Mister Write

Letters to the Editor

Great expectations: It had never really fazed me, how much I enjoy this fine paper we are all so lucky to have in this town. It was maybe the third time reading the February 19 Worst-Case Scenario, "Right and Righter," that it hit me. (That was probably the funniest Worst-Case I have seen, by the way.) I look forward to picking up Westword every Wednesday at a location near my house. Over the next day or so, I will read the paper from cover to cover, starting with Kenny Be. The variety of subjects chosen for cover stories and features by your writers sometimes has me feeling like I am reading the transcript to a This American Life show.

The coverage of local politics, art/culture and music, combined with award-winning authors, make for one great paper. I know I hold Westword up there with the many other wonderful things Denver is known for. Keep up the good work!


Letters from readers

Rick Miller

Mister Wrong

Bill bored: As an avid Westword reader for over twelve years, I can't begin to describe how dismayed I was to pick up your February 19 issue and see one of Denver's least-creative local bands on the cover -- Rogue.

Upon reading Dave Herrera's "Bill to Last," I was further disgusted. It is increasingly frustrating to me that Westword bills itself as an "independent" source on entertainment, yet continues to ignore the plethora of amazing local bands whose music and performances are engaging and wonderful and instead focuses on a cut-rate Kid Rock. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, there is a vital and exciting local scene. It is simply being overshadowed (both literally and figuratively) by "musicians" such as Bill Terrell.

Out of pity for Mr. Herrera, I'll now provide him with a cheat sheet so that he may find more interesting subject matter than the boorish, coarse frontman of Rogue: Nightingale, Red Cloud, Jay Munly and the Lee Lewis Harlots, Pinkku, Planes Mistaken for Stars, Vaux, Fear Before the March of Flames, the Swayback, Love Me Destroyer and Black Black Ocean. Even outside of those acts, there are wonderful things happening here. World-renowned DJs spin regularly at the Church and other nightclubs. Where's the story about them?

There are better stories out there, Westword. You simply have to look in your own music section to find them.

Sarah Burns

School for Scandal

A capital idea: Patricia Calhoun got it right with her February 12 "Sex Marks the Spot." Colorado is indeed the "sex-assault capital of the world," and that is not a title to be proud of. Worse, we could have avoided it. With all the fallout over the Air Force Academy rape scandal over the past year, it is beyond belief that the University of Colorado did not take a more proactive response to rape accusations at that school. To use his own words, Gary Barnett "was awful," and the rest of CU's administration is no better.

Julie Ferris
via the Internet

Guilt by association: I am a second-generation CU student. I will graduate in May. I never thought the day would come when I would feel shame and humiliation at the association of my name with that of the University of Colorado. If recent allegations are true, the university has fostered an environment in which the unfettered sexual availability of women is seen as an earned perk of athletic ability and just reward for whatever benefit these athletes bring to the university.

I understand that bad things happen. In the testosterone-soaked realm of a college football team, it's doubtful that 100 percent of the players will be as respectful as one might hope. What terrifies me most are the reactions to the allegations. The administrators over this team should know and understand that the nature of their positions gives them a fiduciary responsibility to take any allegations of this nature very seriously. When Coach Barnett responded to Katie Hnida's allegations with an indictment of her kicking ability, it became apparent that he does not possess either the leadership abilities or the basic value system that any university would want to be associated with. He has the duty to represent the standards and values of the university. I think I speak for the better part of the student body when I say I do not want Coach Barnett representing me. This man needs to be fired immediately. It is chauvinist, anachronistic reactions like his that force women to continue to live in fear of sexual assault and keep victims shrouded in shame and secrecy.

Every student attending CU and every taxpayer funding CU should be irate. Students, do you want your potential employers to look at your diploma and think, "Oh, the Rape School?" Coloradans, do you want the rest of the country to know us as the Rape State? We need to inform this institution that we will not tolerate this kind of culture in our state or our education system. It happened at the Air Force Academy. It happened in Boulder. At what point do we say "Enough is enough"? Why do we continue to accept this?

