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Letters to the Editor

Trickle-Down Economics

Liquid assets: Regarding David Holthouse's "Toast of the Town," in the June 14 issue:

I have friends who have worked at Denver C.A.R.E.S., so I know all about the place. Make no mistake: Its only purpose is to warehouse drunks so they won't offend business and moral sensibilities. Its prisoners should only be provided minimal service on site (if any!): a place to sleep and a word to the wise. There's nothing redemptive about the place. Talk about a hellhole! Tough love is needed there, not "gimme more" mollycoddling, though its charges should always be treated with dignity. We can't afford to be patsies in the alcoholic game. On a referral basis, other facilities could pick up the slack for those very few who want help and prove capable of real change.

The real issue lies in our mainstreaming/warehousing the mentally ill/character flawed to keep public costs down rather than addressing their real problems in any real way. There are few answers, so we just sweep them into the ditch. Tragic, isn't it?

Gene W. Edwards
Lakewood

It's enough to drive you to drink: When most people are diagnosed with a disease -- particularly one that places them in treatment centers on a regular basis -- they do what they can to cure it. It's really difficult to work up any sympathy for drunks who have nothing better to do than complain about free lodging and being "forced" to clean up. They are offered a free "cure" for their "disease." But only 8 percent of them take advantage of this, while most try to run from it. Alcoholism may be a disease (I'm still not entirely convinced of this), but living life as a drunk is a choice.

So glad I could do my part to support them.

Name withheld on request

State of emergency: I am an emergency RN at St. Joseph Hospital; I have been there for nearly five years. I also work the rest of the ER system all over Denver and surrounding areas. I have mixed feelings about Denver C.A.R.E.S., in that it does provide a "depressurization [of] the emergency department," as stated by Dr. Cantrill. The patients who present, almost always by ambulance, are usually people we recognize. The presenting complaint is "too drunk for detox." They receive IV fluids, usually some lab work, sometimes an EKG, nearly always ask for a dinner tray, and then ask for clothing to go to detox in. Sometimes they spit on us, yell and swear, urinate on the floor and require a large amount of our time to clean up and monitor for everyone's safety. They are very disruptive, and they scare the elderly and very young patients that share their space.

They are a huge financial burden to the health-care industry, because they have no monetary means of support (except for their alcohol and cigarettes!). On the other hand, how do we cure them? No one wants to shoulder the financial pain of years of rehab, housing, education, job placement and their mental- and physical-health problems. Can we ethically prohibit them from alcohol? Can we stop their drug use? Can we cure their depression? Apparently not at this time. Because of the almighty dollar, the underprivileged and indigent population is out of medicine's reach. So we all admit these people are a burden, but no one, including myself, can propose a working solution. The old African proverb that "it takes an entire village to raise a child" could teach us something about the way we handle ourselves as human beings in America.

P.S.: The front page of the article was nearly unreadable because some text was omitted. The Internet version was complete.

Richard Chatterton
Elizabeth

Editor's note: Our apologies to readers and to David Holthouse, whose story lost several lines on the opening page. (Owing to a technical error, the headline hid the copy.) Here is the the complete and correct "Toast of the Town".


Fighting Fire With Fire

Kenny Be good: After reading the letters in the June 14, I want to come to the defense of Kenny Be. His Worst-Case Scenario is the first page I turn to in Westword every week. Although I sometimes cringe at what I find there, it is usually because Kenny has hit on a truth that we often do not want to see. He illuminates situations ranging from Denver City Council to Columbine to, yes, even Westy the cat in his June 7 Worst-Case Scenario.

The letter writers' suggestions that Kenny be set on fire are appalling. Is that the way we have a civilized discussion in this society?  

Jake Tomasso
via the Internet

Animal instincts: I am writing in response to Kenny Be's June 7 cartoon about Westy the cat, which I found humorless and offensive. I don't understand how you could have allowed this cartoon to be published. I have always counted on your publication to expose explicit and interesting stories. I would have had much more respect for your publication, and I think you could have made a much more responsible choice, if you had exposed and talked about animal cruelty and what it can and does lead to, including domestic violence, rape and even murder.

What I find even more puzzling, however, is your response in this week's publication. What in the hell are you trying to say? "He's commenting on the cottage industry of causes that grows out of such an incident." I have a Ph.D. and I am afraid that your ideas are way too vague and intellectual for me. Any average Joe Blow with any kind of intelligence at all would mistake this cartoon for an endorsement of the act and maybe try to reenact it with another animal. Shame on you.

Name withheld on request

Violent reactions:I didn't like Kenny Be's cartoon about Westy, but I was horrified by the letters in response.Did anyone else notice that the people who wrote to complain about Kenny Be's cartoon suggested violence that is as bad -- or worse -- than what was done to Westy? That he be "lit on fire"? That his mother "should have used more effective birth control"? What's up with that?

