Letters to the Editor

"Out at Home," by Patricia Calhoun, March 9, 2000

My heart goes out to Loi Nguyen, the subject of Patricia Calhoun's March 9 "Out at Home." We all make mistakes when we are young, and he has owned up to them and paid the price -- seven years behind bars! But it looks like Nguyen's biggest mistake was that he was born in Vietnam, not America. If he were born here, he would be free. If he were born in a country like Mexico, at least he would be back there. But because Vietnam does not want him back, he could wind up behind bars again. For life!

I hope the INS recognizes how unfair this system is and lets Loi Nguyen stay in this country and out of jail.

Dolores Harper

After reading Calhoun's excellent column, I heard on the news that Pedro Astacio gets to change his plea and stay in the country until a trial (which is after the Rockies' opening day -- as they say, how convenient!). But Loi Nguyen can't change his plea, because he's already been convicted and served his sentence.

I thought this was the land of the free. But you can only be free, it seems, if you have the right lawyers.

Jay O'Riley
via the Internet

"Left for Dead," by Justin Berton, March 9, 2000

Thank you for Justin Berton's well-written article "Left for Dead," in the March 9 issue, about Sharon Conner's plight with the Aurora Police Department. I have seen some of "Aurora's finest" do things that I would not even think about doing, but to hear about their total lack of concern about Terry Mosley until he was charged with murdering Alan Conner is totally criminal! Someone needs to make a complete and thorough investigation of the APD and its policies and practices.

Mike Steiner
via the Internet

The article on Alan Conner is tantamount to how my wife and two daughters were treated when the next-door neighbor, a man, punched my wife in the face. When she and my two then-teenage daughters finished kicking the shit out of the guy, Aurora arrested them and charged them with assault. It just goes to show how unfit that ragtag bunch of blue-suit dummies are.

H. L. Greasham
via the Internet

I'd like to thank you for your article on Alan Conner. It was much more factual than any that appeared in the Denver Post or the Rocky Mountain News. My daughter is/was close friends with Alan, Dom and Cal since middle school; all three are/were good kids. Cal has told all of us how he and Dom begged the police to look for Alan up until the point when the ambulance doors were closed on them. Cal and Dom never believed that Alan had gotten away, but as usual, the police don't rush in until all chance of danger has passed -- just like at Columbine.

One thing I'd like to add is that I went with my daughter to the visitation, where I witnessed the most heartbreaking scene, one that I will never forget as long as I live. It was Sharon Conner standing over Alan's casket, stroking his hair and patting his hand, saying to her remaining son and daughter, "He looks good, doesn't he?"

Then a couple of days later, at the funeral, it was standing room only in the sanctuary; hundreds of young people had come to say goodbye to their friend. Alan was buried in his snowboarding suit along with his favorite snowboard. As the casket was loaded into the hearse and the procession made its way to the cemetery, the traditional "police escort" was notably absent.

The Aurora police have a lot to answer for in this case. But whatever the outcome, it won't bring Alan Conner back to his family and legion of friends.

Debbie Simmons

A friend of mine called after reading "Left for Dead" to tell me that he thought Justin Berton was writing about me as being "wildly upset" after being arrested for spousal abuse. Since I was the only one present at the Aurora police accreditation meeting to voice my opinion on the subject, I guess it is safe to assume that this is indeed the case.

It's too bad that your writer failed to convey an accurate description of my testimony. Whether it was intentional or not, it's horseshit journalism like this that made me reluctant to appear in the first place. Not once did I raise my voice. In fact, I even acknowledged that being a cop is a thankless job. For the benefit of you and your readers, my original purpose for being there was to shed some light on the extended repercussions of domestic violence when men are falsely accused!

I was wrongfully accused, wrongfully arrested and wrongfully indicted in a court of so-called law. Despite being found not guilty in a court of law, this bullshit is still in the "system" as a "reference," just in case there may be "future occurrences." Every time I have tried to get over the memory of the worst relationship of my life, dumb shit keeps appearing as a reminder. If I am stopped by the police for a traffic violation today and my Social Security number is called in, the dispatcher will report back that I was arrested for assault several years ago. (Never mind that I was tried and found not guilty.)

It's no secret that violence sells. It's too bad the fuckin' media is only interested in domestic-violence cases that have tragic results. Given all the background of my situation, it should come as no surprise that I take great offense to see myself described as "wildly upset" by your writer. I am inaccurately characterized in one sentence at the end of what I thought was an otherwise well-written article. You cannot begin to fathom the great amount of restraint and tolerance that I have successfully held in check after so many years of disappointment and disgust for the justice system in Aurora.

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: On March 9, Terry Mosley was found innocent in the assault of Levi Cumins. His trial for the murder of Alan Conner is scheduled for May 8. See "Strike One" this week.

