Good, Bad, Indifferent
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "It's a Good Thing," in the April 24 issue:
Who cares whether Governor Roy Romer knows who Martha Stewart is? I'm more worried that he may not remember where Colorado is.
Hey, Roy: It's in the center of the country. Remember?
I'm baffled as to why Pat Calhoun ripped up Martha Stewart last week. What did Martha do to make her so mad? Make millions putting out a magazine devoted to beauty, instead of a rag like Westword?
Maybe Martha can use copies of Westword to make newspaper cornstalks next harvest season. It would be a good thing.
The Turn of the Screw
Regarding Scott Yates's "Footing the Bill," in the April 24 issue:
The action can sure get perverse in that bordello we call the Colorado state legislature. Imagine: Lobbyist Pancho Hays and a band of venal legislators can actually twist and contort a tenant-rights bill until it becomes a landlord-rights bill. Just goes to show: In some brothels, only the little guy gets screwed.
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Department of Parks and Wreck
There's lots to these High Line Canal changes (Alan Prendergast's "A Hard Line on the High Line," April 24). Widen the path--make it hard concrete more suitable for rollerblades, bicycles, etc. Let's ruin the only place left for people to enjoy the quietness it takes for a walk without the aggravation of being run over by the jocks. I can remember when our parks used to be peaceful, especially Washington Park. Been there lately? It is maniacal because of the cyclists and rollerbladers.
My question is: When are they going to allow trail bikes, snowmobiles and stock-car tryouts? Forty-five million bucks for this aggravation. Gimme a break.
We carefully reviewed Stuart Steers's article "Roll On, Columbia," in the April 24 issue. We have found that the prevalence of uninsured and underinsured in Jefferson County is much higher than is usually quoted, and we have detailed data to support our claims.
Thank you for your very fine article, which adds to our information.
C. Frazer Shipman, M.D.
Resource Centers for the Uninsured
The author of your recent article "Roll On, Columbia" spent one minute on the phone with me and asked one question based on an "alleged quote from me that someone else had heard as a rumor." I denied having made the statement and said that it was not the way I would characterize my discussions with the leaders of other hospitals.
I have personally participated in discussions and meetings with boardmembers of Children's to explore how Presbyterian St. Luke's, HealthOne and, finally, Columbia/HealthOne might work with the Children's board to improve the quality of care for the children of the region and to avoid an unnecessary duplication of services. The fact is that leaders of both organizations could not fashion a solution to the substantial issues that complicated the discussions.
It is now my belief that this region can sustain and is best served by having two highly qualified providers of care for our children. Some will characterize this as competition between a "for-profit and a not-for-profit." That is a simplistic explanation.
Hospitals have closed in this community because there was excess capacity. St. Luke's and Mercy were closed prior to the arrival of Columbia. I am certain that the decisions to close those facilities were painful for their respective boards, but they were courageous decisions made because they dealt with the reality of the health-care revolution. One was a "for-profit" and the other was a "not-for-profit" system.
Those who continue to waste their energies on such discussions fail to seize the opportunity to deal with the real issues facing this community about the delivery of quality health care at cost-effective rates to a greater portion of our community.
Your article suggests that Columbia receives almost all of the profits from the Columbia/ HealthOne joint venture. A fifty-fifty joint venture was created, and profits are divided equally. As a result of the formation of the joint venture, HealthOne has substantial assets, which are growing as a result of the success we are experiencing. HealthOne's financial viability is significantly better than it was in the past, and prospects for the future are excellent. The community has and will continue to benefit from the joint venture.
Richard L. Anderson
Chairman, Board of Governors
Stuart Steers responds: Columbia HealthOne recently announced a net profit of approximately $60 million in 1996--and said the money would be spent on improvements to the six hospitals controlled by the joint venture. While it is technically true that profits are divided equally between for-profit Columbia and nonprofit HealthOne, Columbia stands to benefit directly from any investments made by HealthOne in the hospitals. It's worth noting that none of the $60 million in profits was earmarked for the nonprofit HealthOne Foundation. However, Columbia/HealthOne executives will receive large bonuses for this record financial performance.
With regard to Mr. Anderson's description of our phone conversation, my story made it clear that he denied having threatened Children's Hospital or Lutheran Medical Center.
