On Your Mark!
Regarding Andy Van De Voorde's "The Alaskan Pipeline," in the August 10 issue:
Wait a minute. Let's see if I've got this right. We have an unusable $3 billion airport because a contractor can't get a $190 million baggage system to work. So the city is going to spend another $50 million to install a system they know will work. And all of this is to provide a place for a bunch of planes, which are owned by a bunch of either bankrupt or money-losing airlines, to park.
As if that weren't enough, the city and the great business minds in the Denver Chamber of Commerce are courting MarkAir to move its headquarters here. How? By committing $10 million--not of private money, but of fuel-tax receipts--as security for a bank loan so MarkAir can buy more planes.
Here we go wooing a firm that just got out of bankruptcy, is in a fight with the FDIC over $6.2 million of unpaid loans, owes the state of Alaska $8.6 million in unpaid loans, owes $12 million to unsecured creditors and agreed to make payments on a $408,000 phone bill only after a bankruptcy judge forced it to. Meantime, MarkAir lost $5.8 million the first two months of 1994, and the president raised his monthly salary from $12,500 to $22,500.
If it had not been for the article that Andy Van De Voorde wrote, we would never know the sorry financial state this airline is in.
Kudos to Andy Van De Voorde for his MarkAir story. Bad enough that the airport is a monument to the Colorado fat cats who pushed it through in order to save their asse(t)s. Now we have to import bankrupt businessmen to keep it open?
To Air Is Human
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Fold Your Tents," in the August 17 issue:
I took advantage of one of the city's art tours of DIA several months ago (back when we thought the new airport would open one day!) and was very impressed with Gary Sweeney's work. I am no art critic, but it seemed to have a sense of humor that helped put that grand circus tent in perspective.
Now the only way to keep DIA in perspective is to have a sense of humor.
I'm sorry that Denver is losing Mr. Sweeney. I wish we could lose those baggage planners instead.
Another blast at DIA and Mayor Webb regarding the circus on Pena Boulevard. Kudos to Westword for beating a dead horse (or white elephant).
Back in 1989, just before Denverites had their one chance to vote this turkey down, Calhoun told her readers to flip their levers for "yes" (Stapleton seemed way too small and busy to the editor). Speaking of birds, marinate that crow overnight, then televise the dinner on Channel 12's Colorado Inside Out. Recipe by Gene Amole, of course.
Next, Westword may wish to sponsor a bigger fundraising event. Invitations to all the media moguls and editors, the Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce, the bond salesmen, the lawyers and the politicians. If Fed Pena shows, why not Neil Bush as well? Proceeds go to Citizens Rebuilding Democracy--a grassroots coalition for strong finance reform. That's why Denver built DIA--big money. It's high time we wrest control of our government from the plutocrats, both Republican and Democrat.
"Imagine a great city" as far as the eyes can see. Well, we've got it!
I was a bit nervous and a bit drunk,
As I endeavored to sort through the bunk.
I had strolled about the Denver International Airport building site,
When I thought I'd inquire as to a future flight.
Resting in the shadows of the moon
Upon hearing voices from the gloom
Of a far-distanced room
I became intrigued as to their plan of doom.
Their secret spilled from their lips,
As I slipped a flask from my hips.
They had chartered a course
For Loan Shark Resource
With a school of moneyed suckers on the concourse.
A million dollars a day
Would be their pay
For every day
They could delay.
In Kenny Be's otherwise fine Worst-Case Scenario in the August 17 issue, "The Mayor Bottoms Out at the Big New Library Top-Off Gala," he forgot one thing that would make this construction project parallel the airport: Move the entire Denver Public Library 28 miles away.
If we build it there, what the hell makes us think they will come?
Game, Chet and Match
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Love at First Set," in the August 10 issue:
While setting up his article, author Eric Dexheimer also set up Chet Niemeyer for the subtle ridicule shown to every older generation. This gentleman appears lively and rather distinguished and fit for the respectful age he has reached, and his face appears nothing like a "muffin."
