The Doctor Is In...and Out
Thanks for Eric Dexheimer's well-researched and well-written article on Dr. Medenica and Charles Stevinson's role in promoting him, "Trick or Treatment," in the April 27 issue.
I know nothing of Medenica but feel strongly that we must allow alternative medicine to flourish or die according to its effectiveness. The writer cites controversy, but it's interesting to note that no patients were on the negative side. Isn't that a strange controversy?
If Muhammad Ali--as seen on his recent overseas tour--is an example of a happy Medenica patient, don't sign me up!
Regarding Arthur Hodges's "There Go the Neighborhoods" in the May 11 issue:
Denver's great strength and beauty lies in its neighborhoods. I certainly hope that the Webb administration is not overlooking their concerns, as some of the people in your story suggest. Otherwise, when the mayor finally stops worrying about DIA, he may find there's no one left!
It would appear that some people are ready and willing to blacken Mayor Webb's reputation by comparing him unfavorably to Mayor Pena in regard to his seeming lack of interest in neighborhood matters. It is suggested that he is more concerned with the political turbulence surrounding DIA--as he might well be. Does anyone recall that DIA was Mayor Pena's baby and does anyone question why the Honorable Mayor Pena "cut and ran" before the DIA shit hit the fan? Perhaps the Honorable Mayor Pena left because of his overriding concern for Denver's neighborhoods and he just couldn't bear to stick around and see them "going to hell in a handcart." Now, don't you suppose that's the way it was?
How amazing that the planning department and planning commission would create the nightmare Colorado Boulevard has become. To do this, they had to ignore the abundance of data and transportation planning models that accurately predict the level of traffic to be generated by megastores; in spite of the obvious results in near-gridlock, more such stores are under construction. The irony is that as this strip development proceeds at a frenetic pace, prime retail space down the street--the University Hills Mall--sits all but vacant as testimony to developer-driven land use "planning" and lack of concern for the quality of development in Denver by those who profit from development--and apparently by the city decision-makers as well.
The riches going into the city's coffers from this wildly successful retail development are undoubtedly magnificent. But is it fair for the neighborhoods along Colorado Boulevard to pay such a high price for the well-being of the rest of the city? Would it not be more equitable for some of the traffic to be borne by others? Petitions by neighors were obviously given short shrift in planning decisions.
As traffic continues to grow, Colorado Parking Lot will be more descriptive than Colorado Boulevard. At this point, retail business is likely to decline as would-be customers refuse to try to negotiate this former street. Wait about ten years, and the city will be seeking redevelopment funds for "renewal" of these retail areas--subsidized by city taxpayers. This, unfortunately, is typical of the short-range thinking that often characterizes city planning.
Although it is too late for Colorado Boulevard, how nice it would be if in the future the city were to express as much interest in its quality and its residents as in its revenues and its developers. Perhaps it is time for city officials who can both "imagine a great city" and create it as well.
Certified Community Developer, Denver
It was with a mixture of concern and understanding that I read your article on the problems at the Denver planning office. My neighborhood, west of Lowry, has experienced the heavy hand of Jennifer Moulton and the confusion reigning in her office at public meetings about Lowry. At every turn, it appears, the planning office would rather plan in private than seek neighborhood input and information.
A recent example comes to mind. The owners of the Richthofen castle in Historic Montclair recently applied for a change in zoning from an R-1 (residential) to a planned unit development (PUD). The idea is to run tours through the castle to generate money allegedly needed for repairs to the roof. Every ten years or so the then-owners of the castle attempt to change the zoning. Each time the neighborhood has rallied and defeated such attempts. Any use other than residential is inconsistent and out of character with the surrounding uses (homes, exclusively).
The planning office gave its approval to this application on May 2, 1994. On May 3, 1994, my neighborhood received official notice the application had been filed. So before we got notice of the requested change and without any input, the planning office approved the application. When the procedural problem was brought to light, the planning board voted for a continuance of the May 11, 1994, public meeting. Over forty neighbors will now have to return for an additional hearing on May 25, 1994.
Either the planning office is so rife with political influence that neighborhood input is not wanted, or the planning office is not run well enough to get neighborhood input on these types of important issues.
Thomas E. Hames, President
Historic Montclair Community Association
Award of the State
Patricia Calhoun's May 11 column, "Straighten Up and Fly Right," brought an interesting thought to mind. In the case of both the Rocky Flats grand jury and the RTC whistleblowers, individuals were courageous enough to see that the government was wrong--and then to speak up about it. And they did this because it was the right thing to do, not even thinking about a financial reward. My hat is off to Michael Cavallo for his awards that bring national recognition to heroes like Wes McKinley, Bruce Pederson and Jackie Taylor. Colorado should be proud of them.
But my question is this: Why are there no heroes at DIA? Someone must have known how badly the project was going. Why didn't they speak up? Or is it that the local media doesn't listen? Which brings me to my other reason for writing. I want to thank Westword for reporting the stories that other newspapers and TV stations won't. We only know about the Rocky Flats grand jury and the RTC whistleblowers because of Westword, and it has also done the best job on DIA. I particularly liked editor Calhoun's May 4 column about this, "Airheads." She is right. If the press had reported the truth about how far behind the airport was, people wouldn't be so mad about it today.