Sharon Smith
Denver


Father Knows Best

Pop goes the weasel: Although you can go on a thousand tangents with a discussion of genetic testing, I was angered by Kenneth Ward's unsupported comments supporting some unnamed lawyer in Eric Dexheimer's "Pop Quiz," in the June 7 issue. The lawyer called Ron a "jerk" for expecting his wife's lover to pay support to a child that said lover had produced.

The issue is not who's the "psychological" father, and the reason is simple: The courts simply apply a blanket catch-all on all "fathers" who pop positive on a DNA test. (Side note: I have been dealing with a similar issue for years, and to give you background on this would take a book.) Yet in this case, Ward and others obviously feel Ron should continue to pay support (effectively letting the other guy off the hook), even though through genetic testing, the child was proven to not be his. Amazing how their logic is not applied on both sides of the fence. If a man who's had no contact with a child is found and tested by a court order and pops positive, he automatically pays support (whether he has contact or not with the child). Yet the same test does not relieve the man of his "legal" responsibility if he has been part of a child's life and another man is found to be the "father." To this I say: What's good for the goose is good for the gander, and the law should apply both ways. To make one man responsible for another man's child "in the eyes of the law" is wrong, period.

It's high time something was done about our laws that use genetic testing as a high-tech witch-hunt tool. If you are going to use a tool to incriminate, the reverse should also apply, equally and impartially. Or don't use it at all.

Name withheld on request

Daddy dearest: As a mother in the same situation as Eric Dexheimer's article describes, I think that the person the child considers "dad" is the true father. It takes more to be a father than a one-night stand and child support. My daughter's father has never met her and has no interest in it; I have never requested child support from him. But if the man my daughter considers her dad took off, I would request child support from him because of the relationship between them and because he introduces himself as her dad.

Name withheld on request


Censor and Sensibility

Ice, ice baby: I enjoyed reading Laura Bond's June 14 piece on Marilyn Manson and Jason Janz, "Face the Music," and I have a few thoughts:

1) Since even Pastor Janz agrees that censorship involves the government, to prominently use Governor Bill Owens and U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo as supporters sends a message. It may be an indirect message, but when government officials express a desire to not have certain entertainers perform, Janz is skating on thin ice.

2) Marilyn Manson had about as much to do with the Columbine High School shootings as did Johann Sebastian Bach. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had been subjected to years of taunts, threats and bullying. If Pastor Janz really wanted to do something about disaffected youth, he would pressure school districts to adopt and enforce tough non-harassment policies that prevent students from being bullied, taunted, harassed and beaten. Creating a safe environment for all students, regardless of those students' differences, would accomplish a lot more than trying to chase Marilyn Manson out of town.  

Peter Gross
Denver

Culture vultures: I'm not a Marilyn Manson fan. He disgusts me. I change the channel when I hear him on the radio and especially when I see him on TV. He is creepy and gross-looking. His music is terrible (in my opinion). Having said all this, I still feel very strongly that he should be able to perform in Denver.

I have a problem with any organization that attempts to limit my rights to see a concert (even one I would never go to) or listen to any message. The KKK has been operating for years. How is its message any worse than that of Marilyn Manson, and why should the KKK be protected and he is not? How come the movie industry can produce images of violence and mayhem without censorship but a musical artist is not afforded the same privilege? Why is it that a Marilyn Manson song draws so much criticism, while movies full of drug use, violence and sex are frequented by those who seek to silence him?

I hold a degree in theology from a conservative Christian university, and I find the fact that Jason Janz is a pastor and involved in such a movement to be offensive in its own right. God is able to take care of His own without limiting free speech and the exchange of ideas in a free society. If Janz had his way, we would return to the Dark Ages -- when ideas outside of those endorsed by the Pope subjected those holding them to punishment. This time Janz is the Pope, and in my eyes he's much more dangerous than Marilyn Manson will ever be.

Robert Delridge
Scottsdale, AZ

The Manson family: It's ridiculous to think that entertainment can make you do things. You would have to have the mind of a small child to think that something on TV is real and that it's a good idea. You would have to be extremely impressionistic or extremely depressed to the point that your life means nothing to you. But even then, entertainment could only plant the idea in your head -- you would have to go through hardships such as being made fun of for certain periods of time before you would consider doing harmful things. And then it would be society's fault, not entertainment's. Blaming entertainment is just an easy way of taking the blame off yourself.

I am speaking purely from a sixteen-year-old's perspective and a Marilyn Manson fan's perspective. Of course, I would be defending him. But who better to defend a singer than his fans? People are not only attacking the singer, they are attacking us. Saying that he is dark, evil (!) and whatever else you can think of is implying that we are the same way. I can guarantee you, an extremely small number of his fans fit the stereotype. Most of us are kind, decent people who merely like a singer. It's always easy to blame the guy who wears black, who sings "satanic" lyrics. It's just as everyone blames the parents, never the child.

