Letters to the Editor

From the week of May 12, 2005

I have researched "why" Columbine happened, and I feel it came from many days of being harassed by students, being called "freaks" -- like Chinese water torture that pushed Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold to the brink of insanity. I truly can relate to feeling like you want everyone to "die" just because you want the pain and the names and the harassment to stop. My only wish is that Dylan and Eric would have had the strength to go to someone regarding this, instead of taking the matter into their own hands. I think if they had, we would have the answers we so desperately need now.

There have been over thirty school shootings since Columbine, and still no resolve. My heart weeps for all the little guys out there. Hopefully, through some force they will see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel of pain. Only united can we stand up against this monster called "bullying."

Lisa Marie Meyer
Columbine Class of 1985

The Trouble With Roberts

Guilty as charged: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Tom Redux," in the May 5 issue:

Michael Roberts's form of journalism is foreign to me. That's because in my work -- whether it is TV, radio or Internet writing -- I simply state my opinion and then back it up with facts. If I believe someone is a liar, cheat, rip-off or unethical in some way...I say it. Then I reveal facts.

But Roberts would rather give limited facts, then "insinuate" all sorts of devious intentions and motives. For example, he has highlighted the fact that sponsors pay me to advertise on my Referral List and that I make a lot of money at what I do. So what? Every major media personality and media outlet in Denver and around the country make a lot of money. And all of that money is derived by advertising.

In fact, KUSA-TV masquerades its advertisers as "guests" on a morning talk show. Other outlets do feature articles on big advertisers. Some sneak their products into news stories. And other media outlets forbid "negative" stories about sponsors. Not so with me. I openly disclose all terms and conditions regarding my advertising revenue.

And there is another major difference in my advertising program: I give an extra measure of safety and recourse to consumers who use my sponsors. I do extensive background checks and arbitrate problems when they arise. Does this mean that each and every consumer will be satisfied when dealing with my advertisers? No. Are all consumers happy using sponsors of Westword? Other newspapers? TV or radio?

No media outlet can guarantee that, and no media outlet offers to pay consumers "damages" for dealing with its advertisers. At least I attempt to make things right and remove all sponsors who do not resolve complaints to our satisfaction. No media outlet -- other than mine -- offers any recourse whatsoever. No media outlet does background checks. No media outlet requires advertisers to sign a code of ethics and arbitration agreement.

Even the Better Business Bureau offers no guarantees for using its members.

The point is, when a problem does arise, I deal with it. We have arbitrated around sixty complaints so far this year -- mostly in the home-improvement area. Do you know how many consumers went away disappointed? Four.

So far, Westword has highlighted two angry consumers with unresolved complaints who used my Referral List. There are actually around ten unhappy consumers every year...out of thousands of sponsors doing thousands of jobs. That is life. No system is perfect.

So, Michael, what exactly is your point? That I take advertising? That I actually have sponsors who generate complaints? That I am not perfect? Guilty as charged.

Tom Martino
via the Internet

Wittman and Wisdom

Nomad is an island: I was sad to read Juliet Wittman's "Nomad's Last Stand?" in the April 28 issue. I think the theater-going audience has changed, and what twenty years ago could be supported by a Denver/Boulder base can now only be supported by a Boulder base -- and it sounds like that base isn't there. At one time there was a Denver/Boulder audience, but people don't drive to Boulder for theater.

I am very fond of Nomad, because I learned a lot as a director there: The Rimers of Eldritch (I was still at the University of Colorado when I directed that); Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean; Vieux Carré; Ladies in Waiting (the world stage premiere of Patricia Resnik's play about waitresses); Our Town; Approaching Zanzibar; Three Hotels; Wit. We got Denver critics for all shows, and crowds seemed to follow.

I do hope Nomad finds the backers to help with its current financial status.

Terry Dodd

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