I agreed strongly with many of the things said in Julie Jargon's "The First Step
," in the May 4 issue. I am a student at P.S.1 and have been very close to Linda Reilly for many years. I came to the school when it was just getting somewhere; at that time, I saw an uphill path for P.S.1. However, I now see that it has taken another path. I think we are going to hell in Steve Myers's handbasket. The first thing I found disturbing in this article was that I discovered infuriating things about my school community that nobody has expressed to us as a whole. This makes it obvious that our school no longer thrives on the principle of an informed, involved community. The second was that Steve was even suggesting that staff members go to this "est" program in the first place. It is surely not his business to tell a stable, intelligent woman like Annie Huggins that she's a good person but she has problems and needs to go to a self-help cult. I'm wondering if the supposed issue isn't that she is not always in full agreement with him.
I have also known students who have come back from Steps Ahead in the mood of telling me how I need to turn my life around, students who need to look in the mirror. I think Steps Ahead tries to make students blind to their faults in some cases. I have seen them fall back into the same habits that they said held them back shortly after they returned from Steps Ahead. I have also seen this "enthusiasm" about themselves that Sol mentioned. It comes across in the form of conceit and sheer contempt for people who are not the same as them, for whatever reasons. I have seen these students sitting around making fun of people. I'm not seeing how this is supposed to better our community. At this point, I've given up on P.S.1. I can only take solace in the fact that I am graduating next year.
I noticed one error in the story: This is our fifth, not sixth year.
Name withheld on request
Wow! A program introduced to youth at the ripe old age of fifteen or so that encourages them to open up, let it out, leave it behind and go forward with their life. What an accomplishment!
My daughter is a P.S.1 Steps Ahead student. She is not your stereotypical "youth at risk," but a sensitive, well-adjusted young lady, as a lot of the program students are who decided to join the program for its leadership aspirations, its pride in community and its acknowledgement of individuality. The "I'm okay, you're okay" philosophy, if you will.
And what, may I ask, is wrong with that?
As we've witnessed with past tragic events, even if the teenager is not the stereotypical "youth at risk" as Jargon described, almost every teenager has issues, large or small, in varying degrees -- issues based in feelings of not belonging, not being important, not being understood and not being loved. If we can bridge the gap and head every child in the affirmative direction, as the Steps Ahead program does, where these youth, our children, embrace the value of individuality and the joy of community, then what a wonderful world this would be.
I really enjoyed Stuart Steers's "Where the Sidewalk Ends
," in the April 27 issue, regarding urban sprawl and planning. However, if the intent of his article was to make me feel sympathetic toward the Parker family, then he's missed the mark. Just because the Parkers moved to the 'burbs thirty years ago doesn't mean that they are excused from responsibility. Steers's article could easily have been set thirty years ago, with the Parkers being the culprit rather than Mr. Kummer. I believe that it is important for us to remember that the purpose of planning is not merely to protect the "pre-boom sprawlers," like the Parkers, but to provide for controlled growth and protect open space.
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Stuart Steers's "Where the Sidewalk Ends" was very well done. The line under the headline really told the story: "Even if one community turns them down, developers always know they can get what they want from another."
Then again, Aurora wouldn't turn down the opportunity to annex a Christmas-tree lot, let alone 1,031 acres. Gartrell Investments of Monterey, California, was not and is not interested in Douglas County's rules, regulations, laws or master plans. They made that clear in front of a judge in Douglas County Court. Citizens' rights, voters' rights? Huh? Screw 'em! We'll just go to Aurora, the city that's like Mikey: "He likes everything."
What Aurora likes, Aurora takes. Actually, "I want it all" was the quote from Mayor Paul Tauer that surfaced in sworn testimony recently in response to a question about where Aurora's land grab stops.
Greed fueled by big egos and methodical plotting is what this story is all about. With regard to the Gartrell land, I feel sorry for all those unsuspecting Aurorans who are purchasing homes in the adjacent "Peaceful Adult Community of Heritage at Eagle Bend." Their introduction to Aurora citizenship will come when their own city, teamed with a pack of hungry California land speculators, slams 15,000-25,000 extra cars down their throats every day and through their brand-new, "peaceful" community, along Gartrell Road.
