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Letters

Coming Into the Country
While reading Harrison Fletcher's wonderful account of Morey Davolt's life ("Country Cooking," May 14), I found myself so nostalgic over his memories, I almost felt like I'd lived in his era along with him. Or maybe just wish I had? Great writing! Thanks.

Bill Rupy
Loveland

Where There's Smoke, There's Ire
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "The Bong Goodbye," in the May 14 issue:
At what point does the war on drugs stop being a self-parody? If I lived in Alamosa, I would be pissed off at the criminal waste of public resources used to process this petty offense.

James Frazier
via the Internet

Judge Not, Lest ...
I have read nothing but sarcasm and backbiting about Judge David Ramirez (Off Limits, May 7). If he has a disability, he's eligible for a disability--why is this a problem? The Denver police do it all the time. Granted, some mistakes are made dealing with this many people on a daily basis, but who doesn't make a mistake once or twice? Judge Ramirez's ability to understand kids is a gift not all people have. He has the respect of me and my family for giving my son a chance. I've also seen Judge Ramirez at Little League games checking on some of those he has helped. This is a caring individual, and I say God bless and good luck.

Daniel Martinez Sr.
Denver

Anne Furthermore
Thanks to T.R. Witcher for his profile of Anne Sulton, "Say It Loud," in the May 7 issue. I find it interesting that the local media vilified this woman without apparently learning anything about her. Witcher more than made up for that lapse. Thanks again for an interesting article.

Hannah Walters
Denver

I never said Gil Webb's mistreatment by Denver police officers following his arrest was based on Gil's race. I will give Dennis Cribari and Patty Steffes-DeHerrera each $500 if they can show where I so said. Furthermore, I have no recollection of ever having any contact, verbal or otherwise, with Patty Steffes-DeHerrera. I do recall seeing her walk over to and hug Gil's parents while they were sitting in the courtroom during his trial.

Anne T. Sulton
Englewood

Not Up His Alley
Tony Perez-Giese put such an interesting slant on his story about the homeless gentlemen ("The Bum's Rush," May 7) that I felt compelled to respond. I didn't understand the origins of Perez-Giese's oozing sympathy for two homeless men who clearly committed several crimes. These men were drinking in public, threw a beer bottle at a person in a truck and then kicked that same truck as it sped away. In addition, the fact that one of the defendants was in this country illegally and committing crimes did not seem to bother the author in the least. Neither defendant accepted the generous plea bargain offered by the Denver DA's office.

As was pointed out in the article, successful completion of that plea bargain would have required commitment to finding and holding jobs and accepting responsibility for their actions. It also would have seriously hampered an individual's ability to sit in an alley all day long and drink. I find it hard to believe that either defendant truly believed that his actions did not constitute a crime. Even so, ignorance of the law is no excuse: Just ask Michael Fay.

Brian Brainerd was portrayed in the article as an out-of-control vigilante. However, as far as I know, there is no crime in driving through an alley, taking a picture or bringing that picture to the attention of the police to apprehend the suspects. It sounds as though Brainerd is just trying to enjoy living in a pleasant neighborhood. He probably has worked hard to afford to live there. I wonder how the author would react if homeless people spent their day lounging on his front lawn, drinking.

Understanding and helping the homeless is a very legitimate concern that needs more attention and more action by the government. In addition, there are many compelling stories of blatant discrimination against the homeless, illegal aliens and members of the Hispanic community. This was not one of them! The true victim in this case is Brainerd, the person whose truck is seriously damaged and whose insurance premiums will rise if he claims damages. Perhaps Hard Copy or the National Enquirer could use a journalist with Perez-Giese's flair for the dramatic.

Marc D. Freiberger
Denver

Where does Brainerd get the idea that the alley is his? He actually says "my alley." I hate to break it to him, but it is not his alley, and these men were doing nothing wrong. They were not endangering him in any way. Brainerd appears to be more paparazzi than photojournalist; he was the one harassing innocent people.

Narda Byczek
via the Internet

Securities Blanket
As a former president, chief operating officer and boardmember of Hanifen Imhoff, I feel compelled to respond to Stuart Steers's April 30 article, "Incident on 17th Street," regarding recent lawsuits against Hanifen Imhoff and its senior managers.

For six of my 23 years in the securities business (1985-1991) I worked for Hanifen Imhoff, most of that time reporting directly to Walt Imhoff. I can assure you he is a man of integrity, honesty and compassion who was more concerned about the firm's employees than any other senior manager I've worked for in or out of the industry.

I can recall when the firm, forced by the market events of 1987, had the first layoffs in its history. I worked with Walt and other senior members of Hanifen to assure fairness to the employees to the extent possible under such difficult conditions. Walt, more than anyone, agonized over the impact these layoffs would have on employees and their families. In an industry as Darwinian as the securities business, these are not typical concerns for senior management.

As for the issue of separated or retiring employees being required to sell their stock back at book value, this has been the case at Hanifen for many years, and it is not at all unusual for privately held companies. It allows the company to maintain its ownership by current employees and not be subject to influences by outside shareholders or disgruntled former employees. What the article did not address is that these and other employees also were able to purchase their shares at book value, making the buy-and-sell process a level playing field.

It's understandable but unfortunate that Walt's attorneys won't let him respond to these allegations in as public a forum as his accusers have chosen. This is a proud man with a well-deserved and hard-earned reputation for being generous and compassionate. I don't know who the anonymous former employee is who was quoted as saying, "Everyone who is a former [upper-management] employee of the firm feels the way I do." But I certainly resent him speaking for me this way. I, for one, feel very differently.

