Down the Drain

Letters to the Editor

Bowled over: Patricia Calhoun's "Flush With Success," in the August 9 issue, was a sad commentary on the state of the news business in this town. True, it was ludicrous that the Giant Flush at the new stadium -- whatever anyone chooses to call our Bowlen Bailout -- was the biggest news of the week. (If the Super Bowl is ever played in Denver, can we call it the "Toilet Bowl"?)

But after pointing this out, Calhoun proceeded to write about it herself. Isn't that adding insult to injury?

James Manning
via the Internet

That's Sprawl, Folks!

Hell, no, we won't grow! Alan Prendergast's "Scenes From a Sprawl," in the August 9 issue, made me want to cry. I hope Berthoud is successful in keeping its small-town character, but this seems to be a losing battle.

Every time I drive to Boulder on Highway 36, what I see -- or don't see -- makes me sick. Those beautiful views of the mountains are now blocked by one tacky subdivision after another. Now it looks like the views from I-25 won't be any better.

Ginger Fowler

Population boomtown: In response to yet another attack on development (in addition to Prendergast's most recent article, see also "Scenes From a Sprawl," January 14, 1999; "The Middle of Somewhere" May 17, 2001; "Snap Judgments," November 9, 2000; "The Big Squeeze," November 2, 2000, etc.), how many more articles on urban sprawl are going to be published before anyone confronts the problem rather than its symptoms? The media (and politicians) treat population growth as if it were some mythical beast visited upon the innocent citizenry by the maniacal gods. It's not. It is caused by having babies. If you are a woman and you have more than two children, you are the problem.

Don't like seeing the natural beauty of the land soiled with housing developments? Stop having so many goddamn babies. Don't like the idea of adding two or four or eight lanes to U.S. 36? Stop having so many goddamn babies. Want to do something about the present power shortages affecting Western states and prevent the coming water shortages that have been predicted? Stop having so many goddamn babies. Want to increase teacher-to-student ratios in the schools? Want to decrease prison populations? Tired of obscene housing prices? Want less pollution? Fewer greenhouse gases? Less dependency on foreign oil? Want to really save the whales? Stop having so many goddamn babies. What part of the connection don't you understand?

I realize that for many women, having babies is the only thing that can make you feel special. Or perhaps you lack the courage to stand up to your culture, or your pope, or your spouse. So let me try to glamorize the alternative for you. If you can't keep your knees together, we're dead as a species. In a bizarre twist on natural selection, humanity will become a failed evolutionary experiment precisely because we were too successful. Not today or tomorrow, but eventually. The signs are there, for anyone willing to see them.

If you think urban sprawl is unpleasant, try extinction.

Michael S. Jones

Little housing subsidy on the prairie: Sprawl is simply government-subsidized housing for homeowners, $110 billion per year in the form of mortgage-interest deductions, capital-gains exclusions and property-tax writeoffs. These tax gimmicks are supported by three powerful special-interest groups: the real estate lobby, the banking industry and the homebuilder/contractor lobby.

Families with yearly incomes of over $100,000 receive the major share of the subsidized-housing benefits. The main economic effect is to inflate the price and size of homes while diverting investment away from other sectors of the economy. The home-mortgage interest deduction costs the federal government more than twice as much as is spent on low-income housing assistance and low-rent public housing. There are no limits or restrictions on it -- the deduction applies to summer homes in Aspen and beach compounds in Key West. It's worth about $5,000 a year, on average, to individuals making more than $200,000.

There are no facts that support the real estate industry's contention that these tax gimmicks promote home ownership. Canada has the same rate of home ownership as the United States, without the benefit of the tax subsidies.

Help stop the renters' penalty!

Abolish all forms of homeowner-subsidized housing!

John Cassella

Weed It and Reap

The Denver pest: Harrison Fletcher's August 9 "Buggin' Out" is an excellent article. It covers all the Integrated Pest Management measures to be effective in invasive species management; I certainly hope the readers of your publication enjoy and take the article to heart. Leafy spurge is an incredible monster, along with a long list of accomplices on the scene -- none of which are to be taken lightly.

A friend and colleague from the Bureau of Reclamation shared your articles with me. Biological control of these species is the ultimate answer if implementation is suitable in your given ecosystem and meets the survival criteria. We have been extremely busy releasing biological control agents into our infestations, and we are seeing some remarkable control occurring from some agents in this harsh environment. Your article spells out some of the shortfalls; however, we must proceed and give the invasive species an array of known agents and pathogens for control.

Hopefully, our invasive species will receive enough of their long-lost friends from their original homeland to suppress them and control them naturally.

Stan Huhtala
via the Internet

Dean Achers

Cash landing: It strikes me as odd that the one paper in a position to criticize Dean Singleton gives us a folk hero friendly to the "alternative" Denver market. Is it possible that this man who now controls the majority of written press in the area is as glorious as Michael Roberts points out? Although Roberts's August 2 "Press for Success" does acknowledge the specific detracting statements made by those who may not agree with his portrayal of the Media Giant, the tone of the article lives up to the image on the cover of Westword.

If a single owner of various newspapers in town cuts costs and is only working to honorable journalistic ends, as Roberts seems to argue, why not relinquish all media control to one state-owned paper? Just think: All those pesky writers in the area could be cut down to just a few people working under the strict supervision of their owner (slavedriver). Just think of all the money that could be saved! I've decided to make Dean Singleton's profound personal philosophy of "more cash in than cash out" my personal religion.

Is it possible that the owners of Westword are considering a possible sale to the Media King so that costs may be further cut? Perhaps Roberts is just thinking about taking that new position at the Denver Post. Hope he doesn't require a salary over anything your average McDonald's employee takes home.

Brad Walker

It's the real thing: Why do people like Harry Sanders (Letters, August 9) continue to insist that only dailies can be "real" newspapers? Westword shows a lot more about what's "really" going on in Denver than the joined-at-the-hip-and-pocketbook Denver-Post-Rocky-Mountain-News.

Frank Slattery
via the Internet

Caught Dead to Writes

Rocky Mountain low: Westword has never been known for its good taste, but the headline above Christine Smith's letter in the August 9 issue, "Things to Do With John Denver When He's Dead," was the worst thing I've seen!

Even after his death, Westword has chosen to make fun of John Denver, most recently in the July 19 Off Limits column. And then when people write in to complain about this disgusting, shallow treatment of a great man and true talent, Westword makes fun of those people, too.

There seems to be only one solution: If we stop reading and stop writing, maybe Westword will just go away.

Julie Thomas
via the Internet

Holy Moses! Ah, another annoying, shameless self-promotional letter from Saint Christine of Holier than Thou. Just remember, Christine, that when one points a finger at someone else, four are still pointing back at you.

Liz Seger
Port Colborne, Ontario

Twenty Seconds Over Tokyo

San furthermore...: My daughter and I were shocked to read Kyle Wagner's review of Tokyo San ("Super Bowl," July 26). For the past year, we have eaten at this restaurant several times a week and have never experienced a long, slow line to order because the cashier was doing the cooking. We have never been in when there wasn't a cashier behind the counter to take our order promptly. The cooks are in the back preparing the meals quickly; the longest wait we ever experienced during a busy lunch or dinner was five to ten minutes. The food is always hot, fresh and attractively presented.

I wonder if Kyle Wagner has really evaluated this restaurant, or if she has it mixed up with another establishment. Or perhaps your lopsided review has to do with the size of the ads put in by Tokyo Joe's.

Claire and Hava Kluger

Editor's note: For more on all types of Tokyos, see Kyle Wagner's The Bite.


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