Away to Go
Regarding Michael Roberts's "The Making of a Media Event," his April 6 Message:
Even if the Columbine anniversary "event" attracts "only" 10,000, that's still insane. The only people who should be anywhere near the school and park on April 20 are Columbine students and staff, their families, and a cadre of large but exceedingly polite and discreet bouncers to keep the media away -- way away.
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Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Man With a Plan," in the April 6 issue:
Although I have tried to keep away from anything related to Columbine, the uproar over the proposed "Respect Life" license plates revealed to me the utter absurdity this tragedy has become. If I'm not mistaken, the suggested slogan came from one Evan Todd, Columbine victim and football player. In the now-notorious Time article, Todd refers to Klebold and Harris as "rejects" and says most Columbine students "didn't want them here...If you want to get rid of somebody," Todd continues, "usually you tease 'em. So the whole school would call them homos, and when they did something sick, we'd tell them, 'You're sick and you're wrong.'"
Maybe that should be the real message displayed on Colorado's license plates, instead of the banal slogan of a hypocrite whose own words reveal how disrespectful of life he truly is.
Name withheld on request
Many thanks for reminding us that a leopard does not change its spots. Once this Columbine anniversary is over, expect politicians to return to business as usual. Respect life? How about respecting the intelligence of Colorado residents?
It is a shame that while Governor Bill Owens can change and evolve -- witness his position on guns and his public comments on the Ramsey case -- Patricia Calhoun remains the same shrill voice, with the same knee-jerk opinions. It's time for Calhoun to give Owens, and us, a break.
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Birth of a Notion
I'm as liberal as the next guy, but reading your last issue, I thought I was reading a brochure for Planned Parenthood. First Calhoun's column, then Justin Berton's "Takin' It in the Pants," about vasectomies, and then Sean Neumann's "Child's Play," about Baby Think It Over. Next time, how about some variety? Or why not just include a free condom with every issue?
Just kidding. And the Boulder Valley Women's Center is a great place. Really.
In Justin Berton's "Takin' It in the Pants," the term "spermicidal conduit" is incorrect. "Spermicidal" means having qualities that kill sperm, as in a contraceptive. You need another word -- or simply say "conduit for sperm." I'm sensitive to this because I had one.
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I applaud the University of Colorado and the various individuals involved in the development and use of the "Baby Think It Over" simulator for young teens. Whatever it takes to keep children from having children is fine with me. And I do mean whatever, including dispensing free birth control to girls and boys and encouraging abortions for all girls under the age of eighteen.
In general, we do a lousy job of preventing teen and early-adult pregnancies in this country. Too many misguided adults (particularly conservative religious fundamentalists) preach their abstinence-only "solution," which doesn't work very well. Then when impressionable and frightened girls and young women get pregnant -- as far too many do -- many are warned they will become depressed, guilty or even "murderers" if they get an abortion. I have known a few girls and women with sympathetic and supportive friends and/or family members who got abortions, and their predominant feeling was relief, not guilt or depression. They did not commit a crime, because abortion is, fortunately, still legal.
Every girl or woman who has an unplanned pregnancy needs a friend, family member or professional adult who gives concrete and reasonable advice instead of moralizing. The organizations that try to do this, such as Planned Parenthood, have, because of the religious right, gotten far too much criticism and bad press in recent years. I'm here to say that many, many people who feel as I do about these issues have been far too quiet in lending their voices to these agencies' support.
Our country -- and world -- have a frightening overpopulation problem that is responsible for most of the planet's major ills: runaway development of our land, environmental pollution of our air and water, loss of plant and animal species, congested highways, increased crime, etc. Yet we still allow, and in many cases insist, that our girls and young women continue to have babies they don't want and that our world doesn't need. I only hope we can start doing better real soon, or this planet will continue along its already well-traveled path to degradation and extinction.
Clearing the Air
As a resident of Lookout Mountain since 1962, I would like to compliment you on Michael Roberts's "Something in the Air," his April 6 article on the Lookout Mountain towers. I think it is outstanding coverage of this subject, complete and even-handed. You and Michael Roberts deserve some type of award for journalism.
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Upon reading "Something in the Air," I must take issue with the information as reported by Michael Roberts regarding our company's purchase of the broadcast-transmitter facility on El Dorado Mountain.
At the time of the phone interview, Mr. Roberts was advised that we were not at liberty to discuss some of our plans due to the proprietary nature of our negotiations with the seller. He obviously embellished upon that concept to make us as a company and myself sound totally inept by stating that "we know so little about it we don't even have a sales pitch yet." That inaccuracy, as well as his inability to even get the company name (Pinnacle Towers Inc.) correct, suggests to me that Mr. Roberts was paying very little attention during the thirty minutes I invested in your publication.
We are planning to issue a formal press release within the next few days; however, I do not think that a copy of same will be provided to Westword for fear that Mr. Roberts might decide to put his own spin on it. You can read about it in the Denver Post.
Frank S. Lee, V.P. of sales and marketing
Just behind most of us are the foothills of the Rockies -- a formidable and rugged new land. We all appreciate living here because of them.
This week Westword featured an article on a subject that has led to organization: broadcast antennas in our hot spots! Currently in suspense before the FCC is the placement of ground zero for the antennas that will bring HDTV to people in Denver, something the broadcasters who will use it named the "Supertower." We didn't have a role in saying what and where it would be or how we would have to change our lives to accommodate this urban advent.
