A monumental mistake: I think Patricia Calhoun's "The Big Cheese," in the June 6 issue, was a great article. The recent city obsession with monuments to Mayor Wellington Webb is premature with thirteen months of his administration left to go. A lot can happen in thirteen months to make the public forget about the claimed accomplishments of previous years; examples of mismanagement seem to be surfacing frequently in recent months.
The newly implemented parking-meter fee increase is a prime example. Denver now has the most expensive parking meters in the country, with rates higher than New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. Is this a sound way to promote downtown business in a recession? The new pay stations that the mayor promised, to make it more convenient for the public to pay the exorbitant fees, will cost more than the higher fees bring in for years to come. By the time the equipment is paid for, the recession will likely be over and the city will face refunding excess revenue under the TABOR restrictions. Is this intelligent long-range planning?
It is no coincidence that the claimed accomplishments of the mayor occurred prior to the end of the '90s boom. During the '90s, cities all over the country were able to build impressive public structures and make significant social gains. Credit should go to the economy and not officials who happened to be in office under fortuitous circumstances. After a few years, with the benefit of hindsight, Denver can decide if the Webb administration is worthy of such high accolades.
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Giving Webb the business: Despite the outcry of business owners in LoDo and elsewhere in the Soviet Socialist Republik of Denver over oppressive parking rates (as business is already hurting for Denver businesses), Webb & Co. reinforce the Soviet style of totalitarian enactments that Denver is famous for.
In other words, with businesses already losing customers to free parking at businesses in the suburbs, Webb wants to make it worse!
Which will only add to the buildings that can be dedicated in "thanks" to Wellington Webb -- except these buildings will be boarded up, as more businesses leave or go out of business, "thanks" to Wellington Webb!
It's a gusher! I wanted to express my impressions of Harrison Fletcher's writing. I do not read him every week, but his dowser piece ("Divining Intervention," May 30) shows that Harrison has the ability to engage a reader and to be informed and entertaining.
I read a lot and I can tell you that he has it...keep him while you can. I mean, he is really, really good...
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Water, water everywhere: I want to thank you for doing this article on dowsing. There is a lot about dowsing that people do not realize historically, and being a dowser and from a family of dowsers, I believe this technique has been used for thousands of years by humans.
A glass of whine: Regarding Michael Roberts's rant against homosexual humor, "Not-So-Funny Business," in the June 6 issue:
Whereas he once pretended to be quasi-hip, it's now apparent Roberts is just politically correct, more in alignment with bureaucrats and academic leftists than cutting-edge journalism. If his world view of speech control were in effect, the realm of humor would be reduced to little more than knock-knock jokes.
How ironic that Dan Savage, whose column appears in these same pages, frequently uses "derogatory" words such as homo, queer, fag, faggot, etc. Seems that while Roberts is on his high horse, he should be rounding up Savage for crimes against conformity. Where is his indignation at a movie title such as White Men Can't Jump or the commercial in which Debbie Allen puts down the white guy's dance routine? Talk about stereotypes!
Whining in the guise of sensitivity is unbecoming. You're a wuss, Roberts. Cop to it.
If you can't stand the heat: First, I think that it is ironic that a group that pushes itself so much in the mainstream would be so sensitive. If a group does not want to be the brunt of stereotyping or jokes, it might need to be a little less high-profile. Is it all right that our civic leaders are butts of jokes for doing their jobs, yet a group that is considered "different" cannot stand the same accountability?
Catholics are being "teased" in the same way as gays in many media outlets. Being Catholic, do I try and create more division? No, because this teasing is due to two things: the high profile of the church and ignorance.
I do have issues with the homosexual choice in society, which derive from some of my family members who have made this decision. Yet my opinion on this matter does not come from these issues. If a group or anyone wants to put himself or herself in the public eye and take the just deserts that come with it, maybe they should think twice.
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Shed a tier: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Post Mortem," in the May 30 issue:
It's not fair to let Chuck Green disappear from your pages without recognizing his singular achievement: He was in the first tier of second-rate journalists in Denver.
