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Letters to the Editor

The Rights Stuff

Translation, please: I was shocked, appalled and extremely disturbed by David Holthouse's report on Naim Amini's child-molestation case ("Trial and Tribulations," November 21). How is it that something as obvious as providing a competent translator and advising a defendant of his rights could be so blatantly and callously denied? I know there is a backlash against immigrants at the moment; however, isn't there such a thing as basic human rights that are supposedly respected in this country?

Of course, with recent political developments, it won't be too long before all of us -- native-born, naturalized and immigrant -- are denied our right to a fair trial.

Janice Hampton
Denver


Birds of a Feather

Trial and error: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Undo Process," in the November 21 issue: If it quacks like a duck...

Toya Dawson was drunk, got off -- and the city has to hire her back? It's a miscarriage of justice, sure, but not against her! Now, this Amini case that David Holthouse wrote about in the same issue is a case of bad justice.

Don't editors look at every article?

Nick Werle
Colorado Springs

A town without pity: Alan Prendergast's "Undo Process" is a remarkable article. Unfortunately, Toya Dawson's case is not uncommon in Denver. I commend Denver District Judge Frank Martinez for his justice in the court! The city process requires an employee to file an appeal to the Career Service Authority hearings officer. After that, an employee may appeal to the Career Service Board. The next legal step is for an employee to file his or her case in district court. The "undo" legal process requires many years, and bankruptcy is the result of the costly expenses to defend yourself. The office that's supposed to seek justice for thousands of citizens is not fair to its own people.

If the truth were known, it would undoubtedly be found that many employees have no faith in the Career Service Authority or the grievance and appeal process. The Career Service rules are basically by the management and for the management, and employees essentially have no rights. The City of Denver does not even have a whistleblower's act similar to federal and state laws to offer protection to employees. The city attorney's office has the taxpayers' money to support its legal expenses and refusals to negotiate and can afford to force cases into court through the lengthy legal process. It was appalling to read that in the city's appeal, it contended that the judge should not have considered evidence that wasn't presented at the Career Service Board hearing -- including the fact that Dawson's shoplifting and DUI charges were dismissed. How can justice be done if facts are covered up by the city attorney's office?

Toya Dawson is not alone in her litigation efforts to restore her reputation of solid performance and excellent relationships with her co-workers. (Because of similar cases against the city, my name must be withheld.) What happened to the laws of our country being made by the people and for the people? Hopefully Alan Prendergast will follow up on the appeal process in this case and how long the city refuses to allow Toya Dawson to return to work.

Name withheld on request


Of News and Nutcases

Cutting to the heart: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Old at Heart," in the November 21 issue:

Local TV news and, increasingly, daily print journalism reflect the seeming irrelevance of political and civic life to most people. The reason is not that difficult to discern. Most of us live in suburbs, where civic institutions either do not exist or are simply too larval to amount to much.

Why does a nutcase like Tom Tancredo get elected to Congress? Simple. When politics is reduced to screaming about illegal aliens or gays, it only confirms what local news coverage suggests: We simply do not care seriously about our communities. We build crappy buildings, crappy freeways and crappy schools because the idea of community itself is a cartoon.

Younger consumers of this "news" product intuitively know this. What it means for society, only time and Karl Rove can tell.

Walter Hall
Phoenix, Arizona

Seems like old times: Advertisers love teens and younger adults because the former spends their parents' money with wild abandon and the latter don't put a whole lot of brainwork into making major purchases (Heather, do you, like, think this Beemer goes with my hair?). Despite these youngsters' own self-indulgent belief otherwise, unless they are doing something shake-your-head-in-wonder-stupid during which they manage to kill themselves or someone else, this is one incredibly boring bunch of folks. Yes, while young Palestinians may be strapping themselves with explosives, it's old guys who tell them which preschool to target. Mostly twenty-something soldiers are digging through caves in Afghanistan (and every one of us who's feeling a touch of the rhuematiz should thank God for these very mature young people every day), but much older folks decide which caves to dig through. Locally, we may have a Richie Rich who bought himself a political office, but you'll notice that we tend to leave the serious work up to seriously grownup folks like Webb, Owens, Beauprez or Feeley, and Allard. The young and dumb and fulla cum need not apply for precisely that list of very good reasons.  

News should be, well, newsworthy. Sorry, but it's not news that Jase and Josh got drunk last night at a rave, or that Britanni and Courtni got picked up at a club. If it's important to the story, the youth of the actors should be noted, as when a fourteen-year-old is accepted to Harvard. When a fourteen-year-old actually walks to middle school, it may be stop-the-presses time for her parents, but is it newsworthy?

