Letters to the Editor
Life after death: "A Hard Hit," the January 24 story about the short but meaningful life of Eric Scott, rivals any piece of investigative journalism I've read. Eric Scott was proof that a young street person can turn his life around. That he helped so many others along the way, with everything from food and clothing to HIV medication and financial advice, reveals what an astonishing phenomenon he was. He chose to have Pan instead of Sisyphus tattooed on his lower back in what would appear to be a deliberate expression of his determination to overcome every obstacle fate threw his way.
My own children are older than Eric Scott was when he died, but as a longtime denizen of central Denver, I have seen the easy mix of youth and drugs. Eric Scott touched friends and strangers with his success in choosing a new life. Shame on the police and other "public servants" who failed him so miserably. Kudos to David Holthouse for his fine writing and fearless investigating, and to Westword for printing the story.
Practice what you teach: I just wanted to take a moment to compliment you on "A Hard Hit," one of the best articles I have read in a long time. As an ER nurse in Denver, I often meet the "kids" in this article. Eric Scott sounds like an angel, even though he didn't always involve himself in angelic businesses. But anyone who can beat the odds he faced and pull himself up the way he did deserves a few allowances. More important, he taught others what he had learned. If everyone in this world took the time to teach others what they knew...well, just think where we might be as a society. Anyway, thanks so much for such an inspiring article about such an inspiring man.
Credit report: As a non-regular reader of Westword, I am contacting you in appreciation of "A Hard Hit." As I looked at the cover, I thought to myself, "How is this kid (my probably wrong assumption regarding everyone working at Westword) going to spin a drug dealer into a fallen angel?" I found myself engulfed in David Holthouse's writing style and pleased, to say the least, that he wasn't trying to justify Eric Scott's occupation by highlighting his righteous daily life; rather, he was reporting a newsworthy story. I do not condone or condemn Scott's lifestyle or his occupation, as I believe there are later judgments that will happen in a person's life. I am simply expressing my enlightenment to your paper and applauding Holthouse on his investigative style and report.
I haven't ever written to a newspaper editor or anything of the sort in my life, but upon reading this article, I felt compelled to write and give credit where it is due, for a job well done.
Straight to the heart: Let me start by saying I have never read an article that has moved me as much as this one did. I have read it over and over, and still it makes me cry. I was very sorry to hear what happened to Eric Scott. He touched my heart, and I never even met him. I am sorry that the Denver Police Department did not listen to those who knew what he wanted done after he passed. Also, it seems that they are not trying to bring his killer to justice.
Damn the asshole who took this incredible life from our world.
Setting the scene: I just read the piece on Eric Scott and wanted to compliment you. I used to work at the Spot, and my best friend lived at Urban Peak. We were those kids ten or twelve years ago. I'm a magazine editor in New York now, but it brought back memories, good and bad, and David Holthouse described the scenes artfully. Just my two cents, but I thought the piece was great.
New York, NY
Like a good neighbor: Thank you so much for your very well-researched and very poignant tribute to a remarkable young man. Although your article detailed the youngsters that Eric Scott touched and helped, he was also a good friend and neighbor to all with whom he came in contact, regardless of their age or lifestyle. I had the privilege to live in the same house as Eric (the former Crystal Palace) for a year, and next door to him for an additional seven years. Not a kinder soul was there to be found. For all the "unconventionalism" of his lifestyle, he was truly a wonderful human being. His death absolutely devastated our neighborhood. I do not fit the description that one would usually think of as Eric's friend. I am a 36-year-old travel agent (until September 11...I now work for Frontier Airlines) who has never taken drugs except for some very minor experimentation with pot in my early teens.
I was truly shocked and disappointed with the city's handling of Eric's death. I hope this article lights a fire under some official butts to arrest "the Hammer Man" (I didn't know his real name until I read the article). After all, even I knew he was a likely suspect.
Again, thank you for giving Eric the recognition he so richly deserved.
Commerce and injury: It was with much interest that I read James Hibberd's "Funky Town," in the January 10 issue. It was a well-written story, and I hope it will serve to keep the heat on the chief odor offenders in Colorado, and especially in the metro-Denver area. As the article stated, the biggest problem is that the offenders have a lot of money and political clout when it comes to defending their right to continue their odor pollution in usually low-income neighborhoods.
I just wanted to inform you that as a Colorado state senator, I tried to pass legislation addressing this terrible problem. I sponsored SB 135 in the 1995 session of the state legislature, which would have given the people and neighborhoods affected by this nauseating problem some recourse with which to help address this situation. An article in the Capitol Reporter showed how lightly this problem was taken by the Senate Agriculture Committee when I presented it in February 1995: It's titled "Lawmakers turn up noses at odor bill."
In closing, I would like to make one general statement about members of the news media who enjoy making negative comments about Commerce City. Unfortunately, the people in Commerce City who usually take the brunt of these jokes are the children and young people who live here. They are continuously made fun of by kids from other areas, and they are often humiliated and embarrassed about something they had nothing to do with. Commerce City is a city of good, hardworking people who are quickly changing the city for the better. For the children's sake, I wish members of the media would understand who it is they are hurting with their negative comments and, hopefully, quit with their hurtful comments!
