Stall in the family: Thanks for keeping the name of Qwest in the spotlight with Patricia Calhoun's "Life's Bitter Here," in the August 24 issue. Needless to say, they are not making friends by undoing the good that US West has done for the community.
What Qwest is doing for the community, they are also doing for the employees. I have been a contractor with US West since the middle of 1999. Since the merger became final, we have been working day to day wondering when our jobs, our livelihoods, will diminish into the woodwork. The unknowing is unnerving. People are leaving in force, moving on, because of the stalled communications. No one knows what the new owners are going to do or when. We have homes, we have families. We are now 70,000-plus people in this situation, yet no one hears from us. Until now...
Please leave my name out of print, because I need my job as long as possible.
Name withheld on request
Big brother's watching: Life is bitter here. It is a sad note that Qwest decided to come in and upset the lives of so many. (Please do not use my name, because I work for Qwest and don't want to get the boot quite yet.) The cost of keeping the computer center and the "think tank" open will surely not make or break Qwest.What is the cost to the community and to the name of Qwest itself? What kind of a community neighbor will Qwest be now? Is it the high-rollers at the golf tourney who pay Nacchio's wages, or the common guy who would like a good neighbor in his neighborhood? Who cares if Qwest employees wear "foot stockings"? What matters is the sense of community that US West and Sol Trujillo conveyed. That is what the focus should be on.
Sadly, money talks. Let's hope at least that although Nacchio may control the pocketbook of Qwest, the Democrats will come into office again and the right wing won't control the entire United States. Obviously, Nacchio does not believe himself to be his brother's keeper.
Name withheld on request
Going to Extremes
Rocky Mountain high: As a 1971 graduate of Aspen High School and a classmate of Raoul Wille's, I congratulate you for Alan Prendergast's objective view of life in Aspen in his "Can't Buy a Thrill," in the August 17 issue. Although I now live in Frisco, I remain in touch with locals who reflect the situation that he reported. Even in 1971, some of the same issues of lack of parental involvement, "boredom," too much wealth, and easy drugs and alcohol were starting to have an effect. The roots of the youthquake probably go back for years.
In fact, there are similarities in this situation to the roots of Columbine, as unsupervised youth act out their fantasies while the adults nearby claim to not have had a clue. Modern parenting seems to be no parenting at all. Likewise, today's "high" schools set standards and expectations that give seniors too much time on their hands and the illusion that their B average is a great accomplishment, when in reality, they have learned to waste time and are poorly prepared for their first job or their freshman year at an equally watered-down college. Too many parents are too spoiled to put in the time to know, guide and love their children while convincing themselves that a laissez-faire style will make the child strong and independent.
Will we learn from these incidents that we read about and take to heart a message that will help us avoid repeating it, or will we refuse to see ourselves in the headlines? It will be interesting to see how low we can go as a culture before we recoil from the results of our indifference. As yet, I see no end to it.
I was saddened by the loss of Raoul at such an early age. He was a remarkable person, with all the good and bad points that Prendergast captured in Westword. He died pursuing his dreams of adventure. What was it that tipped the scales for Cody?
Keep on reporting...
Guardian angles: Compliments again to the highly gifted and hardworking Alan Prendergast for the story of adolescence gone awry in Aspen. A very important aspect, bravely reported, was the failure of the professional guardians involved to do their duty. If these professionals, a psychologist and two attorneys, had been government officials, they could have been held accountable for malfeasance of office. I wanted to mention that fact, because it's not something taught in schools or found on billboards.
Teen angles: I am a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley and watched with interest as the crime spree unfolded last year. Initially, the crimes were blamed on Hispanics or some other "outsiders." Eventually, the true story began to unfold, and it continues to unfold to this day.
Alan Prendergast's piece on the crime spree was the first in-depth analysis that I have seen. Curiously, none of the half-dozen local rags saw fit to do any sort of soul-searching over the issue, perhaps fearing where it would lead -- toward the conclusion that the kids are indeed a product of their environment. Aspen is surely a town without consequences, where embezzlement is rampant, where land rape leads to prestige, and where there is a culture celebrating the ripoff of others in the boardroom. With these sorts of heroes, plus the celebration of mobster and gangsta culture on the tube, it is no wonder that criminals are role models. Finally, as you observed, we have a high proportion of wealthy, transient kids who are raised first by nannies and later left to raise themselves, essentially abandoned by their self-absorbed, divorced parents. (Caveat to defensive single parents: I didn't say all, just too many.)
