United We Standby

Letters to the Editor

Rise and shine: I am writing in regard to the July 20 Off Limits item about United Airlines -- the worst piece of "journalism" I have ever seen. It showed no professionalism or factual support whatsoever. Who knows why everyone loves to hate United so much? Is United really that bad? Do you realize that the other airlines at DIA have perfect on-time records because they only have a few flights a day? Continental, for instance, has about three or four flights a day out of Denver. Whoop-ti-do! If Continental makes those flights, it has a 100 percent on-time departure rate. If it misses one, it has a 66 or 50 percent on-time rate, which is worse than United's!

Let me remind you that the individuals who work for United are doing exactly the same thing as all of the other people in this country: They're trying to earn a living. They aren't some secret society trying to ruin your day. Do you think they come in early in the morning and plan who they are going to misconnect? I think not. They try their hardest, and if that isn't good enough, too bad. You want to fly another airline? Try it! It'll be exactly the same, and probably worse. As for Frontier Airlines, they are just another corporation trying to make money. They aren't some kind of airline martyrs! Wake up: Frontier is just another company, and it cares about its customers about as much as New Yorkers like rats.

Let's be real: Air travel isn't easy no matter how you do it!
J. Davis

Yellow journalism: Thank God for Westword. I read about your United Airlines horror-story contest -- as well as every other word in the July 20 issue -- while waiting for a United flight that was finally canceled about four hours after it was supposed to leave DIA. I'd enter the contest, except that I know I can't compete with the woman with a baby sitting next to me who'd already been bumped off two United flights and who'd run out of diapers hours before.
Joanie Martin
via the Internet

The final Frontier: I was disappointed to see the July 20 issue of Westword, which included the "What United Did to My Summer Vacation" contest, awarding the top story a round trip on Frontier Airlines. Although you noted that Frontier "has no official role in this contest," the spirit in which Frontier is represented is not consistent with our business philosophies or our culture.

Certainly, we appreciate your perspective regarding positive publicity for Frontier, but we prefer to earn positive publicity and our customers' loyalty by our own merit, not at the expense of another airline. Frontier has always stood for a fair and level playing field; however, United's sheer size alone doesn't constitute a fair comparison against a carrier of Frontier's size. For example, they operate some 2,400 flights each day to 135 destinations in 26 countries; we operate 112 system-wide flights to 21 domestics cities out of one hub. I'm not defending United's current operational issues -- not at all. In fact, in the spirit of fair competition, we are doing our best to convert any inconvenienced travelers into devoted Frontier customers. However, we prefer to win those customers over through positive means, not through a contest like the one your publication is conducting.

Please understand, while we appreciate Westword's mission and past support of Frontier Airlines, when Frontier is represented in a way that is inconsistent with what we stand for and how we do business, we feel an obligation to let you, and your readers, know.
Elise Eberwein
VP of Communications
Frontier Airlines

Editor's note: Okey dokey. Now that everyone is completely clear on the fact that Frontier Airlines has absolutely no connection with our "What United Did to My Summer Vacation" contest, there's still time to register to win a round-trip ticket on Frontier, Denver's homegrown airline that has no role -- official or otherwise -- in our pathetic publicity stunt. See westword.com/unitedairlines for the sordid details.

What the Hill?

Last but not lease: Wow, a large one-bedroom apartment for $300? Sounds like a last-gasp hippie enclave to me, and Jeff Ball and his fellow evictees from 1234 East Colfax, profiled in Justin Berton's July 13 "The Hill Gets Steeper," are about to find out what it's like out here in the new Denver.

I recently saw the first apartment I had in Denver in the '70s, a two-bedroom at 63 Logan, going for $800. I paid $95. Okay, it was over two decades ago, but still. It seems that if you're not on the fast track (bumper-to-bumper SUVs in the house-office-shopping-recreation mode), there will soon be no affordable neighborhood to call home.

Well, the problem with these artist-bookseller types is that they don't seem to Want to Be Millionaires. For them, I would suggest the San Luis Valley for their noble, unprofitable pursuits. But hurry, before Antonito goes condo.

Thank you for going after Triton and its ilk. You won't "keep them honest," but don't stop turning over those rocks. We need you!
Jim Bernath

Webb of Intrigue
Third time's a charm:

Kenny Be, you sly and subtle one, hitting Wellington Webb right in his deep pocket in "Cab Fare for the Common Man," the July 13 Worst-Case Scenario. I don't think there has been a more corrupt administration since the KKK lorded over Denver in the '20s.

The only good thing that could happen if he were appointed to a national job by Gore would be that we would be rid of him -- but God help the country and its money surplus, not to mention the national budget. But then, he said he wouldn't take a position and leave Denver in the lurch. Ha! Ha! He lied to us before -- if only we could be so lucky.
Name withheld on request

Comic relief: Wow! Kenny Be's last two Worst-Case Scenarios -- "Fanfare/Cab Fare for the Common Man" and "Tax Hike to Fund Additional Kids' Programs" -- hit the nail on the head. Keep up the good work.
Ed Schwartz

Casting Stones
I shot the sheriff:

Alan Prendergast's July 13 "

The Lost Command

," on Columbine and Sheriff John Stone, can't go unanswered. Prendergast has no experience, training or expertise to discuss or judge a SWAT operation, law-enforcement operation or criminal investigation. For him or anyone else to do so, including the Browns, Rohrboughs or other misguided fools, is wrong.

Sheriff Stone has served Jefferson County for over twenty years as a law-enforcement officer, commissioner and now sheriff; he has accomplished more than we could ever give him credit for, yet he wants no credit.