"The Secret Garden," by Robin Chotzinoff, March 9, 20000

I loved Robin Chotzinoff's "The Secret Garden," her March 9 column about the garden at North High. One of the things I look for in your newspaper is local stories about something really special. It's good to know that something like gardening is capturing the interest of youth in the city. What a shame it would be to not pass on the joy of the earth to the next generation.

Joan Bancroft
via the Internet

"Nobody Gets Out of Here Alive," by Steve Jackson, March 2, 2000:

Excellent article. I'm proud to live on the planet with strong, sensitive and fine human beings such as the ones in your story (especially Gourley).

Thunder, lightning...and while I was writing this, the power went out. Try, try again, and it will work for those who continue to try.

Sherry Voss
via the Internet

"Organized Chaos," by Julie Jargon, February 10, 2000

Nurses all across the Denver area are looking to unionize because working conditions have gotten progressively worse as managed-care providers keep cutting costs for almighty profit. Health care is deteriorating in all areas -- from hospitals to clinics, telephone nursing and home care -- not because nurses don't try giving good care, but because they have been understaffed and pushed and pushed to care for more and more patients, in less time and with fewer licensed personnel. At the same time, more paperwork is needed to document care given.

Nurses have always been patient advocates, fighting for patient rights and caring environments. Now they feel pushed into a corner -- their concerns are not heard over the push for profit from large health-care corporations. Nurses are also tired of not being paid for their level of responsibility, their years of experience or level of education. Other professions (which are mostly male ) compensate according to these criteria, but not nursing. When employee shortages occur, salaries rise to entice employees -- but not in nursing. When nurses express their concerns, they are told to stop whining. Nurses have been expected to always be there during the middle of the night, on weekends or on holidays. Those who expect nurses to be there have never worked weekends, holidays or all night. Nurses have been shown little respect for what they do by both patients and employers.

Fewer women are entering the nursing profession, and greater shortages are to come.

Name withheld on request
The Cutting Edge of Crime

"Unlawful Intentions," by Marty Jones, February 3, 2000.

Marty Jones's February 3 "Unlawful Intentions," about public defender Hollynd Hoskins, reminded me of another recent example of a not-very-well-thought-out, prescriptive enforcement of the law. Remember Heather Regan and Sonya Golden? Those two girls were suspended from school for having "weapons" under the zero-tolerance policies that have been adopted these days. One girl carried a rounded steak knife to open the hood of her car, the other girl carried a small Swiss army knife in her car. Here we are with another situation involving no ill intent (in fact, in Hoskins's case, she had quite humane intent), where blind letter-of-the-law enforcement overshadows critical thinking. It's of extreme concern when policies that are intended to protect become so perfunctorily adhered to that they minimize truly serious situations and end up indiscriminately castigating members of the community.

Sarah Davidon

"A Slice of Heaven," by Kyle Wagner, March 9, 2000 Thanks for Kyle Wagner's article on barbecue joints ("A Slice of Heaven," March 9). I am still in search of good places to eat, but I must admit, living in Memphis, Tennessee, for nine years spoiled me a bit. I have sampled many of the places she recommended, and here is my complaint: Most do not properly cure the meat. For ribs, much of the time, I come across more gristle than meat. The meat on bones often lacks tenderness and full flavor. On pork shoulder and brisket, it is often unevenly cooked, and chunks of uncooked fat are quite common. It's not about the sauce; anyone can cook meat and glaze it with sauce. The art is the smoking and boiling to get it just RIGHT. Looking forward to finding a keeper.

Marc Brindza
via the Internet

What a slam! I'm talking about Kyle Wagner's comment in her March 2 Mouthing Off about Merlino's Belvedere. She saw a roadside sign stating that the restaurant could be "Southern Colorado's Most Distinctive Restaurant," and her response was, "How much competition could there be for that?" What does she consider Southern Colorado? Colorado Springs and the surrounding area (southern Colorado) have many fine restaurants.

Michael Ortiz
via the Internet

"Say It in French," by Michael Paglia, March 9, 2000

Leave it to Michael Paglia to give Westword readers his forever dull perspectives on established and safe art genres. His critique on the Matisse exhibit is no exception. Although his column is always thoroughly researched (as are most college dissertations), it makes for a very predictable read.

Steven Hart

"A Sperm's Tale," by Michael Roberts, March 2, 2000

The Early Bird Catches the SpermI'm a non-Coloradan who happened to be in Colorado and picked up the March 2 Westword with Michael Roberts's "A Sperm's Tale." While I was impressed with the way he deconstructed latter-day CSNY, I fear he generalized from the concert, having made up his mind already about the group and its catalogue.

