Letters to the Editor

From the week of April 10, 2003

This Is Sick!

Taking the owe out of Owens: Regarding Stuart Steers's "In Sickness and in Wealth," in the April 3 issue:

The Owens administration's approach to the loss of Medicaid benefits makes it the poster child of the Bush administration's approach nationally -- eliminate all entitlement programs by starving them in favor of corporate-welfare programs like tax cuts and investments in the military-industrial complex or private enterprise.

Medicare is also dying. As unemployment goes up, few employees participate in employer-sponsored healthcare plans, already under economic siege. Fewer participants in these programs means fewer payers to carry the costs of the system, which is being staggered by "emergency" care for the indigent. So medical costs rise, in a dynamic spiral of low supply, high demand. HMOs are not the answer; they are part of the problem. They suck up a lot of medical talent formerly available for direct care (nursing shortage?) and worse, they add yet another layer of management -- read expenses and overhead. The answer for the people who really pay the freight in this country is national healthcare. Organize these separate programs into one entity and provide basic healthcare to everybody -- not just the elderly, the employed, the disabled, the military, the lower-income, the pregnant or the very young, but to everybody. Liberate the medical profession from the stranglehold of oppressive schooling debt, excessive "time-management" protocols and multiple bureaucracies. Get the bad doctors off the streets. Dust off Hillary Clinton's national healthcare plan and work it up.

Because what's happening right now, especially in Colorado, is this: A frail, elderly woman is attacked by a drug fiend and goes into cardiac arrest. You must address the situation yourself. Do you give her CPR and mouth-to-mouth or do you go after the drug fiend and put him in jail? If you're a hardline Republican, you jail the drug fiend and let the little old lady die.

Susan Williams
Lakewood

A waking nightmare: I know you are getting loads of mail about Stuart Steers's story; I want to get involved in any way I can. My son, who was fifteen years of age, just passed away. He was Down syndrome/rare seizure disorder, medically involved. I am also disabled. Medicaid is the only lifesaver for our children: It cost less to have Medicaid and keep them home with us. I had private insurance here and there as a single mother. Bill Owens needs to know what a nightmare he has given our families.

I feel for the families, and I know my son would still want me involved.

Kelly Hanrahan
Denver


Spin Cycle

Miss opportunity: In January, before the school term began, I read The World According to Garp. My grandmother had given me the book before I moved from Denver to Salt Lake City in 1995. The first month I was in Salt Lake City, I finished reading A Prayer for Owen Meany for the second time. There I set out on my personal journey.

Owen Meany taught me that fate can call the willing to duty. Garp taught me that horrible things can still happen to the most beautiful of people.

Laura Bond took the story of Miss Audry and made it bigger and more beautiful in "Turning the Tables," in the April 3 issue. She told it so precisely that my reaction midway through was "Damn, this is a good article." But it's more than that. I literally think her story, the way she balanced the facts with the drama and edged into the emotion, will help everyone involved psychologically to come to terms with the realities of a tragedy.

And it lets people know about beautifully talented people who are passionate about art.

Joey Tipton
Denver

Are the stars out tonight? That was a harrowing tale about the DJ in the car accident. Were I in her place, I have no medical insurance.

Aspects of Laura Bond's story rekindled my fascination with the DJ star in general. For some time now, those who have become known in circles frequented by what is still a limited number of people are so known for how they manipulate audio technology in what has become its own art form. When I see in Westword a schedule of performers slated to appear in Denver, and they are club DJs, there is still something unique to me about the idea of someone who is essentially a (re?)producer of published audio recordings as a kind of celebrity. I can only imagine having seen hundreds of twelve-hour parties as, I suppose, any DJ or audience member has.

Brother Love
Denver


Poo Corner

Last but not leash: Regarding Amy Haimerl's "The Straight Poop," in the April 3 issue:

No doubt, off-leash areas in public parks is a highly contentious issue. Obviously, there is no easy solution. I only hope that the two sides can reach a compromise. Litigation? Please! I know it's America's "favorite pastime," but a lawsuit is ridiculous! When the day arrives that I do own a dog, I sure as heck hope that there is a place to let it run free if I don't have a large back yard.

