That Was Zen, This Is Now
If I lived in Boulder, I wouldn't worry so much about what's being built on the land as what might be in the water. Judging from everything from the Ramsey case to Eric Dexheimer's "Karma Crash" (great article!), in the December 18 issue, something must be making these people nutso.

Joy Stein
via the Internet

In response to your article about Binx Selby's development plans in Fourmile Canyon, I expect better research from Westword. I am aware of four canyon residents who support Selby, and you found three of them to interview--yet you could not find any of the hundreds (based on letters to the county and attendance at hearings) who oppose it other than Naomi and Marcy, the founders of RAID. Yes, Naomi is an environmental activist, and we who live here are very grateful for her energy and dedication. But you did not print any of the reasons why we foothills residents are so opposed to Selby's plans.

As in all of the mountain areas of Colorado, Selby's land is limited to one house per 35 acres, or four building sites on his property. Sierra Village was to include between 100 and 175 homes, a store, a church, a wellness center, a school and other public buildings. This on land so steep that the Fourmile fire chief, in explaining her opposition to the church, stated that if a fire were to start there, the department would be unable to save anyone. Selby and his villagers started a bonfire up there in the summer of 1996 without adequate water, and it was pure luck that enabled the fire department to stop it before we had another Sugarloaf. At current levels of development, wells are already going dry up here, yet Selby wanted first a village, then a church with up to 100 people per day and overnights for 64. He has been trying to overdevelop this land for thirty years; the spiritual approach is only his most recent tactic. In 1972 he decided he wanted a road from his land to Sunshine Canyon, so he brought in bulldozers and built it--over public lands and other people's property, with no easement or permit. He has never reclaimed that road as the county required, yet within the last few years he built another drive without a proper permit. He publicly states that the building now under construction is a retreat center, then calls it his home at hearings so the commissioners feel obliged to allow this 27,000-square-foot monster to remain.

Most of us neighbors are sorry that the people you interviewed feel so badly. We feel that a strong sense of community has emerged as we have joined to fight to preserve the foothills, promote safety in our neighborhood and prevent disastrous development from occurring. We are grateful to the commissioners for their support in creating the moratorium on institutional uses in the forestry zone.

Joan C. Soper

Naomi Rachel has given up pets and children as her own personal contribution to the health of the planet, but she still assumes the right to live in the environment she professes to be protecting. A true believer would also surrender that right and relocate to a new, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly high-density domicile such as is found in most modern urban environments. Her failure to take this fundamental action reveals Ms. Rachel's ethical bankruptcy and reduces her and her organization to nothing more than spoiled enviro-nazis.

Totalitarianism wears many masks. I sincerely hope the courts have the wisdom to see through this one.

Robert Poulk
via the Internet

I'm the Stephanie referred to in "Karma Crash." I'd like to respond to some of those interviewed.

Betty Gibbs: Paranoia? It's obvious who's suffering from it. When we passed on the road, I was shuttling someone to/from her car, not spying, as you implied. Need I justify my reasons for using the road? No. It's the only access to my home. I don't think the Westword photographer who got stuck on Arroyo Chico found me scary.

Paul Matosky: Before looking outward to place blame for your pending divorce, look inward.

Karin Swett: You quit RAID? Were you ever a member?
Mr. Wokash: When construction began, I thought, "I hope that's their dream house, because it'll never sell." A house in a hole with little sun and bleak views of blasted rock, which is obstructing a natural drainage and causing rock slides and flooding for neighbors below, has little appeal. Can't sell? "Harassment" isn't the reason. Vandalism, trash-dumping and even burglary are inherent risks of living adjacent to a heavily traveled road. You're not the only resident to experience this. Who opposed your house? It wasn't RAID. However, there are many at the bottom of the canyon who find your project inappropriate. You're confusing the two.

County commissioners and Land Use staff: Confusion when the Land Use codes were changed? Okay, but what excuse will be used for future Land Use Department fiascos? "Mistakes were made" was said at the last hearing. Why not correct those mistakes rather than just letting them pass?

Binx Selby: If you put as much effort into addressing the issues as you have smearing RAID, perhaps there might have been a different outcome.

Living hell? Maybe for a few. It's still a great place to live. Ironically, opposition to the Selby projects has brought many of us closer together than we'd been in the past. This neighborhood isn't dysfunctional--just some people that live/lived in it are.

Stephanie Lynch

Meow Mix
I want to respond to Ellen McDowell's "catty" criticisms of both Westword and its editor in the December 18 issue. As far as I am concerned, Westword is the only real newspaper in town--and Patricia Calhoun is not only a "real" columnist, she is the best.

Dot White

At various times, it seems that the basic attributes of Xena the Warrior Princess parallel those of Patricia Calhoun.

One senses the inner forces that lead them to help the needy or overpowered folk and continue forthrightly with swashbuckling verve and matter-of-fact style.

It brings to mind former Westword sports columnist Teri Thompson struggling to be herself in the macho writers' world of athletics, or Calhoun's articles about the young family's entanglements with the Denver Department of Social Services, or Alan Prendergast's understanding and appreciation of symphonic Antonia Brico. And there was Westword's early attendance at the heavy labor of the Rocky Flats grand jury's work in sorting out and ridding us of a "few pounds" of radioactive danger.

