From the week of April 23, 2009

"Power Play," Joel Warner, April 16

No Fuel Like an Old Fuel

Stan Lewandowski is a fossil fool! I have a hard time understanding how someone could be so closed-minded to the climate crisis. Coal has had a devastating effect on the health of Colorado citizens as well as the climate. Mr. Lewandowski needs to learn to adapt with the times. Perhaps if he was to add a computer to his workspace, he could do research on the benefits of clean energy to our environment and the American economy. Dirty fossil fuels have no future in Colorado's clean-energy revolution.

So, Mr. Lewandowski, you should either jump on board or stand aside, because global warming is a serious threat that affects all of our futures. Your boardmembers, the community and Colorado representatives are addressing and adapting to the call for a clean, renewable energy...shouldn't you?

Danny Roach

Denver

Mr. Lewandowski believes that conservation diminishes quality of life? Does he not realize that conservation is an effort to maintain and improve a sustainable quality of life now and for future generations? Global warming is a "made-up" catastrophe? His ideas are as fossilized as the fuel he is so enamored with. His short-sightedness figuratively takes my breath away and, if allowed to prevail, may actually take it away physically.

Chuck Woods

Denver

Editor's note: The much-watched board of directors' election for the Intermountain Rural Electric Association, which many saw as a referendum on general manager Stan Lewandowski and his ideas, wrapped up April 18. But so far, results have been determined in only one race, for the District 7 board seat (which represents the area around Parker, Castle Pines North and Sedalia): Incumbent George Hier garnered 3,899 votes, or 68 percent of the total, defeating Charles Bucknam, one of three candidates backed by progressive activist group IREA Voices. That means that IREA Voices won't be able to take control of the board this year. If the other two IREA Voices candidates are able to win, things could still get pretty interesting at IREA, the state's largest power co-op and part owner of a massive new coal plant in Pueblo. The rest of the election results will be available on the Latest Word blog at westword.com in the coming days.

"Owen Meany Doesn't Have a Prayer," Juliet Wittman, April 16

The Play's the Thing

A Prayer for Owen Meany does have a prayer....

But not on stage; Juliet Wittman was right. Read the book — the characters are endearing and not annoying — or, rather, the annoying characters are realistically annoying, at least, in John Irving's prose. The story makes sense, and the symbols make sense in the book. The play was truly rotten. I walked out after the second act, snorting with laughter. I simply cannot believe Irving gave a nod for the use of the novel to that crap, but then, times are tough, I suppose.

Thanks for the review! And do pick up the original for a quick, fun summer read.

Katie Smith

Denver

"The Zen of Ken," Alan Prendergast, April 2

Land Sakes!

The time of oil and fossil fuels is quickly ending. Renewable energy is the way to the future. Secretary Salazar's actions since entering office are a breath of fresh air after eight years of the "Oil and Gas" administration of George Bush.

It's time to put the oil and gas back in the ground — for good!

Dave Boudreaux

Denver

I disagree with the letter writers in the April 9 issue who believe Salazar is a good choice for the critical job of Secretary of the Interior. The job requires not only knowledge, but objectivity, in order to properly balance the need to protect wildlife with administering the appropriate but cautious use of public lands for private enterprise. Ken Salazar, though I'm sure he is a decent individual, comes from a long line of those in the livestock industry who have long been hostile to our native predatory animals such as wolves and coyotes, and strongly believe in the use of lethal force to control the predation. I seriously doubt Mr. Salazar is able to simply put away his inherent prejudices toward these animals, as he has already displayed by his automatic agreement with the premature delisting of the gray wolf in certain Western states.

Many livestock owners call Wildlife Services, an agency of the Department of Agriculture, to come out and kill predators that are preying on their livestock. This lethal control program, paid for by U.S. taxpayers, annually kills 100,000 mammals per year. Native animals such as wolves, coyotes, mountain lions and foxes have a right to live and thrive, do they not? There are kinder and more effective ways to control predation using non-lethal methods. For a detailed chronology of the history of the federal government's lethal control to protect the livestock industry, read Michael Robinson's Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of the Wolf and the Transformation of the West.

Barbara J. Adams

Parker

I am a Denver resident who reads Westword religiously! I believe global warming is the greatest challenge facing our community (and all communities around the world). Last month, President Obama signed legislation granting Secretary Salazar the authority to rescind two Bush regulations that undermine the protection of polar bears by refusing to recognize global warming as a threat. How can we protect polar bears if we are not willing to take steps to limit global-warming pollution? Exploiting the Arctic is not even a viable solution to our energy crisis. Even if companies were to harness all the natural resources, it would supply the United States with energy for only twelve years. Overturning these regulations and recognizing the threat of global warming is a fundamental step to securing the protection of polar bears and, quite frankly, ourselves. Not only would this ensure the preservation of a magnificent species, but it would show the rest of the world that the United States is serious about combating global warming. Global warming is real, and unless our representatives act now, we are all in danger.

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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