What might be interesting is some research into how in heaven's name he briefly held the position of editor of the Denver Post.
A glass of cheer: I have an interesting personal-close-encounter connection with Chuck Green that may offer some perspective on the guy and on the quality of his columns.
I live in what I guess is southeast Denver. In my little neighborhood there are two local bars everybody boomerangs between, because these two bars offer the two best attributes any bar can offer: earnest, mature drinkers and short, back-street drives home. So when I moved to this area last November, I gravitated immediately to these two watering holes. Imagine, then, my surprise when at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning I espy over my Bloody Mary the face of Chuck Green drinking down the bar from me. Hmmmm, methinks.
In the subsequent months Chuck and I keep running into each other in these two bars and I learn two distinct things about Chuck: He's a good guy to drink with, and I like him, and I notice everybody else does, too; and his columns unfailingly just blow.
I would see Chuck drinkin' with the homies one afternoon and read his column the next morning and think exasperatedly, "What is this dung blather?" And then it dawned on me: Chuck was living like an outlaw afternoon drinker but trying to impersonate a buttoned-down investigative journalist. Instead of choosing to write great populist Bukowsky bar-stool pieces that honestly reflected where he was at, he was handing in ill-researched investigative stuff that failed, because he was removed both personally and physically from the subjects. Chuck chose not to be faithful to himself and write cocktail-napkin manifestos, but chose rather to submit phony dispatches from the journalism front.
Years back, I got drunk with the late News columnist John Coit, and he told my friend and me that the only reason to write a newspaper column is to put yourself out there. Sadly, since Chuck wouldn't put himself out there, he was put out to pasture. Cheers, Chuck.
Editor's note: For more on Chuck Green's Thanksgiving activities, see The Message, page 18.
Meow! Michael Roberts's May 23 "Letter to the Editor" was great, well-written and downright factual! I can't remember the last time the Post printed an article that really, really pissed off Bill Owens or Wellington Webb -- but I also don't recall Westword making too many enemies with Mayor Webb or Governor Owens, either (with the exception of Patricia Calhoun's recent "The Big Cheese"). It seems the tigers of the press have retired and been replaced with kitty cats.
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Bored to run: I just wanted to thank you for Michael Roberts's coverage of Denver's news media. As a former reporter at the Rocky Mountain News, I always look forward to Roberts's next article because it makes me miss a town blessed with great news stories.
I hope you realize how lucky you are, because I've worked in a few news markets and can tell you that other fields are so much more boring.
Name withheld on request
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The value of free speech: In a letter in the May 23 issue, "Name Withheld" expressed concern over the departures of Holger Jensen and Reggie Rivers from the "marketplace of ideas" (Michael Roberts's "Three the Hard Way," May 16). Oddly, after saying that he didn't want his name printed to avoid attacks on himself and his family, he then suggests that others "...have the courage of your convictions, use our hard-earned freedoms, and write your own damned letter." Good advice.
But as long as we stay in the closet to protect ourselves, we're making our own contribution to losing those hard-earned freedoms. It's important to keep in mind that we are already under attack. I don't know how big the hole in the ozone layer has to get, or how severe a cancer epidemic we need to suffer, or how many prisons built (etc., etc., etc.), before we realize that decisions made for profit maximization instead of human needs constitute a clear and present danger to us all. Denial of uncomfortable facts and hiding from unwanted attention is exactly the sort of behavior that permitted Germany to be overrun by the Nazis. It's also the sort of behavior that rogue elements of the public-relations industry works endlessly to inculcate (see PR! A Social History of Spin, by Stuart Ewen, for the details). Philosopher John Dewey noted that, "democracy begins in conversation."
Through supporting independent journals such as Westword and community radio like KGNU, by advocating more funding for libraries, by pressuring the corporate media to provide a wide range of views, and so much more -- we can broaden the conversation that intellectual integrity demands.