An Icky Situation
Bad enough that, come November, we're going to get stuck in the voting booth for hours trying to figure out the ballot measures. Now you tell me that some of them are there only because Vikki Buckley screwed up (Eric Dexheimer's "The Buckley Stops Here," September 17)? When we screw up on the job, our bosses fire us. I suggest that voters do the same to Vikki "Icky" Buckley in November.
via the Internet
Registered Libertarians should contribute cash to Vikki Buckley's re-election! They believe the best government is the least government, right? If Jefferson County can learn "to cope without going to the secretary of state's office," why can't we all?
via the Internet
Regarding last week's letters about Chris LaMorte's "The Mom Squad," in the September 17 issue:
It's sad that people who want to see justice for a child who can no longer ask for it on her own are ridiculed because they use the computer to try to continue to follow the case. Of course, if the people of Boulder had demanded the justice all children deserve, the whole world might not have felt they needed to. Boulder residents still have the half-witted Hunter on the case, and he more than likely will continue to screw it up. If indeed Boulder had demanded justice, then the people you so judgmentally criticize would not have to.
Mary J. Kellar
via the Internet
Editor's note: See page 14 for "He Aims to Plea," Juliet Wittman's wrap-up of Alex Hunter's work as Boulder's district attorney.
An Affair to Remember
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Speaking From Experience," in the September 17 issue:
Roy Romer and Bill Clinton can define "affair" any way they want. By any definition of the word "liar," they both qualify.
President Clinton is not the first public official to have sexual encounters outside of his marriage vows. Whoever commits them, these sins are between him and his family. Everyone's sexual life is personal.
President Clinton committed perjury when he lied under oath. If he wanted to protect his family or career, President Clinton should have said that the questions were personal and refused to answer them. It is unfortunate that President Clinton chose to lie under oath: A perjurer has no credibility, and there goes our international credibility, too.
Patricia K. Clutsom
Below you will find a copy of a communication that I forwarded to Governor Romer:
I have given qualified forgiveness to President Clinton, in response to his most recent statements. However, I am deeply troubled and suspicious of folks like yourself, James Carville and Mrs. Lewis of the White House staff who want us to believe that Mr. Clinton's character flaws, both sexual and as related to matters of telling the truth, are all related to his behavior in the past seven or eight months. Hammering away at us with this short-term capsule of his activity assumes the public is downright stupid.
Please don't expect any of us to give him unqualified forgiveness. Consider this: While Clinton was warding off a civil lawsuit brought on by Paula Jones, he was carrying on in a heated fashion with Monica Lewinsky. Common sense and a reasonable degree of intelligence should have caused this man to maintain a straight and narrow profile for a while. But we know he was as aggressive as ever. During 1996 and 1997, Bill Clinton was being sued for alleged activity while governor of Arkansas, but that did not deter him from misbehaving in his White House study as President of the United States. Not just immoral behavior, but incredibly poor judgment.
Outright stupidity is another term that seems to apply.
So my forgiveness is qualified. It depends on his behavior from this point forward. Do I trust this man? Absolutely not! He has lied to you, to me, to his wife, his daughter, his cabinet, to the total population of the United States, and he has been fabricating untruths about such matters throughout his public life. He betrayed my trust. He betrayed it many times.
I am opposed to his impeachment. But I am also every bit as much opposed to people like yourself who insult my intelligence and that of the people of the United States by trying to convince me that this kind of moral decay is acceptable.
Governor Romer, you owe a lot of us an apology for your posture in this matter.
John Tyler Gibson
I have just completed reading the report from the Office of Independent Counsel as published on the Internet. Mr. Starr offends me with the use of graphic and unnecessary sexual language. It is disturbing that President Clinton misled the members of Congress and all Americans concerning his involvement with Miss Lewinsky; however, I have not rushed to judgment because of Mr. Starr's report.
