Letters to the Editor

From the week of January 23, 2003

Lineman for the County

Half-Bakered: The people of Arapahoe County knew what they were doing when they voted for Tracy Baker in November. The Arapahoe County commissioners can just live with him until six months pass and the voters recall him.

Besides, if Baker resigned early, who would everyone talk about? Koleen Brooks's trial is over. What would Patricia Calhoun have done instead of her Mad Libidos ("It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," January 16)? That was ADJECTIVE funny!

In these depressing times, we need Baker to kick around. EXCLAMATION.

Rae Fried
Denver

Rights and wrong: A cheap shot. That's what I call Patricia Calhoun's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." She did not stop at ridiculing Tracy Baker and other Arapahoe County officials, but went on to make fun of Baker's lawyer, too. But even Baker has a right to a defense. How many stories have I read in Westword defending the rights of prisoners?

Jill Conrad
via the Internet

Hot to trot: Enough with the games -- when can we read the complete e-mails? They look hotter than the Hayman Fire!

Rick Vigil
via the Internet


License to Chill

Whine's up: Reading the letter-writers' whining regarding parking in Denver in the last issue, it seems that Westword has a couple more entries for the "Quarter-Life Crisis" essay contest (January 2).

Larry Young complains that he was not informed that cars require plates on both front and back, and further whines, "It was never brought to my attention in Colorado Springs." And just who would you have read you life's instructions, Larry? Have you moved out of your mom's place? And Larry, if indeed 25 percent of all cars are not sporting a front plate (and that is a stretch, Larry), what about the 75 percent that do? Do you think we do that for fun, or aesthetics? C'mon, man, what did you think when you got the extra plate that comes for your car -- that maybe you keep it in the trunk as a spare, or maybe share it with a friend? It was not a buy-one-get-one-free deal. We can only hope, Larry, that someone "brought to your attention" that in addition to plates on your car, you also need insurance for your car. Otherwise, Denver might be better off if, in fact, you did avoid the big city.

Name Withheld surely needs to provide cheese with his first-class whine: "I didn't know I had them [parking tickets] because of misinformation from them, and postal errors." What? So many parking tickets you get the boot and it's their fault, they didn't inform you? Next chapter, you were admittedly speeding and got a ticket and it's their fault because they should be busting drugs? I believe you have shed a bit of insight as to your employment situation, or should I say lack thereof, and I wouldn't guess it's gonna change too soon. Yes, Name Withheld, you do have a choice, and it is very simple: Park correctly, don't speed and remember, it's your fault.

J.W. Sliter
Parker


Red Alert

Talk of the town: I'm glad you did a piece on radio talk-show host Scott Redmond ("Seeing Red," January 16). He was in the unenviable position of following the awesome talent of Reggie Rivers, but has done a good job of creating a forum where people of different ages, interests, incomes and ideologies can hear what's on the public's mind and contribute their own perspectives. Recent programs regarding foreign policy, the effects of media on children and homelessness have been wonderful dialogues -- made possible by Scott's readiness to take calls from people who respectfully disagree. It's a shame that his chat forum, like so many, became an arena of ridicule rather than discussion.

It would be fascinating if people who have long felt alienated from the AM airwaves (progressives, labor voices, gays, hippies, government employees, youth, the Christian left, feminists, etc.) shifted just a fraction of their attention away from NPR or music stations and included talk radio as part of their media diet. The AM radio waves could transition from being perceived as a neoconservative tribal gathering to becoming a genuine "Town hall" that many people at 630 KHOW, 850 KOA and 1510 KNRC have been working to create.

That's what democracy would look like.

Preston Enright
Denver

Lack to the future: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Seeing Red":

Scott Redmond is a guy who lacks talent. Thus, his political stance is irrelevant. He comes across as someone delicately traversing a tightrope above the abyss of a civil-service job.

