Open Secrets
Regarding Steve Jackson's "Closed Encounters," in the September 27 issue:
Let me see if I comprehend this correctly: Jefferson County Open School is a "school" with no texts, no tests and no grades (to hurt a child's self-esteem), in which "students" design their own curriculum, progress at their own pace and self-evaluate how they are doing. Makes sense. After all, the world is full of career opportunities involving no work, no challenges and no appraisals, in which employees identify their own responsibilities, determine their own quotas and set their own salaries. Nuts!

Bob Hablutzel
Castle Rock

Thank you for looking into the situation at the ironically named Open School. If the Karla Myles situation had gotten a full and fair airing in the first place, the Jefferson County School District could have saved a lot of money, we might have kept a good principal, and we all could have been spared a great deal of pain.

For those of us who love the school, this has been a very difficult time. It is too bad that the district chose to make it more difficult than it needed to be.

Name withheld on request

As far as I am concerned, it doesn't matter if the people involved are straight or gay. Managers have no business having relationships with the people they supervise. I don't care how touchy-feely and "open" the workplace is supposed to be, or how "consensual" the relationship. Managers just shouldn't do it. Period.

Karla Myles should have shown better sense.
Ann Collins

The Sound and the Furry
The first paragraph of Robin Chotzinoff's "We're Loaded for Bear," published in the September 13 issue, mentions "reading a novel in which adult polar bears get together in Churchill, Alaska." I would suggest Robin Chotzinoff reread the novel and/or check a map. When I went to see the polar bears in October 1993, Churchill was still on Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada, and not in Alaska. That's not to say there are no polar bears in Alaska, however.

It's been stated that Klondike and Snow are being sent to a "better" facility, which means, of course, that the Denver Zoo does not have the best facility for Klondike and Snow. My comment would then be: If not, why not? Isn't it time we folks in Denver started to build a better facility so we can have the best facility for future baby polar bears and for any other large species? If Orlando can build such a wonderful place, why can't we? We build everything else! Does every square inch of God's Green Acre have to have a building on it? It's time to get going and get our zoo into the 21st century. The old Stapleton Airport is ideal for an animal park such as the one San Diego has. Let's get started before all that land is spoken for. We don't need more development.

The July 27 issue of the Denver Post had an article by Angela Cortez. The first paragraph states that "voters will decide in November whether the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District should invest $2 million in excess revenues into cultural organizations or refund the money to taxpayers." The last paragraph states that "mailing a check to each household would cost the district more than $320,000..." Each family would probably get something like $1 per family. Is it worth the $320,000 to refund the $2 million? (Public Service Company found it was not, when they made a refund.) It seems that the $320,000 could be better spent; my vote is to transfer this money to the Denver Zoo "Klondike and Snow Starter Fund" for new digs at an animal park at Stapleton.

Come on, folks, before it really is too late!
Margaret C. Reddy

Knowing how sad the people in Denver are that Klondike and Snow have to leave, I am amazed that you could put a picture of them on the front of Westword like that! We are not kicking them out. Not only did it show them being kicked out, but you had to add the footprints on their butts and then the real cruel part with the tears.

Robin Chotzinoff, this truly shows the type of person you are--not only in pictures and articles, but you probably kick your dog and beat your kids, too. Why are you so angry? You don't have to feed the bears!

Thank God I will probably not run into you out in the world. I wouldn't want to know you as a person or a friend. I do pray for your husband. If you aren't in therapy, you should be!

Somebody should kick your butt or feed you to the bears. Too bad Dahmer is dead.

Name withheld on request

Good Cable Manners
I want to comment on two things in your September 27 issue. First, Kenny Be is the greatest! His "Planet Englewood" Worst-Case Scenario was hilarious (although I think he was being too modest by ranking himself on the "Dealmakers Scoreboard" below Bill Gates but above God). Quick! Before it's too late and we've all been turned into vegetables by his 500-channel cable systems, can't someone at Westword do an expose of John Malone?

And second, I'll bet everyone at Westword wouldn't be so eager to say the things to Arnold Schwarzenegger's face that they'll print about him in the paper, including the item in Off Limits about Stephanie Foote being "giddy as a schoolgirl" when he called. I'll bet even Westword's editor, who's insulted Arnold in her column, would smile if the Terminator walked in.

Or else.
Jay Burkett

Children of the Damned
After reading James Plunkett's letter in last week's paper, I had to write and repeat what he said: God Bless Westword for reporting.

Michelle Dally Johnston's article about the guardian ad litem system ("The Clients," August 23) is important for everyone in Colorado to read. Taxpayers think that they are paying for a legal system that provides children with good representation--but they are not. Instead, they are paying for a system that is only interested in supporting and feeding off itself...and the children be damned.

In fact, the children very often are.
Thank you for exposing this situation.
Joyce Raymer

As a long-term GAL, I welcomed the light Ms. Johnston's article shed on this important public-policy issue. However, there is one very noteworthy error she made.

Ms. Johnston wrote that the Standards of Practice require GALs to have an independent position, but that they "do allow the attorney to send surrogates to meet with the child client." That is simply not so.

I was co-chairman of the committee during the development of the standards. There was a very spirited meeting with dozens of attorneys participating when the issue of seeing the child was debated. By an overwhelming majority, the committee voted to require that the GAL actually see the child.

The standards were the joint effort of the Family Law Section, the Juvenile Law Forum and the Probate Section of the Colorado Bar Association. The committee included attorneys in private practice, some county attorneys, some contract GALs, and staff from the Children's Legal Clinic and the National Association of Counsel for Children.

I appreciate your continuing interest in this important issue.
Marie Walton

Editor's note: According to Section 3 of the final draft of the proposed GAL Standards of Practice, "It is recommended that the GAL or a representative from the GAL's office (emphasis ours) meet with or observe the child or impaired adult in each placement." Not only is this meeting not required by the standards, but the standards themselves were never adopted by the Colorado Supreme Court as official court rules.

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