After the first paragraphs, Mr. Dexheimer's article does show some respect for a man who chose a lifestyle that produced some interesting life experiences. The writing style at this point is great, and I enjoyed the interview, which was kinder in tone.
The first part is a great introduction for a book, but a little patronizing and condescending for a real, live person. I think he owes the gentleman an apology. If Mr. Dexheimer reaches 78, I hope he's still out there living actively and fighting for recognition as a person.
Chet Niemeyer has not stopped living just because he is older.
Great story by Eric Dexheimer. I've always wondered who that guy was. How do I join Chet's fan club?
The Plot Sickens
In Andy Van De Voorde's August 10 article "The Plot Thickens," about the battle between the Denver Botanic Gardens, city government and Denver high society, he mentions the community gardens but fails to say anything about the 250 community gardeners who are systematically being uprooted.
I am one of these 250 gardeners and speak for all gardeners when I say we put a great deal of time, money and sweat into our plots in an effort to grow flowers and organic produce. In return, our hard work enhances the beauty of the DBG and the neighborhood. We deserve better than to be relocated into a vacant city lot.
Wake up, Denver, and smell the roses before it's too late--or you may be smelling the exhaust of a bulldozer. Wake up and view these magnificent community gardens--or you may be viewing a landscape of asphalt and cement.
It is beyond my comprehension how DBG officials would envision the mega-awful expansion plan as being conducive to any horticultural or botanical endeavor. It is a sorrowful thing for me to realize these trusted officials of our beloved and wonderful Botanic Gardens have such little respect for the soul of the soil and disregard for the vibrational needs of the trees and flowers.
Congratulations once again to Westword for its willingness to print in-depth, well-researched articles on topics having the potential for far-reaching impact.
I refer specifically to "There Go the Neighborhoods," by Arthur Hodges in the May 11 issue, and "The Plot Thickens," by Andy Van De Voorde. The latter article once again brings up the question: Where, oh where, is the Denver Planning Department??? By Ms. Moulton's own admission, the department does not plan, it merely reacts after violations have occurred, after complaints have ensued. From what I gather, the Department of Planning and Community Development gave no attention to the master plan of the Botanic Gardens and its potential negative impact upon surrounding neighborhoods, just as it has seemingly given no notice of the expansion plans of National Jewish Center and the University Health Sciences Center and has even admittedly dropped the ball with regard to the neighborhood plan for Congress Park, which is currently besieged by all three projects.
It is hard to believe Ms. Foote's statement that Mayor Webb is very supportive of neighborhood concerns. If more attention is not given these issues, and if the planning department continues only to react and refuses to take action, Mayor Webb may have more to worry about than just DIA.
Those Denver Botanic Gardens (particularly the shows for kids) are the best thing about living in Denver! It would be a shame if a handful of society types stopped the music.
Tales From the Deep
Thank you for your well-written and balanced reportage of Deep Rock Water Company's land transactions in the Curtis Park Historic District (Lloyd Jojola's "Razing Hell"). Hopefully, the irretrievable losses from demolition that are being needlessly enacted upon this part of Colorado's heritage can be stopped through such coverage.
Regarding Deep Rock vice president Oberhamer's comments about the demolition of two houses in 1987, there is one point upon which I should like to set the record straight. The two houses that Deep Rock demolished in 1987 were never offered to us for removal to another location. Not only were my offers to purchase the houses refused, but we were told that it would cause severe economic hardship to Deep Rock if they had to wait for us to find and purchase land, then undertake moving these homes.
As was the case then, so it is today: A lot of what Deep Rock says is duplicitous. Deep Rock would like to leave the reader with the impression that their 1987 expansion necessitated the demolition of two historic houses, but now their intentions are different. It is the sad fact that on August 10, Deep Rock applied for demolition permits on the two historic Edbrooke homes featured in Westword's August 3 issue.
As Deep Rock has undeveloped, commercial property in Five Points on Welton Street, as well as other land holdings, it is tragic that Deep Rock has an ownership with an avaricious appetite for the destruction of Colorado history.