Rolf O. Norstog

Hot and Bothered
I just wanted to write another letter in regard to the responses to Stuart Steers's December 11 article, "Socket to Me." Those who responded with hate for their fellow Americans (even if they are Californians) obviously didn't read all Stuart had to say. The headlines may have seemed anti-Californian, but Stuart's article went much deeper than that.

One of the things I love about Westword writers is that they deliver information that any thinking, conscious mind can speculate on. And in this case, the deregulation of energy is a matter that purely big business and political promoters are going to be in control of. It's not like the citizens of a certain part of the U.S. are actually conspiring against Coloradans. Many of them envy us and wish they were here for many reasons. If you read Westword thoroughly, like I do, you'll find that many of the problems we have in Colorado are a result of our own Barney Fife government and its inability to deal reasonably with issues such as inevitable growth and what big business wants. In many cases, our government officials are funded well to do exactly what big business wants, not what you or I believe is common sense.

All across this great land, we are just peons to the providers. We have little influence. As long as the giants can keep us (the common person, no matter where he or she may hale from), they will be able to keep the heat off of themselves--and charge us for it at the same time.

Cal Anton

All Wet
After reading Bill Gallo's review of Titanic ("That Sinking Feeling," December 18), I can only surmise that he has a lump of ice in his chest where his heart should be. His statement that "the real drama of the Titanic has far more to do with the collapse of an entire social order and an entrenched system of beliefs than the mere spectacle of disaster" is so far off the mark that it is almost disturbing. No, Bill, the real drama of the Titanic was the loss of 1,500 men, women and children in the icy sea on April 15, 1912. That is what James Cameron is showing in the film, and that is what makes this movie one of the finest films of all time.

Cameron gets to the true heart of the disaster in a way I have never seen before: He puts the viewer on board the ship and makes you care about the people on board. Rose and Jack may be constructs of his imagination, but they serve to bring us on board the Titanic and see the story unfold as it pretty much happened. Sure, the romance is pure fiction, but so what? What could have been nothing more than a plot device to show the disaster becomes the focus of the film. It unfolds in such a way that it makes sense, and you believe the characters really have fallen in love in only two short days. By the end, I wanted the damn ship to stay afloat simply because I cared about Rose and Jack. Titanic is a beautiful, haunting story about survival, love, courage and cowardice. It will stand as one of the greatest films of the decade and one of the great human dramas of all time.

By the way, Bill, if you feel the need to trash a film, at least be accurate. Jack says the "I'm just a tumbleweed" line to Rose on the promenade, not at dinner.

Michael Underwood

Last Tuesday I saw Titanic. I sat on the edge of my seat for the whole three hours plus and loved every minute of it. I think it is the best movie I have seen in years!

I couldn't believe Bill Gallo's review. I suspect he is young and a fan of wild action films and movies like Boogie Nights that have a lot of sex. He doesn't recognize a good film because he wasn't alive in the days when movies were made with stories and acting that didn't rely on someone being shot or having sex every five minutes.

I watched Larry King's TV show on the Titanic with James Cameron (the writer and director), a Titanic historian and the man who discovered the sunken Titanic. They put an incredible amount of time and effort into the movie, making sure everything was authentic, from the angle of the deck after the ship broke in two to the reproduction of the entire dining room and other details. I think it was worth the $200 million.

As for the love story between Rose and Jack, it was a refreshing story between two likable young people. Would Gallo have enjoyed it more if he had been able to watch Rose and Jack make love in the car in the ship's hold instead of the discreet hint of what was going on--like they did it in the old days, when you were allowed to use your imagination and films did not concentrate on violence and sex but on plot and characters?

I think I'll go see it again.
Mary Rice

Bill Gallo, I can't believe we saw the same movie! I was shocked to hear even one person say he wasn't absolutely in love with this picture. My boyfriend (a police officer and Marine) and I saw Titanic on its opening Saturday and were amazed at the storytelling and flow. Everyone in the theater cried at one point or another, which told me everyone loved both the characters and the storyline. I feel sorry for people like you, who can only criticize a beautiful love story and incredible direction and design. If we were to bet that more people than not will love this movie, you'd be on the losing end of that bet. I loved Titanic, and I have told many people to go see it; those who have had the opportunity have called back and thanked me for the suggestion.

You must be a sad person with a very little heart not to have been captivated by the splendor of this film. I was transformed to another time watching the movie and will pay again to be taken back to such a place. I have to give this movie a milllion kudos. I loved it from start to finish.

via the Internet

India Ink
Kyle Wagner needs a tastebud transplant. I cannot believe that she actually ate at the Maharaja restaurant, or at least the one I have eaten at over a dozen times since it opened ("A Tale of Two Eateries," December 11). Having eaten Indian food at every Indian restaurant in Denver and having consumed Indian food in San Francisco, New York, Paris, London and many other places, I rate the food at Maharaja among the best. Every dish that I have tried has been extremely well-prepared, properly spiced and of substantial portion.

People should ignore Kyle's review and try Maharaja.
James J. Kissell

Editor's note: Kissell's not the only Cafe reader to chew Kyle out. For more, see Mouthing Off, page 53.

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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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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