In this article, you refer to the Browns, who have waged a poorly managed campaign of vendetta against John Stone, one that drips with campaign law violations, slander and just plain stupidity. The Browns still cannot deal with the fact that their precious son Brooks may or may not have been involved in the planning of the events of April 20, 1999, and they appear to have gone to the Ramsey School of Damage Control.

Of course, we did not expect any more out of this rag or this so-called journalist, who, if he had any talent, would certainly be writing for a real publication, not one that makes its living off the backs of victims of scumbags like Dylan and Eric and all their friends.
Nate Marshall

Send me in, coach: In his July 20 letter, Tony Chiang uses a couple of analogies that don't quite satisfy his desire to defend the police in the Columbine affair. "When a coach scripts a game, he is deciding the best way to handle different situations and successfully execute the plan," Chiang writes. "Although the coach now has to assess the situation with different tactics, he's still trying to win the game. Do you understand my point?" A coach has a game plan. But a pro-football coach also has a two-minute game plan that has been prescripted, and the players know ahead of time how to respond to just about any given situation in a hurry.

"There is a saying among lifeguards and divers regarding drowning victims," Chiang says. "Don't make yourself one." In other words, you need to plan how to save someone before you blindly charge ahead and worsen the problem you initially tried to correct. I don't see the lifeguards on Baywatch huddling to come up with a plan when some drowning person is flailing around in the surf, however. They have been trained ahead of time how to respond individually. It definitely doesn't take three hours to come up with a game plan.

I was a police officer put in a situation where we had to enter a house and disarm a person with a shotgun. It took us about five minutes to come up with a plan.
Jim Gregory
via the Internet

Local hero: The same week that Alan Prendergast's scalpel ripped open the sheriff's self-serving report came other wonderfully satisfying and long-overdue news: Frank DeAngelis, jock-coddling principal and self-named hero ("I was in the line of fire!"), is being sued for his part in nurturing the horror that was Columbine. Bless you, brave parents!

As for the half-a-thousand law-enforcement officers who still seek kudos from parents of dead and wounded students, let them quit trying to defend their behavior in the courts or the media. Instead, let them read Prendergast and then consider the case of Colorado's Congressional Medal of Honor winner. Like them, George Sakato was a volunteer for potentially hazardous duty. In October 1944 he was a 22-year-old member of the famed Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team then serving in France. Practically blinded with rage at the death of his best friend, Sakato led a charge up a hill, killing five Germans and capturing four others. He was later wounded and spent nine months in hospitals. Had he only known...

The far more prudent way would have been to first establish a perimeter, then postpone any further action while awaiting orders from superiors, and then join in a methodical search behind every tree and rock where more enemy soldiers might be hiding. This would have used up three or four hours -- ample time to determine if the Germans who had been firing had perhaps decided to commit suicide. Alas, all that Sakato did was act bravely no matter how terrible the situation. Fifty-six years later, what does he have to show for his courage? A medal and our everlasting respect.
Judy Huff

Mind over matter: What remains a mystery is the quality of mental-health care that Eric Harris received and what part that may have played in his aggressiveness. The questions that need to be answered include the following:

Was the psychotropic drug prescribed for Harris part of an ongoing treatment plan, or was the prescription rubber-stamped by a doctor who was not counseling Harris but only "overseeing" him? Were the protocols for such a drug followed? Colorado law requires that when a person in therapy makes a threat, the counselor/doctor must report that threat to the appropriate person. What happened in the case of Harris? Finally, were the doctor who prescribed the drug for Harris and/or the counselors seeing Harris also part of the many mental-health professionals who were paid to provide care to the Columbine survivors? While mental-health cases are confidential, the mental-health profession should demand that a review be made of the Harris case and answers to these questions be given to the public in an appropriate format.
J. M. Roll

A Forked Tongue

Meat beat: I found Michael Roberts's July 6 article about Chuck Green, "The Dogfather Speaks," very interesting. Mr. Green considers himself an animal lover. I am not sure if I can agree with him, since he states that he still eats meat. Watching only a few seconds of slaughterhouse footage, it was like looking through the gates of Hell. Animals in slaughterhouses can often smell, hear and see the slaughter of those before them. Proper stunning methods commonly fail, only paralyzing the animals, which are then butchered fully conscious.

Every year, a staggering nine billion animals are killed for food in the United States alone, and the number is expected to rise yearly. Cutting down/out the consumption of meat is the easiest and most important thing one could do for animals. A July 1995 report in National Hog Farmer said to "forget the hog is an animal and view it as an efficient meat machine..." But how can I forget the screams and struggle that haunt me? She was an animal that was killed without humanity because our nation craves her flesh.

Are you an animal lover?
Nicole Huntley
via the Internet

Talking out of both ends: I am frankly amazed! An article about Chuck Green was suddenly transformed into a diatribe on the good works of talk-show entertainer Peter Boyles! Roberts seems to praise him as he points out how he refuses "compensation for appearing as a Ramsey commentator because he doesn't want anybody to accuse him of benefiting from JonBenét's demise."

While interesting, I would like to point out that such an audience, as a whole, would not substantially add to the ratings of Boyles's talk show in Denver -- the place where he did make his six-figure salary by exploiting JonBenét's demise. And he did it by winning viewership through his exploitation of same!

I am certain that Peter is due for many meritorious awards and has no doubt received such for his meritorious service (paid) to mankind! Probably many from the Wizard of Oz himself! For you see, old frauds like to support each other! And newspeople of the same stripe like to support each other -- their sacred cow, so to speak!

No, Peter is going on these networks to talk about JonBenét's demise for a higher calling. And that would be a seven-figure salary from a network or a national talk show!
Donald L. Ferry


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