And Walt, if you read this and do have a party, count me among the three.
George Donnelly
Boulder

Chemical Spill
I am the state employee mentioned in Tony Perez-Giese's April 30 article "Bad Chemistry." The primary reason I spoke with your reporter was to inform the public that labs operated by the State of Colorado are not subject to mandatory compliance with OSHA regulations, fire-department codes or health-department requirements that apply to the private sector. Since the labs are not required to comply, there is no enforcement mechanism that can be used to require the labs to provide a workplace that is safe for employees and those in the surrounding community. I have been told that my return to the lab is mandatory; Ron Turner, the lab director, has told me that I must either quit or return.

A quote at the end of the article was incorrect. I was quoted as saying that "nothing short of a court order will get me back into that lab." I never said that. Instead, in a phone conversation on March 30, 1998, Ron Turner told me that "nothing short of a court order will keep me from returning you to the lab."

Kelly Zielbauer
via the Internet

Westword regrets the error.

And the Beating Goes On
It troubles me when I observe the trite and predictable personality of folk in these times. It is always easy to recognize when one is crawling up the backside of an abject, vacuous musician and/or rock-and-roll burnout. The responses in Westword to both Michael Roberts's articles on Denver bands and their inability at success ("Breaking Up Is Easy to Do," April 30) and the Aerosmith concert ("Rock of Ages," April 23) exposed this exact mentality.

Let's get some issues straight. One, I don't know or concern myself with either Michael Roberts or Barry Fey. Two, I appreciate Jay Marvin for what he is and cannot understand why others do not also realize and not take the guy so seriously. Three, I too am a musician whose perspective and/or use of the word "success" is probably different than that of the masses. Four, I do not profess to have the entire world all figured out, so that should eliminate the absolutists.

I have had a fair amount of exposure in the Denver music scene through either playing or knowing a considerable quantity of musicians. I have observed that the number-one reason that most of these bands inevitably disband is ego. From the days of the Kamikaze Klones and the Offenders to the current roster of locals, ego was and is the element that proves deleterious to all the bands' existence. The majority of the musicians I know have egos the size of the world, and when things don't go their way, all hell breaks loose.

Michael Roberts's articles always have a ring of truth to them. Ninety percent of Americans never have taken or ever will take an honest look at themselves or deal with truth. Honesty and truth have never been paramount in America's philosophy. We Americans continue to perpetuate this with emotional retorts when someone else's opinion differs from our own.

Robert S. Guzman
Denver

Thank Michael Roberts for his article "Breaking Up Is Easy to Do." Some saw it as negative--it wasn't. The Denver scene isn't dead, it's getting organized. There's Alan Roth's New Talent Showcase on Wednesdays at Herman's (don't miss it) or Cricket on the Hill's Battle of the Bands on Tuesday nights, when there's a list of bands on the wall I've never even heard of.

The bands Roberts spoke of all had individual circumstances. Only the bandmembers themselves know why it didn't work. Nobody's crying, and new music is being born. Let's see a follow-up article titled "Proposed Solutions." Producers, where are you? Bands need your help getting punchy recordings. Most don't know how, and the radio-program directors can't play poor production. Studios, give away your downtime for producers; I know most of you have many unused hours per week. Work out percentages, everybody wins, use the overnights. Bar owners, start rockin' the house; push local music but raise the standard, guarantee your public, be patient. Bands, demand more money by kickin' it harder, in business and on stage. Let's get this thing rolling.

And stop snivelin'--this isn't just the Super Bowl town.
David Fox
Denver

I enjoyed Michael Roberts's article on the demise of bands in Denver but am troubled by the attitude that the music scene in Denver sucks. I've been an observer of the local live, original music scene since the mid-1980s, and I've seen plenty of bands come and go. Right now, though, we have the strongest, most talented scene ever. Sure, we're not L.A., New York, Chicago, Seattle or Atlanta--we're a smaller city, so we have a smaller music scene. You want more? Move!

For perspective, let me remind everyone of what this town was like during the late Eighties: Most bands or musicians who thought they were talented or could draw 300 people to a gig moved away. Making a living is tough in this region, so they went to L.A., New York and Chicago. Most were never heard from again, broke up, and/or came back with their tails between their legs, more appreciative of what Denver has to offer. Drastically fewer clubs were willing to book live music. If you wanted live music, you had to hunt for it.

Today we have tons of bars and clubs all booking live music and ample talented musicians to draw the music-appreciative crowds. So what if a few bands broke up? Look at those that haven't (yet), are not moving away, and still have a reasonable shot at those elusive recording contracts. Stop all the whining about how the local scene sucks and do something about it. Turn off that crap on the radio, stop wasting your money in the dance clubs, and listen to some live music. If bands can make a living off the likes of Westword readers, it will only serve to attract more talent and maybe even get those lazy record-company execs off their fat asses to sign some more Denver acts.

David Barber
via the Internet

I am in my fifth year of publishing a local music magazine called Euphony. I agree that Denver and its environs are basically very non-supportive of local music. Westword is more guilty than most. Michael Roberts totally ignores the existence of dozens of good bands because they aren't his style. When he writes, it is mostly to criticize. I find it interesting that you published such a story when you are part of the problem, with your narrow outlook on local music and Roberts's totally mistaken ideas of what bands are worthy in this town!

Bonita Berger
Denver

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