Aurora's own citizens are going to get screwed and don't have a clue. Some of us in Douglas County can at least see the shafting we're about to take. When Aurora's citizens discover the truth, and when Coloradans in general realize the extent of the problem your paper has so clearly identified, developers will move on to easier pickin's. For now, they're fast-tracking as much as they can while the village is sleeping.
We don't have to sit back and watch our state get destroyed by greed and politics. Let's stand and fight, and let's get rid of the "leaders" who don't even remotely meet the definition of the word.
The real Aurora/Gartrell Investments story goes much deeper, and I believe the Eagle story does, too. I encourage you to stay with it. There are thousands of us who need a voice, and I suspect there are some true Coloradans, inside the system, who are ready to talk. Thanks to Mr. Steers and Westword for firing the first salvo on the real story at the end of the sidewalk.
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Kenny Be's May 4 Worst-Case Scenario on Doug Dean is first-rate work!
His political satire provides much-needed relief, and I'm delighted that he's opted to live and work here, as his wit and artistic ability qualify him to ply his trade anywhere he chooses.
At the bottom of Willy Webb's Top Ten list: Send car to circle Kenny Be's house every twenty minutes.
Name withheld on request
Eileen Welsome's piece on Wen Ho Lee ("Spies, Lies and Portable Tapes
," April 20) leaves out the major component behind the frustration of Asian-American groups and other individuals who defend Wen Ho Lee: John Deutch, the former director of the CIA, who downloaded reams of classified material to a home PC vulnerable to being hacked over the Internet. Given that Deutch's offense seems exactly comparable to Lee's and probably involves data that is even more sensitive, the fact that one of them is sitting in prison and the other hasn't even been charged leads many of Lee's supporters to believe that Lee is serving as a convenient ethnic scapegoat for the Clinton administration's laxity regarding security issues with China.
Yon Kyong Lew
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Thank you for publishing Alan Prendergast's "Stonewalled
," in the April 13 issue. It is a breakthrough of all the distortions, lies, prevarications, deceits, gobbledygook, balderdash, tommyrot, and bafflegab issued by Sheriff John Stone's office on his interminable "investigation" of the Columbine massacre.
Mr. Stone should open a private detective agency with Kenneth Starr and Janet Reno and retain President Bill Clinton as their spokesperson.
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Columbine, Columbine's victims, Columbine's victims' lawsuits...when will it end? I watched the tragedy unfold before my eyes last year on April 20. I spent the entire afternoon watching, crying and praying! I, like many in Colorado and around the world, have shed tears for Columbine. Now this latest bit over the police report and lawsuits is just sickening. Columbine was a tragedy that no one will ever forget. The dead will be memorialized and the wounded will heal eventually, but they will never be the same.
Lately, however, my sympathy is for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and the countless other police, fire, paramedic, etc., groups that responded to Columbine. Everyone within radius responded to Columbine. Cops who weren't even on duty showed up to help and save those they could. Would the victims' families have been satisfied if there had been several cops killed along with their family members?
Don't these people know that every person who responded to Columbine also carries scars from that day? I am sure that they wanted nothing more than to save everyone. That is their duty and honor. They choose to put their lives on the line to protect and serve. Yet not one word of gratitude has been extended to them; instead, they are being sued and criticized. Columbine's families are not the only families in the world to have lost members to appalling violence. They just appear to believe they are the only ones who matter. No one is perfect, including Sheriff Stone and his department, but I believe everyone has done the best they can with an endlessly painful situation. Must they continue to pour salt in the wounds? Columbine, place the blame where it absolutely belongs: on the shoulders of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
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In Alan Prendergast's April 27 "None Dare Call It Travesty," it appears another tragedy has spawned the attraction of the eccentrics. It always amazes me that in the aftermath of any mass tragedy, the word "conspiracy" is yelled, and people say it was a government plot. For every event throughout history, someone is looking for a scapegoat to blame it on -- be it government, a cult or radicals who want to upset the apple cart. We are supposed to be sane, rational people; however, think of the social fabric that denies the outpouring of anxiety or frustration until it is too late. As a deer leaves footprints in the snow, humans also leave footprints as to the potential unrational behavior that may occur. It becomes oblivious to those who are looking straight into the barrel of the smoking gun. Denial, denial: It doesn't fit the mode of acceptable social norm, so find the scapegoat.
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