When Irish Guys Are Smiling
Regarding the ethnic contretemps in Evergreen (Eric Dexheimer's "War of the Words," August 9), one is tempted to ask what the reaction of the Jeffco DA and the pecksniffs in the media would have been had the situation been reversed, with the Aronsons spouting off about "dumb, drunken Micks" and telling so-called jokes about Ireland's Great Hunger, and the Quigleys submitting illegally obtained evidence to incite a frivolous prosecution. In a word: zilch, zed, nada, nothing--given the fact that the Irish missed the boat for the current political-correctness mania and that Denver's "Irish community" organizes only to paint a green stripe down Broadway for its infinitely overrated annual parade. Bill and Dee Quigley would be fortunate to avoid time in the slammer for violating federal law, and their neighbors' distasteful remarks would be treated as the story's "lighter side." Some groups know how to make everybody take them seriously, and some hire Rocky the Leprechaun.
Still, the Quigleys can take heart--given Bill's conviction for reckless driving, perhaps the St. Pat's Day parade committee will invite him to occupy the "conspicuous malefactor" slot established in 1992 for the now-departed Maureen Farrell (remember her?). Bill would be a considerable improvement over a habitual shoplifter, and at least he can bring his own car.
Your article setting the facts straight in the Quigley/Aronson matter was fine in itself, but it rang with overtones that seemed to attempt to garner sympathy for the Quigleys. I apologize, but I cannot feel anything but anger and hatred for these people. What are we to feel about people who, in seriousness or jest, mock the slaughter of millions? I cannot feel compassion for people who laugh and joke about "throwing lampshades and soap bars onto the Aronsons' lawn and painting an oven door on their house."
No matter what the laws might say, these are neither good nor innocent people. They are pathetic, and while perhaps deserving of pity, deserve no one's sympathy. They may not have committed any crimes against the law, but such actions brand them forever guilty.
On occasion, people have told me that the articles in Westword contain a spin that departs from the factual reporting of known facts. Such was the case in the article by Eric Dexheimer concerning the Quigleys and the Aronsons.
It would be folly for me to argue with the manner in which my office or myself was portrayed. However, we attempt to dispense justice in an even-handed and fair manner in every case presented to our office. In spite of statements by almost everyone involved in the case that the ADL did not try to influence our decision, the article seems to try to advance this theory through speculation and supposition.
Many citizens, citizen groups and other types of community groups monitor the activities of our office, and I believe that is entirely proper. We are a public office established to serve the public interest. This concern and interest in what we do does not translate to a blinding of our primary objective of doing justice, despite Dexheimer's claims to the contrary.
My main objection to the spin in the article relates to the subtle portrayal of the Aronsons. The fact is that a court of law found probable cause to believe that Candice Aronson was the victim of a felony menacing. That means she was knowingly placed in fear of serious bodily injury by threat or physical action and with the use of a deadly weapon. In this case the deadly weapon was an automobile.
Secondarily, the conversations recorded by the Aronsons did contain words and phrases that referred to their ethnicity, which the article seems to pass over as unimportant. Our decision to both file charges and subsequently dismiss them was based on the intent behind those words. My quote that this "was a garden-variety neighborhood dispute" does not adequately portray this incident. If I used this analogy, it was inaccurate. The matters brought to our attention in this case were not, in my view, a two-sided dispute, and nothing about this was garden-variety.
Finally, the Aronsons appropriately sought and received legal advice concerning their taping of these conversations.
My final observation concerns the future. I feel the article serves to further tear at the fabric of this neighborhood. I, for one, hope for a constructive resolution to this conflict. Instead of promoting more discord, we should search for reconciliation. Our world needs a lot more of that.
David J. Thomas
Jefferson County District Attorney
What's in a Name?
Every so often, the "Off Limits" column goes off the deep end, particularly when it deals with those who don't blindly accept liberalism. It is interesting that your August 2 attack on David Kopel and Paul Blackman concerned not the veracity of their article about Waco but Blackman's use of a pseudonym. To call this a "coverup" is ridiculous. And in contrast to Blackman's legal (albeit misleading) nom de plume, TV reporter Paula Woodward's pseudonym use in swearing a voter's oath is a criminal act. Her contention that she was given permission by a public official is dubious. Can I get permission to commit murder? You also say that Woodward uncovered a "scandal." The only thing she uncovered is that, thankfully, you still don't have to give a Social Security card, fingerprint or biological sample to exercise our most fundamental right.