It seems to me that some residents of Park Towers and other residents in the Cheesman area should remember the controversy over Park Towers being built. There was much opposition by common folks who didn't want rich, snobby folks moving into the neighborhood and dictating what was and was not acceptable for the area around Cheesman. It sounds as if their concerns have come true. If you don't like urban living, go to the suburbs or the mountains, but please keep your "dogma" to yourself. Arf, arf.

By the way, I have never seen a single soul on any of the balconies of the upscale Park Towers. And I daresay that few of its residents would deign to set foot in "that park." To Park Towers residents, who seem to be some of the more vehement opponents, I say: Just be grateful that the developers of your high-rise got their way, in spite of the opposition to your building blocking more views of the mountains. That's something that can never be replaced or remedied.

As for those folks who let their dogs run in Cheesman, I daresay that most of them I've observed are quite decent people.

And as for Susan Barnes-Gelt, she's a has-been, a big bag of wind, and I, for one, will jump for joy when her term on Denver City Council expires. Good riddance, Susie Q. And, ahem, speaking of dogs, I wonder at which grooming shop she gets her "mane" done. Perhaps the city's residents could take up a collection and send her to a real hair salon. Unlike candidate Robb, I bet that neither Ed Thomas, the current councilman for District 10, nor Barnes-Gelt have ever picked up even a piece of paper in Cheesman, let alone dog poop.

Perhaps when the new city council convenes in July, there will be a fresher approach to dealing with such issues as off-leash dog runs. Until then, I guess we'll just have to hope that the canines and owners can deal with the restrictions.

I don't like stepping in poop, but I also think that dogs contribute a lot to the sanity and peacefulness of their owners. That contributes to a more peace-loving world. And who doesn't want that?

T.J. Goodwin
Denver

A duty to doody: I've never written a letter to the editor before, but I feel compelled to comment on your last two issues.

First, I live next to Bible Park and remember last summer going to a display and filling out a survey that asked if I wanted an off-leash area there, or anywhere. I said, emphatically, NO -- not there or anywhere. However, I've now changed my stance, slightly. I think it would be a great idea to have one or two completely fenced-in (with gates/doors that you have to open and fences as tall as tennis courts) areas for all the Denver dog owners to take their dogs. Say, one on the east side, one on the west. Then, since the owners don't want to pick up their poop, all the dogs can go home with feces on their paws and maybe infect some toddler in the house. Whooie -- soon we'd have a reduced population of dogs, and maybe even their owners! Hopefully, we'll have a bunch of pit-bull owners who'll enjoy seeing what carnage their dogs can inflict on those pesky pekes and poufy poodles! We could even have "authorized" dogfights!

Seriously, the dog-poop issue is a health issue, as well as an "enjoyment of living" issue, and I think Denver ought to be happy to pay a few off-duty cops some extra income to actually do "doody" duty. The price for defacing and endangering our beautiful parks with excretia should be $1,000, plus a thousand hours for picking up all the shit in every park! Has anyone ever seen someone getting a poop ticket? So, I'm for some off-leash places, but NIMBY -- and In My Backyard, I'd like existing laws severely enforced!

Second, I agree with Denise LaNay's letter in the April 3 issue. Your Best of Denver 2003 is best suited to lining the birdcage. I'm sorry my bird died a few years ago. Your stupid categories are, as she said, "high school drivel," and not worth the time wading through to find the few meaningful or informative ones. Enough already -- grow up!

Liana Lansing
Denver

Curb your phone calls: Denver may consider itself a "world-class city," but its Division of Animal Control is strictly Mayberry. It's surprising and disappointing that, by design, they make it difficult for citizens to call and report animals running at large. When their main number is dialed after 5 p.m. on weekdays and at any time on weekends, the phone rings many times without being answered. Finally, a recording says that no operator is available, and the caller is then hung up on. No voice-mail or hold queue. Very rude, very unprofessional.

Roger Evans
Denver


The Rest of the Best

Relocation, relocation, relocation: Reading some of your Best of Denver 2003, I was a little disappointed in your editing. You said in the Best Mammoth category that it was an expansion team. In fact, the Colorado Mammoth was known as the Washington Power last year. It is a relocated franchise, much like another property owned by Silent Stan.

Chad Bartmann
via the Internet

Hip-hop hurrah: I am sure that you get your fair share of feedback on the Best of Denver issue, so I will keep it short when I ask...no Best Hip-Hop Group??????