Incidentally, I live in the abyss -- admin II at the Department of Labor/ UI (Unemployment Insurance) Appeals Branch. Certainly, this, too, is irrelevant, except for the fact that I also produce and host talk radio via KGNU in Boulder. Clear Channel sees me and other community-based hosts/producers as non-starters in their competition for Special Olympics debating; I don't take it personally, but I must confess a twinge of sadness when I see a soft-focus picture of Scott Redmond in your otherwise perfectly decent paper.

Those seeking an interesting media alternative should check out KGNU, with news and public-affairs programming (including the BBC and Pacifica's "Democracy Now") from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. weekdays (with local news, interviews and comment from 8 to 9 a.m.), and evening broadcasts that include a live call-in at 6 p.m. on Thursdays. KGNU is at 88.5 in Boulder (and certain spots in Denver); 89.1 in Ft. Collins; 93.7 in Ward and neighboring mountain areas; and live (with news archives) online at www.kgnu.org.

Rob Smoke
Boulder


The Mark of Zero

For the birds:In regard to the new Denver Art Museum logo revealed by Lewis Sharp (Off Limits, January 16), my parakeet could have pecked a better design out of its birdseed.

Lewis Sharp should demand a refund from MetaDesign: The new logo ain't no Nike swoosh.

Denise Gibson
via the Internet


Tanks for the Memories

Gov, American-style: Thanks for Kenny Be's "Governor-at-a-Glance" cartoon, in the January 9 issue. I really enjoyed it. I thought I might be the only person in Colorado who was thinking the same thing!

Here's an idea for another Worst-Case Scenario: "Gov-Lite."

1) Don't want the hassle of dealing with public transit? Enlarge the highways to where the real contributions are.

2) Is quality education for people too tough to figure out? Support only private schools for the wealthy people. The rest of them don't need education, anyway.

3) Can't figure out how to bring good jobs to Colorado? Just have another tax cut for the people who really matter.

4) Got water woes? Cut the trees down, as the darn things just burn up, anyway.

5) Has the resort, hunting, ranching and farming part of the economy fallen on hard times? Just tell everyone that Colorado is burning. Who are those people, anyway?

Alex
Arvada

The tuck stops here: The governor wants to cut $134 million from the budget. I, on the other hand, wouldn't cut a penny. Instead, I would suggest that for starters, we privatize a few city parks. If it was good enough to do for Coors Field, the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field, why not a few city parks? Imagine Pepsi Park, "A Park for the Next Generation."

Then I would redirect lottery funds previously earmarked for the parks right back into the schools and roads. Those millions of dollars could have prevented the St. Vrain school debacle. I would open those darn HOV lanes to everyone all the time so we can reduce the stranglehold on trying to do commerce throughout the Front Range. Sitting an average of 322 hours a year in traffic doesn't help our economy or air quality one bit. I would hire a state director of marketing, because what we have now isn't working. Hotel vacancies are at an all-time high and conference business is in the tank because we simply stink at marketing our product, the state of Colorado. Then, when somebody finally does visit, they find it difficult to navigate through our communities due to lack of road signage and lane markings. Even the people running DIA say we don't offer enough help to our tourist guests. And yet tourism is supposed to be our state's second-largest industry.

If I were to cut anything, it would be to eliminate the front license plates of vehicles. That would save the state a few million dollars in manufacturing costs right there.

Anyone can tuck and run away from a problem! The real art of business lies in creating a way of taking obstructions and molding them into opportunities.

Doug Masser
Denver

Death and Texas: While the National Review (a Republican, right-wing magazine) has ranked Colorado's Texas-born, -raised and -educated governor as the nation's best, here is a "Top Ten" list to prove otherwise. Under Owens's "leadership":

1) Colorado's booming economy has fallen to one of the five worst.

2) Colorado was last in job creation in 2002, with nearly 6 percent, or 125,000, unemployed.

3) Colorado's funding for the arts is last nationally.

4) Colorado still has no statewide water policy.