The writings, congressional testimony and TV appearances of Kopel and his associates are a refreshing change from the typical liberal and conservative drivel. It's a shame that you prefer to snipe at the Independence Institute rather than objectively discuss the issues they raise.
Eric Blair, aka John Hart
Regarding "Colorado Sucks!" Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario in the August 2 issue:
Seen your cartoon, and I agree 100 percent. Colorado does suck! I was born and raised in Colorado sixty years ago, so I am a native. Since I moved to Denver from the Western Slope, I have seen so much cronyism in this city.
Since you run comics throughout each edition of Westword, why not run comics everyone likes, enjoys and understands? Like Calvin and Hobbes? Or the best of Bloom County? The comics you run now, like Hip Tip, are confusing, pointless and seem aimed only at a certain segment of the population--the politically correct elite.
Or is this your intention? Just a thought.
James Christopher Hess
Michelle Dally Johnston's article on the Coors Field lease ("Pay Ball!" August 9) needs clarification or correction on several issues.
The keystone of the lease agreement the Stadium District has signed with the Colorado Rockies is the provision shifting the cost of operating and maintaining Coors Field from the metropolitan Denver taxpayers who own the ballpark to the Colorado Rockies. In tossing aside that key provision with no more detail than to describe it as the Rockies' "promise to maintain the place," Ms. Johnston hardly does justice to a commitment that will relieve the public of a financial burden anticipated to be in excess of $6 million each year. Regardless of how high those costs climb, however, the lease requires the Rockies to pay every penny.
Ms. Johnston also dismisses as "a few cents" and "a paltry percentage" the estimated $2 million to $3 million the Rockies will pay the taxpayers of the Stadium District each year in shared revenues from attendance, parking and the operation of Rounders Restaurant. Those revenues will help to pay off the ballpark debt only five years after Coors Field opens. After that point, the revenues from the Rockies will flow back to the six counties that paid for the ballpark--revenues expected to reach $32 million over the life of the lease. Those dollars are a significant return to the taxpayers who voted in favor of building the ballpark.
Finally, the writer incorrectly characterizes the provision that authorized the team to sell the naming rights as necessary to "lure [the Rockies] here." Wrong. It was the National League that had to be convinced that Colorado was a good risk to receive one of two expansion franchises being sought aggressively by at least nine cities across the nation. Without that provision, it is unlikely that Major League Baseball would be playing in Colorado today.
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Thomas J. Gleason, Deputy Director
Denver Metropolitan Stadium District
The Girl Can't Help It
I can't blame Patricia Calhoun for wanting to ridicule some of Dr. James Dobson's statements concerning the World Conference on Women ("Girl Crazy," July 26). Such exaggerated, self-serving rhetoric is one reason why I am not an admirer of Dobson or any of the fundamentalist gurus. But Calhoun makes it clear that she is not only ridiculing Dr. Dobson, but anyone expressing concern over threats to the traditional family or over such measures as enforced abortion. To this end, Calhoun employs the following logic: She observes that child mortality has decreased since antiquity and that child labor has been abolished. These advances she cites as positive changes in "the family," although how they specifically relate to the family structure, she doesn't explain. Her point seems to be that whatever is now happening to the family must also be positive. The family isn't declining, it's evolving (Calhoun doesn't tell us what it's evolving into). She also makes a clumsy attempt at vilifying Christianity by noting that "God-fearing Christian countries endorsed child labor." The obvious reply is that child labor, like slavery, was first opposed largely by Christian activists and that many non-Christian societies not only used to employ child labor, they still do. Of course, in the modern secular society Calhoun champions, we're much more enlightened. We simply kill children in the womb if they threaten to become economic burdens.
Some of us who take note of current social trends such as increasing youth crime, random violence, child abuse and child poverty are slightly less sanguine about the decline of the traditional family than Ms. Calhoun. But then, maybe society is just evolving.