I think it is important that with all the bad publicity Colorado is getting, the rest of the country know about the good things that happen here, too. I was excited to read about Wes McKinley's award in Patricia Calhoun's column. I hope that when he goes to Washington, D.C., to accept it that all the newspapers that have been critical about us for DIA write about the good things about Colorado, too.
The Righteous Stuff
Steve Jackson's May 4 report, "The Paths of Righteousness," illustrates the fact that many millions of people of all ages, levels of education and social status are pawns of religious leaders. Unfortunately, mainline media lacks the courage to confront local religious tyranny or publish information that would help the public understand the true nature and source of such exploitation.
Oh, please! We're supposed to feel pity for those who fell for Swami Amar Jyoti? Save your sympathy--and your space--for someone who deserves it, not confused residents of the People's Republic of Boulder.
Name withheld on request
Regarding Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario, "Risa," in the May 4 issue:
Shame on you for your negative attitude and shortsighted vision. I refer--negatively, I might add--to your stupid portrayal of a cartoon. People who read Westword would be better served if you had printed some positive news. I have personally known these individuals to be hard-working people who have generously given of their time, expertise and knowledge to help the Chicano community. Their efforts include the promotion of an Hispanic Cultural Center. Granted, your Westword staff and some other people may not be remotely aware of the importance of preserving our culture. Have you heard of the great contributions Chicanos have made in Colorado? Do you know of the proud heritage and the long years of history we have throughout the world?
To err is to be human. We are all prone to this syndrome--and that includes your cartoonist. We forgive your limited view on what we are all about. It is unfortunate. It is your loss.
For we are a valiant people, we Chicanos. We have confidence in our future. Our people find greatness in our past--Indio, Latino, Chicano. Study yourself in that mirror. Herein lies the proof that man shares a common destiny. Civilizations pass, but in the Chicano there remains forever the glorious knowledge that we have struggled to build--and as others destroy, we will build again.
Que vivan! Los Chicanos, Indios y Latinos para siempre.
Anna A. Vigil
National Image, Inc. is one of the largest national constituency-based Hispanic organizations committed to the employment, education and civil rights of Hispanic Americans. On behalf of National Image, our membership and the Hispanic community, I must express our outrage and concern with a recent "cartoon" that was published in the May 4 issue of Westword. Our organization has received several complaints from numerous members of the community. The "risa," or laugh, that you expected from this stereotypical presentation of some of Denver's leading Hispanic community leaders is not only unbecoming of your newspaper, but it borders on journalistic racism.
This cartoon is derogatory and offensive to our entire culture, to the women of our community, and to local and national Hispanic role models/leaders, as well as to the mayor and all members of the city council. The stereotypical representation of Latino/Mexicano/Hispanos cannot and will not be tolerated.
While humor is a matter of individual taste, the display of the humor in question can be perceived by a major segment of our society as offensive. What is next? Cartoons depicting the horrors of genocide, ethnic cleansing, sexism, racism and religious ideology, etc.? These are not topics of humor that should be casually displayed in a document such as yours; it only leads to more division within the overall community and heightens tensions and mistrust among different races and cultures.
The lack of sensitivity to a diversified population as well as to your readership requires your immediate attention and action.
I would hope that your advertisers would also bring to your attention how inappropriate this humor really is. An apology to our community and its elected leaders is in order. We would also request that you review the motivations of the individuals responsible for this feeble attempt at humor.
We shall explore the possibility with other community-based organizations to determine if a major effort is required to discourage the general public (your readers) and advertisers from doing business with your newspaper and company. In 1994 this type of journalism will not be tolerated by any community!
Thomas Gomez, President
National Image, Inc.
All Things Are Relative
The Aguirre family would like to thank you for the story your paper did on our family, "Writes of Passage" in the April 27 issue. Robin Chotzinoff did a tremendous job of piecing together the conflict and humor of our family. Also, we would like to thank you and your readers for the support throughout the years; hopefully, it will continue for many more!
In regard to the May 11 letter criticizing Robin for not doing her homework on Lazaro Cardenas: Beto Aguirre (our father/grandfather) was indeed threatened by former president Cardenas, who was a party member of the P.R.I. and had a cousin who was governor of the state of Michoacan whose term was about to end. Beto supported the incumbent and ran his initial campaign for governor. When election time came for Franco Rodriguez, Beto opposed him and the president-elect. Policies.
You see, in Mexico a person can only serve one term in office, but Rodriguez was a member of the P.R.I. and was supported by the former president. That is when conflict arose between La Antena De Michoacan and the P.R.I. One thing to note is that President Cardenas was a native of Michoacan, and he owned almost all of the printing presses in that state, including, coincidentally, the one that published Beto's newspaper. That is why he was instructed to stop criticizing the favored candidates or leave.
We apologize for any misunderstanding.
Virgilio and Oscar Javier Aguirre
Mom and Pop
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Spellbound" in the May 4 issue:
It was delightful to read about the aspiring band, Spell. They have worked long and hard and perhaps will put Denver on the map in the arena of rock music. It would seem, however, that they need to understand how revealing language is in terms of intelligence, articulation and even sensitivity. I believe each one of them has those characteristics, but unfortunately that was not evident from the quotes in the article. That's a shame.
Carla Beckman (Tim's mom)
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To: Steve Hensley
From: A Degenerate Hippie Regarding your May 11 letter to Westword about Kurt Cobain's suicide: Oh, puh-leez! Maybe you should smoke some pot and lighten up.
Amelia F. Schwartz