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LETTERS

Bringing Up the Rear
Patricia Calhoun's editorial relating to Bruce Benson's gubernatorial campaign ("Preserved for Posteriority," October 26) was a beautiful piece, absolutely mature with a reasonably subtle dig. I laughed with tears in my eyes. Congratulations.

One of the things Calhoun might want to explore someday, and I hope she will with her brilliant mind, is how in the world people screw up like that so consistently and at the same time make a lot of money. Write a book on it and I'll be the first one to buy it. Thank you very much for that wonderful piece of work.

Mike Chavitz
Denver

Unlike Jim Willer (Letters, November 2), I thought the column on Bruce Benson was the most insightful article I've read about the candidate. Obviously, one man's "monkey puke" is another man's champagne. Keep it up, Calhoun.

Fred Small
Aurora

Maybe my memory has at last failed, but wasn't it Westword that ran the first story about Roy Romer and B.J. Thornberry, "The Rumor About Romer," back in June 1990? And didn't Benson just resurrect that rumor in the last days of his campaign? Obviously, Jim Willer's memory must be fading, too. Because say what he will about Calhoun's column on Benson, I doubt that Westword is Romer's favorite publication--or, judging from other Westword stories, vice versa.

Name withheld on request

Don't Be an Ash
In Patricia Calhoun's "The November Numbers Game," in the November 2 issue, she really missed the mark with her recommendation to vote no on Amendment 1. It is a sad day when the editor of a so-called "alternative" newspaper sides with the tobacco industry.

Jan Ramsey
Boulder

I was disappointed that Patricia Calhoun does not endorse term limits. Could it be that she has been editor of Westword too long? Is it time for a recall?

Tim S.
Denver

Taken for a Ride
Excellent work by Arthur Hodges on RTD candidate David Shortridge ("Sick Transit," October 26). Since he's running for the outfit that brought us that ridiculous light rail, Shortridge seems like just the man for the job.

A.T. McCoy
Englewood

A Vote for Be
Kenny Be's "1994 Election Threat Guide," in the November 2 issue, was the best thing I've seen about this election. Remember, it's not whether you win or lose--it's whether you can afford to move to Canada.

Jamie Vigil
Denver

Who's on Third?
While there has been a great deal written about the campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans across the nation, there has been scant attention paid to third parties in your paper besides Richard Fleming's "No Minors Allowed," in the October 26 issue.

In an election year with so much voter dissatisfaction, a third party can broaden debates and raise important issues. When the Colorado Green Party candidate for governor, Phil Hufford, debated Roy Romer and Kevin Swanson, the television stations dropped their coverage because Republican candidate Bruce Benson pulled out. How is the public supposed to know what their choices are if they don't get to see the whole menu? The Green Party platform incorporates some of the best of traditional conservative and liberal values, while also offering a new vision for economic prosperity that is not tied to perpetual growth. We want less federal government, lower taxes and more efficiently run and progressive health, education and other social programs. Our solution to crime is to focus on jobs and education rather than on more prisons and police--to cure the disease and not just hide the symptoms. On all levels, we want more public involvement in government. These are the positions that many dissatisfied voters were looking for.

In the future, I hope you will increase your coverage of third-party candidates.

Krista Paradise
Green Party of Colorado

Vance Fever
I just wanted to thank you for Patricia Calhoun's article in the October 19 issue, "Who's Sorry Now?," reviewing Vance Johnson's book. I happen to be the mother of one of his several children. And no, not the one from the one-night stand.

Whatever it was that Vance wrote, I haven't gotten a chance to really look at the book. But I've had to deal with him in the past few years, so it's nice that somebody actually looks at that sort of thing the way that I do and the way that other people do that really know the type of person he is and know what's going on in his life and court dates and everything else that he has coming up--regardless of the way he's trying to present himself to the public.

So after I read your article, it made me feel better--you kind of put into words and were able to say things that I was feeling but because of my involvement in it haven't been able to say. Anyhow, I just wanted to say thanks.

Name withheld on request

That thing in Calhoun's column about Vance Johnson and French kissing was the most disgusting thing I've ever read. I may never make out again--not that I would go near him in the first place.

Michelle Adams
Denver

Communication Breakdown
The distinct feeling of sarcasm communicated in Arthur Hodges's article on the use of faciliators by the City of Denver ("Can't We All Get Along?," September 14) may not have been what Hodges intended. Or perhaps it was. Mr. Hodges doesn't seem to care if his message is merely heard but not understood.

To a large extent, serving people is the reason that government exists, and in order to do this, one needs to know about dealing with group and individual needs and what satisfies people in their lives. It is also extremely helpful to know how to handle the conflicts that come hand in hand with groups trying to solve the problems and make the decisions that hit people where they live. These are skills that facilitators possess, and the City of Denver has made wise decisions in bringing in communication experts. Clearly, the city has an investment in its future relationships with business and neighborhood concerns.

Mr. Hodges, with all due respect, leave the communicating to the experts.
Deborah Skovron
Boulder

Rock Unsteady
I should have written this letter when Michael Roberts's article on Kurt Cobain's suicide first appeared ("Suicide Is Brainless," April 13) instead of waiting until Linda Gruno mentioned it again in the October 19 obituary for Danny Gatton.

I was very disturbed by the tone of Roberts's piece; he undermined the tragedy of a young man taking his own life. This was an effort, I suppose, to discourage fans from admiring his actions.

What Roberts failed to emphasize was that Kurt Cobain suffered from several illnesses--depression, drug addiction and chronic abdominal pain. Suicidal ideation is a symptom of depression, and depression is what killed Kurt Cobain. Kurt had the money to pay for psychiatric care, but either he did not seek treatment or his treatment was unsuccessful. What the media needed to tell the millions of adoring teenagers that might idolize a star who takes his own life is that Kurt Cobain had an illness that can be successfully treated with psychotherapy and medications and that he made a mistake when he did not seek the proper care.

I was inspired to write after reading Eli-zabeth Wurtzel's book Prozac Nation, in which she describes her battles with depression and how she improved very slowly through treatment. She discusses the media treatment of Cobain's suicide; having had a chance to recover from depression after it nearly took her life , she could empathize with someone who never recovered. She felt, as I did, that the media ridiculed Cobain, implying that his death was wimpish, pretentious and selfish.

What seems misunderstood is that when someone commits suicide, he is being destroyed by his own mind. The outside world does not have much impact on that. Self-mutilation does not come easily; you have to be in a psychotic state to cut yourself, shoot yourself or jump from the top of a very high building. Why are people reluctant to address mental illness? Why is it disguised by words like apathy and confusion? It is very upsetting when a rock star kills himself. It devastates some people and annoys others; it also gives the media a chance to educate the public. I feel this opportunity was overlooked.

Andrea Ellison
Denver


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