Letters to the Editor

From the week of November 28, 2002

The Rights Stuff

Translation, please: I was shocked, appalled and extremely disturbed by David Holthouse's report on Naim Amini's child-molestation case ("Trial and Tribulations," November 21). How is it that something as obvious as providing a competent translator and advising a defendant of his rights could be so blatantly and callously denied? I know there is a backlash against immigrants at the moment; however, isn't there such a thing as basic human rights that are supposedly respected in this country?

Of course, with recent political developments, it won't be too long before all of us -- native-born, naturalized and immigrant -- are denied our right to a fair trial.

Janice Hampton
Denver


Birds of a Feather

Trial and error: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Undo Process," in the November 21 issue: If it quacks like a duck...

Toya Dawson was drunk, got off -- and the city has to hire her back? It's a miscarriage of justice, sure, but not against her! Now, this Amini case that David Holthouse wrote about in the same issue is a case of bad justice.

Don't editors look at every article?

Nick Werle
Colorado Springs

A town without pity: Alan Prendergast's "Undo Process" is a remarkable article. Unfortunately, Toya Dawson's case is not uncommon in Denver. I commend Denver District Judge Frank Martinez for his justice in the court! The city process requires an employee to file an appeal to the Career Service Authority hearings officer. After that, an employee may appeal to the Career Service Board. The next legal step is for an employee to file his or her case in district court. The "undo" legal process requires many years, and bankruptcy is the result of the costly expenses to defend yourself. The office that's supposed to seek justice for thousands of citizens is not fair to its own people.

If the truth were known, it would undoubtedly be found that many employees have no faith in the Career Service Authority or the grievance and appeal process. The Career Service rules are basically by the management and for the management, and employees essentially have no rights. The City of Denver does not even have a whistleblower's act similar to federal and state laws to offer protection to employees. The city attorney's office has the taxpayers' money to support its legal expenses and refusals to negotiate and can afford to force cases into court through the lengthy legal process. It was appalling to read that in the city's appeal, it contended that the judge should not have considered evidence that wasn't presented at the Career Service Board hearing -- including the fact that Dawson's shoplifting and DUI charges were dismissed. How can justice be done if facts are covered up by the city attorney's office?

Toya Dawson is not alone in her litigation efforts to restore her reputation of solid performance and excellent relationships with her co-workers. (Because of similar cases against the city, my name must be withheld.) What happened to the laws of our country being made by the people and for the people? Hopefully Alan Prendergast will follow up on the appeal process in this case and how long the city refuses to allow Toya Dawson to return to work.

Name withheld on request


Of News and Nutcases

Cutting to the heart: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Old at Heart," in the November 21 issue:

Local TV news and, increasingly, daily print journalism reflect the seeming irrelevance of political and civic life to most people. The reason is not that difficult to discern. Most of us live in suburbs, where civic institutions either do not exist or are simply too larval to amount to much.

Why does a nutcase like Tom Tancredo get elected to Congress? Simple. When politics is reduced to screaming about illegal aliens or gays, it only confirms what local news coverage suggests: We simply do not care seriously about our communities. We build crappy buildings, crappy freeways and crappy schools because the idea of community itself is a cartoon.

Younger consumers of this "news" product intuitively know this. What it means for society, only time and Karl Rove can tell.

Walter Hall
Phoenix, Arizona

Seems like old times: Advertisers love teens and younger adults because the former spends their parents' money with wild abandon and the latter don't put a whole lot of brainwork into making major purchases (Heather, do you, like, think this Beemer goes with my hair?). Despite these youngsters' own self-indulgent belief otherwise, unless they are doing something shake-your-head-in-wonder-stupid during which they manage to kill themselves or someone else, this is one incredibly boring bunch of folks. Yes, while young Palestinians may be strapping themselves with explosives, it's old guys who tell them which preschool to target. Mostly twenty-something soldiers are digging through caves in Afghanistan (and every one of us who's feeling a touch of the rhuematiz should thank God for these very mature young people every day), but much older folks decide which caves to dig through. Locally, we may have a Richie Rich who bought himself a political office, but you'll notice that we tend to leave the serious work up to seriously grownup folks like Webb, Owens, Beauprez or Feeley, and Allard. The young and dumb and fulla cum need not apply for precisely that list of very good reasons.

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