I urged the Colorado congressional delegation to move quickly to hold hearings and put this matter to bed once and for all. A series of protracted hearings and debates will be bad for the country. They must put the interests of all Americans ahead of any personal agenda and end the feeding frenzy that has consumed the media virtually all year. The business of our national government is much too important to be delayed while dealing with what I consider to be petty matters.
Let me be clear: I do not feel these matters constitute an impeachable offense by the president. What is more, Mr. Starr has abused his authority. While President Clinton's conduct was less than honorable and I do not condone such behavior, it is not necessary for him to be removed from office.
Amid the gory details, the rebuttals, the apologies, the damage control, the spin, the forgiveness--I look for honor. Where is it? (Please tell me...)
I know that honor must still exist in the American government, because it was woven into the very essence of these United States through the wisdom, blood and courage of our Founding Fathers. So many lives have been given to protect our heritage. So many children are now learning about the "privilege" of being an American.
There is so much to lose if we discard our honor. Please do what you can to uphold the glory of our national honor.
Scott R. Henderson
They get the Ken Starr grand jury report on the Internet within 48 hours for the world to see. Where the hell is the Rocky Flats grand jury report?
You have the best reporters, and Bill Gallo is really something unique. Thank you.
via the Internet
Crime Doesn't Pay
Regarding Kenny Be's September 18 Worst-Case Scenario, "Individual Tax Refunds Let Coloradans Buy What's Truly Important":
Now that ten months have passed, the citizens of Denver can finally be provided a moment of lighthearted comic-strip entertainment--or, for others, one more instant of revengeful gratification--at my daughter's expense. For Lisl and her loved ones, this has been a devastating experience that has forever changed our lives. Lisl Auman was convicted on July 17, 1998, of felony first-degree murder in the death of Denver police officer Bruce VanderJagt. The penalty for this crime is life in prison with no parole.
Lisl was the only person ever convicted of felony murder in the state of Colorado for a murder that occurred while the person charged was in full police custody. This has not even happened in the United States. In essence, a new law was formulated from an existing statute to allow for this prosecution.
Lisl did not even know the gunman, Matthaeus Jaehnig. Lisl is not a skinhead and has no connection to the neo-Nazi or white supremacist movements. They don't know her and she doesn't know them. She does not have one friend who is involved with acts of violence or hate. She has never even owned, possessed or fired a gun. There was no fingerprint evidence or eyewitness testimony that indicated that she possessed or handled any gun that day, but the underlying theme of the case was that Lisl handed the gun to Jaehnig, which he then used to shoot Officer VanderJagt.
Pity should not extend as far as to put another person's life at stake. Lisl was 21 years old when this happened and will never be allowed a day of freedom the rest of her life. This could happen to anyone's daughter.
Don M. Auman
The Loathes and the Fishes
In spite of my objection (as well as others'), Westword persists in running the decidedly unfunny "Jesus of the Week," by Peter Gilstrap. As a Christian, I am not only unamused, I am offended by his targeting the object of one of the world's major religious faiths in a stupid, inane and foolish manner. I'm wondering what kind of ax he's grinding? What kind of deep hatreds is he needing to express? Whatever, he needs help--but Westword's providing him an outlet at our expense won't fix his head.
Jean G. Tuthill
There Auto Be a Law
Regarding Tony Perez-Giese's "Pulling a Fast One," in the September 3 issue:
It seems to me that taking photos and notifying people of automotive moving violations robs people of their constitutional right to defend themselves. Unlike what most people think of as criminal activities, errors while driving a car generate legal offenses all the time. In an AAA driving class, I was told that the average person commits a traffic infraction that is sufficient to generate a citation every four minutes. Slightly wandering over the line, a slight increase in speed without noticing and many more infractions are apparently the rule rather than the exception.
In the case of driving errors, it is rarely a decision to break the law but is more often a lapse in attention. When actually pulled over by an officer, you will remember the incident and will have an opportunity to recall your actions. Thus you have some ability to defend, or chastise, yourself. Send a person a ticket through the mail days or weeks later, and few of us are likely to even remember being at the location, much less committing a traffic infraction. As a result, we are at the mercy of a piece of equipment, which may or may not be accurate, and we may or may not have been involved in a lapse of attention sufficient to cause a citation. Either way, without an incident to call our attention to the time of day and location, we have been robbed of the ability to defend ourselves, as we probably won't remember the entire incident.
