Field of Schemes
Kudos to Stuart Steers for his July 16 "Cash and Carry," on how the Colorado Rockies took taxpayers to the cleaners on the Coors Field lease. I guarantee you the Broncos are hoping for the same sweetheart deal for Pat (Bowlen)'s Profit Palace. I'll also wager the Broncos hope that voters have forgotten that the supporters of Coors Field were promised a 60/40 public/private payment plan, and naming-rights monies were to go to the public: Both promises were shredded in the final lease.
All readers who believe that the written-in-stone, signed-on-Mount Sinai final version of the lease for the proposed new taxpayer-funded football stadium will really be delivered to the public before the November election should stand up. Have I got news for you! You are all proud owners of the Golden Gate Bridge. Ask the Denver Broncos for details.
I hope Stuart Steers keeps Westword readers informed of the ongoing lease talks and fully informs readers of what the details are when the alleged "final lease" comes out. I wouldn't be surprised if there is an open-ended provision for renegotiation if the voters approve the stadium.
Though I've wavered from time to time on the subject, I'm inclined to vote against a new pro football stadium for this simple reason: A single-purpose athletic facility, with fewer seats than Mile High and a high percentage of suites for the rich and famous, hosting perhaps a dozen events per year, would not have nearly the same kind of positive democratic economic effects as Coors Field, or even as much as the Pepsi Center. Who goes to Broncos games? Essentially the same 70,000 or so fans, even though millions of their neighbors and tourists will be asked to pay for their semi-private gridiron resorts. What kinds of careers does a football stadium stimulate? Peanut vending and beer hawking.
How many schools, medical facilities, daycare centers and public transportation amenities could be built with $300 million?
Losing a professional football team is not the end of the world. We'll be able to carry on with our lives, and we'll still have the Avalanche and the Rockies to satisfy our pro-sports fix. There may even be a businessman who will build a football stadium here someday without tax subsidies. If Bowlen and/or the Broncos leave because we don't build them a stadium, I say: Good luck, gentlemen. Don't let the door hit you on your butts on the way out.
Offer to Mr. Bowlen: Give us a certain percentage of equity in the team, then we'll talk.
Three cheers for Westword and Stuart Steers for the great job on the sweetheart stadium lease the Broncos are no doubt negotiating at this very moment behind closed doors with the stadium board--the same stadium board that ostensibly represents our interests.
The publicly acclaimed position of the majority of the stadium board, as expressed by Ray Baker, its chair, is that "Bowlen has us over a barrel, therefore we can get only what we can get in this deal." Yes, that is coming from the man leading the group that is representing our interests in a business negotiation for half a billion dollars!
Our stadium board has determined over numerous lunches, dinners and drinks with the Bronco lobbyists that Pat Bowlen's threats to sell the team if he loses in November are real. This in spite of earlier public proclamations by the mayor and the city attorney that the Broncos have an iron-clad lease that is valid until 2018.
Additionally, attorneys for the group I belong to, Citizens Opposed to the Stadium Tax, Inc., have come to the same conclusion. Bowlen can go nowhere without serious financial and legal consequences. And think about it: If he did manage somehow to break his written commitment to us and break his lease, where would he go? It has taken him three years to get to this point in his attempt to extort money from us. How long would it take him to do the same in another community that doesn't care one way or another about the Broncos?
COST believes that this is an unfair deal for the taxpayers for many reasons, and when we defeat Bowlen in November, he will come right back to the bargaining table with a better deal...because he has no other choice. It's not his way or the highway. It's time for the stadium boardmembers to get out of bed with Bowlen and start doing the job they were appointed to do.
Hook, Line and Stinker
I want to thank you for Tony Perez-Giese's great article "Shadow of a Trout," in the July 16 issue. Until tonight I have been a customer of Bass Pro Shops for about fifteen years. I called them and asked to be removed from the mailing list and did away with the current catalogues. I hope that this will be a method that might let them know that we don't need any more playgrounds for the very rich. They are taking over almost all of the desirable recreation land in the western U.S., and it has got to stop. The little guy still pays taxes, and the national forests are public land, not the domain of some bureaucrats who are looking for other things in the future.
via the Internet
What with all the stories about the greedheads in Aspen, you forget that real people live in Pitkin County. I'm glad I got to meet a few in "Shadow of a Trout."
I also hope that the U.S. Forest Service doesn't bite at Bass Pro's offer of a land swap. To replace wilderness with a rich man's trophy fishing hole doesn't sound like much of a catch to me.
Thanks for Tony Perez-Giese's story on the proposed development by Bass Pro millionaire John L. Morris of the Fryingpan River Ranch in Pitkin County. It really irritates me to hear about the possibility of private acquisition of what should clearly remain public land.
While in some cases land swaps may actually be beneficial to the public interest, they are often used by greedy developers to acquire prime land in trade for less valuable tracts. In this case, it is unconscionable that the U.S. Forest Service would consider trading away a couple hundred acres of riverfront or near-riverfront land on one of the finest trout streams and riparian ecosystems in the state.
I can visualize the "No Trespassing" signs that could appear if the deal goes through. I have enjoyed walking stretches of the Fryingpan and will not be pleased if the Forest Service trades the Fryingpan River Ranch away into private hands.
For other citizens upset by this issue, I suggest dropping a line to Martha Ketelle, Forest Supervisor, White River NF, PO Box 948, Glenwood Springs, CO 81602. Then contact Senator Campbell, Senator Allard and your representative.
