Letters to the Editor

From the week of April 1, 2004

Mike McGarry

A capital idea: Dick Lamm and the Sierra Club are both wrong. It's capitalism, stupid! That's the one issue that the neo-liberal left refuses to confront.

John Cassella

Bordering on disaster: What an article by Stuart Steers. I'm confused, but somehow feel more knowledgeable at the same time. Interesting, though, is that at first glance at "It's Not Easy Being Green," I thought Dick Lamm's quest for some power at the Sierra Club to promote anti-immigration legislation seemed off-track to what pro-environmentalists often fight for. Oddly enough, Dick Lamm, or Da' Clam, as I call him, makes an excellent connection between overpopulation and ecological destruction. I'd love to see him head a symposium at Brigham Young University on the subject.

Just because Pat Buchanan and Da' Clam have both written books concerning immigration and overpopulation where they tread on some of the same ground doesn't mean that Lamm stands on a pedestal of hate, nor does it mean that perspective on immigration should be cast aside as right-wing extremism. If an ultra-pro-environment Democrat, Lamm, and a (fill in the blank) right-winger, Buchanan, are both raising population in the U.S. as a concern for socio-economic or ecological reasons, then it definitely is an issue that requires study, debate and discourse. Then and only then will a solution that is practical and beneficial to both the environment and the rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens have more clarity.

Peter Cohen

All wet: Stuart Steers's article on the candidacy of Dick Lamm for the Sierra Club board of directors made no mention of Lamm's curious involvement in the AWDI campaign to transfer water from the aquifer under the San Luis Valley and the Great Sand Dunes to be sold to Front Range communities. To my knowledge, no clear explanation of any motive other than being paid to lend his prominent name (a "hired gun," as it were) has ever been given. Further, it is difficult to find any "environmental concern" in his having done this.

Currently, Lamm's greatest claim to media coverage is his stance against immigration. This is why he is being promoted for the board and, sadly, racism and cultural "purity" are the evils peering from the shadows.

Robert Porath

Crowd control: Dick Lamm and others should get credit and support for efforts to reduce the growing pollution, congestion, gridlock, road rage and messes. Unfortunately, religions are focused on bigger head counts and revenues. Congratulations!

The government offers exemptions for each offspring so it will have more cannon fodder, slave labor, taxpayers, working poor and surplus people. Congratulations!

The merchants want more customers, sales and profits. Congratulations!

All the sexual imagery, propaganda and ads are acting as accelerants. Congratulations!

The population continues to double at a faster rate in spite of wars, genocide, epidemics, famines and catastrophes.

It is time for our leaders to put their differences aside and go back to the drawing board for the sake of future generations. Will they address the problem? If not now, when?

John F. Sisson

Drive, He Said

Taxi dance: I read Julie Dunn's "The Long Drive," her March 18 piece on Denver cabbies, with much interest, because I was also a cab driver. I started working for Yellow Cab in 1984 -- twenty years ago.

The dispatch system of those days seems primitive compared to the computerized system the company now has. Another difference between then and now is that we didn't feel pressure to work so much to make ends meet. On rare occasions now, I am a cab passenger. Almost every driver I end up with tells me the long-hours story.

Some things that haven't changed are the ridiculous competition, the utter absence of any kind of fringe benefits, the contradiction of not being an employee but being unable to do business independently. I also believe every word of the Yellow Cab president's comments on the not-so-profitable business. That's another thing that hasn't changed in decades.

It took me about six months to start making a living as a driver in the mid-'80s. About six months after that, my heyday was over. Most Denver cabbies' incomes took a nosedive. I lasted two more years till I took a job with a dependable income. There was a sense of independence about driving a cab that I loved, but the stress was a killer. We had to pay attention to the dispatches, tolerate every kind of individual imaginable and sometimes worry about making enough money to buy groceries and pay rent.

No, it's not an easy job. In fact, I'd say it's a rather difficult job. Only certain people can do it. I sometimes wonder how I pulled it off for three years.

Michael St. Peter

Yellow journalism: I just wanted to say thank you for the article on ProTaxi. Although I am not a member and have no intention of becoming one, I think it is good that the public knows what life is like for a lot of us. While I make a good living driving a taxi, I know a lot of the guys don't. I have built up a good customer base for myself and made over $50,000 last year working about nine hours a day. Most of the guys are barely surviving. With the price of gasoline rising like it has, it makes it even harder for them. Which, by the way, leaves me a little puzzled: Why would the GM of Yellow Cab care if the cost of fuel had risen? The companies don't buy any gas; the drivers do.

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