I am amazed and repulsed by the inordinate amount of attention being given to the "mistreatment" of Gil Webb, the two-legged cockroach who is directly responsible for the untimely death of Denver police officer Ron DeHerrera (Patricia Calhoun's "Look Before You Leap...to Conclusions," April 17).
This piece of mutant garbage is entirely unworthy of any compassion, sympathy, pity, coddling or pampering, although he will receive a healthy dose of all of them at his criminal trial.
Donald Michael Conrad
Unlike Sal Conners (Letters, April 24), I was disappointed by Patricia Calhoun's April 17 column. Usually she stands up for the underdog (and not in a "strident" way, either, Mr./Ms. Conners). But in this case, Calhoun seems to think the cops were justified in treating Webb badly. Whatever happened to the concept of innocent until proven guilty?
So what's the big fuss? This Webb kid destroys a life that was committed to making our world a bit safer, and we're worried that he was possibly treated with some marginal behavior?
Is there a right and wrong here? Possibly, but remember this: Gil Webb made a choice to enter a violent world. He's got to pay, one way or another.
His mother should be locked up. Don't you need a license to have a child?
The Paper Chase
Did I miss any really intelligent, reflective, literate responses regarding Alan Prendergast's April 10 article, "All the News That Fits"? The letters that I read in the April 24 issue were simply dismissive of Denver's need to have any newspaper at all.
A newspaper's having a bias or slant is probably necessarily in the "nature of the beast." It's a fact of life, a by-product of the social-political aspect of human nature. So, does that mean we do without one? Besides the news in print, where does one find a local, centralized, printed medium for in-depth sports and entertainment, employment opportunities and other forms of business information? Where does one have the opportunity to "talk back," in print, about newsworthy issues or read what others think, if not the editorial section? Hey, what about the "funnies"?
How dull daily life would really be without our civilized approach to "agree to disagree." One well-known talk-show host on Denver's widest-ranging radio station was heard to say just this week that electronic news alone is a lazy-chair attitude to being responsibly informed. How fortunate for Denver to have two competing newspapers--vive la difference!
Westword and Alan Prendergast, thank you for an informative article, the historic and current trends of both papers, and the article's analysis (any bias aside).
Perhaps Westword (being the enfant terrible of Denver media) might consider a new feature aimed at tweaking the dailies: Have folks send you copies of their letters to the dailies, then run the ones that are insightful and provocative regarding local issues or coverage in the dailies but never made it into print in the big two.
Just a thought.
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A Rocky Road
Patricia Calhoun's April 10 column, "The Other Jury," was a powerful reminder of the vast coverup of the Rocky Flats grand-jury report. Sadly, the local, corporate-controlled media have long since buried that story...as have the courts and the Department of Justice. Seems that we the people are not to be told the truth.
What is the big secret, anyway? Did the grand jury find evidence of leaks of radioactive gasses and particles into our community? Or, worse yet, are there amounts of plutonium missing altogether?
We have learned too late that Corporate America is not to be trusted with anything nuclear. That powerful force requires perfect handling--from those imperfect beings. Too often, profit takes priority over safety. Those who squelched the grand-jury report are not patriots; they are simply petty cowards who fear we the people.
And they are only saving their own asses, not ours.
Paul T. Kane
You're in the Army Now
This letter is in response to Patricia Calhoun's column "And Not a Drop to Drink," in the April 3 issue, and the subsequent editor's note in the April 10 issue.
As it is a goal of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA) to effectively communicate the facts on a consistent basis, I have a general concern about the manner in which issues have been presented to the readers of your publication.
During the April 3, 1997, meeting of the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), Mr. John Yelenick was commended for his hard work in researching Diisopropylmethylphosphonate (DIMP) and related issues. However, his presentation ignored the facts and toxicological data clearly stating that DIMP is not a nerve agent and cannot become a nerve agent in groundwater.
