All Fired Up
The last issue was a real keeper! Marty Jones's story on the Denver Turnverein ("Harmony, German Style") was an important counterpoint to the hate crimes in our city, and Eric Dexheimer's story on Dottie Grisby, "Dry Society," was the sort of story about the forgotten "little people" that I expect from Westword. And that cover photograph! But the story that I enjoyed the most was T.R. Witcher's "The Burning Boy." I can't stop wondering what would make a bunch of teenagers light a boy on fire.
This issue seems to me the perfect thing to use in a high-school English class--to encourage both reading and thinking about the world around us.
I would like to compliment T.R. Witcher on "The Burning Boy." With sixteen-plus years of experience in the fire service and five-plus in investigations, I can honestly say that incidents described in the article are an anomaly. What is not so uncommon is the rampant ignorance and apathy that covers this country in respect to kids and fire.
More than half of all arson arrests are juveniles. Eighty-five percent of all children who die in fire die as a result of a fire they started. It is estimated that 25 percent of every insurance-premium dollar goes to pay for arson and fraud fires. The United States leads the industrialized world in annual fire deaths, two to one. And, finally, 40 to 60 percent of all fires that require a response by firefighters are the result of juveniles playing with fire.
I believe the fire service needs to share some of the burden, also. It is well-documented that average fire-department budgets allocate less than 2 percent of their funds for prevention efforts. Efforts, I must say, that are funded more out of tradition than effectiveness. Some studies show that 85 percent of all fires started by juveniles are never reported. I am including a link to a program, the only one of its kind, that addresses this juvenile fascination with fire in a proactive manner. The program is called FLARE (Fire Loss Arson Reduction Education) and can be found at www.fire-investigators.org/Flare.
It is articles like these that start to bring the epidemic of juvenile fire-setting to the forefront. Thank you again, T.R. Witcher.
Lieutenant Robert K. Toth
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The Bug Stops Here
After reading Alan Prendergast's "Bugging Out," in the November 20 issue, I felt ashamed that I patronized Mr. Dadiotis's restaurants. A "slumlord" would best describe him and his unethical behavior. He used the amount he charges for rent as an excuse for the living conditions, then turned around and blamed the tenants for his lack of scruples to clean up the apartments. Just because it's not "the Riviera," as he puts it, is no excuse for not hiring someone to exterminate the roaches.
Shame on you, Mr. Dadiotis! As many tenants as you have, along with the restaurants that I won't frequent anymore, you are more than capable of making your rent-paying tenants' lives a little more comfortable!
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Steve Jackson's "The Talks Heat Up," in the November 20 issue, was a very good article, balanced and well-written. The big-time media could learn a lot from Jackson. It is nice to get the facts and not a sermon. Keep up the good work.
Todd L. Schuman
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One the Ropes
Tony Perez-Giese could have had an accurate story about the lack of a boxing commission in Colorado with a little more research ("The Money Punch," November 13). The Colorado Boxing Alliance bill, HB 1121, carried by Representative Mike Salaz, R-Trinidad, in the 1997 legislature, violated Colorado law.
Under Colorado Revised Statute 24/34/104.1, any attempt to set up a regulatory licensing law--whether it is boxing, industrial hygienists, occupational therapists or whatever--goes through a process that begins with filing an application before July 1 of a particular year with the Department of Regulatory Agencies. The department reviews the proposal and provides a written report to the applicant and the legislature, explaining why the request should or should not be adopted by the legislature. That report is provided either that same year by October or by October of the following year.
This is the "Sunrise" law, designed to put some discipline on additional regulation by the state. The legislature allows itself to consider no more than five new licensing bills each year. The Colorado Boxing Alliance and Woody Kislowski (quoted profusely in the article) know about this application requirement. So does every lobbyist and every legislator.
Perhaps the reason the applicants didn't use the approach set out in law was because they were turned down the last time they tried, in 1991.
I don't claim any expertise as to whether commissioners from other states have knowledge about fighters in Colorado, but Colorado is not an "outlaw" state "open to such abuses as permitting unqualified pugs or overmatched youngsters to fight for unscrupulous promoters." That's because Colorado, as one of five states without its own boxing commission, is not only subject to regulation by whatever out-of-state boxing commission is used by a promoter, but is also subject to regulation by the national Association of Boxing Commissioners. That makes Colorado and the four other states without their own boxing commissions the most regulated of all the states.
Kislowski is way off base to criticize Rene Ramirez, who is responsible for regulatory-agency research, on costs involved in new regulation. The minute some boxer is injured because of failure to have proper qualified oversight under a state authority set up by the legislature, guess who will get the blame.
Surf and Turf Wars
I was recently given a copy of Tony Perez-Giese's "The Missing Lynx," which appeared in your November 6 paper. When I read the article, I was somewhat surprised by the quotes you attributed to John Toolen and Bill Andree. As written, they do not tell the entire story. Bill Andree and John Toolen have been an integral part of developing the Colorado Division of Wildlife's position on the Category III Expansion of the Vail Ski Area. By policy, official comments from the Colorado Division of Wildlife that relate to the Vail Ski Area go out under my signature. I did not draft or overly influence those comments.
