Letters to the Editor

From the week of January 2, 2003

Boo-Hoo for 2002

Worse comes to worse: Your December 26 Year in Review issue convinced me that 2002 was the worst year since...2001.

Here's to better news in 2003.

Francie Howell

Dem bones: Regarding Ernie Tucker's Year in Review quiz:

It was so significant that the money and the brains of the Democrat Party (Pat Stryker and Steve Welchert) decided that the real threat to the Democratic agenda was not the possibility of the Republicans gaining control of the Colorado Legislature or of the United States Congress, but rather that Rita Montero and Ron Unz would be successful in mandating English immersion in Colorado public schools. So the big bucks and the real talent were diverted into defeating that dangerous duo.

What do Colorado Republicans say to Stryker and Welchert?

A.) Gracias

B.) Muchas gracias

C.) Mil gracias por todo

Joanne Marie Roll

A Hard Cell

No holds barred: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Death on the Installment Plan," in the December 19 issue:

You wouldn't have to tell me where Fidel Ramos had spent most of the past 25 years. If he'd been out here with law-abiding folk, he'd know that HMOs treat us even worse than he believes he's being treated by the Colorado Department of Corrections. Oh, yeah, and we get to pay ever more and more for the privilege, while still footing the bill for his health care, too! It's good to be king.

I'm not a doctor; I don't even play one on TV. Still, I think I can offer a few helpful hints for anyone who might be wisely predicting failing health as they age: 1) Don't become a citizen of some Third World hellhole where health care consists of a guy in a scary mask chanting and sprinkling dirt on you; 2) Avoid a daily diet of two packs of unfiltered Camels and McD's Fat 'n Greasies washed down with five 160-ounce Big Gulps of Mountain Dew; and 3) Stay out of prison!

I know that with free cable, free Internet, free gyms that make Gold's look like a February garage sale, etc., etc., etc., most Colorado cons have come to believe the only difference between life on the inside and life on the outside is that inside, you get all these perks free! Apparently, though, when you decide you'd like to try prison life, there are still a few privileges you might find a tad sub-par. No turndown service, no beeper to notify you of your tee time and -- oh, yeah -- medical services are slightly less plush than you'd find in a private suite at Rose.

Apparently Ramos, a brilliant legal scholar, is unfamiliar with "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" fable. Maybe he should have read a little Grimms' while he was boning up on the law that allowed him to become an even bigger burden on Colorado taxpayers than he already was. Another fable he should have read is "The Pied Piper." Because now that Mr. Ramos isn't a healthy, cocky, gonna-live-forever 25-year-old and the ol' body's starting to show the effects of a quarter-century of prison life, he's finding it's time to pay the piper.

Didja ever notice how loudly rats squeak when you step on them?

JM Schell

Pen pals: I'm glad Ms. Trimble left the Department of Corrections' employ.

As a medically retired DOC staff member after an accident at a Denver facility, I can tell you that it is us against them. She didn't belong. She's the kind of staff member you later find out fell in love with an inmate who sweet-talked her. He "had" to play the bad hand dealt him? It's a choice: Never cross the line getting tattoos and flashing guns of any nature and you will never die in a correctional facility. Unless, of course, you work there. Because if given the chance, an inmate like a "Nathan Jones" will shank a staff member for the badge it earns him.

Karin Swanson
via the Internet

All in the family: I wish the state would spend just some of the tax dollars that it's spending on prisoners on my family's health care!

Joe Vigil

Editor's note: Inmates in the Limon Correctional Facility have been banned from seeing Alan Prendergast's "Death on the Installment Plan" pending a review by the LCF Reading Committee.

Creche Course

Nativity truths: Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's "Nativity Sons," in the December 19 issue:

Once again, Robin has found one of the truly great stories of Denver. I used to work very near Sacred Heart Church, but never went in. Why would I? I'm a white woman, the daughter of an excommunicated Irish-American Catholic raised almost completely outside any church.

Each day at lunch, my co-workers and I walked around the Curtis Park neighborhood stretching our legs, airing our lungs and perhaps broadening our minds. In neighborhoods like Green Mountain and southeast Denver, problems such as drugs and alcohol hide behind heavy doors; down around Curtis Park, it was all out there in the open, as if there was some camaraderie in sharing misery. I recall walking past one yard where small children tried to find fun in a patch of dirt strewn with crumpled beer cans, their cheap dollar-store toys battered and grimy. But the kids laughed and played anyway. Mothers peeked out of faux-lace-curtained windows at this strange pack of white people wandering their streets. Sometimes an elderly resident offered a friendly greeting; sometimes one of the drunks staggered up and caused us to hasten our steps.

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