Electric Company

Letters to the Editor

Zap comics: I have all the symptoms described in Harrison Fletcher's June 28 "Unlucky Strike": memory loss, loss of balance, general confusion. I thought it was age, but now I know better. I must have been struck by lightning!

Great story, by the way.

Susan Mulligan

Greased lightning: On page 28 of Harrison Fletcher's lightning story: "The zigzag path it chooses is entirely random, dictated simply by the quickest way to the earth."

On page 32: "Thunderbolts have been known to travel more than ten miles before hitting the ground."

Que es verdad, amigo?

Rob Walters

Speak From the Diaphragm

Barrier method: You go, girl! Patricia Calhoun's "Watch the Fireworks," in the July 5 issue, was hilarious, but it was also on the mark. Calhoun said many of the things that I've been waiting to hear, and I have just one more thing to add.

I didn't want to pay for the new stadium, and if it couldn't be named Bowlen's Boondoggle, then I'm glad someone bought the naming rights and saved railroaded taxpayers such as myself from paying even more money. And Invesco's temper tantrum showed that this company was the perfect fit for the new stadium: Invesco's as big a baby as Bowlen is!

Ray Hernandez

It doesn't ad up: In her July 5 column, Calhoun stated that "the Metropolitan Football Stadium District followed the letter of the law" in selling the naming rights to Invesco. They followed the letter of the law?

Was not the stadium board legally required to consider the "public sentiment" before selling the stadium's naming rights? Every measure of the public sentiment that was available -- the public hearings, public opinion polls -- indicated that a substantial majority of the public favored retaining the name Mile High Stadium.

Also, can someone point out where or how the law authorized the stadium board to combine the selling of the stadium's naming rights with the Broncos' advertising rights inside the stadium in a fifty-fifty split? How can the stadium's name, with its continual mention on TV and in the press, have the same value as the Broncos' advertising rights inside the stadium? If I'm missing something, please enlighten me.

Hopefully, these issues and concerns will be resolved when the judge hands down his decision on the lawsuit to terminate the agreement selling the naming rights to Invesco.

Seymour Weinberg

Wall of Shame

Zoned out: John Grant, Denver's public-art administrator, should change his focus from cracking down on billboards to creating more public art. And Jonathan Shikes, author of "The Writing on the Wall," in the June 28 issue, needs to learn how to write articles and not editorials. Both the Terabeam and Nike billboards lambasted by Shikes and Grant are great examples of advertising as art. Who cares how big the logo is? The billboards are a creative use of the side of a building.

"I've been getting a lot of calls," says Mr. Grant. Uh-huh, so how many calls are you getting? Mr. Grant says that the sign contractor didn't bother to call the city to find out about its rules -- how does he know? I have called the city zoning department on various occasions with questions about the same project and gotten as many different answers; they never logged my name and purpose for my call.

Mr. Shikes is truly a great editorial writer. "Portland-based ART FX Murals probably should have known better: It was responsible for putting the now-banned Terrell Davis mural on the same building," he wrote. But what he failed to do was write a balanced story. Why should ART FX have known better? Were they officially notified by the city about its logo rule change? Shikes tirelessly pointed out that both Terabeam and ART FX are big, bad, out-of-state corporations. So what?

The city is zoning itself into creative oblivion. Another of my least favorite rules is the zoning restriction on building houses on narrow 25-foot lots: Sorry, you can't do it. This even though there are a lot of historic homes already built on 25-foot-wide lots. Instead of promoting infill projects and economic development, the zoning gurus at the city would rather have a blighted, empty lot.

Ben Fiedler
via the Internet

Unsafe at Any Speed

Life in the slow lane: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "The Siege," in the June 21 issue:

As a part-time resident of San Luis, I have seen the Costilla County sheriff's deputies and their attempt to harass anyone who happens to be on the roads. I was very aware of the strictly enforced speed limits in the town of San Luis (25 mph), so I made sure to stay below that. I was pulled over once, though, for supposedly speeding at 26. After a lengthy explanation of why I was in the town, where I was coming from and where I was headed, I wasn't issued a ticket -- but it shows another example of the department's overzealous attitude regarding all rogue residents and visitors.