I can assure you that everyone who had any interest in this issue in the Division of Wildlife reviewed that letter and approved it before I signed it and sent it to the U.S. Forest Service--including John Toolen and Bill Andree. John Toolen and Bill Andree both agreed that the mitigation efforts that Vail Ski Area is going to do on the expansion area would mitigate the loss of habitat resulting from Category III Expansion.
You also stated that I was unavailable for comment. Not true. All of my staff had a phone number that they could contact me at in case of an emergency, and if you had been persistent, I would have been contacted and returned a call.
Thanks for the nickname of "Big Kahuna." As a matter of fact, I am a surfer, and I surfed the northwest coast of Costa Rica last winter. I plan to put that title above my door in our Regional West Office.
Robert H. Caskey, West Regional Manager
Colorado Division of Wildlife
Editor's note: Perez-Giese tried to contact you, but he was told by your secretary that you were unavailable because of a death in the family. Regarding the quotes from Toolen and Andree: We stand behind them; they are from interviews and written correspondence. (See for yourself at www.westword.com/1997/110697/news1.html.)
Regarding your lynx story: Kind and benevolent people of Colorado, quit your pissing and moaning.
Uh, oh, here it comes, another black helicopter story...gotta go.
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Look Before You Bleep
Regarding Tony Perez-Giese's "Leave a Message at the Bleep," in the October 30 issue.
Rick Moore needs to get a life. If I were DURA, I would revoke his low-interest loan. His story exemplifies one of society's greatest ills: looking anywhere but in the mirror for resolution of one's problems.
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Kyle Wagner's litmus test for American-Italian restaurants ("There Goes the Neighborhood Joint," November 13) based on their Caesar salad is only meaningful if she describes her version of a benchmark Caesar salad. Tell me that the Caesar has not a "fair amount of garlic," but lots of garlic, anchovies imported from Italy, a raw or coddled egg and croutons not from a box. Thanks.
Cut Him Some Slacker
The only thing more hilarious than Michael Roberts's prosaic and superficial review of the Doors boxed set ("Behind the Doors," November 13) is the whole charade that this guy has anything of any consequence (let alone originality) to say--not to mention his entire pretense to legitimacy as a "music critic." In fact, this piece offers no intelligent discussion of the music itself, opting instead for the usual focus-on-the-peripheral tabloid treatment--i.e., if we can't analyze a chord progression or talk about recording techniques, production values, etc., why not just hop on the bandwagon and rehash the Miami incident?
Roberts's mentality so tediously typifies the whole deconstructionist antihero pose of the slacker generation of which he's obviously a member. This is the same generation that has engendered nothing musical but a huge pile of utterly disposable, totally forgettable, Emperor's New Clothes-type shit for the better part of a decade.
Hey, Michael: Until you can come up with something even remotely as great or lasting as Morrison (or John Denver or Fleetwood Mac, for that matter), do us all a favor and just accept yourself for what you are--an insignificant, mediocre, farm-league journalist in a hick town. The real artists are getting tired of warming your seat at the back of the bus!
P.S. Don't quit your day gig!
I would like to help set the record straight on this alleged incident in which Jim Morrison supposedly exposed himself. It must be apparent that all who attended the concert are either dead, too burned out from too many years of drug abuse, or weren't even looking at the time this alleged incident took place.
I have a good friend that I have known for many years that attended this concert and sat in the tenth row with a clear and unobstructed view of the stage. Having known this person as long as I have, I can honestly state, based on his observation, that Jim did not expose himself at any time. He did try to make it look as though he would, but then clearly stopped short of doing so.
My friend believes that due to the laws in Florida regarding obscenity, Jim wanted to taunt the establishment; as you know, a wall of police always surrounded the stage at a Doors concert. But with the law always wanting to take down a counterculture icon, they simply invented the incident--and were largely successful due to the inattentiveness of the majority of witnesses.
My friend, on the other hand, came to Jim's aid at the hearing to testify on his behalf, but with the general public's unquenchable thirst for controversy and an unfair legal system that is slanted against celebrities, no one would like to believe it didn't happen.
It is unfortunate that all Jim contributed to the evolution of modern rock music continues to be plagued by this continuing piece of tabloid trash.
Name withheld on request
I wish you guys, specifically Michael Roberts, would just stop doing hip-hop reviews, interviews and anything else having to do with hip-hop in your paper unless you get someone who actually knows about it.
Everything that you do makes hip-hop look ignorant, mainstream and not good enough to be in the ranks with rock. You report on terrible artists (Puff Daddy), write about horrible local representation (Fuck Yo Punk Ass and their label) and give negative reviews to hip-hop's most prominent artists (anyone from the Wu-Tang Clan).
Which leads me to Roberts's November 13 review of Common's new album. One Day It Will All Make Sense is a superb album, showing Common's maturity that he has gained in this crooked music industry, expanding on topics from abortion to religion to just simply rockin' a mic. Lyrically, he comes with intelligence, knowledge, wisdom and understanding. To get this from a rapper in the Nineties is a tough task, and Roberts is disappointed because you can't dance to it? He says, "There aren't a lot of cuts here that will get you moving, and several are stone drags."
If that's what you want, you'd better go pick up Puff Daddy and Foxy Brown's CD, because they are the ones that want to make you dance. Common writes rhymes for the mind, with wit and intellect. Peace.
Michael Roberts's "United They Stand," in the November 6 issue, was a great story. We need more young people like these trying to make a positive impact on the community through hip-hop.
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