In the past, I think most traffic laws were used as a way to assign monetary responsibility for driving errors resulting in accidents. As our governments became ever more greedy for funds, they have increasingly used criminalization of previously civil activities to harass citizens or just generate income. Government makes grave errors in criminalizing former civil-action paths. In so doing, they have made "criminals" of us all. This has generated a lack of respect for our governments and those that represent them. (Has anyone over the age of twenty not received some kind of ticket? Perhaps for riding a bike on the sidewalk, or the terrifyingly serious crime of failing to water the lawn, or watering it at the wrong time?)
The use of photo radar is just another government money grab. Pity, because it actually raises government costs, resulting in a lack of respect for government by the common person and requiring ever more police, support equipment and protection of government officials.
via the Internet
I just finished reading the three letters published in the September 10 issue responding to "Pulling a Fast One." All three, it seems, oppose the use of this technology as subordinating to a "police state." While not in favor of the archetypal Big Brother watching over every aspect of daily life, it strikes me as odd that none of the three letters expressed an understanding of the value of the rule of law in maintaining the health and well-being of the populace. Two of the letters addressed methods to fight citations and one suggested "clogging the court system," but none acknowledged the fact that those cited were clearly breaking the law.
If asked, everybody professes that they want to stop road rage, get drunk drivers off the road and prevent accidents. When observed, however, how many honestly travel the speed limit, use their turn signals, wear their seatbelts, follow at a safe distance or call a cab after "just a few"? Those who think that the laws that reduce accidents, prevent injuries and save countless lives are too cumbersome should either petition the legislature for higher speed limits and more lax drunk-driving enforcement--freedoms that result in greater injury potential--or they should just follow the rules.
As bizarre as it may seem, the laws under which we live really do apply to all of us. It should be obvious that law-enforcement agencies wouldn't need technology and would soon become obsolete if everyone lived, worked and played within the reasonable boundaries set by the various levels of our government. That is what living in a society is all about! Either obey the traffic laws, seek modification to those laws, or suffer the consequences, both monetarily and, quite possibly, mortally.
Christopher D. Dolsen
I just finished reading Eric Dexheimer's article about rapid detox ("The Big Fix," July 30), and one thing I want to say is that any addict knows that detoxification in any form is not a cure for addiction. Detox is simply a way to get the drugs out of your system, because it is nearly impossible to get off of any opiate without some medical help. Why is standard detox considered acceptable and rapid detox so unacceptable? I think it is because people who aren't addicts themselves want heroin addicts to experience as much pain as possible while detoxing. They think we deserve it.
via the Internet
Regarding Marty Jones's "Homeless No More," in the August 20 issue:
According to Mr. Jones, James Hamilton or "Papa Colfax" was a wonderful man, "an inspiration," "a guided light." His mother is quoted as saying, "Everybody loved him."
I never met Mr. Hamilton myself, so I cannot give a personal opinion of the man. What bothers me--bothers me very much--is the tragic fact that he was not only living (if that is what anyone can call "living") on the filthy streets of downtown Denver, but he had been on the streets for fifteen years.
It makes me sick to my stomach to read an article like this one. Jones clearly acknowledges the all-too-real plight of people who suffer from the grave misfortune of being homeless. Yet he has the audacity to portray a man caught up in the miserable web of poverty as though he were just another colorful character to conveniently fill a page of copy. To my mind, James Hamilton was much more than a mere character. He was a living, breathing human who wasn't afforded the dignity of living like a man. There are pets in some homes that live better than James Hamilton did. As a human being, he had the capacity to feel. I have no doubt that, subsisting as he did on the streets for fifteen years, he suffered tremendously. If you wonder at all whether or not that is actually true, let me suggest that you go live on the streets without a dollar in your pocket for, say, a month. Then imagine trying to survive there for fifteen years.
