Hamblin on Wry
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "The Smother Brother" in the January 12 issue:
In my opinion, the central point that most stands out about Kenny the Negro (as he sometimes calls himself) is not his newfound rap that mimics and cashes in on the success of the real star, Rush Limbaugh. The thing that sticks out most about Kenny is that he really, really has wanted to be famous. There's a big difference between being on the side of social change and simply wanting to be in the limelight. There's a seeming Nixon/Hamblin similarity: Both wanted desperately to be "let in," and both shot themselves majorly in both feet--Nixon with Watergate and Hamblin with all his many years of self-defined "harmless, friendly" girl-gripping.

We want to believe Ham's claims that he is being persecuted from all sides, but the fact is that he is being persecuted and prosecuted as well (as went his slip of tongue on the Today show recently) because he decided to treat people unfairly and then tried to remain unaccountable for it.

I regret that I must be counted out of what Kenny calls "his America" and "my people." Sorry, but hundreds of thousands of us don't like him to call us "my people." We aren't "his." He doesn't own us. He might have been a great man had he put most of his emphasis on solutions to the problems he sees, rather than baldly "flogging for ratings," repeating himself about issues that we all know exist without help or exhortation from Hamblin. It takes a visionary, firm but humble voice to be a true leader of the people. It takes someone who has a love for all people, someone who wants to see a civilized culture, rather than someone who simply wants to be seen.

Name withheld on request

My praise to Patty Calhoun for restraining herself. Her article on Ken Hamblin was handled with kid gloves and a read-between-the-lines gentleness.

My appraisal of Ken Hamblin is less diplomatic and more philosophical. Some people think Ken is undeserving of the national media attention he is receiving. I see it like this:

The world takes little notice of little assholes. Large assholes, more capable of spewing and spreading feces are, of course, more noticeable.

So there you have it--"The Ken Hamblin Story." It's sort of a "flies on shit" story.

Mitch Keenan

If Ken Hamblin is anything, he is not amusing. He is an opportunistic pollutant who knows what a certain class of people want to hear. After years of moving from one radio station to another (because he's boring), he has finally come up with a temporarily winning formula.

Don't ever let Mr. Hamblin or any other poor misguided soul con you into believing that the problems inherent in this society are related to our minority population. Don't ever let anyone con you into believing that in Cherry Creek, Jefferson County, Summit County, etc., whites aren't committing the most heinous crimes. Don't ever let anyone con you into believing that the white race is not the most violent race of people known to man.

Mr. Hamblin is the worst example of how a person can show no regard for his own people. I guess what I would say to Mr. Hamblin is that when his negative reinforcement of white stereotypes becomes violent, does he really believe he is small enough to hide behind his wife's skirts? Because they'll be coming after you, Mr. Hamblin, just like they will be coming after me. And all your cries of "I want to be white" will be to no avail.

Corinne Boston

People like Ken Hamblin and Rush Limbaugh succeed not because of inflammatory rhetoric but rather because they let the true silent majority--conservatives--know that our opinions matter regardless of how ignorant "enlightened" liberals consider us. However, more important than that, they are telling the truth. And truth, my friends, is what liberals do not want you to know, hear or believe. The truth thwarts their agenda and they know it.

Pat Desrosiers

Glowing Concern
After reading Patricia Calhoun's January 19 column "It Bombed in D.C.," about delays, fence-mending and backing off on good intentions at Rocky Flats: The freedom that the Department of Defense, the Justice Department, politicians and Rockwell types share to varying degrees brings to mind a musical parody from days of yore: "Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam, and I'll show you a dirty house."

Keep up the good work.
Rolf Norstog

Didn't make your deadline, but here are a few renames for Rocky Flats:
Nuclear Nirvana, Doomsday World, Thermonuke Theme Park, Half-life Haven, Planet Plutonium Plateau, Pluto-oxide Pits, Glow City of the Plains, Plu-town USA, Hot H-Bomb Haven of the Front Range.

Keep on 'em!
A.L. Schafer
Las Cruces, New Mexico

Barnum and Bailing Circus
This letter is in response to Robin Chotzinoff's article "Class Dismissed" in the January 5 issue. We feel that this article was vengeful and did not fully depict what actually happened.

To begin with, the article does not represent the opinions of the majority of the staff at Barnum Elementary. A large percentage of the staff was never contacted regarding this article. Several of us who were contacted refused to comment, not because of fear of reprisal, but because we did not wish to dishonor the memory of Hillary. We were also concerned that the events would become misconstrued as a result of Westword's sensationalistic tendencies. It is interesting to note that the teachers most often quoted in the article had all moved on to other positions and may be angry and resentful. (It's never easy to change jobs, even under the best conditions.)

We feel strongly that we are all responsible for our own actions. As teachers we are always trying to impart this lesson to our children. No one can be blamed for Hillary's suicide. She made that choice as a result of deep emotional pain caused by various complicated issues in both her personal and professional life. Many of us wish we had recognized more clearly the symptoms that led to that choice. Hillary was a strong woman, and the depth of her pain went undetected. To link Judi Chavez, the principal at Barnum, to Hillary's suicide is not psychologically realistic or just.

Judi Chavez has the affection and the support of the majority of Barnum's staff. She assumed leadership of our school during a difficult year. The school was experiencing a period of turmoil and change. She had to deal with many challenging situations in her first year as principal. Judi is a good listener, supportive and direct. She allows the staff members to use their own talents, abilities and creativity to benefit the children and the school. In return, she has our appreciation, respect and support.

In conclusion, we, the undersigned teachers and staff at Barnum Elementary, are livid and extremely disheartened by Westword's article. It has tarnished many of our wonderful and vivid memories of Hillary's last year. It has slandered our principal and damaged our reputation as a professional staff. Most of all, it has hurt the community of children whose lives are intertwined with our own and their love for both Hillary Adams and Judi Chavez.

31 Barnum teachers and staff members

First of all, I want to thank you for the story regarding Hillary Adams. I am honestly not too familiar with the details of that young teacher, but my heart goes out to her family.

I am, however, very familiar with Judi Chavez, because my children attend Barnum. I personally do not respect Mrs. Chavez and am not at all happy with the way in which Barnum has been operating under her "leadership."

I have heard through the grapevine that a letter has been written by some of the Barnum teachers in support of Mrs. Chavez, and of course that is their right. However, I have also heard that many of the teachers signed this letter because they are afraid for their jobs. I can understand this fear, as I, too, am afraid to voice my opinion because I fear the effect it would have on my children.

I feel badly that I don't have the courage to sign my name. I feel even worse that teachers are signing a letter because they are afraid. But more than that, it's very clear to me that the truth of this matter will not prevail. To me that is a travesty!

A Barnum parent


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