Jenny Knopinski

Taking the moral low road: As a graduate of the University of Colorado, a woman and a survivor of sexual assault, I am writing to express my disappointment regarding President Hoffman's recent statements surrounding the allegations of sexual assault, subsequent prosecutorial efforts and pending lawsuits against the university, as well as her comments about athletic recruitment practices at CU.

I was absolutely outraged by Hoffman's remarks that she would consider changing recruitment practices if the three woman would consider dropping their lawsuits against the university. These are two completely separate issues, and the fact that she was trying to bind them together devalued women. It is imperative that recruitment practices be changed, regardless of litigation.

I cannot believe that an institution such as CU would not want to improve its policies and procedures in support of the students. Perhaps it is time to truly examine the negative influence that the athletic department, the university's bread and butter, has on all students -- and the blinders that CU's president wears. It is pathetic that she does not view her students as the lifeline of the university, but instead supports the athletic department.

Name withheld on request

A Shaky Foundation

Salary salt: Regarding Stuart Steers's "Cable Guy," in the February 19 issue:

The article on the Daniels Fund is, for the most part, a comprehensive and thought-provoking look at how foundations use their resources and what level of accountability the public can expect from them. There are two issues I would like to address.

First, I was quoted as saying that all foundation trustees "value their work [based] on what they're paid." I am a foundation trustee, and I certainly don't think of my service that way. Nor do trustees at a number of foundations, such as the Denver Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, the Boettcher Foundation and the vast majority of foundations whose trustees are not paid and serve as a public service. They have set a standard that the rest should follow.

Second, the average and median salaries for foundation and nonprofit CEOs that were taken from the Chronicle of Philanthropy refer to large national organizations. They are way out of line if you include all foundations and nonprofits across the country. In Colorado, the vast majority of nonprofits don't have total budgets of $282,712 (the figure quoted as the average salary for executive directors of nonprofits), let alone salaries that high. I don't think any nonprofit executive in Colorado earns that kind of money. It would have been helpful to look at the size of organizations and their geographical base; you would find that the median for a foundation CEO in Colorado is less than half of the $400,000 figure you quoted. For nonprofit CEOs or executive directors, the median salary is probably no more than 25 percent of the $282,000 figure.

These are important issues, and Westword should be commended for raising them. Colorado foundations and nonprofit organizations are entrusted with millions of dollars that are both tax-exempt and tax-deductible for the donors. The vast majority of these organizations use these funds effectively and efficiently. The public deserves a great deal of accountability for these funds, as well as complete and open reporting on how they are managed. Hopefully, articles such as this will lead to a public dialogue on how to assure that foundations and nonprofits maintain the highest ethical standards and make their financial records and policies publicly available for scrutiny.

Steve Graham, executive director
Community Resource Center

Schuck and jive: Stuart Steers's article doesn't mention how Steve Schuck ripped off taxpayers in the form of millions of dollars that the RTC had to pay to cover his loans to banks that he never paid when his deals went sour.

GOP ethics? Give me a fucking break!

Nick Werle
Colorado Springs

We're Digitized

Fingering the culprit: I am responding to Matt Hill's letter in the February 5 issue about the "Spam I Am" cover the week before. He was concerned that the middle-finger salute depicted there might not be an appropriate display for such a widely distributed weekly and that Westword had sunk to a new low in professional journalism. I would like to take this opportunity to direct his -- and your -- attention to the September 20-26, 2003, issue of the Economist, a prestigious weekly publication in its own right. The cover illustration, which pertains to an article called "The Charming Outcome of the Cancun Trade Talks," was of a cactus plant drawn in the shape of a hand giving the same gesture. I wonder how many children were exposed to that cover around the world?

I think Mr. Hill might have a bigger complaint with the publisher of the Economist, as the magazine is available and on display in nearly every corner of the globe. In case there isn't a copy of that issue on a nearby coffee table available for inspection, I'm sure one can be obtained from a visit to the public library.

Bruce Kaufman


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