A site for sore eyes: Excellent job by Eric Dexheimer on "A Model Prisoner," in the August 14 issue. It's so nice to read an objective story on this matter, one with some real data in it. After Jim Grady was first arrested, I managed over the next few months to extract almost a sentence or two of facts out of the endless piles of media horseshit vomited up by the two stations mentioned (as well as our local "news-less-papers"), and I actually remember asking my wife, "I wonder how long before we can read the real story in Westword about all this?"
It's so pathetic the way the media often jump to the politically correct hype of finding someone they can lead a lynch mob to with the cry of "Child Molester!" or "Child Porn!" Of course, our bumbling DAs and lawmen fall all over themselves trying to exploit every aspect of that witch-hunt mentality they can, while fully ignoring American concepts such as "innocent until proven guilty" and then nearly breaking their own arms in their desperate attempts to pat themselves on the back in front of the cameras.
Maybe the lesson on this should be for law enforcement to shut the fuck up about what they are doing until they actually have something to talk about. But then there would be no "breaking story" with people like the holier-than-thou Tom Martino breaking wind for everyone to hear and smell. In the meantime, who cares if Jim Grady's business, finances and life were destroyed by our Laurel-and-Hardy duo of prosecutors and local media in this town? After all, he was just another godless pornographer.
Never mind that over half the people prosecuting him and judging him while watching the news story from home were probably paying members of his Web site -- or one like it.
Teen angles: James Grady has, and apparently continues, to exploit young women -- among them my daughter. My daughter, who was then under eighteen, asked me if she could "model" for Grady. When I asked her what she would be modeling, she said lingerie and bathing suits. I said no way -- after all, it wasn't a JC Penney catalogue, but an Internet Web site, the likes of which are notorious hangouts for pedophiles. Still, she ended up on the Web site and was one of the two girls involved in the April 2002 raid.
Even after all that, once his trial was over, Grady had the gall -- or maybe the word is "balls" -- to contact her by letter, telling her he was again open for business. He even put his return address on the envelope -- a dangerous but ballsy move, should the letter fall into the hands of an irate parent like me. Luckily, my husband talked me out of going over to his Littleton apartment and beating the crap out of him.
As for the parents who actually signed those contracts, they are either stupid, illiterate, greedy or a combination of all three. Shame on them. They are as guilty of exploitation as Grady is. As for his claim that he was only making $2,000 a month off these girls, I am sure that is all he paid taxes on, too. Grady has all the earmarkings of a master con man, and to prove it, even you fell for his "sad" story.
Name withheld on request
Hug a thug: From Eric Dexheimer's "A Model Prisoner," it is apparent that the real organized criminals are the gang of armed thugs who destroyed James Grady's life and held him captive for a year. They all ought to be summarily fired and fined for the cost, not the taxpayers.
Criminal thugs destroying innocent men in Colorado are no different from those pictured in the recent film Gangs of New York. Despicable crime was committed, and the criminals wore blue.
via the Internet
Editor's note: Two weeks ago, James Grady filed notice with the 18th Judicial District of his intent to sue Arapahoe County officials for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Grady's federal lawsuit will ask for more than $10 million in damages, according to his attorneys.
Spin, spin, spin: I hope Julie Jargon didn't get dizzy from all the spinning when she interviewed Sally Mentor Hay for her August 14 "Score!" I am surprised that Jargon took Mentor Hay at face value and produced the "rah-rah," superficial reporting I'm used to reading about CSAP in the mainstream news. Ever since I was a student at East High School and picked up a copy to read on the #15 bus on the way to school, I've expected Westword to uncover the deeper story. But now, as a teacher in the Denver Public Schools who taught the new literacy program in its pilot year, I am disappointed in Westword's reporting.
All it takes is two minutes on the DPS Web site to see that the growth in DPS scores is a trend that has been ongoing since 1997. (Go to http://testing.dpsk12.org/secure/new.htm and select "CSAP Grades 3-10 and Colorado ACT Summary Results" to see for yourself.) Mentor Hay heralds increases in reading and writing that average 3 percent. So what? That's about the average yearly rate of increase since CSAP has been administered. The DPS's rates of growth are as good as the average yearly rates of growth statewide; when one teaches to a test, the students score higher on the test.
The real story that Ms. Jargon missed regards the cost of the new literacy program. The middle school where I teach used a literacy program, "Step Up to Writing," prior to the arrival of Mentor Hay. Between 2001 and 2002, the percentage of students scoring proficient or above in reading increased 11 percent. In 2003, our students showed zero growth under the new literacy program. How much money is being spent to use Denver as a "guinea pig," and why were proven (and less expensive) programs already used in successful DPS schools not implemented district-wide?