Name withheld on request

I am a former deputy sheriff of Costilla County. I read Alan Prendergast's "The Siege" and felt my stomach turn as I did. I honestly feel this is a lopsided story. I remember the amount of complaints reported to our office. I also recall the vast number of compliments we received.

During my time there, I arrested people, I wrote tickets, I filed reports and I worked as the community outreach officer (school resource officer). I am sure I upset the "bad guys"; I may have made a few enemies. When I tell my family and friends of my time in San Luis, I tell them the stories of everything that happened -- not just the part about a lawless town. San Luis may have been a bad place at one time, but things change over time. If you are not ready to make the change, then you will grow to resent it. Part of the community may resent the change, the strong-handed tactics, the deputies who seemed unfriendly or mean. For the most part, we were doing a job that was thankless, dirty and violent. We did the best we could with the tools and training that were provided.

The best tool provided to us was knowledge of the Colorado Revised Statutes. I found the best way to use this tool was to educate others about it. This worked. It worked for me at Centennial School and, later, it helped the students to better understand our job as police professionals.

One of the biggest challenges we faced was the role of going from a reactive to a proactive office. This change was probably the greatest shock to the small community. Instead of waiting for a crime to come to us, we went to find those crimes. We only enforced the laws that had long been in place -- they were just overlooked. Instead of taking drunk drivers home, we filed charges against them with the district attorney's office. We were doing our job -- not harassing, not making up charges, not perjuring ourselves in court. We were trying to make the community safe for everyone.

I think we did good work. I think I made more friends than enemies. I believe Sheriff Mestas and Undersheriff Pugliese did wonders for the county. They were never focused on themselves: They trained us and provided us with the skills and gave us the ability to work not for them, but for the citizens of Costilla County.

Kenneth Balltrip

To serve and harass: The article you printed exposing those Dukes of Hazard, Boss Hog impersonators was of great concern to me.

I grew up in San Luis! I have very good memories of those days when people were safe and free from police harassment. Some people come into a position of authority and go crazy due to the lack of self-control.

I would like to thank you for exposing this type of police enforcement that does great harm to a small community. My family also thanks you for the honest reporting you've done.

Augustine Sandoval
via the Internet

Act in haste, repent in leisure: Prendergast's exposé on Costilla County reminds me of a similar scenario in Gilpin County before gambling was introduced in Central City and Black Hawk. At the time, I was disturbed by the community's critique, which I thought was a bit shortsighted and rather naive. In all jurisdictions, there are mistakes, over-reactions, seemingly unfair practices -- and this reality is magnified when the community is small, for there is always something to complain about.

Sheriff Andy Taylor faced many a magnified complaint in that fictitious but reality-based series. But Mayberry was decades ago, and the challenges of today's jurisdictions are far more complex. A recall is the right maneuver if indeed these allegations are true -- but if they're made in contempt of authority figures just trying to do their jobs, a grave injustice will be served. The "bandwagon" to obtain enough signatures will be easy, but before it's all said and done, those folks in Costilla County might want to consider those who will replace these alleged perpetrators -- and then ask themselves if anything will really change.

J. Matthew Dietz

Vox of the People

The devil you say! In response to "Citizen's Arrest," the July 5 letter from Robert Avery, the gentleman who was concerned about the members of Vox Demonna living in his neighborhood:

I grew up in northeast Ohio, somewhere between where Brian Warner of Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails grew up, and I am about their age. I can't recall ever seeing a local news story about either of them plotting to harm someone's children or undermine their community. You see, they are artists, so they have an outlet. In fact, they had very little impact on their communities, as they were focused on honing their crafts. I can't remember hearing about Ozzy Osbourne or Alice Cooper molesting children on their way to stardom, either.

What I do recall distinctly was that not a year passed without the local news reporting the scandal of some scout leader or clergyman violating an adolescent. These were the kinds of children whose parents had not prepared them for life. No one had discussed with them inappropriate touching or warned them that adults might be predators, because they were trying to protect them from learning about these dark, uncomfortable corners of our world. The adults that molested them were thought to be rigid Christians and pillars of the community until they got caught.

I worry about the daughter of this letter writer. By indicating that she is wrong in wanting to see this type of musical act with her friends, he has made her more deeply curious about why the music is so dangerous. He is taking away her outlet for the healthy questioning of values that comes with growing into adulthood. I have never heard Vox Demonna, but I am sure its lyrics are not as convincing and philosophically engaging as the works of Aleister Crowley, Rimbaud, Nietzsche or the Marquis de Sade -- all of which she could easily pick up at the local library and read without his knowing.