Roberts's tone was one of disillusionment by definition. However, illusion (I don't think delusion) is necessary to envision an ideal of a better and harmonious world (that is, than the pre-Woodstock connotation), which the best of CSNY's music means to me and probably many others -- even if most of it is, admittedly, the earlier stuff. No, I do not "shudder at the thought of Nash or his buddies being role models for anyone"; his efforts on behalf of Greenpeace and many other organizations have spread awareness and inspired others (myself included) to act on behalf of fellow human beings. Moreover, it's hypocritical to carp at what Roberts perceives as style over substance on the one hand, and on the other to take a cheap shot at Crosby regarding why he "would sentence any kid to look like him.".

I did not see the Pepsi Center show. However, I have seen CSNY live (in '92 and '96, respectively), and yes, I was disappointed myself. Let us not forget that the '69- to '74-era CSNY was innovative at its time. But "dated"should be neither a negative nor positive connotation; it's simply the degree to which the lyrical topics in particular are tied to specific events, and it's to CSNY's credit, even genius, that they undercut their beautiful harmonies with acknowledgment of the ugliness in the world.

Finally, is it not possible to enjoy and live with the music of CSNY without sucking up to boomers? I think so.

I was happy to have saved up for the 1991 boxed set. Not all, but many of the songs on it have provided and will continue to provide for me enjoyment and inspiration deeper and longer-lasting than Roberts's prose will.

Jay Krasnow
via the Internet

I love your paper, always have -- but sometimes you get so full of yourself I could scream. Like when Michael Roberts does concert reviews. He's incapable of objectivity, whether it's new or old music, and he's self-absorbed to boot. So, please, keep him doing things he can handle: the media stuff and things requiring no empathy. That will keep his bile where it belongs.

D. Waltz

Hey, Michael Roberts! Who died and made you a music critic? Cars, clothing, hair. What do these things have to do with the quality of a CSNY concert? Mr. Roberts is more overly consumed with the aesthetic aspects of the crowd or sexuality of the people who attend the Grammys than he is with the musical content. The review of this concert was so poor that the critique wasn't even evident until eight paragraphs into the article. The blatant cliches and pigeonholing of an entire generation makes it apparent that Mr. Roberts possesses no objectivity and has no knowledge of the history of the bands he reviews. Critical qualities entail comparing voices, playing and arranging to that of 26 years ago (the last time they all toured together); knowing that CSN has sold as many albums without Y as they did with him; or knowing that David Crosby isn't trying to revisit the '60s, but that his writing style has remained constant through the decades. These are qualities that should be germane in a writing critic.

This article was simply a pitiful attempt to "put down" the hypocrites of the '60s generation. Has it ever occurred to anyone that sometimes people attend concerts simply because they like the music? Then there is the same old rhetoric of wanting people to update their music style, which is ludicrous. What is wrong with writing or listening to songs that coincide with your ideal and how you view the world? I suppose if Mr. Roberts had his way, base guitars and percussion would be added to Beethoven's piano concertos. Whether you personally like or dislike a band's music, the members' private lives and the people who attend the concerts are irrelevant. Readers want to know if the quality of the band's concerts is worth the exorbitant prices. In the case of CSNY, it's worth every penny!

Terry Feeney

>I have to disagree with John La Briola's February 17 review of the Rockfords' new CD. The focus of his review seems to be on what artifacts of "alt-rock alienation" and grunge he can pick out of a record that is for the most part completely removed from that influence. The words to the songs obviously stem from the lives of the two primary lyricists, Mike McCready and Carrie Akre, and run the gamut from lovelorn and pensive to hopeful and inspiring. And performed in Akre's rangy, powerful and emotive vocals, the songs become even more things of beauty. And what the fuck is wrong with "guitar muscularity"? Danny Newcomb and McCready are arguably the two best rock guitarists in Seattle today, so dammit, I want to hear them rock. And you're right, John, the Rockfords deliver on that. But that's a good thing.

Something True, This Life, Adelaide and Sure Shot could never aptly be described as are alienated grunge throwbacks. They are heavily influenced by the guitar-rock heyday in which these kids grew up, but that predates the heyday of grunge. It seems to me that John is yet another in the sea of critics with the grunge chip on their collective shoulder, seeking out and attempting to destroy all that harks even in the smallest way back to what they seem to consider the "pure" days of that genre -- so much so that he has launched this meritless assault on a record that doesn't even begin to pretend to be grunge. It's about rock and roll. Pick another target or, better yet, listen next time with the chip on the table and your filters off.

Terry Granillo
via the Internet

More Music to Our EarsThank fucking god for Westword. There is no other real information about nightclubs in Denver on the Web. There are reviews, but they're obviously written by pseudo-yuppie turds.

Cerrise Snyder
via the Internet

I've always heard that the word "backbeat" is somehow related to spirituality (I believe Mickey Hart said this). Do you know anything about this? What's the origination of the term "backbeat," and what does it mean in a musical sense?

James Moran
via the Internet

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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