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From the week of June 12, 2003

Signs of the Times

License to chill:I just wanted to applaud Patricia Calhoun's sign-ordinance column, "Dollars and Nonsense," in the June 5 Westword, and recount a similar experience I had last year while working for the City.

I had parked downtown for an interview. My car's front plate holder was damaged, and I had ordered the part for the frame; I received a ticket because my plate was on my dashboard. I immediately went to the "traffic court," showed the "judge" my receipt for the ordered license-plate holder, explaining why the plate was on the dashboard. She was combative but canceled the ticket.

Lo and behold, I go outside, and while I was in the "court," I'd gotten another ticket. So I rushed back to the judge and showed her the new ticket and she said, sorry, I will only cancel one ticket. It was a $30 citation. Talk about mean-spirited and antiquated ordinances. With John Hickenlooper coming on board, I hope the city will scrap these stupid-ass laws and get down to business in encouraging downtown visitors.

Dreux DeMack
via the Internet

Yeah, that's the ticket:Good for Larry Barnhart! I just hope that John Hickenlooper lives up to his campaign promises and handles all these concerns about parking. Talk about nonsense! Why should people have to park their cars downtown, risking another ticket, so that they can go up to the seventh floor of some building to fight a ticket they should never have gotten in the first place?

There has to be a better way.

Joan Stiles
Denver

Political party:I just read your article about Larry Barnhart, a longtime friend. Larry had already warned me via e-mail about what was amiss with the Denver parking police issuing him a ticket for having his "For Sale" sign taped on his van while temporarily parked at a meter on public property while he went about his errands. Frankly, I'm sorry that Larry paid the fine instead of choosing to make an issue of it, as it's one of many examples of ludicrous policing and a definite waste of taxpayer money.

For both Larry's and Westword's sake, I hope this "Not for Sale" sign party is happening. I believe, though, that all your vehicles should have "For Sale" signs with small letters at the bottom: "This is really not for sale." That way, you can tell the powers that be -- after they haul you all away in Thoreau-like style -- that they should know to read the fine print!

Sherry M. Gallagher
The Netherlands


The Bus Stops Here

In broad daylight:As a regular RTD rider the past eighteen years, I enjoyed "Route of Ill Repute," the June 5 story by David Holthouse about the 15 bus. Although Holthouse focused on the freak show during the late-night shift, there are juicy tales to tell about the 15 at other times of the day as well.

One night a BBW (big beautiful woman) climbed aboard a crowded 15 and couldn't find a seat. I offered her my seat, but it wasn't big enough, and the guy sitting next to me was too drunk to stand up so she could have both of our seats. An elderly unshaven man offered to let her sit on his lap, and she took him up on it. Within minutes, the man's hands reached around and began fondling the woman's breasts, and she leaned her head back and smiled. Just when I thought I'd seen it all on the 15, I glanced over across the aisle and saw an effeminate skinhead stroking his wienie while watching the BBW and the guy. Goddess only knows if the skinhead was choking the chicken for the BBW or the guy.

My most scary time on the 15 happened several years ago, when an uptight man boarded the 15 at Colfax and Glencoe, refused to pay, and demanded that the bus go to 28th and Race. When the driver calmly informed the man that the 15 goes on East Colfax only, the passenger was adamant about the 28th and Race destination. As the bus headed down Colfax and the man pressed his loud demands, there was an eerie silence on the bus (unusual for the 15), as all of us thought a hostage situation was unfolding. When we finally got to Colfax and York, the man suddenly jumped off, and the trembling driver radioed for help.

My most touching experience on the 15 was the night a guy staggered onto the bus at Colfax and Quebec. Thinking he was just another drunk, nobody paid attention. Once seated, the man's head and upper body kept heaving around. Not smelling any alcohol, an observant passenger told the driver she thought the man was epileptic. The concerned driver stopped the bus, found the guy's diabetic bracelet, radioed for help, and ran into the nearby Good Times to get something sweet to give to the diabetic until the paramedics arrived.

The next time people watch the 15 bus going down East Colfax, think about Holthouse's well-described freak show. However, also think that the 15 often serves as a child-care service for single mothers, shelter for the homeless, and headquarters for some thick-skinned and compassionate drivers.

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