Crack in the sidewalk: While reading David Holthouse's "Between Rock and a Hard Place," in the September 5 issue, I involuntarily shuddered. Earlier this year, my partner and I were looking to purchase a home in that same neighborhood. Like Mary, we were tired of the boring, homogenized enclaves such as Lowry, Cherry Creek and the Ranch, places pale and uninspiring. Having lived in Uptown for years, we were used to a bit of "drama" now and then. We knew that Five Points is on the cusp of change and thought the diversity of both the people and the architecture would do us some good. Cruising through the various neighborhoods in and around Five Points, two cute white boys in a Ford Escort, we did feel the sting of suburban Caucasian angst...and the long, low stares of certain area "residents" didn't help matters. We fell in love with a few homes, only to have the relationships sour before they began.
We have since moved to a great neighborhood west of Federal, where diversity, respect and playing children are in full effect. I wish all the best to Mary and her neighbors; we wanted to be with you for the renaissance, girlfriend, but we just didn't have the stomach. Keep that hose in one hand and the phone in the other.
A fine point: On crackheads, sprinkler heads, skinheads and big fat cops: What kind of city do we live in when crack dealers and users blatantly operate in a neighborhood and the police do nothing, while someone watering his lawn on a non-watering day gets fined $100, $300 or $500 for a second, third or fourth "offense"?
I'm surprised Mary wasn't arrested for hosing down the crackheads on a non-watering day.
Perhaps if the crackheads were heavily tattooed skinheads, the police would do something? Better yet, Mary should open a doughnut shop, and then the police would have a vested interest in the neighborhood. Jesus!
LoDo lowdown: I just finished David Holthouse's "Between Rock and a Hard Place," and my heart goes out to Mary, who is just trying to live a peaceful life in a not-so-peaceful neighborhood. But there is a bigger underlying problem here, and it has to do with money and politics and who will get help and who won't.
I have lived in Colorado all my life (forty years); I have also ridden motorcycles since I was eight. I cruised downtown in the '70s, and my father cruised downtown in the '50s. Every Friday and Saturday this summer, there has been a gathering of motorcyclists on Larimer Street, and LoDo residents have complained all summer about the noise coming from the motorcycles. I don't sympathize much with LoDo residents, because the inner-city noise has always been a part of downtown. To me, it's like people who move close to the airport and then complain the airplanes are too noisy. Some people might ask who are these motorcyclists on Larimer, and I can answer that some are accountants, city workers, state workers, self-employed, teachers, military personnel. They are all hardworking taxpayers. So now here comes the crackdown on motorcyclists by the mayor's office and the Denver Police Department; it even makes the 10 p.m. news on several channels. I rode down to LoDo on the first night of the parking restrictions -- no parking after 10 p.m. on Larimer -- and I was overwhelmed by the number of police that were in the area, many of them just circling the block waiting for 10 p.m. to strike so they could swoop down on us and start writing tickets and towing motorcycles. As I was standing on Larimer watching, I thought to myself, 'My God, how much overtime are they paying all these traffic cops and District 6 police officers? How much money did the city spend on all these parking signs?'"
So this is my point: There is a woman named Mary who lives on the 2700 block of Downing Street. There are crackheads walking up and down the block smoking their drugs. There are crack dealers parked in front of Mary's house dealing drugs. Some of the dealers have threatened Mary's life and even chased her up to her front door. I would guess the crime rate is very high in Mary's neighborhood and that Mary herself could be in danger.
I would also take a guess and say that none of the residents on Mary's block have an income that could match the income of the LoDo residents. I would also guess none of the residents in Mary's neighborhood have a lot of pull with the mayor's office. So the bottom line is that this comes down to the almighty dollar, and Mary probably won't have the police protection she deserves because of where she lives. You have to ask yourself:
1) Where are the real crimes being committed?
2) Who are really the criminals?
3) Whose lives are in danger?
4) Why does the city utilize more of its police force on parking violators than it does on crack dealers?
5) Why does Mary have to fear going outside of her house to water her lawn? Why can't she sit on her front porch in peace without seeing the parade of zombies walking up and down the street?
Thanks for Holthouse's important article concerning one of the drug problems in our city.
Taken for a ride: I work in the south tower of Denver's World Trade Center, and I just wanted to say that Robin Chotzinoff's poorly written "We Are the World," in the September 5 issue, barely made any sense. The people working here were generalized as a bunch of robotic drones. This may be true for a few people, but you could say the same thing about any workplace in any city across the nation. I get the feeling all this writer did was ride around in an elevator, eavesdropping on a handful of people.
In the future, please look for better written and researched material. I am sure there is an abundance of it out there.
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Around-the-world coverage: After reading Michael Roberts's "Distant Replay," in your September 5 issue, I was motivated to comment on it.
