I was disappointed to see the first category on your Best of Denver Readers' Poll: "The best way to discourage Californians from coming to Colorado."
A Colorado native, I have lived in North and South Carolina, Georgia and back in Colorado, and I was then relocated to California. Upon my second return to Colorado a little over a year ago, I was disturbed by the amount of animosity that I received because I had California plates on my truck. Once, when confronted by a woman, I inquired if she was a Colorado native. She replied, "No, but I've lived here for fifteen years." My comeback was to state proudly that I am a Coloradan. I have since then become a little embarrassed to admit that, though. Someone from California recently asked if I had a "Go home, Californian" bumper sticker.
Personally, I welcome the culture that outsiders bring into our city and state. New businesses, new jobs, new arts and entertainment. A boost for the budget of Colorado, and new ideas and input for urban and suburban renewal. Denver's current issues include expansion of mass transportation and how to raise environmental awareness. Some Californians could teach us more about the hows and whys of taking care of our state to preserve its beauty. It is possible that these newcomers don't take what they have for granted. Many come for relief from earthquakes, floods, fire, mud slides, hurricanes or crime. Possibly they can help us appreciate our fair state even more. Instead of the old-fashioned welcome wagon, though, they are viewed with bigoted attitudes and are criticized for where they come from.
I find it odd for a seemingly liberal newspaper to entice people to close their minds and to hate. Never have I been without a sense of humor regarding polls that are meant to guide us to the best food or entertainment, and I am in no way stating that your Best Of question is the problem at hand. Rather, it is a symptom of a much greater problem: the xenophobic attitudes in Colorado that Westword is perpetuating.
Concerning your article about Attorney General Gale Norton's senate race, Michelle Dally Johnston's "Against the Wind," in the June 7 issue:
Let me see if I have this right. The reporter thinks that frontrunner Norton will have difficulty because: (1) she speaks slowly and thoughtfully rather than out of emotion; (2) her campaign manager is not a "professional"; (3) she doesn't listen to what the inept state Republican Party leaders tell her to do; (4) she takes cases on principle to the U.S. Supreme Court for final resolution; and (5) she doesn't want to run a flashy, "sophisticated" campaign. Am I missing something here? While the reporter was formulating this odd induction, she neglected to examine Norton's intellectual libertarian views in any detail. If Ms. Norton doesn't win the nomination, it will simply prove that the electorate still favors fluff over substance. But, as they say, we get the government we deserve.
The Details Are Sketchy
I must compliment Westword on the May 31 issue, with so many well-researched and -illustrated articles. For Arthur Hodges's "Political Seance," John Cuneo's caricature of Mayor Wellington Webb is a real masterpiece. The whole HRCR organization stinks. As for Wellington Webb, has anyone found the answers to his brother's plane trip to Atlanta? Many of us would be interested in that. Who benefited?
For Bill Gallo's "Out of the Closet, Swinging," Patrick Merewether's caricature of the lady golfer makes a real point about women golfers' "boobs" getting in the way. This would make a good T-shirt picture for lady golfers!
More Graphic Details
Thank you for covering my court case against Swami Jyoti in "Hide the Swami," by Steve Jackson, in the May 31 issue. Your printing the original expose of Swami a year ago was such a help to me in confronting my own abuse by the Swami. Until I came across the Westword article, for all I knew I was the only one he'd done this with. The isolation, combined with the fear tactics Swami used on me, really put the brakes on my healing. I now think that Swami, who has traveled so extensively, has hurt many other isolated lives. Abusers like Swami count on the silence of their victims. This is why it is important to go on exposing abuse until it stops.
It is a vulnerable-feeling experience to give one's story to the press, not knowing how it's going to come out in print. I was pleased with the concise and coherent job Steve Jackson made of what is, of course, a long story.
However, I take issue with the attention-grabbing illustration you used. It gives the impression of a Lolita-like devotee stretched out naked, tempting the robed and praying guru. This is a graphic reinforcement of the old stereotype of young woman as seductress, or as having "asked for it." I trust those who read the story figured out that this picture bears no relationship to what actually happened between me and the Swami. But the message of graphic art is powerful and needs to be used with as much journalistic care as the printed word.
The Naked Truth
This is in response to Richard Fleming's "Cover Up in the Locker Room," in the May 31 issue--and in support of the other side of the story. As usual, many facts were left out and many half-truths were stated.
Ed Godoy is not a peeping Tom. If there were any sure proof that he was, the City of Boulder would have seen to it that he got some help for such a problem. Ed Godoy was a loyal employee at the North Boulder Rec Center for eight years. He is still an employee of the City of Boulder. Why? Because he's a good employee, a good man with a great family, and a person well-known in the city. Your article started by saying rumors had circulated around the rec center. Rumors! What happened in the mid-Seventies at the center never, ever happened with the staff of the Eighties. Ed Godoy was trying to get a bead on the thief at the rec center, because prior to the Christmas holiday there was a rash of thefts in the men's locker room. He had tried changing the keys and locks, personally monitoring the locker room, all to no avail. When he went into that ceiling, it was to catch a thief. That was his only mission.