If he wants to protect her from ideas and cultures he doesn't approve of, he should sit down and have a discussion with her about his values and why he believes the path he has chosen has led him through a fulfilled and happy life.

Then let her go and see for herself.

Or he could follow his instincts and make sure she is never exposed to anything that makes her uncomfortable. For the summer, he could see if it isn't too late to get her into a Christian girls' camp run by some husky woman with a mullet. That will surely keep her away from the dangerous all-ages shows of the big, bad city.

Troy Puls

Not in my backyard: The letter about Vox Demonna grabbed my attention. I have seen the name in the music listings for a couple of years and never thought of the meaning or intent until now. Vox Demonna -- Voice of the Demon -- how much more direct could they be? When I hear the name Marilyn Manson, it makes me think of two people: Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. I just thought it a twisted play on beauty and the beast and never gave it a second thought. Other people have their own interpretation of what it means. But Vox Demonna has no other implications that could be associated with it. The name is pretty cut-and-dried.

On July 14, this band will be playing at the Bluebird to an all-ages group. I would not be concerned about this if it were a 21-and-over show, because I think adults can make their own decision. But when it comes to children, it is our responsibility to make decisions for them. We hear a lot of information that we, as parents, as a community, should be aware of what our children are listening to. I know this is a free country, with constitutional rights and all, but I don't think people should be able to do whatever they feel like doing -- especially if it influences our youth. It is my right to say "I believe this is wrong."

Obviously, the protest against Marilyn Manson was not strong enough. There is strength in numbers, but where were the numbers? I read about only thirty people. I was shocked. With all the controversy, I thought it would be more. If I had known that, I would have been there myself. But I looked at Marilyn Manson as a one-time thing. As Robert Avery says in his letter, this is "our own backyard." This can affect me and my family. I could be overreacting, but it seems I am not the only one.

Sylvia Rosenburg
via the Internet

The parent trap: Let's blame everything on Manson and every other "evil" band out there so that parents don't have to take any responsibility for their children's actions. I am a parent and I work with children, and each day, most of the kids I see with problems have one thing in common, and it isn't the music they listen to. It's their parents. Parents are constantly blaming everything from the school system to musicians to video games to Hollywood for their kids' actions. Get real!

And you, Robert Avery, with all your high morals, are you teaching your daughter personal responsibility? I am glad that you at least went to the show and checked it out to see what your daughter was doing. That's more than most parents do, and you have every right not to want her to go. But please, don't start blaming music for all that is going on today. I think it goes much deeper than that, and I think you know that, too. So let's not jump on the bandwagon -- no pun intended.

Kathy Golgart

Bully club: In the wake of these Marilyn Manson protests, has anyone considered plucking out the true root of evil music? The social zealots are attacking the inane and talentless Marilyn Manson while they let someone like (truly evil) Britney Spears slip by undetected. She does nothing but flaunt her "virginity" by doing pole dances that prostitute her career.

She is the perfect symbol of what we don't want our children to become. She exemplifies the stereotype of the barefoot pregnant wife that men have been taught to seek out. By tempting the public's desires, she is ruining the concept of decency for all of us.

Since it is so fashionable to blame high-schoolers for mirroring the problems they will confront in adult life, we should tyrannize them with censorship. Why do they think they are so special? They complain about their bullies? Well, we have the IRS and a bunch of politicians to whom we pay our hard-earned lunch monies, and we get nothing in return.

If we censor the youth of America, will this solve all of these problems?

Ricky Martin is next!

Ron Metzger

Bands on the run: I am a friend of some of the members of Vox Demonna, and I help them with some of their shows. Letter writer Robert Avery's unfounded accusations could not be further from the truth. The bandmembers, their fans and the goth scene in general are not evil people. I have found the most wonderful, caring people I have ever known in this scene, and there is more love here then you could shake a stick at, so to speak. These are people who put their heart and soul into what they care about. People you could call at 2 a.m. when your car breaks down, and they will come give you a ride home. It might be in a hearse, but they will be there for you! Just because people like Avery don't understand us doesn't make us evil. Just because they don't see the beauty in the same things we do does not make us strange.