Roberts's silly-ass notion that news should cater to teens and extended teens is yet another example of why news is not news anymore. Somehow, I can't picture Murrow doing a bubbly report on Britanni and Courtni's Excellent Adventure. If what young people want in their news is stuff like Martino's regular tits-and-ass stories, then they deserve this patronizing crap. And if some teens and extended teens are so self-absorbed that they think the local appearance of a band that'll be a nothing more than a trivia question five years from now should be front page and above the fold, I'm glad those particular youngsters are getting drunk and laid here rather than digging through those caves, where their more mature cohort is doing the kinds of things that turn boys and girls into men and women.

JM Schell
Arvada

Thirty-something: I have to respond to Michael Roberts's column on the cultural anachronism of Denver media. I'm pushing thirty, but at 29, I'm technically part of Robert's "under-thirty" demographic whose interests are supposedly slighted by the local media. According to Roberts, all of the "under-thirty" set -- as if everyone in a certain age range can be classified so homogeneously -- is concerned with in the news are hip-hop concerts, youth "culture" pieces and coverage of other banal goings-on in a "youth-correct" manner.

While I agree that the media focuses too much on gore, negativism and syllogistic appeals to public fears, is pandering to so-called youthful interests instead of middle-aged ones the answer? (By the way, how is hip-hop in its fourth decade -- so, what, it started in the '60s? What planet are you from?) In any event, what are young people today doing that's newsworthy, anyway? For that matter, what have young people in any decade since the advent of radio been doing that's newsworthy, apart from the beginnings of the civil-rights movement in the '50s and into the '60s? Young people go to coffee shops, hang out in bars, smoke pot, go to school, have sex, slack off, argue with their roommates, etc., like they have for decades. The youth haven't yet risen to positions of power in the community because they're, uh, youth. What the fuck is newsworthy about that?

I'd have to agree with the oldsters that modern youth "culture" is devoid of originality. It's hypocritical on their part, however: It so happens that the same old people who run the media also design the clothes we wear and determine the music we listen to, the food we eat and the television we watch. Everything about so-called modern culture is regurgitated and commercialized, including popular dissent. The cultural revolution is over, and the good guys lost. It's in the hands of the marketing execs now. Take the "protests" in Seattle regarding globalization. Ask fellow under-thirty-somethings to explain why they think globalization is evil. I have. They can't; they have no idea. They protest globalization because it's cool to protest globalization. We have hundreds of domestic companies raping labor in foreign countries and slowly sucking all of the life out of our culture, and our government cannibalizes the Constitution, sucks the world of its resources and helps big business screw over the peasantry worldwide to such an extent that they want to drive planes into our skyscrapers while the voting public sleeps in a stupor of vapid entertainment, consumption and meaningless "self-improvement" and the youth are increasingly brainwashed into solipsistic, mindlessly technophilic little bastards with no grasp on history -- and the biggest Darth Vader we can come up with is Starbucks? And the most meaningful coverage relevant to youth you can think up is suitably hip fluff pieces?  

Give me a break. Why isn't the media reporting on something really meaningful, like the culture (of which the media is a large part) industry's ongoing subversion of critical thought, rationalism, intellectualism and cultural values that mean something? Or about the fact that our politicians are steering the world into the ground and no one cares as long as their chai latte is sweet enough and they get laid every week? Who gives a fuck about Dent or whether baby-boomers are up to snuff on hip-hop culture? Read some books and get a clue of your own, you ageist, superficial dumbass.

Steve Sedlmayr
Denver

Michael Roberts responds: I may be a superficial dumbass, but I'm pretty good at counting. Hip-hop was born in the early 1970s and continued through the '80s and '90s well into today -- meaning the genre is in its fourth decade. As for what planet I'm from, it's a little place I like to call Earth.


Killing Time

Give the man a hand: I found Bill Gallo's November 14 "Nuggets, No Glory" quite amusing, although I am not a sports fan. However, with regard to his point number 19: Rolex watches have a sweeping second hand; they don't tick. Not that this point matters much, but his departure from his apparent area of knowledge -- i.e., sports -- undoes his otherwise funny article. Besides, if someone can afford a Rolex, couldn't they afford to do something more interesting, or at least be sitting in front of you?

You shouldn't undermine your writing by slipping into bad humor to fill space, especially when you don't know what you're talking about.

Screw sports and the taxes I have paid to support them.