I personally know of over ten collectives in this town that are working hard to put Denver on the map, and if you need the info, I am sure the 1190 Basementalism crew would have been glad to advise you on this category. I realize that you have a lot to consider and that putting an issue like this together requires a lot of work, but if there is enough time to research the Best Trad-Country Vocalist, don't you think hip-hop might deserve a small hurrah?

I hope you guys consider this next year, because I know a few people this year were left feeling slightly disappointed.

Selecta Roswell
Denver

Higher and higher: HigherListening.com as Best Local-Music Web Site? I know you guys hate the Rocky Mountain News, but they have a kickin' local-music site. The best I've seen in Denver!

Jennifer Akina
via the Internet

Music to our ears: Thank you for recognizing us as the Best Local Recording. Westword has been a breath of fresh air in an incredibly tough local-music scene. Through ten years of making music in the Denver area, we have found Westword to be diligent in its pursuit of recognizing the creative and hardworking Denver-area musicians. It also gives us hope when such a large publication will recognize a project that is so rooted in anti-establishment, free-thinking creative pursuits. Thank you for drawing attention to a project that has the sole purpose of trying to help people wake from their commercialized slumber and explore their own creative and spiritual power.

Resurrector
Gold Hill

Peak performance: Please extend a huge thank you from all of us at Swallow Hill to the fine folks at Westword for recognizing us in your Best of Denver 2003. Like Westword, Swallow Hill is a big family of extremely dedicated folks. Our success in recent years is largely due to the willingness of so many wonderful music lovers to go way beyond the call and do what has to be done.

While I am grateful for the recognition, you should know that many others are equally responsible for our growth and success. For example, Becky Miklich, our wonderful music-school director, has been with Swallow Hill for more than thirteen years. We recently renamed the music school the Julie Davis School of Folk Music to show our appreciation for the decades of hard work and commitment that Julie Davis has given to Swallow Hill.

Of the 168 concerts of outstanding folk musicians we presented last year, not one had their music played on any radio station in Denver. Despite that fact, we enjoyed the largest attendance and gross income for concerts in our history, and we are on track for another record-breaking year in 2003. The enrollment in the music school is also breaking records.

We enjoy a broad support base throughout the Front Range, and we are very grateful for all you do to remind folks we are here.

Jim Williams, executive director
Swallow Hill Music Association


The Inn Crowd

Regarding the Regency: In response to David Holthouse's March 13 "Motel Hell," I have been the manager of the Regency for approximately six months, and I am all over this hotel throughout the day, evening and night. I have seen many things, but I have never run into a crack pipe in the elevator. However, if I do, I would love to mail it to Mr. Holthouse in order to educate him on what a crack pipe looks like. This way, he will not have to fabricate one in his story to make it more exhilarating and horrendous.

We do not have a guest registered as Lee, nor does Lee exist. I have never had a self-appointed elevator man, nor have I ever appointed anyone to accompany a guest in the elevator. There is not a person in this hotel who has ever seen or met Lee except David Holthouse. This was one more fabrication to arouse more intrigue in the article. Furthermore, I do not have methamphetamine in this hotel. I know what I do have, and I know my problems in this hotel. Methamphetamine is not a drug that our clientele participates in. Check convictions records and find out who are the main users of meth. You really should do research before printing fabricated fiction and trying to pass it off as truth. This hotel has never had a meth lab. I have helped bust two meth labs in another hotel. I know what to look for, how to find it, and who is more probable to use and cook it. You should check records back as far as thirty years, as there is no evidence of this occurring or being a problem at my hotel. What drug of choice was Mr. Holthouse on in order to have the wild hallucinations that he did during his stay at my fine establishment?

Furthermore, where did he learn the Queen's English? As a professional commentary, he should pick his colorful words more carefully. His comment about being "thoroughly dissed by a dude with flaming-orange cowboy boots" is a comment I would correct at my dinner table with my children, who would have been in junior high school.

After reading this article, I think you must have found some of Elvis Presley's old prescriptions that he possibly left here, because the story does not in any way reflect the Regency Hotel today. If you would have labeled it "Fiction," I would have deemed it an uneducated script with a touch of humor in content. However, trying to represent this story as legitimate, when it is nothing more than seventh-grade reading, poor English, lies, racial annotations and slanderous in content, is contemptuous. Hopefully, you will become more professional and start printing reality in your articles with the use of more proper English.

