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Letters

Taken for a Ride
In the September 26 "A River of Money Runs Through It," Patricia Calhoun is right on the money...our money. I voted for the 1989 bond issue. I bought the argument "Vote for Elitch's--It's Denver." Now it looks like what I really bought was a break for an out-of-state company specializing in amusement parks. My vote was for Elitch's; it wasn't for some minor-league Disneyland. Is it too late to ask for a refund?

Heather Jones
Denver

The Apes of Wrath
Tony Perez-Giese's September 26 article, "Going Ape," questioning the politicking allocations of National Institutes of Health funds, paints the popularly touted issue of animal research in its usual colors.

Mark Laudenslager easily falls prey to the mousetrap of what is conventionally crusaded as the "right thing to do." The article presented a great bird's-eye vision of the issue but failed to question other scientists who could have presented yet another view. Not all scientists treat the animal-rights issue in the same way or practice their research accordingly, and it is disappointing to see this controversial issue glossed over in such simple blacks and whites.

Kristen Imintzea
via the Internet

I commend Westword for Tony Perez-Giese's "Going Ape." It makes it very clear of how barbaric we are as we approach the 21st century.

Renada Cerniglia defines this barbarism perfectly when she describes CU as "running an Auschwitz for animals." This barbarism is about survival. As Cerniglia said, Laudenslager and others at the university are simply "white-coat welfare recipients" who are tormenting animals in order to come up with self-evident results. This barbarism is about job and status survival at the expense of innocent animals and manipulated taxpayers under the guise of AIDS research and the good old boys.

This barbarism being committed by a self-appointed, modern-day mass terrorist parallels mass murderer and madman Adolf Hitler in his quest to create a master race. Although Hitler maimed, slaughtered and murdered millions of people over fifty years ago, the same thing is going on behind closed doors at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1996 in the form of horrifying experiments.

When are we going to get it, folks? We were responsible for Adolf Hitler and we're responsible for Mark Laudenslager. Let's cut off his funding before he can perform one more barbaric act on one more animal.

Don Vasicek
Littleton

I congratulate and thank Tony Perez-Giese. I think Mark Laudenslager has been conducting these maternal deprivation experiments on infant monkeys for more than twelve years, and he's been collecting lots of money from the NIH while clinical AIDS trials are cut. Among these are programs in the Bronx and Brooklyn, where AIDS is spreading rapidly.

Orpha Hinkley
Denver

Animal rights is such an emotional issue that it is often hard to see the immediate impact on health of any study that uses non-human subjects. Mr. Perez-Giese's article on my research did a good job of reporting what I said in our telephone interview, but he also quotes (accurately, no doubt) a psychiatrist on the East Coast whose comments are based on a lack of factual information.

Dr. Cohen, a Virginia psychiatrist, apparently has little experience with the NIH, or he would know that the good old boys' network he derides does not exist. Grants are reviewed by a panel of experts who serve on the panel for three years. A grant receives a percentile ranking that compares it to all grants reviewed over the past year by that panel. Funding is based on this percentile rating. It is extremely competitive, and only 10 percent receive funding.

My work focuses on long-term effects of brief separation, particularly as they relate to changes in interactions between the mother and infant after they are reunited. The infant remains with its social group throughout separation. Because of changes in the endocrine and immune systems that accompany separation experiences, the NIH initially funded my work under the AIDS initiative. This was an administrative decision on their part, since all immune/behavior research (so-called psychoneuroimmunology research) came under that rubric for several years. The observation of altered immune regulation suggested that the progression of illness once infected (not the contraction of HIV) was influenced by the early experiences that we studied--clearly a logical reason, among many, for the agency to fund these studies as a part of developing their AIDS knowledge base.

Yes, non-human primates research is expensive. As a concerned scientist, I have a responsibility, which I take very seriously, to every animal I work with to provide for their psychological and physical well-being for the duration of their lives. Anyone who doubts the stringent rules and regulations governing animals in medical research ought to take a look at the "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals," which is published by the National Academy of Sciences. It is ironic that these regulations are far more explicit than guidelines for nursing homes and daycare facilities. I wish someone would make similar inroads on the behalf of the mentally challenged, senior citizens or orphans in Romania.

It has been my privilege to serve society in seeking information to help us deal with the long-term impact of early experiences.

Mark Laudenslager, Ph.D.
Denver

Scream of Conscience
Steve Jackson's piece on the enigmatic Senator Campbell ("Athlete, Artist, Indian Chief," September 12) came too early to include his votes against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and for the offensively titled "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA). The votes were a double slap in the face to his gay, lesbian and bisexual constituents--to whom he continues to give lip service even as he caves in to his strongly antigay party leadership.