Julie Jargon may not be dizzy from the spin, but I'm so dizzy I'm nauseated.
Have faith: Calling Mayor John Hickenlooper's new appointee to the Mayor's Office for Education and Children "a bit of a Zen freak" is insulting (Off Limits, August 21). Would you so casually disparage the faith of a Jewish appointee? Or better yet, a Catholic whose church has been rocked by pedophile priests?
Your linking Jeff Peckman, a practitioner of transcendental meditation, with new appointee Maria Guajardo Lucero further reflects your confusion about Zen and Soka Gakkai International (SGI), different iterations of the 2,500-year-old wisdom tradition, Buddhism. Dr. Lucero is affiliated with SGI. Although Buddhism began in India, it is not be confused with TM, the meditation method prescribed in recent decades by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
Finally, as a practitioner of Shambhala Buddhism that has its roots in a Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I do understand your cynicism toward Dr. Lucero's commitment to world peace and Mr. Peckman's desire to reduce stress:
War is so much more hip.
Buddha pass: Please correct the message in Off Limits that Zen Buddhism is a type of stress-reduction program or that there is such a thing as a Zen "freak." Zen is a sect of Buddhism, which is a real religion some 2,500 years old with millions of followers (some here in Colorado) and should be handled in print as such.
If this letter confuses you, go through your article and substitute, for example, the word "Judaism" for "Zen." Then maybe you'll get it.
via the Internet
Short-sighted: Westword can be irreverent fun, but Michael Paglia's piece about Denise Montgomery in the August 14 "Summertime News" was just mean-spirited. He missed the point. Denise Montgomery is the most qualified appointee to the Mayor's Office of Art, Culture and Film since Greg Geissler held a similar position during the Peña administration. At WESTAF, Montgomery worked with distinction for three years, contributing to projects ranging from the development of interactive Web sites to serve the arts field to the organization of national-level symposia on cultural policy. As executive director of the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, Montgomery took an already successful organization and built on that success. Her work at the CBCA helped establish a long-needed statewide arts-advocacy organization. She also managed the most successful economic-impact study of culture in the region.
I've read many fine articles by Michael Paglia, but the "Summertime News" segment falls short of his usual higher standards.
Anthony Radich, executive director
Western States Arts Federation
Just the facts, ma'am: In his August 7 "Role Reversal," Michael Roberts presented a fair and balanced analysis of Paula Woodward's coverage of Amy Bourgeron. Roberts marshaled and carefully reviewed the facts without taking sides. Marco D'Ugo's letter to the editor in the August 14 issue offers a perfect example of the relevancy of Roberts's columns by demonstrating the impact that selective reporting by unscrupulous journalists can have on some individuals.
Woodward's story, in which D'Ugo obviously believes the truth resides, hardly represents the full picture; hence Roberts's article. D'Ugo's letter clearly shows that he did not understand the article. Had he read it carefully instead of attempting to display what he considers his vast body of knowledge, he might have realized that the story was about a complex case of fact distortion and carefully chosen omissions in reporting. Roberts's article undeniably showed the impact that bias in some media has on the daily life of city governance.
I am grateful to Mr. D'Ugo for providing a case in point on how such reporting practices affect a rather small but unfortunately vocal segment of the public.
Gals Friday: Regarding Bill Gallo's "Stupor Freak" in the August 7 issue:
I have to disagree with Gallo that the premise of Freaky Friday has been done to death. While it may have been done before (à la Jodie Foster), it has never been done so well. The acting of the two main ladies (Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan) was so convincing that you could almost see the inner characters of the persons they were playing after the switch. My personal favorite was the scene where Curtis played the lovestruck teenager so convincingly you could almost see Lohan gazing out of her eyes.
Yes, indeed it has been done before, but never this well.
Scott G. Doughty
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Thanks for sharing: The truth is now revealed. Jason Sheehan, for all of his caustic, tough talk, actually has a tender heart! Thanks for his sensitive Bite Me column in the August 21 issue. Anyone who enjoys time in the kitchen understands that cooking is all about love -- love for the beautiful ingredients and produce of the earth, love for the creative process that brings those things together in surprising ways, and love for those who share our table. It is truly about bringing love and joy to ourselves and others.
I don't always agree with Jason's reviews, but we should all be grateful for his honest opinions.