It is people like that who breed hate. I have not once seen someone write a letter to silence them, even though we don't agree with what they are doing. They simply hate. And until they can accept all people, like we have done, like we will do, they will continue to breed your hate. I invite Avery and anyone else who might be interested to come to a show for Vox Demonna or any other local band (the next show is July 14 at the Bluebird). Speak to the people there; observe the fans and how we hug each other when we meet or say goodbye, how we laugh and joke just like "normal" people, and how we enjoy the music that our friends put their heart and soul into.

Naomi Osburn

A New Leaf

Soil far, soil good: In response to Lisa Sigler's June 28 letter regarding Julie Jargon's "The Secret Garden," the June 14 story about the Denver Botanic Gardens:

We also attended the DBG's first concert of the season. Summer concerts at all of the outdoor venues in the metro area are "rain or shine." There were more than a hundred people there, and most were prepared for the weather with rain gear and umbrellas. It was not the fault of DBG that the artist was late in arriving. The music was great and worth the wait. The concert was 45 minutes and ended according to city guidelines put into effect at the urging of the surrounding neighborhood.

We are members of the DBG and attend many events or just spend time enjoying the gardens and refreshing our souls. Criticism of DBG is unfounded. The gardens get more magnificent as time goes by. The current staff is doing an excellent job of creating a Rocky Mountain and high-plains garden -- not an East Coast, West Coast, humid Southeast, Pacific Northwest, etc., garden! There are so many more perennials appropriate to our climate, and DBG is noted for being an excellent "demonstration" garden for educating the local gardener on what will grow well here with water-wise gardening. Many local nurseries and garden centers will sell you plants that are not appropriate for the area, so it is wise to check out DBG first. The DBG is not under a gigantic bubble, and it is subject to the same weather conditions as local homeowners.

The process of changing the 24 gardens over the last few years did leave a few temporary bare spots, but the results are beautiful. The gardens are continually changing and growing with the seasons, and they get more spectacular as the growing season continues. We enjoy DBG all seasons of the year; even winter is interesting. Many people think if they have been to the Denver Botanic Gardens once, they have seen them, but once is not enough! If you have not been there for several years, go see for yourself. There is no finer venue for concerts, and the musicians seem to agree. Visit DBG often. Join DBG. Volunteer.

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: Lisa Sigler reports that the Denver Botanic Gardens "stepped up to the plate" and refunded the cost of all eight tickets.

Master of the Game

Remembering Mike: I am writing in response to T.R. Witcher's "After the Fall," in the May 31 issue, and what others wrote about the article. I feel it could have concentrated more on Mix Master Mike, for he was more than an amazing DJ. He was a great friend and a mentor. Now that he is gone, do you see any other DJs bringing in over 1,500 people in a single night? He was the Pied Piper, as Swaun called him: Wherever he was, the people followed.

The most important thing here is that we show respect and let him die peacefully. All the rumors and the talking are not going to bring him back. It is sad for Denver to have lost such an icon, but his memory remains with many and lives through few. I understand that there are others who have paved the way for the Fab Five, and I thank them for that, but at the same time, this is tragic. I just wish that more people could have gotten to know Mike the way that I did -- not only as a DJ, but as a best friend. It is often easy for people to forget that he was a person who touched many people's lives on many different levels and was loved by so many.

Tonika Simmons

Running Hot and Cult

Mouth of the border: I just finished reading John Jesitus's Ian Astbury interview ("Electric Company," June 21), and I found myself very pleased by the fine piece of reading that graced my eyes. Keep on the good job, John! We Cult fans of México appreciated your article very much. Oh, and tell Dave thanks for the tip.

Paco Quintero
Guadalajara, México

He's With the Band

Head for the hillbillies: Kudos to Michael Roberts for his May 31 "At the Helm" and for exposing Levon Helm for the bitter, functionally illiterate hillbilly he is. Richard Manuel hanged himself, Rick Danko died as a bloated junkie, and Levon now sounds like one of those guys who puts his finger over the hole in his throat when he speaks. Robbie Robertson is the reason Mr. Helm hasn't spent the last thirty years of his life living in an Arkansas trailer park. The Band was an ensemble in the purest sense, but at least Robertson waited until The Last Waltz to show the world what kind of charisma he really possessed.

Ken Baxter


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