Flush With Success
I contend that with her February 22 column, "On a Roll," and its important report about Western Pacific's toilet-paper game, Patricia Calhoun finally accepts where her writing is going.

Down the toilet.
Joe Garcia

Thank God for Patricia Calhoun! I, too, was irritated to the point of hysteria by Western Pacific's cheerfulness. I would gladly pay more for less of the games and good humor. And for those passengers, like Ms. Calhoun, who are horrified by the Colorado Springs airport's baggage area, remember those words made famous at Denver International Airport: Carry on.

Judith Robinson

Land of Opportunity
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Breaks of the Game," in the February 14 issue:
I was disappointed with Eric Dexheimer's apparent sympathy with the idea that people other than real farmers who own land assessed at agricultural rates receive an unfair break on their taxes.

Admittedly, some vacant land which is only nominally agricultural is really held by speculators, waiting for it to fully ripen for subdividing or industrial use. Even so, how is that unfair? The owners receive little or no income from it, but government still collects a tribute based on the land's historical use while providing no services. Haven't we had enough of coercive government without empowering it to bludgeon citizens into selling their property before they are ready?

But it is the attack on small rural acreages that gores my ox. People who buy such property drill their own water wells, install their own septic systems and forego the full range of government services for which they pay taxes. The houses they live in are evaluated just like houses in the city, but the acreage surrounding them is not equivalent to so many vacant city lots waiting for buyers. The land itself has no premium value except for the aesthetic satisfaction it provides the owners, plus whatever income there is to be earned from small-time agricultural use. Zoning it agricultural is only justice--which must be why some bureaucrats chafe. Raising taxes on rural homeowners would force some of them to sell out, and give others an incentive to subdivide into smaller tracts, if the zoning authorities would let them.

What is needed in the name of fairness is not legislation to make some rural property owners pay more taxes. What is needed are more legal restraints on the government's appetite for money. With 45 percent of our income already taken by the various levels of government, Dexheimer is on the wrong story. How about one detailing where the money is spent?

Norman Ely

I have no problem with these tax breaks for agriculture, because the result of "fair" taxation would be too chilling to contemplate. There would be nonstop concrete from Fort Collins to Pueblo. Is this what we want? I personally enjoy seeing livestock, even bees or nothing at all, on privately owned, undeveloped land in Colorado.

Debbi Knox

Blood Will Tell
My usual diet of sources of financial information is the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Barron's; however, it was with the greatest of pleasure that I read Alan Prendergast's article regarding Somatogen, "Out for Blood," in the February 22 issue.

I have been an investor in Somatogen for over five years and must confess that the only time I really understood the company was after reading Mr. Prendergast's article.Three cheers for some great in-depth reporting.

H. Alan Dill

A Cellar's Market
Regarding Stuart Steers's "Dry County," in the February 7 issue:
Many people will blame the developers and the county officials for causing this impending crisis. But remember, there are multitudes of people who want to enjoy a rural quality of life and be able to commute to work in the city. Douglas County fits the bill, and these people are willing to pay lots of good money to satisfy their desire. In that light, it is a lesser sin that developers and county officials are taking the money and enabling these people to live their California dream.

We have met the enemy. He is us. Now what are we going to do with ourselves?
I suggest that Holly Bohlen go ahead and route her drainpipe into a basement cistern. I would bet that no jury of her peers would convict her of breaking the law.

David W. Olson

Look! Up in the Air!
We all wish to thank you, and especially Robin Chotzinoff, for running the story on the plight of the Imperial Flyers ("Soar Losers," February 22). We couldn't ask for more--a front-page spread! The story may not get us reinstated at the downtown Y, but it surely will give us exposure. If we ever find a place to fly again, we will certainly invite your staff to come see us in action and possibly "swing off."

Jacqueline Moorhead

Social Studies
Regarding Michelle Dally Johnston's "Home Again, Home Again" and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in the February 14 issue:

I read these two articles with great interest. You see, I have been a foster-parent receiving home for the past seventeen years in Arapahoe County. My wife and I have been caretakers for more than 500 children during this time. I have also served on the Arapahoe County Foster Parent Association board as president, vice president and secretary, and I am currently treasurer.

Over the years, I have found too many reasons to not trust upper management--which is sad, since we are all supposed to be caring for children. All too often, I have seen the best interest of a child being violated by poor casework or the system mandates.

If everyone could have attended at least one of the recodification meetings dealing with our children held over an eighteen-month period recently, most would understand what a mess we have in our system today. The Department of Social Services has become one of those uncontrollable government systems that no longer have a purpose, but rather protect the system. I am sure that the intent of 96-272 was not to cause the harm it has, but could it be that people are just confused as to what it was intended to do?

I recognized years ago that the Department of Social Services could cover up almost everything it wanted to--and did so on many occasions. It could hide behind its definition of "confidentiality" or the many layers of command, and nobody would know the difference. Nobody can tell the public what is going on except foster parents--and we have no authority. We sign a contract with the county department that is one-sided because we care for children and we try to make a difference.

We need the help of the public to stop this madness.
Richard H. Inzer

Off Center
In response to James Plunkett's letter in the February 7 issue of Westword, which stated that the current director of Colorado's Central Registry of Child Protection is a former Kempe Center director: I must say that I was flattered by Plunkett's inaccurate reference. While it is true that I was fortunate to be a small part of C. Henry Kempe's legacy from 1983 to 1994, I was never, as Mr. Plunkett asserts, director of the Kempe Center.

David B. Denson

The Height Report
Regarding Stuart Steers's "Height Makes Right," in the February 7 issue:
It is unfortunate that one development project should spark such a Draconian response as seen in the proposals for the wholesale revamping of LoDo's zoning ordinance (although some would argue that it was a battle waiting to be waged ever since the creation of the district). LoDo's Historic District, to quote from 1987 Denver documents, was created "to revitalize the area by attracting additional businesses, restaurants and other enterprise, as well as residents." It was not created as an inner-city "Suburban Pastiche."

If LoDo's new residents don't like the mixed-use nature of this environment, then I would respectfully point them in the direction of the suburbs and would strongly suggest that when they purchase their next residence, they fully apprise themselves of the environment they are moving to, including a thorough review of the relevant zoning ordinance. If no one else has, I would like to point out to LoDo's new residents that there are some long-standing property owners in LoDo who have already seen their property values and rights negatively impacted to accommodate the Historic District. It is quite unrealistic to suggest that we should be forced to make further sacrifices in order to enhance residential property values in the district--which is precisely what is proposed by the new plan.

Looking further down the road, from the present rumblings within the residential community we can see that the buck just ain't going to stop here. We can, I am sure, look forward to controls on restaurants, bars, clubs, parking, traffic and, who knows, even baseball may be forced to close early.

The residential community in LoDo is an important one and should be encouraged to grow, which it will regardless of the current proposals. But let us not forget that they are a part of a whole.

John Nadler, President
Compco Colorado (LoDo property owner)

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