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From the week of August 6, 2009

"Colorado Campground Confidential," Kenny Be, July 23<</a>/p> In Tents Passions If you camp at a designated campground, you deserve whatever terrible things happen to you and I have no sympathy. Might as well set up a tent on the sidewalk somewhere.

Posted at westword.com

Kenny Be, I like most of your cartoons, and I found this one hysterically funny...until I got to your panel on "gear fags." I was shocked to feel that sudden-but familiar twinge in my chest when I readjusted my eyes to make sure I hadn't read the word "fags" wrong. I couldn't believe that I was reading this blatantly printed epithet to, once again, describe what most heterosexual males consider behavior that is not "manly" or just a little bit out of the realm of the supposed rough-it/tough-it world of the heterosexual male. This "fag" who happens to like camping (love of faggy camping gadgets not withstanding) is tired of it, and I will call you and anyone else out for this inappropriate behavior.

Gslam

Posted at westword.com

Editor's note: For many more comments on "Colorado Campground Confidential," go to westword.com, where you'll also find an archive of Kenny Be's comics.

"Engine Trouble," Joel Warner, July 16

State of the Union

Joel Warner is on track with his article about how Denver Union Station plans have gone off track.

In five years, between the 2004 "vision plan" and the current master plan, the design for the DUS Regional Multi-modal Transportation Hub has been derailed. Three of the four essential components for local and regional travel that were initially linked by the DUS building are now planned at remote sidings. The bus, light-rail, shuttle and circulator connections have bypassed their intended hub, which leaves the historic DUS structure as a leftover centerpiece. These changes were seen as a means of reducing construction costs. However, the project's current "$499 million price tag" has doubled since 2007, and under the present Design/Build contract, which does not include a GMP (guaranteed maximum price), we can expect escalating costs to continue.

It is sobering to note that of the fourteen "key elements of the vision plan" and the four "project goals" endorsed by the mayor, RTD, CDOT and DRCOG, fewer than half are successfully addressed by the current master plan, which includes the elimination of: 1) public parking, 2) a commercial bus terminal and 3) the possibility of "through" rail service.

With these shortcomings in mind, should the design program parameters be re-examined? What might a world-class regional transportation hub look like if designed for the needs of the next century? And are we sure that the present plan will meet or exceed the objectives set out by the 2004 vision pan? Since several major changes have occurred on a "make-do" basis, a careful review of "benefit vs. cost" is in order. The taxpayer deserves to know if he is buying a costly contraption or a world-class conveyor.

Stuart A. Ohlson

Denver

The article on Denver Union Station ignores the true reasons why it is off track. It's severely off track in cost, capacity and convenience.  Feasible alternatives were examined early on and dismissed for the wrong reasons. The new plan has had essential features and services pruned away and the cost has gone up — i.e., now it's more money for a less useful station. It has almost no room for expansion after 2030, and connections between some modes are lacking or bad.

After trying non-litigation avenues, Colorado Rail Passenger Association (ColoRail) sued as the last recourse to get the station plan redirected to a better outcome, consistent with the "vision" for the station, the legal "purpose and need" for the station, and with approved DRCOG and CDOT plans.  The sooner that the parties rationally seek to improve the plan and the future of the station for all affected potential passengers, the better it will be.   

Ira Schreiber

President, ColoRail

 
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