We don't want to fight you, we don't want to argue. We want debates. We debate with each other all of the time. We merely want to like what we like.

Jonathan Fisher
La Grange, GA

The pen is mightier than the sword: Reverend Jason Janz and other self-appointed guardians of the culture forgot one little caveat: Censorship is a two-edged sword. If they're going after Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Insane Clown Posse or other "immoral" rock bands, then they should go after the boy bands when they grab their crotches. Or maybe when Britney Spears comes to Denver to strut her stuff and shake her moneymaker, they'll stage a protest. But it ain't gonna happen, because they'll be considered hypocrites.

By the time this whole mess ends, Marilyn Manson will get some needed publicity he really didn't deserve. Reverend Janz will get his fifteen minutes of fame and rub shoulders with the spiritual elite (including Focus on the Family). Then some boneheaded legislator will introduce a bill calling for a rating system for concerts, and who will be leading the charge? Jason Janz.  

Eric Fuller
Denver


What's Your Beef?

A dry idea: Just a line to let you know I couldn't agree more with Kyle Wagner in regard to the review of Gallagher's Steakhouse, "We Came, We Sauce," in the May 31 issue -- especially about the so-called Bookmaker steak sandwich.

Our sandwich arrived exactly the same way as Kyle's did: dry, overcooked, ugh! We also sent it back, but the replacement wasn't much better. Also, I could make a better onion soup, and I'm no cook. Kyle's description was right on; this was the same as what we had. Can this place continue to operate for very long with this kind of food? I don't think so.

Keep up the good work! I enjoy reading Kyle's column every week.

E. Schlichtmann
Lakewood

Meat and greet: Contrary to Kyle Wagner's recent article in Westword, all of my many dining experiences at Gallagher's were fabulous. Every salad, entree and side dish was prepared to perfection. The filet is the best I have ever eaten, and the desserts are out of this world. When I have out-of-town guests, I always take them to Gallagher's. There is not a restaurant with better service. And unlike at other steakhouses, the seating is spacious and the atmosphere is relaxed. I recommend that your readers give Gallagher's a try. After that, Gallagher's will be where they will regularly go for the best steak and most enjoyable dining experience.

Neil Macey
Denver

I'm with the bland: Okay, here goes. It will probably come as a surprise to you, but I read (with relish) Kyle Wagner's review of Gallagher's steakhouse, and I totally agreed with it (well, mostly). The surprise? I work there! I've read Kyle's reviews of restaurants for years and found her comments be almost always dead-on accurate and often humorous. We at Gallagher's Denver have been dedicated to providing food and service to guests according to Gallagher's New York corporate specifications.

Problems? You bet. Most of us here have known since Gallagher's opened that the food was bland. Gallagher's sell is that the steaks are prepared free of seasonings (as are most of the side dishes); the result is that you taste the food in a more natural state. Problem being, since we are a franchise, we have to follow recipes and guidelines for service and presentation to a T, knowing that the food is flavorless, telling the home office our concerns and then having them fall on deaf ears -- until Kyle's review (kiss, kiss).

Stay tuned for major improvements relatively quickly...and Kyle, along with Mr. Fey, you have an open invitation to return to see how some locals' contributions can make major changes on the New York dining scene here in Denver. I started by purchasing some Heinz 57.

Sometimes a negative review can serve a useful purpose.

Name withheld on request

Sour gripes: I read, I blinked, and I still couldn't find any merit to Kyle Wagner's review of Gallagher's.

If a reviewer has to rely on dragging a "legendary" sidekick to dinner in order to write a review filled with ridicule instead of some "aged" wisdom, then maybe they both don't recognize good beef when it "bellers" at them -- although Mr. Fey managed to eat two whole Kingloin steaks, so they couldn't have been too bad. Apparently these persons were not aware of the fact that Gallagher's main attraction for steak eaters is that the beef is not smothered in sauce. It is interesting to note that large numbers of cattlemen always seek us out when they are in town and want "a good piece of beef" for dinner.

As a native Denverite with twenty-plus years in the hospitality industry and as an employee of Gallagher's, I take exception to the manner in which this review was written. We all expect to take our lumps if everything isn't perfect, but we don't expect to be the brunt of bad taste in journalism. Maybe the best thing about Westword is that it's free and you don't have to waste good money on it. I certainly hope that this is not the case.

I really think that Westword owes Gallagher's an apology for glopping us with a sour sauce when just a little salt and pepper would have done the job. There's a lot to be said for subtlety both in cooking and in journalism.

Carol Michalowski
Denver


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