ENDA would make it illegal to base employment decisions on a worker's sexual orientation; Campbell cast the deciding vote against the measure. He said he didn't like the way the legislation was "ramrodded through" the Senate. Yet forms of this legislation have been in front of Congress for over twenty years; hearings were held on it earlier this year.

Campbell's spokesperson then had the audacity to announce that queers should remember his opposition to Amendment 2, saying, "He's behind equal rights for all."

How does he show that? By voting in favor of a blatantly discriminatory bill, the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA would consider same-sex marriages, if permitted by a state in the future, to be nonexistent according to the federal government.

Perhaps Senator Campbell can reconcile the two votes with his conscience. I can't see how that's possible, myself.

Jonathan Kelley, director of public information
Equality Colorado

A Straight-Arrow Guy
In response to the recent letters regarding Robin Chotzinoff's August 29 story, "Shaft's Big Score!":

First, I would like to express my gratitude to KBDI-Channel 12 for airing Ted Nugent's Spirit of the Wild series. I found these programs to have great educational value and appreciated the honest statement they made about the hunting lifestyle. Mr. Nugent is an example of a great American who, from the bottom of his heart, cares about conservation and intelligent management of habitat and wildlife, both game and non-game. As man continues to encroach on the available wild ground, proper management of our renewable resources becomes increasingly important. Without wise management, everyone loses--especially the animals, who will be forced to live in disease and starvation. I would also like to commend Mr. Nugent for his militant stance against drugs and alcohol. Wouldn't it be great if more role models from the music industry presented such clean-spirited values to our youth?

Tom Minsel, Ph.D.
Denver

Land Snakes
Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Shut Up and Deal," in the September 19 issue:
Please allow me to preface my comments by stating that I am neither a pro-growth developer nor an anti-growth BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody). However, I do sit up and take exception with municipalities that throw up every rule, regulation, restriction and roadblock in the way of their own citizens because of one extreme perspective or the other.

I did vote for Boulder County's open-space tax each time, and now I enjoy and appreciate thousands of acres of preserved natural habitat. I did favor Boulder County's Site Plan Review process, because it promised to help educate residents and builders in techniques that would minimize their new homes' impact on the site. Each process appeared to be good government in action. And I did sit back and watch as the county commissioners and their land-use director allowed the arrogance of their office to corrupt each process.

In an effort to secure as much open space as possible as quickly as possible with no consideration to affected property owners, we now have "Natural Landmark Areas": arbitrarily drawn borders with equally arbitrary additional restrictions and regulations surrounding privately held land. Many of the new regulations are entirely subjective and open to the interpretation of the land-use director, making it, at best, a frustrating and uncertain task to obtain a building permit. I didn't vote for this.

We now have separate "takings" schemes to use private property as open-space buffers between the different Boulder County municipalities without compensation to the landowners. I don't recall voting for this.

We now have a Site Plan Review process that is such a mismanaged, bureaucratic nightmare that many people feel they must resort to litigation with Boulder County or simply forgo building their dream home altogether. I didn't vote for this, either.

Anyone possessed of a rational mind and a conscience must again ask if this is good government. If one owns land in Boulder County, as many do, and one was exposed to any of these unreasonable situations, would one wait until then to ask if this is good government? And just how much more big development are we in for? If we are so close to "build-out," as Commissioner Paul Danish indicates, what's the point? Is Boulder's abuse of power any better than that of other cities and counties that allow rampant development to occur on every square foot? The commissioners exercised their right to develop their vacant land for their homes, just as I did. Allow the owners of what little land is available to do the same. Without harassment.

Name withheld on request

Cool Your Jets
Regarding Andy Van De Voorde's "Continental Drift," in the September 19 issue:

I just wanted to let you know I could not believe that DIA (note the "I" in that abbreviation, which I believe is supposed to stand for "International") had absolutely no flights to Britain recently. I was told at DIA that the "I" really only means Canada and Mexico. Other than that, we should probably just call it DAA--the "A" being the "Americas" only.

I am writing from London--dialed in through my work network server. I needed to fly here to work for a major investment firm in London but was shocked to find that I had to fly Delta Airlines from DIA to Cincinnati, Cincinnati to JFK--and JFK to Heathrow via code-share with Virgin Atlantic! Overall, the trip lasted around twelve hours, including layover times.

This was my first trip like this, so I may be overreacting. But I would like to say that my trip back to Denver is not something I look forward to (although I will lose the leg of the outbound trip where I had to transit through JFK). Which brings up another point: You can fly from Heathrow to Cincinnati, but you can't fly to Denver? Hmm--I think now I might have a different idea of what Denver really is in terms of a destination (not that there's anything wrong with Cincinnati, of course).

Denver and DIA definitely have a "getting our act together" problem that shouldn't be proximity-centric, as it appears to be. Wake up and smell the jetstream, Denver!

Andy Swadener
via the Internet


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