Picture this: After reading Michael Roberts's "Tower Failure," in the January 24 issue, I was struck by the continuing claim of the television broadcasters that they must switch from analog to HDTV broadcasting by a certain date as mandated by the FCC or they will lose their license. This claim is a fallacy, since the FCC has admitted it will need to relax this requirement and is willing to do so. In truth, from a television standpoint, these huge "over-the-air" HDTV broadcast towers will be ugly dinosaurs as more and more people receive their television signal from cable, satellite and high-speed Internet in the future. Already, over 70 percent of metro-area residents receive their television through cable and satellite. How many people buying a new, $2,000 HDTV will want to place a rabbit-ears antenna on top of their set to receive these "over-the-air" signals from these new towers?
The problem is that once these towers are put up, they will be almost impossible to tear down, remaining ugly eyesores along the Front Range for years to come. From a health standpoint, it makes a lot of sense to wait until the Colorado State University study of Lookout Mountain residents is complete before making any tower decisions at all, since possible adverse health effects should have precedence over business concerns.
All for one: I write you in support of the Mount Morrison replacement-tower application submitted to Jefferson County by Public Interest Communications (PIC). My wife, seventeen-month-old son and I live at the 6th Avenue West Estates just outside of Golden. The towers on both Mount Morrison and Lookout Mountain are clearly visible from our home. We frequently watch Channel 6 and strongly support its move toward digital television. I support the application in part because I would like to see a consolidation of towers. By supporting this application, you will help our community eliminate at least one -- and perhaps more than one -- tower from Lookout Mountain. I believe most area residents, while not excited about towers, understand that the towers are not going to magically disappear from Lookout Mountain or Mount Morrison. We need a plan. PIC's plan is simple and straightforward: to permanently dismantle two towers and replace them with one. When we have the opportunity to consolidate towers in the area, we ought not look a gift horse in the mouth.
I don't care for the tactics of tower opponents who assume an all-or-nothing approach to dealing with tower proposals. It's a classic case of NIMBY. Because of the line of sight, height of the mountains and proximity to the metro area, tower applications will continue coming to Jefferson County. Unless we want the unsightly things on every mountain in the county (not to mention the new power lines and mountain roads that new towers require), it makes sense that towers be consolidated on existing sites near the metro area. For whatever reason, Lookout Mountain and Mount Morrison were selected as tower sites many, many years ago. And with all due respect to tower opponents, none of us moved into our homes in the middle of the night. We do, however, have a chance to get rid of at least one tower. Let's do it!
And none for all: Broadcast towers are electrosmog dinosaurs. The difference between Enron controlling SEC accounting rules and broadcasters controlling FCC electrosmog rules is that Enron got caught. Or, more precisely, the media exposed Enron, not the broadcasters.
The broadcast digital television "mandate" complies with the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which was written and paid for (with campaign contributions) by the broadcast, wireless and electronics industries. Congress gave TV broadcasters $70 billion of digital spectrum free to add to analog by 2006. The "switch" from analog to digital will occur in 2020 or 2025, when 85 percent of viewers own DTV receivers.
Eighty digital channels are now available on satellite and cable for the 75 percent of metro Denver that prefers variety, quality and reliability. Broadcasters intend to split "High Definition Television" into many leasable channels for millions. The media reports only industry-financed biological-effect research.
"Convenient" Lookout Mountain was platted in the 1920s and zoned residential in 1955. Greed fueled 100 transmission devices in 1978 to expand to 1,000-plus by 1998, with total disregard for world-class historical sites and 3,000 human beings living at higher altitudes than the tower base within three miles. I have published reports on this issue since 1996. Eldorado Mountain and Squaw Mountain are safe "rural" sites. People have a right to explore more at these Web sites: EldoradoMtn.org; CityMtnViews.com; C-A-R-E.org.
Carole Lomond, editor
City and Mountain Views, Lookout Mountain
Defining high definition: As an avid HDTV enthusiast, I couldn't let the errors in "Tower Failure" go uncorrected.
Roberts stated that "the FCC directed American TV stations to switch their signals from analog to digital -- also known as HDTV." This is only partially true. The mandate was for over-the-air transmissions to be digital; HDTV is only a subset of digital TV broadcasting. There is no mandate whatsoever that any of the programming be in HDTV resolutions, only that said programming be broadcast digitally.
Roberts stated that Channel 31 would broadcast the Super Bowl in HDTV. This was false: The Super Bowl was in 16:9, 480P, which was digital, but not HDTV. The KDVR/Fox digital broadcast sucked. It appeared to be stuck in slow motion, making any shots with motion nauseating to view. Even though Fox's digital broadcast was in widescreen, the picture quality was so bad that I actually resorted to watching the "regular" broadcast on DirecTV.
Roberts also stated that Channel 4 is broadcasting using a low-power antenna from Republic Plaza. While Channel 4 has stated its intention to do so, to date there is no digital signal on the air from Channel 4.
It is truly sad that Denver's cowtown image continues to be upheld by our failure to have any sort of useful digital TV broadcasts three years after the "mandate" that we convert. Denver plays host to many of the nation's top technology companies, yet we have no digital TV broadcasts to speak of.
via the Internet
Michael Roberts replies: According to Marv Rockford, vice president and general manager of Channel 4, the station began broadcasting digitally in late December.
The Denver magistrate who handled Steven Dwyer's case ("Bad Boys," January 17) was not Mark Muller but Paul Quinn, who was temporarily assigned to Muller's courtroom. Our apologies for the error.
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