J. Ebersole
via the Internet

Yeah, that's the ticket: About Bill Gallo's column on the Nuggets and how to kill time:

I received two complimentary tickets for last Wednesday night's game against the Phoenix Suns -- great $67 seats, tenth row. So I went. I'm really more of a symphony person, but I had never been to the Pepsi Center and I hadn't seen the Nuggets play in years, and I thought: "What the hell? Get a friend, go out. Change the pace a little."

Well, I couldn't get a friend at the last minute, and at my age and my somewhat new singleness, my philosophy has been that I'm not waiting to get somebody to do things. So I hopped on the light rail and took off. The Pepsi Center didn't impress me. I found the Nuggets dancers/cheerleaders degrading to females (don't you?) and the whole opening hoopla unnecessary -- fire and smoke, loud music, darkness. I came to see basketball being played! Let me see some good basketball!

And that mascot -- why is he out there still? Didn't I just see him in the paper being arrested for domestic violence or something? So what credibility does he bring to this team or the game? I didn't see any Phoenix Suns players faking any drama-queen fouls, and yet some Nuggets did. I have no respect for that: Just play the game well.

There were times when I actually found myself grinning and applauding some good plays, but not enough. I wasn't that satisfied. I left at half. Maybe I'll try again, but only if I'm given comp tickets (so please don't publish my name).

Name withheld on request


Boob and Bust

Strip search: Regarding Robin Chotzinoff's "Face Time," in the November 7 issue: Not everyone is singing the praises of Dr. John Grossman. After spending a lot of time getting a "good" referral for a mastopexy (that's a boob job and lift at the same time), I settled on Dr. Grossman, absolutely convinced I'd made the right choice. It cost me a fortune (for me, 12K is a fortune), and I supplied him with a good "palette" to work on -- an athletic body, non-smoker, etc.

One year later, my tits look like used condoms with rocks in them. He did not listen to me when I asked him for smaller, firmer (hello), functional boobs since I'm an exercise freak. Now I'm a DD cup, and I'll be paying this mistake off for at least five years.

Take note: When your surgeon of choice has an ego the size of Invesco Field, there's a good chance he'll do whatever the hell he wants. I hope anybody looking for a "job" will have the guts to walk out of a consultation with a doctor who is not telling you exactly what you want to hear. Making a silk purse out of a sow's ear apparently only applies to the desires of the surgeon. I'd have been thrilled with only what I'd asked for. But when I said "I like to run," he must have heard "I like to strip." Easy mistake, I guess.  

(Please don't print my last name -- I'm not proud of the self-image as it is now.)

Joyce
Denver


Take Your Best Shot

Safety first: As a life member of the National Rifle Association, I take great exception to Patricia Calhoun's "Calamity Jane," in the November 7 issue. She seems to equate law-abiding, responsible gun owners with murderous criminals like Klebold and Harris.

The NRA is the world's leading firearm-safety-instruction organization. They provide free training materials to any elementary school that wants to teach kids to "stop, don't touch, leave the area, and tell an adult" when encountering an unattended firearm.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a child is much more likely to drown than to be killed in a firearm accident, largely due to the thousands of NRA instructors who volunteer their time to teach courses in firearm safety.

If Calhoun is really concerned about safety, maybe she should ask swimming-pool and hot-tub dealers to leave town.

Bernie Herpin
Colorado Springs

Taking aim: After reading all the letters in the last issue attacking not just Patricia Calhoun, but Joy Frankel (that poor woman who dared to have a letter published in the November 14 issue complaining about gun ranges in public parks), I have to wonder about the real consequences of the last election.

NRA members seem to feel that they can take aim at anyone who cares to criticize them. On November 5, did we vote to ban free speech?

The Second Amendment only works if we also protect the First Amendment.

Frank Kelley
via the Internet

More target practice: There are so few places for the public to go shoot, it has become a real problem. The Cherry Creek range often has a waiting list. The Highway 7 range recently closed, as the land became too valuable to developers and recently sold out. All the major gun clubs have waiting lists. I applaud Owens's office for trying to find places to put ranges.

Bill Dietrick
Thornton


When Wuss Comes to Worse

Of mouse and men: Jason Heller uses these words in his November 21 Critic's Choice on Owen: "...the wuss-rock frontier now populated by the likes of Modest Mouse and Jimmy Eat World...."

I'd really like to hear how he qualifies that remark, at least as far as Modest Mouse is concerned. Why, exactly, are they "wuss rock"?

Brian Sauer
San Diego


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