Knock on Woodstock
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Woodstock Redux," in the August 17 issue:
It's bad enough we're subjected to Michael Roberts's atrocious musical taste, his lip service toward local artists, and his smug, fascistic diatribes that masquerade as controversy. But his suggestion that Woodstock '94 and the original Woodstock Festival are virtually synonymous in terms of motivational causes and social significance simply underscores his ignorance of history and culture. Would Roberts also have us imagine the prevailing climate and attitude toward the Vietnam War and the prevailing climate and attitude toward WWII were ostensibly the same?
Having been at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, I can report, thankfully, that it was definitely nothing like Roberts's disparagingly glib and uninformed imaginings of mud/overrated music/a bad sound system/an excuse for "baby boomers" to have sex/get stoned/avoid the draft and an exploitative commercial venture engineered to spawn records and a film.
Most significantly, what personified Woodstock '69 (and the societal impetus for the gathering itself) were the powerful, unprecedented and genuine spirits of innocence, optimism, open-mindedness, cooperativeness and transcendence, qualities obviously alien to the jaded, sarcastic, world-weary Roberts, who, like many contemporary music people, exalts divisiveness and the bloated human ego. Roberts, after all, is someone who actually considers rap--those atonal, infantile jingles epitomizing the boastful human ego's self-deification--to be music.
Which brings to mind the adage: "A music critic is like a eunuch at the palace. He sees it done every night but he can't do it himself."
Let the sunshine in.
The only thing more boring than watching Woodstock II on cable was reading Michael Roberts's boring piece about it. Spare us from pompous rock writers who can only imagine what it means to actually have principles.
Light up and lighten up, Roberts.
Hitting Rock's Bottom
In reference to Michael Roberts's August 17 Feedback column concerning the RMMA Rock Showcase, I would like to clarify some of the issues mentioned in his review of the show. The RMMA chose most of the bands with an internal judging and screening process. Also, sponsors of the event were allowed to select a band or two of their liking. (Westword was a sponsor, but declined a choice.) As a sponsor, I obviously wanted the acts I play with--Wanker and Vinyl Oyster--on the bill. To assume that the criteria of selecting the bands was based upon their friendship with me is false. My job at the show was to ensure the field, supply backline and announce the bands, which I was more than happy to do.
Many thanks need to go out to the RMMA, the sponsors and the countless volunteers who donated time and sweat. Sure, the show could have been better attended, but the positive side is basically this: The fans saw a very diverse lineup of Colorado bands, it was free, and a good time was had by all. That's a bottom line I can live with.
Rupp's Drums, Denver
Regarding Andy Van De Voorde's "The $1 Million Man," in the July 27 issue:
Subtle harassment of minority youth by an agency of the city government, which proudly displays and verbally spouts "To Serve and To Protect," has become the height of lunacy. To be a minority youth in this city means you cannot be in a group larger than two, you cannot dress in a current fashion and you literally/actually have no rights.
A minority male youth can expect to be stopped and questioned/hassled frequently by a member of the group that has vowed to protect the citizenry of this city. This youth can be handcuffed without an explanation or reason given if/when the officer deems his/her safety is in question. This situation is, evidently, an excuse to dispense with the recitation of Miranda.
The handcuffed individual commonly may not exercise his Fourth Amendment rights. He must endure being "frisked," asked questions and ignored or told to "shut up," and then whisked away to jail where the machinations of justice are quagmired.
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It also appears to be common that the justice system routinely assumes that minority youth belong to a gang, consume alcohol and/or use other illegal substances, are jobless, are basically irresponsible and have no acceptable support systems.
All of the above smacks of anarchy. If you are not a minority youth and do not think this pertains to you, think again. Your group may be targeted next because of age, economic status, sexual preference, religion practiced or because you simply oppose anarchy. When any individual or group is harassed and/or controlled by an elite few, all individuals or groups are at risk.
Take a few minutes to think: What does a law mean, who or what does a law protect, and how can a law be better monitored?
Debra A. Morris