From the week of April 23, 2009

Secretary Salazar has only until May 9 to take action. With all of the publicity surrounding the urgency on this issue and the all-too-familiar images of drowning polar bears, how can our government officials in Washington, D.C., continue to turn a blind eye?

Whitney Ferrell

Denver

Since taking office in January, Secretary Salazar has prioritized renewable energy, put the brakes on the Bush administration's full-steam-ahead approach to destructive oil shale development and canceled oil and gas leases on the edge of Utah national parks and historic sites on nearby public land. Yet Salazar's measured approach has provoked a backlash by the oil and gas industry that had enjoyed a privileged status during the eight years of the Bush administration. Secretary Salazar's understanding that he is a steward of our public lands and not the servant of the oil industry is a breath of fresh air.

With the Obama administration placing conservation and renewable energy issues high on its agenda, these steps should be the first of many more toward the reforms needed to make sure the oil and gas industry doesn't wreck more of our fragile Western landscapes. Secretary Salazar should continue the agency's shift from giving the oil industry what it wants to insisting on balance on lands that belong to everyone.

Kristyn MacPhail

Lakewood

"First Things First," Off Limits, April 9

Who's on First?

What a circus that Ward Churchill trial was! I'm glad he enjoyed his time as a tourist in Denver, at taxpayer expense. Now I hope he gets the hell back to Boulder, where he belongs.

Jamie Garcia

Denver

As the grandfather of a CU freshman, I've been following very closely the events of the Ward Churchill trial. My family chose CU over many others because of its high academic standards, including the Nobel Prize awards. What we see now is an apparent takeover of the CU administration by lowlife extremists bent on lowering the academic standards. For instance, the professor from the law school stated at the trial that O.J. Simpson could be compared to President Clinton. This is a woman who is training future judges. The regents come across as stooges for the president of CU, Bruce Benson. When Benson was appointed by Governor Ritter, he was chosen over many qualified applicants who had vast educational credentials. Benson is an ultra-conservative banker who has no experience in upper education. Given the high cost of out-of-state tuition, I expect at least some professional conduct.

Richard Weber

Denver

WorsT-Case Scenario, Kenny Be

Comic Relief

From what I understand, it has been the sad fate of many alt-newspapers to dramatically cut costs in order to face the new news economy amid the free-falling doom of our current financial situation. I am deeply saddened, and somewhat perplexed, to hear that the first defensive action undertaken by Westword and its owners has been to eliminate their subscriptions to alt-comics — not just some, but all alt-comics.

From "This Modern World" to "Red Meat" and the myriad comedic perspectives in between, the alt-comics are simply among the most important elements of the alt-weeklies. They provide a core value — a unifying, condensed, surreal connective tissue throughout the culture; a counter-punch to mainstream commentary and meme-crafting; a vital and important reduction of the mania of the other press. They are, in large part, exactly what defines the alt-newspapers as a vital pulse of reason against the mainstream press.

They are also the first reason that I, as a reader, pick up the alts. When I lived in Denver for six years, I always remembered to grab Westword from the stands, first to check in on "Red Meat," then for Tom Tomorrow's reduction of the insanity of the lunatic fringe.

The alt-comics are, simply, an important avenue that, simply put, triggered my memory to pick up Westword. This, surely, must be among your primary concerns — and this, surely, must be among the greatest losses.

Please, I implore you, do not cut the entire comics scene from Westword.

Aaron Walker

New York

Editor's note: During his time in Denver, Aaron somehow missed the work of Kenny Be, Westword's staff cartoonist for the past 26 years. And for the record, Westword has never published "Red Meat."

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