DIMP is not a new or unknown compound at the RMA--in fact, it is one of the most studied compounds on the RMA. Since it was first detected in 1974, DIMP has been the subject of an intense research program involving the National Academy of Sciences, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Army. In addition to these studies, the Army has implemented groundwater systems on and off RMA that contain and treat this and other chemicals to standards at or below environmental regulations. These systems, treating over one billion gallons of groundwater each year, are the primary reason why the migration of contaminated groundwater off-site no longer exists and why the off-site DIMP plume has and will continue to decrease. Furthermore, the Army and Shell Oil Company are assuring that an alternative water source is available to well owners within a detectable DIMP area north of the RMA. This area is defined by a DIMP detection limit of 0.392 ppb, a level more conservative than the state's 8 ppb standard or EPA's 600 ppb standard.
By failing to contact RMA representatives for factual verification, Ms. Calhoun subjected her audience to an unbalanced and inaccurate view of DIMP, groundwater treatment and issues related to the RMA Remediation Advisory Board. I welcome interested readers to contact the RMA directly or visit our Web site at pmrma-www.army.mil to obtain information about this and other issues at the RMA.
Kevin T. Blose
Deputy Program Manager
Rocky Mountain Arsenal
Thank you for Steve Jackson's enlightening April 3 story, "Loved to Death," regarding Dana Garner's personal experience. There are no two stalking cases alike. We may be able to profile, with some accuracy, the general activities of escalation that a victim is likely to encounter, but as a threat-assessment professional, I assure you that no one can effectively predict a predator's specific behavior within any given time frame.
Some startling statistics: Four women die every day from domestic violence in this country; 40 percent of all females killed during criminal activity in the U.S. are murdered by their spouse, ex-spouse or former lover. There are over four million reported cases of domestic violence annually, while it is estimated that another forty million potentially lethal incidents go unreported. U.S. Department of Justice research indicates that the leading cause of death among women in America's workplace is homicide. Women die all too frequently at the hands of the people they love and trust. Maybe this Mother's Day, we could acknowledge the moms who may have stood up in defiance of their predator and are no longer with us or their children, as well as the moms who continue to provide a loving and nurturing home to their children despite the continual threat of violence they face every day. This crime is not about love: It's about power and control.
Dana is the co-founder of Stalking Rescue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to a pro-active philosophy of protection. We offer training to victims of domestic violence, as well as law enforcement and criminal justice workers and victim advocates. We are currently seeking volunteers (call 797-2635). Our goal is to empower the "prey" of these "predators" to become personally accountable for their own safety, case development and improved lifestyle.
Thank you, Dana Garner, for surviving and for your commitment to helping others survive.
Regarding Michael Sragow's review of Paradise Road, "Prisoners of Bore," in the April 24 issue:
Michael, Michael, Michael. Obviously you didn't like Frances McDormand in Fargo, but calling it a one-note performance? Please! Keanu Reeves in Much Ado About Nothing--now, that was a one-note performance!
I'd like to point out something missing in your Theater section. I have attended four plays in the last two years at Metro State College of Denver, all professionally well-executed and thoroughly enjoyable. But I have not seen one critique of these excellent productions.Metro State's theater is located across from Denver's "theater district," yet it seems to be consistently ignored. Please don't let your readers miss an opportunity to see the tremendous productions at Metro State College. Give them their deserved respect by including their plays in your newspaper.
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Future Shock," in the April 24 issue:
Although I must cheer Mr. Roberts for writing some stuff about "electronica," there should still be more press about it. Westword readers should be able to have more info about this music genre, and not just when a big name is coming to town. There is more to electronica than just The Orb, Future Sound of London, Chemical Brothers(?) and the like. How about some press about the Black Dog, B12, Detroit underground artists like Juan Atkins & Derrick May, or Richard Kirk (of Cabaret Voltaire), and other U.K. artists who have been producing top-quality electronica since the late Eighties? I think there is a market for this stuff here, however small and esoteric.
Please don't allow your readers to miss out on the "flip side" of electronica.
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I wanted to let you all know that I thought Kelly Lemieux's April 17 article, "Heavenly Scent," about DJ Skunk, was great. I've been waiting for so long to see something about dance culture being reported in Denver, and now you guys are on top of it. The writing was sharp, too. Keep it up.
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Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number. Write to:
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Missed a story? The entire editorial contents of Westword , dating back to July 1, 1996, are available online at www.westword.com/archive/index.html
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