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Letters

The Wolf at the Door
Steve Jackson's pseudo-expose of excruciating ennui on the Milstein-Wolf debacle ("Mommy Dearest," May 22) was a tragic waste of forests. I was acquainted with Judi and Marvin Wolf during my tenure as a social chronicler for the Rocky Mountain News; I found them to be generous, colorful, compassionate and smart. They often entertained individuals at their home because they were simply creative, intellectual, spiritual or amusing--which cannot be said for many of Denver's rich denizens. The complete works of Balzac lined the top of Judi's boudoir armoire and--trust me--as a graduate of a French university, I know she had read them all. Her public persona as a divinely theatrical diva was a colorful fresco contrasted against the dour conformity of the era's catty social-climbing harridans and posturing trophy wives lacking in wit, education and true culture--the self-appointed arbiters of Denver's social-civic scene, who snickered at her joie de vivre. She uttered ne'er a malicious word about anyone and was gracious to all.

As for John Milstein, when I knew him, he had no visible occupation, had free rein of the Wolf residence and dressed a la Secret Service only in dark suits, white shirts, black ties, steel-toed shoes and dark Ray Bans--bragging that he spent his time "casing" the residences of the former Mrs. Wolf and family. At a birthday fete for Marvin at the former Fairmont Hotel, Milstein, in the company of the Wolfs' driver, and I were ambling down the hallway when he abruptly opened his jacket, displaying a pistol he allegedly always packed. Is this a credulous, stable individual?

When I no longer was empowered with a byline, abruptly ending the air kisses and invites of the usual pursue-the-press sycophants, Judi and Marvin invited me to walk with them among the giant cottonwoods bordering their property and expressed genuine concern for my future plans and even suggested a business venture.

Yo, Jackson! Don't judge the cover if you haven't thoroughly read the book!
Thomas Hardy
Denver

My compliments to Steve Jackson for his incredibly detailed and well-written article. It was extremely disturbing--as it was meant to be.

How the law can be openly cruel and unfair to a strong and coherent woman like Letty Milstein is beyond me. She certainly seems to be able to make rational decisions, and her daughter, Judi Wolf, seems like a thankless, money-grubbing, bubble-headed twit. Why can't Letty be allowed to see her son and friends and be able to go anywhere she damn well pleases? Shame on the judge! Shame on the law!

Judi's argument that Letty's case of dementia requires her mother to be in a 24-hour-care facility is pathetic. Her "dementia" seems to be a mild case at best. Just because someone loses her house key or misplaces something from time to time does not mean she does not know what is in her best interest! I'm 27 and lost my pager the other day. I found it after looking and ransacking my room for an hour. Do I now require 24-hour care? We need laws to protect the elderly in situations like these!

On a final note, my 80-plus-year-old grandmother still drives. Maybe we should be more worried about that than hopelessly watching Letty made a prisoner in her own home.

Keep on truckin', Letty!
Lonni Michelson
Denver

Steve Jackson must have had little or no experience with the extraordinary complexities involved when a family member suffers from dementia. Having personally been involved twice, I know it is not simple and totally unrealistic to explain it all away by saying the demented person's wishes are not being adhered to. It also underscores the writer's lack of understanding to think that people with dementia (which does not remain static but degenerates) can have their needs met with the assistance of neighbors and aides. Those needs are 24-hour, seven-day-a-week needs, and it is a full-time job just to coordinate aides, friends, family, etc.

I have nothing more than a nodding relationship with the Wolfs, yet I am very aware of their extraordinary generosity to the community. When you facetiously make remarks about their fundraising endeavors, it makes me wonder if you have any idea how difficult it is to raise money for worthwhile causes and how without the assistance of generous people, there would be many people of lesser fortune who would be in even worse shape. The way Jackson twists the motives of people who have money is nothing short of astounding to me, as if all wealthy people are evil and poorer people noble.

As I completed reading the article, my thought was, "What for?" Is this your purpose as the "alternative" paper in Denver--to print a story about the dynamics of one family in such a manner that all it does is cater to the sensationalistic instincts of people? With so many complex issues within our community, with so many worthwhile stories that should be vying for the lead article in a paper that purports to make a difference in the community, is this it? Is this what you went to journalism school for?  

Jacob S. Blass, president and CEO
Hospice of Metro Denver

Editor's note: On June 3, Letty Milstein was scheduled to have her day in court. She didn't get it. For the rest of the story, see page 27.

Arrested Development
As I read T.R. Witcher's "Citizen's Arrest," in the June 5 issue, something unusual happened--I found myself agreeing with much of what was being said. Normally a fundamentalist Christian, right-wing, pro-life homophobe like me reads Westword only to see how the other half lives. But this time I thought Witcher's analysis of the problems of the Public Safety Review Commission was right on--until I came upon my own name. (I knew it couldn't last long.) Halfway through the article is the following statement: "A recent complaint by anti-abortion activist Mike Martin is a good example of...the kind of petty complaints the commission tends to look at..."

Petty, eh? I wonder how ol' T.R. would like it if every time he wrote an article, he became subject to arrest? What if any citizen who didn't agree with what he wrote could call the police, who would immediately cart him off to jail, no questions asked? After that happened to him six or seven times, would he think it was petty to complain about it? The main thing that separates the U.S. of A. from other nations is the First Amendment, and I would think that people in the newspaper or magazine business would be the first to defend the right of free speech. In many ways, it's the most important right we have. Without it, we have no valid claim to being a free nation.