Eric S. Johnson
via the Internet
I enjoyed Alan Prendergast's well-researched article on the antics, robberies and, finally, the trial resulting from the outrageous actions of the defendants here in Denver back in 1992 ("Bad Company," July 9). However, at risk of being accused of being too sensitive, allow me to rebut a statement included in the article. As a trial lawyer, I put great stock in my professional integrity. Mike Morrissey, the defense lawyer in the case, is quoted as saying that I was "caught borrowing the wheelchair" from which one of the victims of the robbery, a grandmother, testified. I believe that Mr. Morrissey had adequate opportunity to cross-examine on the point, and the transcript shows he did and that the wheelchair was on loan from the Denver Sheriff's Department. But I take my witnesses like I find them and certainly had no part in assisting the woman in getting the wheelchair or advising her to use one in the first place. Her testimony was critical, in my view, and any prosecutor who would have failed to put her on would have been misdirected at best or negligent at worst. If the elderly woman would have showed up on the day of the trial on a gurney, I can guarantee you that I would have had her present her testimony lying on her back.
Ronald A. Podboy
Due to serious lamentations from Mr. Ron Podboy, former deputy district attorney, inferring that my phrase "was caught borrowing the wheelchair" impugned his professional reputation, I wish to retract everything I said concerning Mr. Podboy's participation in the trial.
Michael F. Morrissey
Stall in the Family
I'm prompted to write because of Patricia Calhoun's "You Can't Get There From Here," in the July 2 issue. I am the first person to criticize the Denver Department of Social Services. They are totally unorganized and wouldn't bother to go out of their way to help anyone. I feel so sorry for the people who need to rely on their services. I deal with them for child support. What a joke!
I'd like to help PUFF. I was a single mother working downtown, riding the bus to and from work. It was hard. I took the express, and it only ran during peak hours. My son got ill at school, and I couldn't get to his school and pick him up. I had no money to pay for a taxi; my boss lent me $20. When I got home, there was a child-support check for $25 (for the month!). I paid my boss back and took my son to McDonald's.
For Christ's Sake
I'm writing to protest the protests made against Peter Gilstrap's "Jesus of the Week" in last week's letters. I don't find the feature to be particularly offensive or anti-Christian at all. If the most sacrilegious thing Gilstrap has done is "put swear words in [H]is mouth" and nickname our Lord and Savior, etc., "J.C.," I think we can call off the lynching. I don't doubt that viewing religion in a slightly humorous light is the greatest blasphemy of all to many "Christian" folks out there, but we should all remember that, in his town and day, Jesus was the biggest rebel of all--talking to prostitutes, handling the dead and whatnot. I hardly think Gilstrap is doing God's Only Begotten Son a disservice by presenting him in a relatable light.
My biggest complaint with his comic, and with Jean Tuthill's letter, is that the use of Jesus Christ and J.C. implies that Christ was Jesus's last name. In fact, the word "Christ" comes from a similar-sounding Greek word meaning "messiah." But, after all, it does give us a very handy and satisfying curse: Jesus Christ! or Jesus H. Christ!
via the Internet
The Hubris of Denver
As a fan of your journalism, I am able to blow off the tree-killer of an issue that is the Best of Denver. But do you ever soul-search over whether the boosterism tinges the journalism? You'd know better than I how much your ad lineage impacts your editorial mission. Still, with the CNN-Time gas story grabbing our attention and with other media scandals on fudging stories and sexing for market share, I'd imagine it occurs to more than just me that such a hubris-inspiring money-winner as Best of Denver might institutionally inspire those at Westword to squander their objectivity.
Alfredo de la Rosa
via the Internet
An Oldie but a Goodie
I'm not at all surprised by RTD director Robert Ore's quote about me in the July 9 Off Limits: "The guy's seventy years old. There's not much you can do other than ignore him." (Actually, I'm 73.)
A bigoted statement through and through, and one that consorts well with official RTD thinking. Similar sentiments abound among general manager Cal Marsella's managerial elite.
Frankly, and from my viewpoint, director Ore and his confreres in the front office are as free as they like to think as badly as they want about old people. It's when they turn their contempt into action--that's when my breathing begins to labor and my nerves begin to jangle.
For example, when Ore starts using my age as an opportunity to hurl physical threats in my face, I start thinking about...well, about defenestration. It's just my nature.
(P.S.: Restructuring RTD management is an idea I chew over as I watch Marsella and his multitudes step up their campaign to deny all prior accomplishments--and to aggrandize their own expensive but largely hapless initiatives. Why do they do it? Greed, primarily. For them, this is just another way of wringing more dollars from RTD users and taxpayers--and channeling them into the profits of RTD's top bureaucracy. RTD's scandalously overpaid and woefully underproductive top bureaucracy.)
Director, District A
Where did you find Jim Lillie as a music critic? In his "Unchained Melodrama," in the July 9 issue, how could he say the aria "Recondita Armonia," from Tosca, was "popularized as 'Nessun Dorma' by Luciano Pavarotti in the Three Tenors concerts"? "Nessun Dorma" is from Puccini's Turandot. Please, let's have someone reviewing opera who at least knows one aria from another and one opera from another. Shame on Westword!
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.
P.O. Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail (include your full name and hometown) to: email@example.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.
Get the Weekly Newsletter