A Public Nuisance
Patricia Calhoun certainly got herself worked up over the Denver City Attorney's decision to make supposedly public documents private (September 28's "The Client" and October 5's "Open and Shut-Up Case"). But I, for one, applaud Daniel Muse's attempt to keep the city's legal contracts confidential. It is difficult enough for government officials to do their jobs without the media always looking over their shoulders.
Don't reporters already have enough dirt to dig into?
After reading Calhoun's latest column, I was outraged. It is our money that the city is using to pay these lawyers, and I think we have a right to know where it is going. Particularly since some of these attorneys bill as much for an hour of "work" as some of us earn in a week. I will certainly remember this when election time comes around.
Hey, Calhoun: Give it a rest. Did it ever occur to you that the city attorney's office might have a good--and legal--reason for hiring outside firms? And for not wanting to share that information with you?
Name withheld on request
Hart Hill's article about abstract expressionism ("Mind Over Matter," September 28) would stunt the mental development of any student who read it. So for the sake of the children, and for adults who think like children, we must critique the critic. For starters, Hill's prose does not parse: "Broad brush strokes twist and curl the forms away from the specific, creating dreamy, canvas-spanning washes of dripping paint--perhaps echoing the way tribalism is whitewashed by a racist society." And no matter what she meant, a pious swat at racism does not legitimize nonsense.
When the cognoscenti speak about art, they use the technique of educators--or maybe it's the other way around. In either case, it is fake erudition meant to befuddle dissenters. Art-speak originates, we are told, in a world of refined sensibility--memberships available. The sustaining members of that world (patrons) must buy the product, but associate members are only expected to "talk the talk" and throng at soirees.
The economist Veblen used the term "conspicuous consumption" to describe how status accrues to owners of objects that require great amounts of labor to produce--the less utilitarian the object and the more labor required to produce it, the greater the status. Mass production upset that relationship, but Veblen was redefined by Art. The labor component (craftsmanship) is waived when non-utility is exaggerated. Gresham, another economist, would say when bad art drives out good.
Unless dissenters challenge its sophomoric, brazen demands, the Arts will be the only welfare class paid to urinate on its masters. Attention, masters: Look at your pant legs.
Regarding Karen Bowers's "Cop-a-Doodle Doo!" in the September 28 issue: There is absolutely no way this letter, no matter how eloquent, is going to do justice to the accomplishments, talents and character of Edward Camp. As always, when you admire someone intensely, what you feel in your heart can't be expressed on paper. My deficit of expression reminds me of what has been lamented about the language of the dolphins: "Some feelings are not comprehended by a language but are understood best by a state of being." This is an exact summation of the language of Ed Camp. It is who he is as a person--his integrity, his loyalty to others and self, his commitment to others and self, his "being"--that speaks of who he is as a man.
I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Ed on a joint community policing effort, a basic law enforcement training program and an instructor development course in which we were both students. Ed attended the latter training because many of his agency employees were attending and he wanted to show his support to these people and his commitment for their career development. I, too, am the grateful recipient of enormous support from him in my successful endeavor of opening the only private basic law enforcement training academy in the state of Colorado. Ed's commitment to me in this laborious process was unyielding.
Ed has very much impressed me with his organizational and administrative abilities, so much so that I try hard to model his managerial skills in my own organization. He never fails to affirm, promote or motivate his staff to do the best they can, and he constantly encourages continued education. He wears the hat of sheriff with confidence, yet he can still be humble enough to take on the responsibilities of helping someone else in a job lesser than his.
Jeanni P. Trevino
President/Director, Colorado Institute of Law Enforcement Training
I am writing this letter as my endorsement of Bill Shearer for sheriff of Adams County. I have known Bill since 1987, when he came to work for the Adams County Sheriff's Department as chief of detectives. As a detective myself, I worked directly under Bill from 1987 until 1989. During that period of time I learned that even though Bill was a quiet, friendly, unassuming type of person, he had a way about him that brought out the best in all who worked for him.
From Bill's previous supervisory experience in law enforcement, he brought to the sheriff's department a lot of ideas that were new to us. Many of us resisted change, but we found out that in most cases his ideas were time- and work-saving. Bill showed a lot of interest in how we progressed on our case assignments and would call us into his office or catch us in the hallway and ask about one case or another.
There were a number of times in the two years I worked for Bill when a major incident occurred; he would be out all night, right along with his detectives, and he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. On many occasions we would call him at two or three o'clock in the morning just to keep him apprised of a serious situation that was going on, and at the end of the call he would always thank us for calling, even though we had woken him for the second or third time that night.
Bill Shearer was quick to praise his employees for doing a good job, but as chief of detectives he assumed responsibility when things did not go so well and made his own corrections when necessary, without passing the buck.
With my 28 years' experience in law enforcement, mostly with Adams County, it is my belief that Bill Shearer would bring the sheriff's department a good knowledge of law enforcement, outstanding management and leadership ability. He has a strong desire to do a good job for the people of Adams County and would re-establish a sense of harmony and direction for the department.
Larry J. Peterson
Deputy Sheriff, Retired
Money for Nothing
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Bruce's Generous Pals" in the September 28 issue:
Who cares who gives Bruce Benson money? I'm more interested in what the candidate has to say.
I trust the companion piece about Roy Romer's contributors will follow soon.
If voters pass Amendment 15 on November 8, campaign-finance reform will finally be on the books in Colorado, and there won't be a need for more articles like "Bruce's Generous Pals."
As Eric Dexheimer reported: "Three people have written him [Benson] checks for $50,000; seven have handed over more than $20,000 each." By that account, Bruce Benson, Republican candidate for governor, has received a total of more than $290,000 from only ten individuals; Governor Roy Romer has raised over $133,800 from his top ten individual contributors. These large contributions give donors special influence and access to the political process.
