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Letters

I Think I Cayenne
Kenny Be's detailed rendition of the rampaging squirrels (Worst-Case Scenario, September 11) is painfully similar to my backyard. I agree--we should be compensated for the loss of our tomatoes, sunflowers, etc., though there is little enough left after the hailstorm. Kenny, here is a hip tip for you: Sprinkling cayenne on the fruits and veggies discourages squirrels.

Priscilla Footlik
Denver

The Bum's Rush
Regarding "What a Rush," by Tony Perez-Giese and T.R. Witcher, in the September 11 issue:

Your two little undercover reporters are the next Woodward and Bernstein--NOT! What complete and utter bullshit! Your frat article sucked. Wow, you found out that college kids drink--big deal. What an easy target. I know--for your next article, write about bean eaters who fart or smokers who cough.

You guys act like you're so hip and with it. You're just a bunch of wannabes. Your two geek reporters probably couldn't get into a frat on their own merit if their lives depended on it! I just loved the way that you tried to turn this into a race thing. Was this supposed to be some great expose? Slap yourself several times for this one and try again. Go up to CSU and find out if the frats up there caused the flood.

P.S.: You don't have the balls to print this letter.
Al Garcia
via the Internet

The first time I visited the States from France in 1989, I stayed with my girlfriend of the time at her college campus in Virginia. As a member of a sorority, she was invited to frat parties all the time, and she took me to one of them. When I got there, all I saw was a bunch of sweaty, red and glassy-eyed guys and girls drinking and smoking and yelling. The basement's floor in that frat house was under an inch of beer and vomit. This was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen, and I don't consider myself a prude. I couldn't believe it.

I don't think the "Greek" (what's Greek about this system, I still have to find out) system has changed all that much from what I see around Boulder and from reading your piece. What is particularly distressing about the situation in Boulder are these "riots." I used to think that people rioted when they were hungry, not thirsty. This much money spent on education seems to make great beer drinkers. What a bunch of over-protected w(h)iners these kids are. They need to understand that they don't have it that bad, but that might be too much to ask from hungover "students."

Franck Abate
Aurora

Last But Not Lis
Was it just me, or was I not the only one shaking my head while reading Eric Dexheimer's "Spaced Out," in the September 11 issue?

I'm probably as anti-growth as anybody. But I'm even more virulently anti-hypocrisy. Couldn't Dexheimer find anybody besides Craig Lis to represent the anti-development position? Talk about your "I got mine but you can't have yours" mentality. I mean, surely it must have occurred to Lis that the land on which his four-year-old house rests was at one time open space someone cherished every bit as much as his beloved Coyote Gulch. Sadly, people like Lis are too much the norm. Here in booming Broomfield, a recent transplant from Florida has been complaining about the traffic, all the while bragging about her brand-new $200,000 home.

Please, folks. It's fine to want to limit, if not stop, growth. But if you're going to talk the talk, you'd best walk the walk. So limit the size of your families (no rugrats for this kiddo). And always buy a pre-owned house.

Thomas J. Benson
Broomfield

Myopia is a wonderful thing. If a community wants to stop development, all it really needs to do is cut off the source of developers' financing. If, for example, a "lender" was faced with a fee to the community equal to the amount of the development investment, it might be discouraged. This would probably require some law changes, but that never stopped a determined electorate.

John Bright
Golden

Since I am originally from New Jersey, the hands-down winner of the Most Overdeveloped State Award, I am as opposed to rampant development as are the Colorado residents mentioned in your article. I have witnessed the untold damage it can do to ecosystems, infrastructure and, most direly, quality of life. The sole winner in the Battle to Build is the economy, and that is only for the short term.

I was, however, amazed at Craig Lis's outlook. Lis ought to realize some basic tenets of economics: Supply is increased only to meet demand. Since he has lived in Colorado for only four years, and since the state's population explosion erupted in the early 1990s, and since he lives in a brand-new housing subdivision, Lis is quite directly responsible for the problem to which he is so vehemently opposed. In short, Lis and others like him are feeding the voracious development machine by moving to Colorado in the first place.

While it was encouraging to read about a series of successful efforts to at least slow the "progress" that many call growth, we as a nation must prepare for a future filled with it unless we act now to address its underlying causes, such as overpopulation and increasing immigration, and not just the symptoms that manifest themselves in the form of more and more buildings for more and more humans. We must look at the larger picture in order to solve this very large problem.

But how? Is it proper to adopt a "last one in closes the door behind him" policy, as it would seem Lis has done? Do we try to make the places from which people are fleeing (the Northeast, California) somehow more pleasant places to live? Or do we try to stop growth one tiny project at a time and hope that will be the end of that?

The larger view seems to be the only feasible solution, but how on earth do we as Coloradans influence situations that are well out of our control? It is commendable that there are citizens in Colorado who are experiencing a modicum of success in staving off development for as long as possible. But as long as the economy is healthy, and as long as outsiders continue to view Colorado as a land of unlimited plenty, growth will continue. If not in Mead, in Johnstown. If not in Mount Carbon, in Jefferson Center.

My only solace is that no matter how "bad" Colorado might become, it can never be as intolerable as New Jersey.

