Letters to the Editor

From the week of January 1, 2004

The Eve of Destruction

Neil and pray: Regarding the "My Worst New Year's Eve" essays published in the December 18 issue:

I loved "Diamond in the Rough." It was very well-written, and I could feel her pain.

Susan Haley

Rhinestone cowboy: Neil Diamond? You call that a story? I hereby wish my worst-ever New Year's Eve on the lot of you. Ellen R.'s myopic idealism being shattered in the face of reality doesn't make for good copy; it's real life! That story didn't even touch a nerve, except for pity.

But Scott Keating's story about the vet throwing his legs out the window -- now, that's a story! That's funny!

Rachel Griffin
via the Internet

Out with the bad year, in with the good: Thanks for all the great reading about the bad New Year's Eve experiences. Yes, "a river of puke" and alcohol did run through them -- but so did some very real emotions. The before-and-after versions by Alice Garcia made me want to cry; I'm so glad her dream came true. And Brian Lam's "New Town, New Year" helped me end 2003 feeling upbeat about Denver. Here's to a wonderful 2004 for everyone.

Jill Austin

Neighborhood Botch

A piece of the auction: In response to Patricia Calhoun's December 11 "Nailed!," recounting the history of yet another failed business on Five Points' Welton Street, I would like to respond with some blunt observations by a 23-year resident of that neighborhood. The history of Welton north of Park Avenue West is a long one, characterized by many notable cultural achievements in the ongoing history of the African-American community and, therefore, in the history of the city itself.

However, it is one thing to extol and preserve a neighborhood's history, and quite another to engineer its future based solely on its past. The last few decades have witnessed dramatic changes in the neighborhood's cultural and economic makeup. Cultural diversity has always been a characteristic of the Five Points community, and today is no exception. Hispanics, Anglos, African-Americans and Asians populate the neighborhood -- not in individual ghettos, but in a healthy mix. Certainly it is no secret that any neighborhood's commercial district must reflect and engage those who surround it. Yet Welton has somehow become a sacred cow to the "powers that be" as a museum, albeit a living museum, of African-American culture.

So many of us, from all ethnic backgrounds, want a viable, successful and reflective commercial district. Whether it is owned and operated by an African-American or any other individual is irrelevant. What it must do is serve the needs of all the community, and attract those interested in the quality, diversity and charm of one of Denver's oldest neighborhoods. We do not want a politically correct attempt to fashion our neighborhood's character. We want to see the district evolve and grow -- not in ignorance of its past, but with hope for its future.

Ken Miller

Editor's note: That property at 24th and Welton streets was to be sold by the Small Business Administration on December 16 -- but the sale was called off mid-auction, after last-second questions about the title came up. There were several buyers interested in the property, according to auctioneer Bill Warren, and the sale should be rescheduled early this year.

The Language Police

Turd-brained behavior: Please, Westword!

Find someone to review films for you who does not feel compelled to use terms like "sticky little turd," as Gregory Weinkauf did in his December 18 review of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Belinda Levin
Colorado Springs

Bush-league behavior: It's comforting that Gregory Weinkauf finally liked one movie, The Return of the King. God knows he rips just about everything else that he reviews. It's a shame, because there's a lot to like out there, but obviously, Weinkauf can't grasp that concept. I also find it offensive that he brings his personal politics into reviews. Just because he writes for an alternative rag doesn't mean that he can blatantly denounce Bush in a review of The Lord of the Rings, for God's sake.

It's a shame, because I don't think I've ever seen a film critic commit such a blatant dereliction of duty. Shame on him! I don't care about Weinkauf's politics, and I don't think that most people do, either.

Jason McKinney

Return of the Language Police

The surreal thing: I was very disappointed by the creative writing choices of Jason Sheehan in "Baby, You're a Rich Man," his December 11 review of Bastien's.

Editor, why was this so-called "reviewer" allowed to end the first paragraph with the line "totally fucking surreal"? Was this supposed to be clever, funny, rude, or reflect the mindset of the not-so-best-and-brightest journalism graduates? Unfortunately, the fine management at Bastien's will not be able to post the review for its patrons to read, as is the case with most positive professional newspaper reviews.

Can Mr. Sheehan feel proud to take this with him on his next job interview? How old is he?

It's a restaurant review, smart guy!

Bob Heren
Lone Tree

Tune in, turn on: I was born and raised in Colorado, so I love reading about restaurants I have visited or had planned to visit. When Jason Sheehan first came to Westword, I was working at Triana in Boulder, which he more or less gave a bad review, which I knew would have a direct effect on my next week's pay. I hated it and despised Sheehan.

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