Amendment 15 would cap campaign-finance contributions to gubernatorial candidates at $500 per person. Big money would be edged out of the political process, and the average citizen would be on a level playing field with unions, corporations, political action committees, developers and the like. And Dexheimer's good, in-depth reporting could have been directed toward other issues if Colorado had effectively addressed campaign reform, as 43 other states have done.
We urge your readers to vote "yes" on Amendment 15 to get the big money out of politics. Then no one need care about topics like "Bruce's Generous Pals."
Wilma Davidson, President
League of Women Voters of Colorado
I wonder why the author of the October 5 letter signed "Name withheld on request," who, like "Bob," steals the Colorado Mountain Club registers off the top of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, doesn't want his/her name mentioned? If you're so proud of your actions, why don't you and Bob use your real names? The fact that you gleefully take the CMC members' money (you mentioned that you're a mechanic who services many members' cars) but refuse to take proper credit for your actions is the supreme act of cowardice.
I am lucky enough to live near some of the state's Fourteeners. I hike with a group of friends every week, and we don't go on weekends because many people from Denver and Colorado Springs are on the trails. We could easily start a movement to put a gate at the foot of the trails and charge admission or limit the use of the trails to people who live in the area (and probably gain much local support), but this would be ludicrous, because we don't own these mountains. Public land belongs to everyone, and we're fortunate in this country to have access to undeveloped, untouched areas free of charge. But "Bob" and "Name withheld" seem to think they have priority over the land because they are somehow pure--they hike and climb for the experience, not just to write their names in a register.
I don't know anyone who climbs 14,000 feet simply to write his name in a book. There are easier ways to get your name in print. People who work that hard do it because they love it; they appreciate the beauty of Colorado and use the experience to enrich their lives. If adding their names to a register at the top of a mountain makes the experience more meaningful, all the better. These same people are more apt to work to preserve Colorado's mountains and fight to keep pollution, development and the depletion of natural resources from destroying what we have left.
We'd all like to move to the mountains and close the door behind us, but that's not possible. That's life. If "Bob" and "Name withheld" feel they need more room, there's some nice land in the Yukon for sale.
I do not see how anyone can prevent "Bob" from removing summit registers or, for that matter, what the Colorado Mountain Club would do with Bob if they ever caught him. It would be better if they rescinded their reward. He likely will continue to remove registers as fast as it pleases him and his buddies. The Colorado Mountain Club might continue putting registers up there as often as they always have, and if they don't, then there are large numbers of climbers who will leave their own homemade registers. Bob's quest seems rather futile.
We have been through another futile dispute before: talented nurse up against the Denver city-residency rule (Steve Jackson's "Denver or Busted," September 14). The politicos who made the rule and the voters who ratified it have been firm and clear: Residency counts before any other qualification for a job with the City and County of Denver, and the courts have upheld the city's authority to do that. So that leaves two issues out there, two things that need doing. The friends of Georgia Caven need to either help her find a safe and affordable neighborhood in Denver or help her find a fulfilling job that has no such job requirement. And the voters and residents of Denver ought to consider what needs changing in their city to provide safe and affordable neighborhoods for the Georgia Cavens of the world, for everybody else and especially for themselves.
The American Way
Like many other Latinos, I am in total agreement with Erika Davila's letter in the September 14 issue. I was hurt when I saw Kenny Be's August 31 cartoon depicting "Latino protest season." It's a shame that Westword would ever consider printing it. Unfortunately, many of us are too blind to see or even care about our situation!
When landing at Plymouth Rock (after Columbus invaded "America"), these relocated Europeans had to depend on the "uncivilized red-skinned Injuns" (as many of our televised Western heroes have put it) for their first Thanksgiving! What we fail to realize is that Latinos/Chicanos/Hispanics, etc., were a part of "America" before Aztlan became "America"! My ancestors conquered and tamed the area in and around the San Luis Valley. They were doing pretty damned good before land grants, magistrates and the so-called Constitution ever existed!!
Wake up, Latinos. Take a look at our jails and prisons. At least 90 percent of the population is made up of "minorities." Talk to the prisoners. Listen to their stories--the arrests, the trials, the convictions--then ask about the living conditions, how time is wasted, etc. Probably 75 percent of these people are illiterate; education is a must! Does this "Constitution" even exist for us?
It's no wonder that our children fight the system. Hard work and honesty has never been a part of the "American way" for us.
Fred L. Medina
Denver County Jail
At Cross Purposes
Has anyone noticed the growing hostility toward and intolerance of Christianity? It is well demonstrated regularly in Westword and most recently by Jane Conrad's October 5 tirade in the Letters column.
Dishonesty, lies and disinformation are the lifeblood of the anti-Christian rhetoric that is loudly trumpeted by those who constantly attack Christians. I do not defend all actions by all who claim to be Christians. I would oppose some more than you ever could. People in any category can be found deserving of criticism. It is typical to mock, attack and denigrate Christians in any way possible, but this misses the point entirely. The substance of Christian faith is never addressed.
So it all comes down to this: Who do you say Jesus Christ is? I suggest that you give it some serious thought and a sincere examination, because your conclusion is most important.
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All Together Now Regarding Michael Roberts's "Come Together--Again," in the September 14 issue:
Racing profound, a thought inspection
Detailed life, of Mr. Roberts's collection
Ideas being sought, letters he's saved
Of old bands reuniting and the money they'll make.
Gone is the image that was way before
But you sit at your desk in 1994
The capturing of a moment, Mr. Roberts, gone by
Tuning right in, the money wasn't right.
You'll spend your life looking at letters that are gone forever
Strange as it may be, it's just the moments of your life.