5) Colorado's public-school funding ranks in the bottom ten and would be much worse without voter approval of Amendment 23 (which Owens vigorously opposed).

6) Colorado's Owens-initiated $1 billion unwise permanent tax cut has led to massive state government deficits of $1.2 billion and horrendous cuts in state services.

7) Colorado's health-care coverage for children and the indigent is near the bottom nationally in quality, while hundreds of the working poor die needlessly among the 600,000 who can't qualify.

8) Auto premium insurance rates are eleventh-highest in the nation.

9) Owens has selfishly amassed millions in his "think tank" and future campaign fund.

10) Colorado's flat-rate state income tax heavily favors the wealthy; the state deficit could be covered with a graduated, progressive income tax with higher rates for the wealthy.

Cal Johnston
Littleton


Buildings for the Future

A complex situation:I am the director of the national volunteer organization at AMC Cancer Research Center. I enjoyed Michael Paglia's January 9 "Now and Then," and want him to know that the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design will not "screw it up nor damage" the historic fabric of our campus and our buildings. We stand to benefit greatly from their upgrades, as do the public and the students. We would never have sold our campus to people who do not respect or understand the history that is AMC. I work for 21 chapters across America, and they are the backbone of AMC. The buildings are named after those people and their chapters. RMCAD will keep all of the names on the buildings and will not be touching the exterior, merely renovating the interiors and bringing them up to code. I look forward to the changes and will keep a watchful eye on the progress. RMCAD will do the right thing; this, I can promise you.

As for the synagogue, they have donated it back to us, and many local businesspeople and lay leaders are on a committee with our Scientific president and me to restore the synagogue and build a museum that will house all of our archives and history.

Diane Jarbawi
Denver

No crying overspilled ilk:Once again, Michael Paglia has managed to reaffirm my total lack of respect for critics of his ilk. His snide comments about the abilities of RMCAD to maintain, restore and upgrade the AMC campus now that it has acquired the site smacked of sour grapes. A little professional research on his part could have opened his eyes as to the tremendous efforts being put into motion to not only retain the historical status of the architectural elements that comprise this beautiful campus, but also the efforts to work with the city of Lakewood and Jefferson County to elevate the profile and stature of this significant location to the benefit of not just the college, but the cultural community at large.

As a seventeen-year veteran faculty member, I would recommend he read the RMCAD mission statement and regard the significance of this school's history and its contributions to the Denver arts community. He might also acknowledge the fact that RMCAD is NCA- and FIDER-accredited, and note that that alone gives us the professional stature required to become the best stewards of this property.

Remember this: "Those who can, do. Those who teach do more. Those who can do neither become critics."

Michael Littrell
Aurora


The Skylark's the Limit

Heron today, gone tomorrow? Thank you for Laura Bond's articulate and thoughtful January 9 Backwash on the Skylark Lounge and the unfortunate situation in which the owner and staff find themselves.

Scott Heron is a "standup guy" and a "fine gentleman," as Bond's column mentions. He is also an honorable and ethical businessman who is an asset to the South Broadway community. It borders on tragedy when someone of his caliber is at risk of losing his business due to unfounded concerns.

The Skylark is a musical refuge, an oasis of American roots music in a desert of pop, dance and techno. I can find no other establishment in Denver that weekly features the local and national artists who keep the sounds of Eddie Cochran, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams alive. In my year and a half in Denver, I have enjoyed many wonderful bands at the Skylark, from Cave Cat Sammy (Austin) to the Dalhart Imperials, and for much of that year and a half, I could (and often did) walk to the Skylark from my residence on South Grant Street.

In all that time, I can say that I have never seen patrons from the Skylark running amok in the streets "peeing on cars," as Charlotte Wizenburg fears. To be honest, I have not seen "people peeing on cars" since my last frat party in college, which leads me to wonder about the bars Ms. Wizenburg frequents.