The most disturbing trend is the celebration of these crooks as heroes by their peers. They have become (at least with a portion of the local girls) sex objects. Bad boys will always be a magnet for some girls, but these kids' stocks have risen since their arrests.
The Columbine killers and our local felons share this in common: Underneath suburbia's materialistic and self-absorbed facade, a crisis is coming into bloom. The ante keeps going up over what marginal and troubled youth are willing/need to do to vent their teen angst.
No joke: If the August 17 Off Limits comparison of Ted Nugent and Jake Jabs with Charlton Heston was meant as humor, as funny, then you have a lot to learn about funny and humor.
James C. Hess
via the Internet
Straighten up and fly right: I have read all your columns about United Airlines, and I want to let you know that you're 100 percent right on! As a former employee at United (I worked at reservations in Seattle), I can tell you that the reason the service is awful is because management doesn't know how to take care of their employees! They give poor training and treat them like crap! I will never forgive them for that attitude in firing me, and I have told many of my friends that I will never fly that *@% airline again!
I have a Web page talking about my bad experiences with United. If you wish, please visit my site at www.geocities.com/ualsux9679/index.html. Thanks, and tell people you know to stay away from United -- it's not worth your time or your money!
At your services: Although I sympathize with the winner of your "What United Did to My Summer Vacation" contest, I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how, in the August 10 "United We Stand," you can categorize a funeral trip as a vacation. You must have an unusual dictionary.
via the Internet
Technical difficulties: Something worth adding to Michael Roberts's timely article on David Barsamian ("Leftoverture," August 17) is a mention of kgnu.org, so that some of us who can't receive KGNU's provincial on-air signal can hear such programming via the station's Web site. Sadly, the lack of metrowide on-air access to KGNU presents some uncomfortable truths for those in public-radio circles who claim to support the concept of diverse public radio for as many potential listeners as possible.
One part of Roberts's article to revisit: the section taking a swipe at Denver's only public stations, KCFR and KUVO, for not carrying Barsamian's show. Placing those stations in the same philosophical bag is shortsighted and doesn't explain the lack of more diversity in public radio programming. Having worked for both KCFR and KUVO, I see an approach to community service that is as different as night and day. Both stations run "underwriting" announcements, but only KUVO airs a substantial number of free public-service announcements (PSAs) throughout the day for numerous nonprofit groups. On KCFR, a rare freebie may be heard away from prime time. KUVO also brings features and live interviews on local arts and events.
KCFR tells us that if we just dig a little deeper into our wallets, they will save the day by buying and programming a second station. Be careful, though, if you're expecting to hear a wide spectrum of views, like those expressed on Barsamian's Alternative Radio. This situation screams out for a more economical way to increase the diversity on the air, which translates into allowing KGNU and KUNC into all of metro. Will enough of us demand that so it will finally happen?
P.S.: For the past two years, I have been volunteering as a musical host on KUVO.
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Something's fishy: I was saddened and disgusted to read in the August 3 "Special Attractions" that your restaurant correspondent would order shark fin soup in any restaurant and then promote it in the restaurant review. Obviously, Kyle Wagner is uninformed about the plight of the world's shark population and the brutality used in obtaining the fins for soup. Every day, 275,000 sharks are killed around the world. Some species do not reproduce until they are twenty years old. Many produce two to eleven pups every other year. Sharks are becoming more endangered every day.
Shark finning is brutal and inhumane. Sharks are caught, their fins slashed from their bodies, and the remaining fish is thrown overboard to die. I will not eat at La Chine or any restaurant I find that serves shark fin soup or encourages the practice of shark finning. Kyle Wagner and the rest of the public need to become better informed.
Editor's note: For more on sharks and other endangered species, see The Bite this week.