Caroline Schuler was, for whatever reason, on a witch hunt. She knew better than anyone how popular a guy Godoy is; everyone who meets him walks away with a smile on his face. Many people wonder why someone would do this to such a person. The fact that no action was taken is proof that there is some doubt about what really happened. No one except Schuler has accused him of this crime--not the police, none of his other co-workers, none of the city's directors.
Schuler's low marks on her evaluation had nothing to do with this incident. She was a pain in the ass to most who worked with her and for her: a hardworking person with good intentions, well-organized, driven, but a pain to work with. The only person who made Schuler's life hell was herself. She went after a good man based on rumors. Whose life do you think has been hell?
All Mel Breaks Loose
In regard to Bill Gallo's review of Braveheart ("Kilt in Action," May 31), it sounds to me like Bill has a raging case of the green-eyed monster. Get off your mainstream-bashing horse and recognize talent when it presents itself. Obviously, Braveheart isn't the epic that Lawrence of Arabia is, but it is well-done.
The cause justifies the violence (done in a realistic fashion rarely seen), and if the camera spent a lot of time on Mel Gibson, it might have had something to do with the fact that the story was about the character Gibson was portraying.
In my opinion, Mr. Gallo consistently misses the mark on his reviews...but then, we're all critics, aren't we?
Don't Touch That Dial!
I take strong exception to views expressed by Michael Roberts in his May 31 piece "Dial `M' for Mediocre." Specifically, Roberts observes in a discussion of public radio that "a lot of jazz and classical music played by two of the outlets can be heard on other signals that don't require taxpayer assistance." Here he should have been more diligent in his analysis of jazz found on the airwaves in Denver.
The jazz that is heard in Denver, with the notable exceptions of KUVO-FM and Dick Gibson on KEZW-AM, is comprised of incredibly shallow and banal "contemporary jazz," which has no relationship to the American art form known as "jazz." It exists today solely as a marketing concept, not an artistic direction.
I do recognize that Roberts's article was focused on "morning-drive-time" radio programming. However, his statement did a disservice to his readers. There simply is not "a lot of jazz" to be found elsewhere. Instead, he should have acknowledged the fine contributions of Carlos Lando and his staff at KUVO and Dick Gibson at KEZW toward making their rich programming available to the metro community, the time of day and the funding origins of each station notwithstanding.
For a guy who doesn't like most of the radio stations in Denver, Michael, you sure know quite a bit about them--the music, commercials and everything. I could see where as a writer you could put down a few stations in Denver. But you are putting down every station in Denver. You don't like anything and probably anybody, either.
But I don't really think that is the case. I think it is all just for the fun of it to see how many people will write in; that way the staff at Westword will know how many people are reading your paper. You are a really talented writer, because I have seen articles you write about things other than music. I cannot believe Westword keeps paying you to write about the same old stuff that you do. It's always put down this artist, put down that artist. You would probably be afraid to write about music that you like once in a while, because then people might put you down.
No, come to think of it, you wrote an article not long ago about Frank Zappa ("Frankly Speaking," May 24) saying that most of his albums are out of print and no longer available. Michael, that is not true. There are at least two record stores that I know of that carry just about everything Frank recorded. Frank was a very talented musician, as you stated, but a lot of his music puts down women and talks about sex like some kid in junior high school would. And while you were building Frank up as an artist, you were saying that Frank's music peaked as far as record sales go when he did, or after he put out an album that sounded something like the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album in 1968. Then you ended the article saying he hated the Pepper album. I would say that you, Michael, and Frank Zappa had a lot in common. He made money with his put-downs and his dislikes of everything. Then after the guy is dead and gone, you end up writing an article about him, at first building him up and then concluding by saying Zappa's music peaked in 1968--another put-down. It is funny to me that you can write about a person that you like and then totally destroy everything you have written by knocking down the artist at the end of your article.
Wait! Stop! Go back! You'll love rediscovering Radio Aahs-AM/1340!
I've got to fill you in on one of the most popular stations in Denver. Why? Because 40.2 percent of the market have kids at home and 18.2 percent of the market are kids two to twelve...a potential audience of 1.1+ million people, all without the help of Arbitron.
Radio Aahs Denver is huge, and the response we receive is overwhelming. We receive more phone calls every day than the top three rated radio stations combined... over 750 a day! Our promotions draw tens of thousands of families, and we're part of the fastest-growing network in the world, now in 27 markets, reaching upwards of 50 percent of the U.S. population!
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Listen closely. In addition to Barney and the Chipmunks, you'll hear the Beatles, Guadalcanal Diary, Little Richard, the Cranberries, Bruce Springsteen, They Might Be Giants, Boyz II Men and other cool music for kids and parents. In the last five years, the kids' music industry has grown by over 1000 percent. (You'd love Trout Fishing in America, if you haven't already heard them.)
The support from advertisers has been tremendous. We've done business with over 400 companies and are poised to be one of Denver's most profitable stations by the end of the year. Kids are our future...we have eleven on our staff. They represent one fifth of the population and an audience that influences over $400 billion in spending each year. Listen to all the creative things we do locally to promote them, their self-esteem and independent thinking. You've got to go back. Just click your heels three times and say "There's no place like Aahs."
Dan Wiley, General Manager