Bond's closing paragraph said it all: Dealing with the Skylark is dealing with the best. On behalf of the people who enjoy the Skylark and its contribution to Denver's music scene, thank you for so beautifully expressing as much.

Karen Wibrew
Denver


Rec and Ruin

Gym dandy: Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's "Worth the Weight," in the January 2 issue:

Thanks, Robin, for making 20th Street sound so attractive and gentrified that I will probably soon have to stand in line to work out, just like at Washington Park. Where was the mention of the colonies of bacteria that inhabit the locker-room floor, the old socks and underwear that missed the trash can, or the homeless people who have been allowed to shower there and whose toenail parings would slide crunchily beneath my feet on the way to the shower? Maybe they're getting rid of the homeless, too. The signs prohibiting the laundering of clothing in the showers have disappeared, and so have many of my favorite bums. I could rely on my guys to shoo away the pain-in-the-ass men in suits, who have free rein during the lunch hour. (The "Gold Card Fitness Plan," which costs a couple hundred, is accepted from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and everybody else is sent packing.) Missing as well was the inept management of a former regime, which would issue the lifeguards a can of Ajax and a Brillo pad and tell them to scrub the sides of the pool during lap swim.

There are a few reporters and business guys who load up on Lysol and burn their clothing after their workouts, but the gym has been a haven for neighborhood downtown guys for the twenty years I have been going there. Find yourself a diner or something to profile, where you can actually do some good for somebody who's trying to make a buck, instead of opening up a new world of crummy bars and dark downtown gyms to the new crowd of kids who are just learning how to drink and how to piss off their elders.

Leave 20th Street alone, missy.

Name withheld on request


Ham on Wry

Stout to lunch: I thoroughly enjoy reading Jason Sheehan's restaurant reviews. The man clearly knows his stuff. He's obviously not just a food critic; he's also a gifted writer. I loved the description of "a red-faced man with a giant boiled ham of a head" in his review of the Stout Pub ("The Grill Next Door," January 16). What a beautiful turn of phrase!

Mike Waldron
Rapid City, South Dakota

California scheming:Regarding Jason Sheehan's statement in the January 16 Bite Me that bad cooks "end up working at a Carl's Jr. in hell."

Please elaborate: Can I replace "Carl's Jr." with "Hardee's," "La Salsa" or "Green Burrito" (other CKE Restaurants)? Or is it a Southern California-origin thing? Why not McDonald's (San Bernardino), Original Tommy's World Famous Hamburgers (Los Angeles), Taco Bell (Barstow), Del Taco (Barstow) or Bob's Big Boy (Los Angeles)?

Eddie T. Seo

Littleton

Buffalo bull: Regarding Jason Sheehan's "A Rare Bird," in the January 9 issue:

As a former Buffaloian, it's great to hear Buffalo mentioned other than in references to the Bills losing four Super Bowls. I enjoy Jason's reviews and his writing style. He's doing a great job.

Matt Ortiz
via the Internet


No Rime Before Its Time

The Mighty stuff: I just wanted to follow up on Jason Heller's January 9 "High and Mighty," regarding the Mighty Rime. I personally found their first disc inspiring, from the vocals to the songwriting. I feel there is a special dynamic with these guys and can't wait to see them live. They give me the Built to Spill feel with a goofy Les Claypool country/folk attitude.

Bring it out west, boys, if you're looking for a connection. You have some fans out here, and I can't wait to hear the next album.

Sean Wolfe
San Francisco, California


Information, Please

Tap dance: In his Janurary 2 letter, Leroy Quet is upset that John Poindexter will tap his phone and enter information into a database and will know everything about him. And Poindexter won't get a court order first.

I really hate to break this to Mr. Quet and others, but telephone calls are intercepted all the time since they travel over satellites, on UHF and VHF through the airways. It seems okay with Mr. Quet that thieves, criminals and mischief-makers can receive and record this info on the phone or the Internet or retrieve it from computers, but he does not want government employees to do this.

Frank Whiteman
Aurora

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