Troubleshoot first, ask questions later: Regarding Michael Roberts's "OutFoxed," in the May 10 issue:
Tom Martino is well-known for scolding consumers who put money into risky investments without doing proper due diligence. But now, when he finds himself on the losing end of a dubious $50,000 investment with a co-worker who said he needed money for an IPO deal (how risky can you get?), the famed Troubleshooter claims he was pressured into the deal and winds up suing his employer. Go figure.
Why didn't Tom take some of his own advice and do some due diligence before loaning Scott McDonald $50,000? A little investigation would have shown that the National Airlines IPO being pushed by Scott was risky at best. And a check into McDonald's past business dealings would have revealed that this was a man who relentlessly pesters people for money, with little more than a trail of bad debts to show for his "investments." In fact, a lot of prominent Denverites -- many of whom are Martino's friends -- had already smelled a rat and refused to give Scott a dime.
But Tom would like us to believe that he was pressured into making the loan because Scott McDonald was his boss. Well, anyone in the TV business will tell you that the real power at any TV station lies with the on-air personalities, not newsroom managers like Scott McDonald. And the Troubleshooter is one of Fox's star players. If Scott was really pressuring him for money, all Tom had to do was go to the general manager and tell him to have Scott back off. That would have been the end of it. Management has a huge stake in keeping Mr. Troubleshooter happy.
It's troubling to see Tom try to spin this as someone else's fault. Why doesn't he just fess up to his mistake and take personal responsibility for being sucked into a boneheaded business deal? I think Tom himself said it best when he told Roberts, "It could seriously affect my credibility as a consumer advocate if people thought I'd fallen for something like this." Guess what, Tom? We already know you fell for it.
A loan again, naturally: What a bunch of suckers live in Denver! And according to Michael Roberts's "OutFoxed," this time the suckers are high-and-mighty media and PR people who made stupid loans to a TV guy. Even Tom Martino got taken!
That gave me a good laugh. In fact, I just might contribute to Scott McDonald's defense to keep the yuks coming. How stupid can Denver get? And people say this isn't a cowtown!
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Kowtow to a cowtown: I'd like to address this to John E. Turner and James Elliott, the May 3 letter writers who would rather be anywhere but our dusty ol' cowtown. Apparently suffering from cranial-rectal inversion, they cannot see what the majority of us see.
Even with the growth, Denver is and will remain one of the most livable big cities in the U.S. The climate is perfect. We live within a stone's throw of some of the most beautiful scenery on God's green earth. Remove your heads from your backsides and look to the West, guys.
Elliot's complaints about this "dirty" cowtown are rich, since he's from New York City. The only place I've been where the streets are as dirty as in Manhattan is Tijuana, Mexico. As a gay man, rightly repulsed as all of us were by Matt Shepard's murder, he must realize that Colorado isn't Wyoming. Perhaps he would prefer Arkansas, where a thirteen-year-old boy was sodomized and murdered by two gay men.
I know a lot of people in and around this town. Obviously, Turner and Elliott don't get out much, at least not beyond whatever trendy neighborhood they may live in. The only "buffoons" I see are these two letter writers.
To these gentlemen, I can say only this: Don't forget to wave back at us when you get to Burlington.
State of bliss: I am a Colorado native of 54 years, except for the two that I was in Vietnam (for you young people, the war lasted thirteen years). Living in the Denver metro area for thirty-plus years, I have seen the East Coast/West Coast crowd come and go many times. Well, in New York City, during the Macy's Day parade, there were twenty policemen on every corner, and drunk or stoned drivers ran into the storefronts. Broadway was great, though the cost to see a play was high.
I talked to a lady from Israel and told her I was from Denver. She asked if it was far from Boulder. When I told her it was close, she asked me who killed JonBenét Ramsey.
I feel that all the critics of our fair city have missed the boat or have come and gone. We are different here, and that's what makes America. Why can't the people who are never pleased and love to hear themselves complain give us a break? Denver is not L.A., NYC or Dallas: It is our home, and you should try to make it yours. Maybe you will learn how far we have come in the last thirty years. At least we try to tolerate the bad rap.