The DPD, in total violation of the First Amendment, continually arrests pro-life witnesses for speaking out against abortion. (As I sit writing this letter, I have been out of jail for less than 24 hours from the most recent arrest.) The police rarely get a conviction, and what few they do get (two in the last fourteen tries) are consistently turned over on appeal. So why do they waste their time? Harassment. Believe it or not, I'm tired of being arrested and watching my friends get arrested because we won't sit by quietly while innocent babies are being slaughtered. If that makes me petty, so be it.

By going to Police Internal Affairs to complain about the injustices of the DPD, I am attempting to work through proper channels to address grievances. It quickly becomes obvious to anyone who attempts this that the police aren't about to police themselves. That is why the Public Safety Review Commission was formed. By now, I would think that most of the citizens of Denver would have realized that some of the DPD is out of hand and needs to be rooted out. So I hope other citizens who are suffering injustice at their hands (and believe me, there are plenty) will also speak out and take their "petty complaints" to the Public Safety Review Commission. The truth about the DPD is starting to emerge, and the more they are scrutinized, the better. The good cops on the force won't mind, because they would also like to see the bad apples exposed.

Other than that, not a bad article.
Mike Martin
Littleton

Repent-Up Feelings
Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Give Till It Hurts," in the June 5 issue:
Only Westword and attorney Dan Lynch continue to be advocates for the few remaining widows, victims of the godless love of Pastor Charles Blair, the preacher from hell. Thank you for being the voice of conscience crying with Brother Jesus in the wilderness--preparing the way of investigative journalism in the midst of silence for the least among us; joining the women and men who call Blair to a liberating Dance of Christ as his lies are uncovered by the "Written Word."

It is not too late--he and the misguided can repent, turn from their wicked ways and help us open the first ecumenical employee-owned veterans' nursing home. We won't name it after him, but we will place a memorial of Westword writings in the lobby in his name.

Mary Murphy
St. Thomas Seminary

Sucker Punch
I loved Patricia Calhoun's "Black Hawk's History? It's History," in the May 29 issue. It brought back many memories of explorative journeys upon the lands of Colorado, its history and heritage.

A little over one hundred years ago, Vasquez Fork was renamed Clear Creek. Then mining came. Soon after Clear Creek became Clear Creek, it was clear no more. The mining efforts of Black Hawk, Central City and points downstream toxified the creek with mercury and muck. When the mining died, it left the imprint of a historic era over much of Colorado.  

It was a time when we were young to this land. It used to be exhilarating to hike around Black Hawk and Central City, imagining the hustle and bustle of the mining activities and hardship in a long-gone era, to see the examples of man's total disregard for nature in his quest for gold and silver, to see what man could accomplish through sheer determination. We won't be able to share that exhilaration with our children.

Once again, the lust for riches and fortune is erasing a part of history. Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek have sold out their very heritage and greatness to the bulldozers of profit voted for by (very aptly put) "suckers." So what have we as Colorado taxpayers gained? Are we all richer, and do we have better lives because gaming came to these areas? Why do we wreck the most beautiful things "outside" for an activity that is enjoyed indoors? Huh?

Cal Anton
Denver

Who Cut the Cheesecake?
Regarding Kyle Wagner's "Uptown Grill," in the June 5 issue:
Judging by the passionate negative opinions of other LoDo restaurant owners as well as Westword food critic Kyle Wagner, the Cheesecake Factory is the new 800-pound gorilla in town. And while Ms. Wagner suggests patrons simply "stop going to the Cheesecake Factory," her role as food writer demands she take the obvious next step: Examine the reasons why this restaurant enjoys its current popularity.

Restaurants rise or fall on the strength of their product and on the style in which they present it. In this case, the Cheesecake Factory must be doing something right. And Ms. Wagner, in the accompanying review of Dixons, inadvertently suggests a possible reason: consistency. Her experiences at Dixons revealed no fewer than nine(!) dishes with obvious flaws, and in some cases, replacement dishes were offered. This is an alternative?

Summer is the season of the blockbuster, and the Cheesecake Factory is no exception. For better or worse, the Cheesecake Factory provides an excellent object lesson in providing a dining experience that satisfies the customer. But when a restaurant enjoys this type of success, rather than merely scorning the clientele, Ms. Wagner ought to sharpen her analysis.

Maybe while she's waiting in line...
Mark McMillan
Denver

I thought Kyle Wagner's review of Dixons was harsh. I have eaten there quite a few times and never had the experiences that she did. Come on, stop picking places apart. That restaurant gives better quality for less money than anywhere else downtown. She bitches about the Cheesecake Factory but does not support the locals.

Your critic seems mean-spirited and bitter. Just my opinion.
Ken Cramer
via the Internet

Send in the Clones
When will the brewpub fad end? (Mouthing Off, May 29.) Isn't it quite overdone when you consider that there are six brewpubs in a three-square-block radius? This constant homogenization of lower downtown is exactly the reason that Denver will never be the world-class city that it so desperately wants to be. In order to be world-class, a city needs to have diversification in its people, culture, cuisine and leisure spots--not a mere cloning effort.

D.J. Tengdin
via the Internet

Ear, Ear!
I have read Lady Chatterley's Lover, but I find Michael Roberts's "The Closing of the American Ear," in the June 5 issue, far more exhilarating reading. It's about time someone with some credibility shed some light on the biases of the average American pop buyer. I especially applaud his appropriately ruthless shredding of Sean "Puffy" Combs and Faith Evans. The way they heartlessly find ways to pump money out of Biggie is as nauseating as Strawberry Quik. I immediately made all of my friends read the article, as it is just the intelligent commentary I would expect from Roberts.

Joshua Alston
via the Internet

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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Westword
PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail (include your full name and hometown) to: editorial@westword.com

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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