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
Denver

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
Denver


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
Arvada

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
Denver

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.

The story about Father Medrano, his church's Nativity scene and his parishioners gives a picture of how ordinary and extraordinary these people are. Artisans. People who believe in something and work hard to give it honor. People who have little to give but give freely and often go unrewarded because they know some neighbors have less. People who are inspired to reach beyond their problems because Father Medrano -- a saint in the making, I'm sure -- believes in them.

Thank you for bringing a real Christmas story to light. Rather than wail about the plight of the good Father's parishioners and beg for money, Robin showed us what he and they do to overcome some wicked obstacles.

Kathy Robinson
Lakewood


There Auto Be a Law

Free advice: Why did the city need to spend $40,000 to learn what anyone who's ever tried to park downtown could tell them? The parking system stinks!

Thanks to Patricia Calhoun for keeping the pressure on with her December 19 "Time's Up." Give 'em hell.

Joseph Cutler
Denver

Lots of luck:The lack of foresight exhibited by Patty Calhoun, KPMG, the Denver Parking Mis-Management morons and his "Cronyness" Wellington Webb regarding Denver's lack of viable public parking is truly amazing!

For a lot less than the $38,000 KPMG audit, it would seem that any moron could tell the City of Denver that it needs to stop declaring war on people trying to patronize Denver merchants! That war chases lots of consumer dollars to suburbia, as Webb's holiday relaxation of parking rules seeks to ignore the rest of the year.

Also, why can't these Webb crony "kickback" studies figure out that they need some public parking structures and then get the boot-happy VCAs (Vehicle Control Agents) to patrol the new parking structures instead of locking the public out of parking in buildings named after his Cronyness?

Daniel King
Aurora


You'd Better Shop Around

Big-bang theory: Regarding Stuart Steers's "The Wal-Mart Crusade," in the December 12 issue:

I recall seeing bumper stickers that read "If you don't like abortion, then don't have one."

I guess that would apply in this case as well: If you don't like Wal-Mart, then don't shop there. Meanwhile, I get the best bang for my buck at Wal-Mart and Sam's Club, so I go there. That's called a free economy -- one where we can shop where we want and where we can work where we want.

I can't wait to get out there this week when everything is cut to the bone; that benefits me and my family. Have a great new year.

Buddy Quinn
via the Internet

On Target:I don't agree with anyone who continues to shop at Wal-Mart in spite of the way it treats people. Doing the right thing sometimes requires sacrifices. In this case, the sacrifice seems so small as to be insignificant -- presumably paying a little more for an item. You can reduce your overall expenses by buying less. Most Americans waste a lot of money, resources and stuff: Buy better quality that doesn't have to be replaced all the time. Shop at the stores that deserve your patronage.

Frank Azar said he's never had a complaint against Target or K-Mart. I bought stuff at Target last week because I decided to quit patronizing Wal-Mart, and I can't see any difference between their prices and Wal-Mart's. And even if I did, I would shop at anyplace but Wal-Mart. Self-esteem comes from doing the right thing. Better to have self-esteem than to support bad things happening in order to save a few pennies instead of reducing purchases and buying better stuff.

Benton Wheeler
via the Internet


They've Got Your Number

Information, please:I was a little (but only a little) surprised that there were so few letters in the December 19 letters section regarding Bill Gallo's December 12 Sports column, "Our Mitts on You," on the topic of the Total Information Awareness database.

I am grateful that someone, even a sports columnist, is talking about this issue, which should be much more of a concern to us all than it is. But with the mainstream Media being an accessory to our apathy, what else should we expect?

First, we have all heard those naive and "patriotic" Americans who, regarding restrictions on civil liberties, say: "But if one is not a terrorist (or whatever type of undesirable), then one has nothing to fear." Or, "I have nothing to hide."

But with the proposed Big Brother/John Poindexter database, which would be set up under the Homeland "Security" Bill just passed in November, we will all have something to fear, and we all will be able to hide nothing.... Not only will all of our e-mails and phone calls be subject to being tapped (without court order), but they willbe tapped. As has been already noted by many, every conceivable piece of information will be gathered on all of us, from surveillance video to credit and medical and library and supermarket purchase information to.... Then this information will be scanned with computer software to search for "terrorists" (or whatever). But my point is: With all of the mistakes computers make, and with all of that identity theft lately, we are all at risk of being "found" to be terrorists, whoever we are. (Databases never, ever contain misleading or false information, do they?) And as accused terrorists, we will most likely have our constitutional rights to due process violated, especially if we fall into certain ethnic and racial groups.

As Americans, we must stand up for freedom now, before we all find acceptable the American public's abdication of our civil rights and the privacy we used to find sacred.

Leroy Quet
Denver


It's the Reel Thing

History lesson: Regarding David Holthouse's "Reel Liberation," in the December 19 issue:

If Gary Nurkiewicz ends up donating the Nazi films, why doesn't he donate them to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, since it is dedicated to educating the public about the Holocaust? Or he could lower his price to the point that they could afford to buy them. I think that would be a good permanent home for the films.

Darlene Bee
via the Internet


Ethnic Cleansing

You, sir, are correct! In Michael Roberts's December 12 "Calling All Columnists," he made the startling statement that "as a Latina, [Tina] Griego was the paper's only metro columnist with an ethnic background."

Mr. Roberts, everybody in the world has an ethnic background, even you (unless you are some sort of genetic miracle!). It's just that some ethnic backgrounds are more politically correct than others.

Derry Eynon
Fort Collins


Head for the Hill

Music to his ears:Marty Jones's "Recording Star," in the December 19 issue, was one of the most wonderful and positive stories about music and life that I've read in a very long time! Thank goodness for the Bill Hills of this world. Also, thank goodness for writers such as Marty Jones, with enough wisdom, courage and compassion to be aware of such beauty!

Gene A. Napue Jr.
Denver

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