If you believe, as some do, that there is both a reason and ability to change our ionospheric environment and that we might need to become more conscionable about our biological environment because of it, then step up and join the Green Mountain neighbors.
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Michael Roberts wrote an excellent report on radio frequency (RF), electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from TV and FM antennas. Hundreds of Jeffco citizens heard both sides during 38 hours of six hearings in 1998 and '99, but the public didn't have the opportunity until "Something in the Air" was published by Westword.
Nobody wants broadcast transmission towers in their backyard -- maybe a wireless antenna or two, but not 450 transmission devices, powered with 12 million watts, sending RF signals into their homes, schools and workplaces. Facts about EMR are not aired by Big Brother Broadcast TV. Not even Hollywood, which gave us A Civil Action, Inside Story and Erin Brockovich, will touch this one. Film is now ruled by the same mega-corporations that control broadcast. EMR is too "political" for the best investigative network, PBS.
Broadcasters have successfully kept EMR biological effects arbitrary by lobbying to prevent federal and state funding of research since 1988. In Colorado, Channel 9's Roger Ogden and Channel 6's James Morgese testified against passage of HB 1340, which endorsed biological research on Lookout Mountain in 1999. The Post and News backed the broadcasters. The bill was defeated. If EMR is safe, why would anyone not want more information?
When it comes to toxic accountability, all industrial polluters seem the same. The internal dialogue of Denver broadcasters is likely to be something like: "We love cheap towers at 7,200 feet, close to town, with excellent public road access, fifteen minutes from the studio. So what if signals are sent directly into 1,000 family homes at higher altitudes? We like the public believing the towers were there first [Mt. Vernon Country Club has been at 7,500 feet since 1922...all of Lookout was platted for homes by 1924]. We got away with it for 25 years, doubled our output, and got away with that for eighteen more. Why not just double it again? We've intimidated Jeffco into ignoring hundreds of our zoning violations, and the FCC is under control...if only those #@&^%$*(@ hysterical citizens would stop doing homework...so what if EMR fragments DNA...as long as we stop the research and control the news, nobody will know..."
Try responding to the next TV-station-sponsored, community-service hype with a question: Why is this station set on destroying the quality of life for 30,000 citizens in the greater Golden area when it is not necessary to harm anyone to make a profit?
Regarding T.R. Witcher's "Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness," in the March 30 issue:
I have nothing against cab drivers wanting better restroom facilities at DIA, but how on earth did the price for six toilets get to be over $500,000?
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Scorn in the USA
Laura Bond's April 6 review of Bruce Springsteen's rock-and-roll performance, "Prove It All Night," left me scratching my head. Did she or did she not like the concert? Or was it less than it should have been because Bruce, like the rest of us, hasn't figured out the answers to the questions he's posed so well for so many years? Where does it say that the vision to make us feel something "once in a goddamned while" carries with it the responsibility of telling us how to carry the burdens of that feeling? Any expectation that it does is unreasonable and silly.
Nearly as silly as Ms. Bond wondering at how Springsteen's words of struggle, conflict and resilience resonated with the middle-class, middle-aged crowd whose primary work is pushing the buttons on a cell phone.
In an effort to relieve Ms. Bond of the stress of wrestling with this phenomenon, let me offer a little insight. Many of us spent years toiling at what seemed to be endless work, toward far-away dreams, mired in confusion. Those fingers at the cell phone have often worked until they were dirty beyond cleaning and beaten and cracked. We wore baseball caps and held Budweisers, which we raised with and to Bruce as he told our stories. We danced as he gave us a way to express the poetry of our lives. We listened as he helped us understand the lives of others. We haven't forgotten the power of that poetry or the joy of the rock in the music just because we can afford a leather jacket. The words to the songs resonate just fine. They always have and they always will makes us feel "some goddamned thing."
You can rest easy, Ms. Bond: Springsteen's vision is no curse.
I'm not sure which concert Laura Bond attended, but it wasn't the same Springsteen concert that I did.
Apparently she was dancing in the dark corporate boxes with the rich, and not with us upper-middle class in the stands and on the floor dressed in our blue jeans. My senses were rattled and my heart awakened for the full three hours. That night made me feel grateful for a wonderful life, good friends and a loving family. Maybe the Boss stirred in me the fact that we take our blessings so for granted.
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I have reason to believe the only person unable to relate is the critic herself. Some of us have started at the bottom, and we can appreciate where our lives are now. Bruce and the E-Street Band are the healthiest-looking and most energetic "old" band on tour and were able to prove all night that they were better than the rest. (Have you seen Johnny Cash lately?) Ms. Bond would have been smart to fade away in her pink Cadillac and let one of the many fans who couldn't get tickets experience the electricity of that truly magical evening.
I am a non-white person who happened to see the Springsteen Denver concerts (and, admittedly, several others). I respect Laura Bond's right to publish her comments, but her statement that at Springsteen's "loud, rocking numbers...there were more raised fists than at an Aryan youth rally" goes way too far. This is a totally politicized, inflammatory suggestion that goes way beyond what rock-and-roll music means to people, particularly to individuals like myself who believe that Springsteen's music is important and still relevant. I don't know what she was implying, but her statement is totally out of line.
Name withheld on request
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China at Sea
I could not believe Westword's irresponsible behavior in publishing Kyle Wagner's "Good Fortune," her April 6 review of the Twin Dragon. Or, more accurately, her "review" of its alcoholic offerings. This was nothing but a celebration of the sort of irresponsible drinking that went out in the '80s, and with good reason. Shame on you.
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