Please print my version of reality.

Darla Calvert, general manager (and proud of it)
Regency Hotel

Room service: David Holthouse, let's start from the beginning. The elevators at the Regency are perfectly safe: They are inspected on a weekly and monthly basis by a professional elevator company licensed by the City and County of Denver. Everyone who has any education past elementary schooling understands a simple fact of electricity. If someone was to shove a bent key into an electrical socket such as an elevator button, that person would probably be lying on his rear end from electrical shock.

As for your racial statement, Mr. Holthouse, regarding cinnamon-skinned men speaking Spanish and the insinuation that it is okay to be a white professional doing cocaine in the bar bathrooms in LoDo, I personally thought racism was a part of the past, but you have proved me to be wrong. Just because we are Mexican, are we not allowed to have expensive belts, boots and hats? What do you have against Mexicans? If you and your Doc Martens were not in the bathroom looking at every crotch to see if you could find some cocaine in someone's pants, you would not have been called a faggot -- if, in fact, that statement was even made. This dramatic touch is most probably just another lie you made up.

Furthermore, I have gay friends, and they are no different than you, me or anyone else. In fact, I used to have a best friend who was a gay female, and she was one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. So be very careful making slanderous remarks about people's skin and sexual preferences. I really think you should seek professional counseling, as it appears you have some personal inhibitions, especially with skin color and sexuality.

Also, if you would only try to educate yourself in spelling and speaking Spanish properly, it would be much appreciated. There is no such word as "heinie." Was this another one of your racial comments?

The owner of the Regency Hotel stated to me that you misquoted him in several parts of your ridiculous article and neglected to even print the facts, even after you promised you would print his statements exactly as he made them to you.

At last, let's talk about the man by the pool, if you were in fact on your way back from the club to the hotel. You obviously were staying at some other hotel, as the outdoor pool is at the north end of the property, the club is in the middle of the property, and the tower is at the south end of the property. Even someone who has been drinking can see the tower from a mile away (the tower is where you allegedly resided the night of your stay), which is not even close to the pool area. This appears to be another fabrication of the truth.

Daniel I. Gonzalez
Regency Hotel

David Holthouse responds: In the past, I have enjoyed the company of crackheads while they were sucking the glass dick. Therefore, I know precisely what a crack pipe looks like, and I do believe that was a crack pipe I saw in the Regency Hotel's professionally inspected elevator. So while I appreciate Ms. Calvert's offer to send me illegal drug paraphernalia through the mail, I think it would be in both of our best interests if she refrained.

Lee does exist, or at least he did last month (Lee's lifestyle, like that of many who stay at the Regency, is not one that promotes longevity). I have no idea if his name is actually Lee, or what name he checked in under; I must point out to Ms. Calvert the outside possibility that some guests of her fine establishment are not entirely honest as to their identity when they fill out their registration cards. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Mr. Gonzales's assertion that the Regency's elevators are professionally inspected and perfectly safe. So are most carnival rides, which are still scary - just like the Regency's elevators.

As for "heinie," I'm pretty sure that's universal language for "piece of ass," but given the noise swirling around that conversation, it's possible I misheard the orange-booted fashion critic, and, if so, my bad. But no way did I misquote Regency owner Art Cormier: I taped our phone interview, and anyone who wants a copy of the tape is welcome to it.

It's no surprise that both Ms. Calvert and Mr. Gonzalez brand me a racist. In the past, whenever anyone has turned up evidence of drug use associated with his businesses, Mr. Cormier has defended himself by crying racism. Now his employees are blowing the same old smoke on his behalf. For the record, though, neither I nor my Doc Martens have anything against Mexicans -- or, for that matter, people who snort cocaine, cinnamon-skinned or otherwise. (My drug of choice in reporting the Regency story was tequila.)

Finally, while I am hesitant to throw any business Mr. Cormier's way, I encourage anyone who doubts the veracity of my article to stay at the Regency for a couple of nights. Roam the grounds and walk the stairwells at one or two in the morning. Hang out in the pool area. See if I'm full of shit or not. Be warned, though: That place will go David Lynch on your ass in a hurry.

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