Laura Schneider
via the Internet

I believe a quick refresher course in Constitution 101 is in order. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America protects the rights of property owners to make use of that property in a way that conforms to local law. I have read and re-read the Constitution since this article was published, and nowhere did I find any reference to the protection of view corridors for people like the Lises. I might add that those houses are probably being built there because of the magnificent view. Craig and Rhonda bought their home for the view, blocked the view of the people across the street, and are now getting the same thing done to them. Too bad.

Thad C. Dahl
Denver

Eric Dexheimer's story really shows how screwed up Colorado can be when money is doing the talking. Developers from all over the country (and the rest of the world) can come here to desecrate the land, destroy the ecology and beauty of our state, and turn it into a rubbish heap in the name of their own stinking personal profits and gain. It's preposterous that they can then threaten us with lawsuits if we try to curb their multi-million-dollar lusts. These bastards should have to pay for an environmental impact evaluation and be scrutinized, Inquisition-style, on every move they make. They are "investors." Tom Reilly is just another one of those people who gamble with large sums of money in the hopes that they will make more than they lose. Reilly should go back to California, where the smog is at a thickness that matches his brain's ability to absorb oxygen.

Voting doesn't seem to be the answer, either, as the investors can pretty much buy an election if they want to badly enough. Oh, well, in our democracy, majority rules. Majority in dollars, not living beings, that is. We used to hear the slogan "Always Buy Colorado." That's now giving way to "Always Sell Colorado (and make its residents pay the consequences, yuk yuk)." How long are we going to take this?

By the way, I am a Colorado native. I didn't just get here and now want to close the door. We have to start somewhere, though. We have to start somewhere if growth is ever going to be managed instead of running amok.

Cal Anton
Denver

The Lises moved to their current home (which was new) in 1993, which leads me to conclude if they aren't Colorado natives, they're clearly part of the growth problem and not part of the solution. But even if they were natives to this state, when did they become the chosen ones with the authority to decide who is and isn't allowed to move here?

These elitists should move to Boulder and live among the other social engineers who are so skilled at "controlling" growth with their shut-the-door tactics. Never mind that home prices in Boulder have escalated beyond the financial reach of most families and that traffic congestion and air quality have suffered now that many people who work in Boulder are having to commute from outlying communities where homes are much less expensive. But I suppose the Lises aren't concerned with these trivial matters, because they already have their slice of the home-ownership pie.

The Lises' plan is simple--they want everyone in Lakewood to take all the risk in passing this initiative (private-property-right infringements could be costly to the city in court) so they themselves can enjoy all the benefits. But have they been paying the taxes for all these years on the land that's been preserving their view? No, they haven't. In fact, they've paid nothing on that land but all this time have been reaping benefits from it. If anything, they should owe the property owner back pay for using his land for their own personal "view corridor."

At the very least, they should open up their home in five-minute intervals to all Lakewood residents they're asking to support this initiative, so everyone can enjoy their view.

Joy L. Burris
Arvada

If you want the real dirt on Mount Carbon, get in touch with any town council member from Morrison. I remember that the developer who installed the visible improvements seen there today wanted permission to build an IMAX-type theater, Monterey-type aquarium and other high-tech, high-dollar draws. The town council gave him the thumbs down.

Mike Dichter
via the Internet

As a resident of Lakewood, I read "Spaced Out" with great interest. While these residents may feel in their own hearts that they're doing the right thing, I see ways in which this no-growth plan would be much worse for the city. First and foremost, I think the passage of this initiative will send a clear message to people wishing to live in Lakewood: We don't want you here. I know that's not the image this city wants. I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase a home here for my family, and I feel it's wrong to deny other people the same opportunity.

While I certainly wouldn't blame the owner of the Mount Carbon land for suing the city if this initiative passes, I hate to think that I, along with the other residents of Lakewood, could be paying the price of this lawsuit for many years to come in the form of higher property taxes--all because a small number of people want to preserve their own private view of the mountains.

If these concerned citizens want an unobstructed view of the Rockies, I suggest that they either move to the eastern plains of Colorado, where they could live for years without fear of surrounding development taking place, or purchase the property in question themselves for their own private greenbelt.

Vic Moss
Lakewood

In reading "Spaced Out," it became quite clear what a difference a few years makes. As recently as the late 1980s, everyone in the Denver area was clamoring for economic development. Businesses were shutting down, people were moving out of state, and property values plummeted. But now that we've turned things around and are doing much better economically, it seems a few people want to shut things down again.

I hope when the November election rolls around that voters in Lakewood realize this no-growth won't be the panacea they're looking for.

Dennis Lubbers
Lakewood

Many unsupported assumptions about citizens' groups were made in last week's Letters, which may be attributed to the fact that not all details were relevant to the story line. While Eric Dexheimer's article raises some valid points, it mischaracterizes the intent of the Citizens Initiative for Open Space in Lakewood, the citizens' group that developed the petition to rezone and consider Springfield Green for open space.

The petition concept was presented at a meeting organized by a Lakewood resident who lives about a mile east of Springfield Green. He was concerned about development infringing on Green Mountain open space and asked the attendees to assist with the process.

Developing a petition requires much time and effort, and I am proud of the dedicated people involved. This is not an anti-development group. We are concerned citizens frustrated with four years of attempts to be heard and have the area seriously considered for open space by Lakewood. Reviewing the issues and options available, we concluded that a stronger approach was necessary.

Spotlighting the issues may help prompt our elected officials to develop better methods to replace the insufficient planning processes currently in place. I applaud involvement from all.

Craig M. Lis
Lakewood

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