"He was a great inspiration" is another quote from Jones's article. Personally, I think he was a manifestation of the complete apathy of our society toward other, more unfortunate people. If James Hamilton was so well-loved by so many people, why the fuck was he pushing a goddamned shopping cart along in the street--for fifteen years, no less? I challenge anyone who says they feel bad about James Hamilton's untimely death to take a good, long look at all the others all over Denver who are just like him. Except, of course, for one important detail: They're still living. And they still need help. Not words of encouragement. Not religion. They need food, money, a clean and decent place to live, vocational training, education, health care, real dollars. Where is it going to come from? The government? Our politicians drive by the homeless every day in shiny new automobiles on their way to the state capitol.
Is anything changing for the better for the have-nots? I don't think so. If anyone really does care about people like James Hamilton, then we need to demonstrate it by providing real services to help them out of poverty--not just perpetuate their misery. In case you haven't noticed, people are dying in the streets.
I, for one, am glad to know that "Papa Colfax" has finally found a real home. But if so many people truly cared about him, he would still be alive.
A Stern Talking-To
Ironically, I wrote you a letter just twelve hours ago congratulating KKHK for having the balls to pick up Howard Stern's radio show (Feedback, September 10). Please cancel that letter--I turned the station on this morning only to find that they have canned his show before he even went on the air. I am trying to get the general manager of KKHK to call me back with an explanation. I can't believe Denver radio has succumbed to the fear factor that surrounds Howard. This is unbelievable. How cocooned can this town remain? Far smaller and less progressive markets carry Howard, including Davenport, Iowa, for Christ's sake! What is Denver radio scared of? This is an appeal to KBPI or KTCL or some station with a sense of adventure: Put Howard Stern on. He has proven to be a huge ratings booster and moneymaker for any station that carries him.
What a disappointment for Stern fans in Denver and for First Amendment concerns! Congratulations, KKHK, for being so whipped by a few angry phone-callers. You lost a listener (maybe many) and a lucrative radio personality. Thanks for sending Denver right back into the Dark Ages of safe, non-controversial, non-intellectual, boring radio.
Ready, Willing and Label
Thanks for Michael Roberts's "Going to W.A.R.?" in the September 10 issue. I have enjoyed everything I ever got from that label. They are the little label that could, did and does. I would buy almost anything from them, just based on the merit of the material they have already delivered. And to all who like the Samples: You should check out Lir, too.
W.A.R.? has located some really talented people. I first heard of them several years ago while viewing a whitewater-kayaking video in which the river runs were set to music. There were some really great scenes that included two W.A.R.? artists providing the music. I had to check the credits over and over to make sure I had the label right.
Finding stuff under their label was difficult at first. Once I did find it, I learned that most of the Samples stuff was there, too, along with some other rather obscure stuff that was great. It was great to hear they are alive and doing well. I was hoping that the little label that could...would. The only disappointing experience I had was when I called them about an album one time and they said they didn't have a store. (I had been dreaming of actually having my hands on some great material while deciding what I would buy next.) At the time, I was a happy Colorado neighbor and the People's Republic of JonBenet was only twenty minutes away. Doesn't matter now--they do mail-order, and that works for me.
Redondo Beach, CA
Regarding Michael Roberts's review of Cheap Trick in the September 10 Critic's Choice:
There you go again, Michael, putting down the music of a band whose early recordings you yourself wrote were first-rate. You may be right that many people would not show up for an evening filled with music from their 1985 Standing on the Edge album, but I did--at the long-gone Boulder's Coast--and loved it. Standing on the Edge is a great record. Even if people would show up for an evening filled with Standing on the Edge, I doubt Cheap Trick would oblige them, because the album was made without Tom Petersson, and I have not heard of them playing anything from the album since his return to the band.
I agree with you about Woke Up With a Monster, though. It was a dog.
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:
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 This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.