Rest in Piss
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's May 9 column, "Disturbing the Piss":
Although it is probably a waste of time to dispute the opinion of anyone who would use such a vulgarism in the title of her article, I feel I must try.
Perhaps Ms. Calhoun does not mind "letting it all hang out" and sharing a bathroom with anyone at any time. I, however, think it is fair for a woman to expect a certain amount of privacy in the restroom. It is not just a matter of modesty but a real safety concern.
Shame on the Red Lion and the Denver Police Department! Don't they have anything better to do than ticket people who are using hotel bathrooms? What would they prefer they do--relieve themselves in potted plants in the lobby?
There seems to be some sense of anarchy in the overall gender- and sex-bending picture of those not wanting attention and those wanting attention. Social mores and folkways have been around for a long time and deserve understanding and respect in many ways, too.
The Gender Identity Center folk have an increasing workload as they consider the differences of sex and sexuality. Pax vobiscum!
Rolf O. Norstog
This Bill's Come Due
I read Eric Dexheimer's May 9 article, "That Fits the Bill," and in the interest of fair play, I must relay Colorado CASA's experience with the 1995-96 legislative session.
SB 30 is on the governor's desk waiting to be signed. It represents a special interest: neglected and abused children who find themselves thrust into court through no fault of their own. Thank heaven that legislators like Senator Dottie Wham and Representative Russell George got personal. This did not affect them or most of their constituents directly, and yet they agreed to sponsor the legislation, spend untold hours in testimony and shepherd the bill through amendments, inquiries and committees. This kind of "personal" keeps me believing.
Executive director, Colorado CASA
Eric Dexheimer's story leaves out information about SB 167, which was signed, sealed and delivered by Governor "Rancher" Romer for Department of Agriculture commissioner "Top Sheep Rancher" Kourlis and his sidekick wife, Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Love Kourlis (daughter of former Republican governor John Love). What a whopping political payoff! Shame on Dexheimer, who also recently wrote an article about trapping ("Fur Fight," March 7).
Does this suggest that there is some special-interest "hush-hush" journalism going on? There is a direct correlation between Kourlis's SB 167 and the initiative to ban trapping today in this state. In fact, the Telluride Times-Journal came out with a huge article comprehensively tying all of this information together for the public. My question to Dexheimer and Westword: Have you been told by Governor Romer and Commissioner Kourlis or his Supreme Court justice wife to keep the passage of SB 167 quiet? If you continue to hide the facts about a legislature that can barely read its own legislation and spews out special-interest legislation such as SB 167, your rag has sold out!
I must thank Dexheimer and Westword for the wonderful March 7 front-page shot of a trapper holding his torture device with a huge grin on his face. PAWW has enough petitions out today to garner 95,000 signatures. We will get this initiative on the ballot. Between SB 167 and that wonderful picture, PAWW--Colorado People Allied With Wildlife--increased support for our initiative to ban trapping by about 15 percent. Westword is missing out on what will be one of the most interesting and hottest wildlife issues debated this year.
One thing's for certain: Something sure does stink in Denmark, Westword. Dexheimer or your rag is as out in the ozone as the Colorado legislature has been for years.
There's No Place Like Home
I would like to comment on Michelle Dally Johnston's May 2 article, "Don't Knock If You Haven't Tried It." I am a tenant in the Dalton Apartments, the building you wrote about. I am a lesbian. My girlfriend and I have been living in the Dalton since October 1995, and we have not had any problems with the manager, Bob Vigil, or his sister, Melinda Sandoval.
I feel you should have at least talked to some of the tenants in the Dalton before you got this one-sided story. You also should have talked to tenants in the other apartment building Bob Vigil manages. His assistant manager for that apartment building is gay, too. So no one can say Bob Vigil is a man prejudiced against gay people. Nor can anyone say Melinda Sandoval is prejudiced against gays, because she has come down to our apartment on numerous occasions to give our dogs steak bones just because she wanted to. Also, I don't understand how anyone can accuse these two people of discriminating against gays, because if they were, they would never have let my girlfriend and me move in in the first place.
The reason Melinda was shoveling at 5 a.m. was because I fell down the stairs when my shoes were wet and the sidewalks and parking area were not shoveled. So they were just looking out for the other tenants. Not everyone works banker's hours, so they were shoveling before everyone started to walk on the snow and it would be harder to shovel.
I would also like to know what gives you the right to print the picture with the address of the Dalton? I was sitting outside of the building with my dog on May 2 when two guys walked by talking about the article and making judgments--which is not fair to any of the other tenants who have to live here. The building used to be peaceful before you printed this article, and now we have no privacy at all.
The Agency for Human Rights and Community Relations-Denver Anti-Discrimination Office began investigating charges of discrimination on February 1, 1991. Our first charge was an employment case filed on the basis of sexual orientation. From then until May 1, 1996, DADO has investigated 85 cases that cited sexual orientation as a basis of discrimination. The Denver ordinance is unique in that it recognizes sexual orientation, marital status and military status as protected classes.
The passage of Amendment 2 in 1992 did not affect the agency's jurisdiction in regard to charges of sexual-orientation discrimination. In fact, the agency was actively involved in the court case before Judge Jeffrey Bayless that resulted in the injunction. I presented testimony and docu-mentation on the numbers of related cases filed and investigated by the agency. The agency's testimony and documentation clearly stated that people are subjected to illegal discrimination due to their sexual orientation. This has occurred in employment, housing and public-accommodation arenas.
At no time were the complainants in Michelle Dally Johnston's story told that the agency could not help them. Their case was filed on January 9, 1996; a fact-finding conference was held on March 5, 1996; time was spent collecting information to support the no-fault settlement offer; and presently, the complainant and respondent are in negotiation. If a settlement is not reached, a formal investigation will begin and an official cause ruling will be made.
The no-fault settlement process has proven to be a successful tool for civil rights enforcement. Due to the great expense and time-consuming nature of litigation, every effort is made to conciliate early resolution of cases. This is true of all our cases. This procedure has proven to benefit the complainant, the respondent and the agency, with its limited staff resources.
Though the ordinance set timelines of 270 days after service of the complaint or 270 days after completion of the investigation to determine jurisdiction and make a cause ruling, the majority of our cases are finalized within 270 days or less. If a case advances through the administrative hearing process, such may take up to one year. No-fault settlements typically are reached within 180 days or less. The agency is proud of our record on administration of our caseload. This record cannot be matched by any other civil rights enforcement agency at any level, local, state or federal. This is true even though the staff resources of those agencies are far greater than DADO's.
Finally, in my capacity as compliance officer, I elected to transfer said case to the agency investigator. I was not taken off of the case, as stated by the writer.
You Take the High Road...
With respect to Alan Prendergast's article, "Dear *#%&!!," in the April 25 issue:
It's not that I lack the eloquence or lucidity to defend myself; people know that, but I'd prefer to take the high road on this nonsense. I think that honor is far too important to allow into an arena of the arbitrary histrionics this kind of brinksmanship invites.
You (Westword), the Boulder courts and I all have a copy of my intense and specific rebuttal to the allegations made against me, and I find myself satisfied with that, strangely enough. Everyone who really counts and needs to know the truth, does. Others don't count--I can't allow that. Now, perhaps, finally we can all get back to our respective lives and try to be constructive about something important.
Grant D. Cyrus
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