The article mentioned coverage of the one-year anniversary of 9/11, which I feel deserved all of the coverage it could get, without concern about losing advertising. The piece also spoke of various tragedies that occurred nationally as well as locally, which had very little or no coverage on their one-year anniversaries, specifically by the Rocky Mountain News.
The following might be strictly off the subject after such a tragic event, but I feel it does tie in with some of the thoughts in the article.
The News has not changed much about covering events, especially one involving "something" good and newsworthy after 9/11, like Steve Fossett's record-breaking solo flight around the world in a balloon. I realize that some people could care less about it, but it is something positive and should be acknowledged. The News's "coverage," if you could call it that, amounted to a dinky article close to the back of the paper. No massive headline or pictures; zilch on the front page. Then a few days later, they printed a very negative and nasty cartoon about Steve Fossett's ego, and much later printed a balloon on their cover about a local event.
The press should cover more "nice" news such as this.
A beautiful world: I wanted to thank David Holthouse for "Burn This," his September 12 article on Burning Man 2002 and our local burners. Ahhh, the memories. Unfortunately, though, he did not even hit the surface.
This year was my first year at Burning Man. I've wanted to go for six years and finally found someone with the guts to face it with me. Though we did not stay with the village Holthouse did, it was our wonderful Colorado Burners who led my partner and I to one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Would I suggest this to all? NO! The environment is a wonderland of humanity that at times can be an overload. We were constantly challenged by this, but in the end truly found ourselves in wonderful situations we couldn't even make up if we tried. Imagine not using money on a regular basis for a week. Or having men and women on a totally equal basis at all times with an environment of peace and friendship. These are not things that happen in the "real world," and they make coming down from the trip even harder. But it was worth every moment, and it's nice to realize that there can be a world out there like this...even if it is for just a week.
So I would like to make one suggestion for next year: Give David at least a week to come down off the playa and into our "real world," and give him more than one page to write of this beautiful society and its people.
The unbearable lightness of Be: Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario is great, and you're lucky to have him -- even with a recycled 'toon in your September 12 issue. But Westword is also to be congratulated for Tom Tomorrow's "This Modern World" and Derf's "The City" -- two more worthy commentators on the farces and foibles of Denver, Colorado and our country. I can't imagine a better time for a good laugh and a sense of humor -- be it ever so serious.
Thanks to all, and keep up the good work.
No way: In reference to the
letters last week concerning Alan Prendergast's August 29 "System Failure," specifically the contributor who wrote, "I will pull the plug for 'no' on all the judges in this election," I understand and sympathize with your sentiments, Sir, but that is exactly what every black-robed crony behind the bench -- and in front -- hopes you will do! Nullifying your vote, reducing the odds in their favor by leveling that playing field for all, and allowing a minority interested in seeing certain persons ascend to that privileged position for their own vested advantage and winning by a slight margin. Somebody has to win! Education is the key! Histories, assessments and critiques of past performances, made public via knowledgeable, neutral sources separate from that close-knit pack by local newspapers or a citizens' watch group, would be ideal; but to date, for all practical purposes, that's nonexistent! I beseech Westword to do so before the next election!
Looking back at the forgotten transgressions transpiring for the last 25 years (RTD junket, S&L scandal, evidence locker and police shootings), nothing ever seems to come before the courts, and when a case does, the culprit is always exonerated. Here's hoping you will rise to the occasion.
P.S.: Whatever happened to Neil Bush?
John W. Blackburn
Stanley by your man: The September 12 Off Limits comments about Rick Stanley, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, are disgusting. How can a person who claims to be an "honorable" Libertarian "know" all about Rick when Rick has never met the man? Why is Westword printing such misinformed statements?
I, for one, would not vote for an individual, regardless of his party, who was a server of drinks at a local strip joint: What kind of mentality is that? No, the person who is the true irritation here is Doug Anderson. He is the one who is misinformed and is being led like a sheep to the slaughter without so much as a "baaa." He apparently does not care about losing his sovereign rights or changing a politically corrupt governmental system to a constitutional government.
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Playing gladiator: Enjoyed Julie Dunn's August 8 Drink of the Week. Actually, Russell Crowe's muscles looked a lot better thirty minutes into Virtuosity, since there was a lot more to see of him in that movie. So forget the toga and armor: The movie was nowhere near being good, but he certainly looked great!
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Man does not live on bread alone: I just thought I would send along a bit of applause for Jason Sheehan's fun, insightful and well-written reviews. I read through some of the letters to the editor, and I wanted to join in with the "great job" crowd: I hope he didn't take any of the "write more about the food than yourself" people too much to heart.
Going out to eat is about a whole lot more than just the food -- because even if you have just eaten the best ginger beef in the world, if the waitperson who served it to you has dirty fingernails and yellow crust around her nose ring, it's going to have an impact.
But I think you know that already.
Cynthia J. Davies
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