political silly season has provided more than its share of humor, intentional and otherwise. Consider conservative KOA yakker Mike Rosen's election-day commentary about the race for Arapahoe County clerk and recorder; it pitted Republican incumbent Tracy Baker, who's been charged with exchanging sexually explicit e-mails with a female employee on government time, and Margaret Alia Denny, a Libertarian identified in a November 3 Denver Post story as the founder of a wiccan church.

"Anyone who openly identifies themselves as a witch and who claims to be able to cast spells is in need of psychological help," Rosen declared. But then he admitted that if such a person was running as a Republican against a liberal Democrat, he would probably vote for him or her anyway.

Judging by that proclamation, someone must have cast a spell on Rosen. My money's on Dick Cheney.

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