So please don't quote lines from Green Acres. Attend a play downtown, go to LoDo or the Pepsi Center. Most of all, you folks from Boston and California should drive on our freeways. By the way, we have some fantastic mountains!
Thomas G. Valle
Fault lines: Turner and Elliott accurately and honestly point out some of the true faults with Denver and the Front Range in general, and I agree on many points, maybe even most. Still, all things considered, I'd rather endure the "churlish" aspects of the great West than endure the endless parade of meathead, goombah Sopranos types with obnoxious accents (and thought processes), poor manners and big hair, etc., in the East, or the superficial, fake-breasted and spacey idiots on the Left Coast.
How about we put to rest this tired, over-generalized debate? There is no perfect place in the world, and all you can hope for is to find a place that has more of what you seek and need and less of what you dislike than other places. Everywhere in our country, we have a mixture of sophisticates, meatheads and everything in between, including people and things that you may not like but that you can disagree with in a civilized and honest manner. Thus, for lots of people, Denver and the Front Range are better places than most. Mr. Elliott should go to New York or San Francisco and quit bitching. Mr. Turner needs more sophistication in media, so he should try Chicago (oh, there's lots of sophistication there...along with people we cannot describe other than as "buffoons" following "duh Bearsssss"), or Atlanta (that bastion of sophistication where everything -- I mean everything -- is named after peaches) or, God forbid, Philadelphia.
And for those of us who remain here, try to know who you really are, and quit kidding yourselves about who you are, what you do, and the consequences thereof.
Mother knows best: The Veasey children are a classic example of child torture by the system that is supposed to protect them. Torn from their parents, they "act out" after talking to Mom, because this reminds them of what they have lost. Karen Bowers's "A Range of Harsh Lessons," in the May 3 issue, clearly describes an exceptional mom, one who went to the trouble of home schooling her children, then hired private tutors. Children form a strong bond to such parents.
If parents could calmly tolerate the loss of their children, the human race could not exist. Social workers pretend their abuse of parents is justified for the children's sake, but 100,000 cases like the Veaseys' (especially Candace Newmaker's) demonstrate the truth: Children are just as devastated. The Veasey children must all be returned home at once, with state-paid counseling to handle their trauma. I trust that wise mom to handle her boys.
The social workers cannot tell the best parents from the worst. Stories like that of the Veaseys are appearing in major newspapers and magazines from one end of the country to the other, in a rising thunder of outrage that will shake this nation. Your stories will save lives, but remember -- we need solutions, too.
Give it a rest: With the recent announcements of the $2.5 million and $300,000 settlements for the Columbine victims' families, and pending claims against Jefferson County law-enforcement authorities, the Jefferson County Public Schools, the Tanner Gun Show and hundreds of video-game companies (Alan Prendergast's "The Do-Nothing Defense," May 3), I can't help but wonder how much monetary "payback" will be required before the tragedy can be put to rest.
Some compensation for the grieving families was to be expected. The parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were rightly punished for their part in the tragedy. But when attorney Stephen Wahlberg stated, "We have not yet begun to fight with those that we have a fight with," immediately after $2.5 million was awarded, I began to wonder at what point emotional suffering transforms into greed.
From the sound of Wahlberg and his rationalizations for future lawsuits, the families will be unable to begin the healing process until every adult and institution even remotely involved with the tragedy has coughed up a settlement. Will further years of drawn-out lawsuits and related media attention really help the parents with their grief? Perhaps, but if so, it is nothing more than another sad statement about the emotional climate of America today, where tragedies cannot be put behind us until a check is cut.There was a time when grieving and personal loss were held as private matters and the healing that followed came from and helped foster an individual's character. Today, with lawyers and the media magnifying and feeding off every catastrophe, is it any wonder that the victims need an external indicator -- a settlement or TV segment -- to help indicate some type of closure?
My only hope is that the families and their attorneys will allow themselves to heal before the Columbine tragedy becomes known as the Columbine cash cow.
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The root of the problem: I love truffles. I enjoy reading Westword. But, come on: Juliet Wittman's "Snout on the Town," in the May 3 issue, was an incredibly lame attempt by a seemingly novice writer to manipulate this delicious delicacy to her own benefit. Please, exploit a lesser root, fungus or even legume next time.
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