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Letters

T and Sympathy
Regarding the August 8 Off Limits item about Peter Boyles, Wilma Webb and Mr. T: Throughout the radio interview on KTLK-AM, Peter Boyles addressed Wilma Webb respectfully as "Mrs. Webb," and Wilma Webb addressed Boyles condescendingly as "Peter." To get respect, you usually have to give it.

John W. Bowers
via the Internet

As a reader and an advertiser in Westword, I would like to let you know how I feel about the announced "boycott" of Westword and Jacor.

I heard the KTLK broadcasts that are supposed to have caused the boycott, and I have seen the caricature of Mrs. Webb/Mr. T that appeared in Westword. In my mind, these do not justify this type of response (or any at all) from the NAACP.

I am saddened that you have been accused of being racist. I don't recall any such complaints being made whenever Pat Schroeder was portrayed in caricature. I believe that this boycott is the result of being openly vocal in questioning certain things in the Denver political arena. I also believe that announcing the boycott on Thursday morning (after Westword went to press) was a typical political attack.

I am supportive of both Westword and KTLK on the grounds that what was said and done was not, in my mind, racist and that this is simply an attempt to get even for casting light on events that others would prefer remain hidden. No one should be playing the race card to settle what are obviously political scores.

Hal Landry
Aurora

One Good Coppola
A question or two, if I may, with regard to Bill Gallo's review of Francis Ford Coppola's latest cinematic effort Jack ("Vintage Coppola?" August 8).

While I won't argue with Mr. Gallo that Robin Williams's hyperkinetic comedy has grown old and tired, I do have to take him to task for comparing Coppola's Godfather trilogy to this particular tripe and, in doing so, must ask a question or two:

How many Oscars has Mr. Gallo won for feature film directing?
How many awards has Mr. Gallo won for screenwriting?
How many screenplays has Mr. Gallo sold? Are there any mainstream films or movies we, the Great Unwashed Masses, might have seen that bear Mr. Gallo's apparent cineliterary genius?

What are Mr. Gallo's credentials that allow him to nitpick at a talent such as Coppola? I would imagine they must be great and hefty, placing him in line with the likes of Bogdanovich, Welles and Graham Greene.

As I said, a question or two humbly submitted to the great and ever-so-important William Gallo, who no doubt at this moment is parting the Red Sea, finding a cure for AIDS and the common cold, and feeding the world's hungry with his unlimited powers.

James C. Hess
Loveland

Printing Pressure
Regarding Michael Paglia's "Reproduction Rites," August 15: Yes, Colorado's printmaking tradition could be rich, if only the print mavens such as Bud Shark of Boulder and Mark Lunning of Denver would rethink the question. I, too, saw the show Working Proof: 20 Years of Prints from Shark's Inc., and I agree that the quality of the prints was good. What is disturbing, however, are the extremely limited runs and the inclusion of monotypes. Every monotype is an abomination to the spirit of printmaking, no matter how it looks. Prints are for people--power to the people!

Let the aristocrats futz with the oh-so-precious paintings and sculptures; with prints, we have a way to overcome the obsession of the singular object. Consider how the prints of Albrecht Durer or the prints of Jose Guadalupe Posada or how the woodcuts of the Japanese functioned in the culture of their time, and see that Shark's Inc. of Boulder and Open Press of Denver have led us backward to square one, where art is the province of the wealthy only. The 3-D prints of Red Grooms--flat images that can be cut out and assembled into three-dimensional paper sculptures--are the sort of thing that used to be available to every kid in America on the backs of cereal boxes. That leads me to wonder about Bud Shark and Red Grooms driving up the prices: Is this a deliberate attempt to keep prints out of the hands of the populace?

Harry Lyrico
Boulder

On the Hook
I read Michael Roberts's article about the Phish concert ("Something's Phishy," August 8) and wanted to say thank you for covering the concert but no thank you for your opinions.

It was quite out of line for the city of Morrison to charge $15 a head to stay in a campground. Most places charge $8 for a carload. It seems to me that the city of Morrison didn't do much to create a nice atmosphere for the show, and if you're wondering why people don't shower, it's most of the time because people won't let us use their showers. It's very expensive for hotel rooms, especially if you're on the road for many weeks at a time.

Then there are Roberts's opinions about the music--and especially the line in the story, "One desperate man even tries to sell me a somewhat dusty-looking cheese sandwich." Excuse me--there are a lot of people who make food on the lot to feed people who cannot have food at a restaurant. Roberts may be used to dining at five-star restaurants; not everyone can.

And "brain surgeons"? Excuse me--most of us aren't brain surgeons, but a lot of us are able to attain the knowledge to become brain surgeons. I'm a 4.0 college student, and many other people I know are very educated people. It was very demeaning to call anyone less than educated, especially when they are educated. We think it was a poor opinion, especially for a first impression.

Petrea Plum
Rockford, Illinois

I'd like to thank Michael Roberts for giving Phish and its fans a fair shake on two separate occasions. Although I was unable to get tickets to any of the Phish shows, I knew there had to be more to the, uh, "incident" at Red Rocks than the press portrayed. Sure, Phishheads aren't very good at bathing (or spelling), but they are some of the nicest people around. I just wish Phish had played "Anarchy in the U.K." that night (which they've been known to cover). Never mind the bollocks.

Casey Durfee
via the Internet

Growing Up in Public
As a former resident of Mount St. Vincent's Home for Boys, I was able to relate to Steve Jackson's August 8 story "Home Boys" in profound ways. There is something about being raised in an orphanage that seems to leave most of us with a sense of constantly needing closure on that part of our past. I was placed in St. Vincent's along with my younger brothers (there were four of us) at age eight. My younger sib was seven, and the youngest two--twins--were six years old. My brothers and I have had very different lives, and three of the four of us stay in touch.

Depending on whom you talk to, those places were either heaven or they were hell. I stand somewhere in between. Thanks again. It was a powerful article.

John M. Pedraza
Aurora

Bloom Service
One day earlier this summer, my travels took me along the exit ramp from northbound I-25 to westbound I-70, a fairly common, even boring routine. This time, however, I nearly drove off the road because I couldn't take my eyes off the beautiful array of wildflowers that had suddenly appeared along the roadside to the north. At highway speeds, it was impossible to identify species, but being a wildflower buff, I at least recognized the red Indian Paintbrush.

It brightened my entire day. Hours later I was still thinking about it and wondering whom to thank. Now, since Robin Chotzinoff's article ("Vroom With a View," July 25), I imagine the persons responsible would be Kama Davidson, Greg Galvez and the rest of the highway landscaping crew. Please pass on to them my sincere gratitude and congratulations for the attitude they bring to their work and the visible results we get to enjoy.

Penny Thome
Arvada

Inside Stories
Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Lone Stir State," in the August 8 issue:
I am presently housed at Karnes County Correctional Center and was also at the Bowie County Concentration Camp. I thoroughly enjoyed the article. Mr. Prendergast did a great job. There is no doubt that he is a consummate writer. But he misses some very important points, and his interviews and investigative work seem incomplete.

I would like to correct the following: With regard to the food, after reading the article, I spoke with thirty people. The closest response I got to Warden Ellis's "75 to 80 percent of the people love the food" is: "Compared to Bowie County, it's okay." Also, the only reason people want more is "we don't get enough of it." Furthermore, Warden Ellis says he would "swell up" if he ate all three meals here. It's a documented fact that I weighed 194 pounds when I left Bowie County; I presently weigh 158 1/2 pounds.

With respect to Warden Ellis's response regarding toilet paper: Toilet paper is issued one roll per week, passed out every Tuesday. If you run out on Friday, you might be lucky to get a small hand-wrapped wad from one of the guards.

Warden Ellis states that "three-quarters of the inmates here have jobs," which in truth is more like half. He also fails to mention that most of the people who have jobs work little or not at all. He also fails to mention that his staff fires inmates for no apparent reason. With regard to Bobby Ross's statement regarding the death of Frank Mares: It's a known fact that it took at least forty minutes for the ambulance to arrive.

Although Mr. Prendergast's article was good, I would suggest that in the future, when printing articles about other people's lives, he should stick to printing the known truth, not printing fabrications from people like Bobby Ross and Warden Ellis, who lie in a bogus attempt to cover up the injustice that takes place at their for-profit-only facility.

Gregory A. Cornelius
Karnes City, Texas

Karen Bowers's report on the San Carlos Correctional Facility ("I'm a Con, You're a Con," July 25) ignored its primary raison d'etre: furtherance of the pseudo-science of corrections by increased employment at higher salaries justified by BS piled higher and deeper. San Carlos was named for Pueblo's University of Southern Colorado, which specializes in providing correctional careers. It is a "teaching" prison, complete with interns, and it is disliked by most of its prisoners.

"Mollycoddling"? "Double to triple costs"? The extras aren't going to benefit the prisoners, unless forced drugging is a benefit. The "results" of some actions, including drugging, may be valuable research for some people such as experimental psychologists.

SCCF is Colorado's Pelican Bay, with the extra excuse of "mental health." SCCF has twenty "restraint cells" (also known as "four-point cells") for tying up diapered screamers and cursers--punishment for calling pigs such. Along with increased sentences ("verbal abuse" adds two weeks, costing taxpayers $1,540) for not following a sometimes boot-camp discipline. Mostly, SCCF is a giant marshmallow, very soft but with boundaries that are very tough to define. There seemingly are no goals or reasons for being sent here other than official caprice. This caprice is formulated in self-contradicting psychobabble. Courses are offered by USC's Franz Kafka school of Bigger Government as almost-required public-communications courses.

When it comes to prisons, the public at large not only is ignorant, it prefers ignorance--as long as it's accompanied by an entertaining fairy-horror tale. Mix Charlie Manson types with self-serving careerists in the system, and the public has little interest in costs, in recidivism statistics, or in other end products. Tell them that taming mustangs before slaughtering them for alligator food is "therapeutic," and bingo--the legislature gives you a million dollars while the public praises you.

As to the Ramos v. Lamm suit and settlement, the DOC won and the prisoners lost, though the public is usually told the opposite. SCCF claims to have been funded as part of the settlement, but the settlement was final long before SCCF was funded. DOC just wanted to use the suit to build a billion-dollar empire. Subsequent suits that "succeeded" did so on the same basis--a bone or two to the named plaintiffs and a million-plus to DOC. A suit against SCCF is unlikely to increase prisoner freedom or contact. It is likely to increase staff power and pay. SCCF should be shut down and all its staff fired for malfeasance, then reopened as a regular prison with less than half the staff.

L.R. Moore
San Carlos Correctional Facility
Pueblo

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