Eyes on the Prize

Letters to the Editor

Best wishes: Regarding Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario in the March 25 Best of Denver issue:

Thanks for the look at Commerce City in "The Best of Commerce City." It was great fun. Now others can appreciate some of the finer points of suburban Denver's pride and joy.

Shane Smith
Commerce City

The mural of the story: Kenny Be is the best. That comic on "The Best of Commerce City" was the funniest. Of the three times I have been nominated, this award for the Hi-Lo market mural was truly the best.

Andy Mendoza

Bust wishes: I think Westword has gotten a lot more conservative. What happened to Best Of themes of yesteryear -- e.g., Best Place to Spank Your Monkey? Not a single mention of where one may acquire the best in adult videos. Wouldn't it be to your advantage to do more with this category next year? Big advertising revenues would surely follow.

What's the matter? Oral Roberts got your tongue?

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: The rest of the Best of Denver letters will run in the April 8 issue. In the meantime, feel free to send your own comments to editorial@westword.com.

The I's the Limit

Leggo his ego: At a quick glimpse, can you guess the main subject of Jason Sheehan's "A Capital Idea," in the March 18 issue?

Prior to mid-2002, Westword used to be the prime source in this town for useful information about restaurants. Now its culinary section has become a pure creative writing forum for the bizarro E.B. White.

I realize that Jason Sheehan can turn a nice phrase and spew infinite streams of compelling tall tales. However, can't you create a separate column for him -- call it "I About Me" -- and find someone else who can actually advise Denver readers on local restaurants and what to order in them?

James Jay Jones

Green Achers

In like a lion, out like a Lamm: Regarding Stuart Steers's "It's Not Easy Being Green," in the March 18 issue:

I'm a longtime member of the Sierra Club, a strong environmentalist and a liberal Democrat who voted for Richard Lamm and other anti-immigration candidates in this year's Sierra Club board election.

The Sierra Club, while right on other environmental issues, is simply wrong on this one. To me, Lamm does have the "ideal pedigree" for a spot on the board in that he firmly favors limits on our population, including protecting our borders from illegal immigration.

Wanting to protect the quality of life for Americans does not make Lamm (or others who feel the way he does) a racist!

The United States is overpopulated, a situation that causes almost all of our environmental problems, directly or indirectly. Our roads are clogged; our parks, hospitals and schools are overflowing. Our water and air are polluted; our wild animals, trees, wetlands and grasslands are disappearing -- mostly because of too many people not only taking up space, but consuming too much. Far too many illegal aliens come here with huge families and continue to procreate. They are the fastest-growing segment of the population. (Anyone having more than two children per couple is contributing to overpopulation.)

We need more people like Lamm in positions that can do something about this situation. Yes, it's important for us to help educate people in other countries about economics and family planning. However, the illegal-alien situation, especially from Mexico, is a gaping wound that needs to be fixed, and fast. The Sierra Club needs to be among the first to apply the tourniquet!

Carol Carpenter

Board games: Stuart Steers's otherwise thorough, balanced piece on the internally generated battle within the Sierra Club left one putrid can of worms unopened. That's an oversight not lightly excused, because the can's contents tell more about the foul air polluting the environment in the executive suites of the club's entrenched elites than did this otherwise straightforward report.

Throughout the piece, the club's spokesmen pursued their now trademark McCarthyistic effort, using club resources to smear the good names of a good people who are challenging the club's current, non-traditional "neutral" policy on stabilizing U.S. population. Who, then, does the club's old guard back for the seat Dick Lamm is running for? Tellingly, it is Morris Dees, a former mail-order rat-poison salesman and self-acknowledged ignoramus on all things green, except money -- and lots of it.

Dees is the co-founder of the disarmingly benign-sounding Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. Steers's inadequate, misleading description of that thoroughly discredited sham organization headed by the lowlife Dees as "a prominent civil-rights think tank" did a great disservice to his readers and to the full understanding of the Sierra Club's current corruption of leadership. Dees was outed for the "fraud and conman" he is in a November 2000 Harper's magazine must-read exposé, "The Church of Morris Dees"(http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3a3e5cb925c4.htm).

This is who the Sierra Club's higher-ups have jumped in the sack with. And it is this prostitution by the club's entrenched bosses that serves as yet another reason the club's disaffected members are supporting Lamm and like-minded candidates, who understand all too well Jacques Cousteau's words that "population growth is the primary source of environmental destruction," something now entirely lost on the club's elite honchos.

Mike McGarry

A capital idea: Dick Lamm and the Sierra Club are both wrong. It's capitalism, stupid! That's the one issue that the neo-liberal left refuses to confront.

John Cassella

Bordering on disaster: What an article by Stuart Steers. I'm confused, but somehow feel more knowledgeable at the same time. Interesting, though, is that at first glance at "It's Not Easy Being Green," I thought Dick Lamm's quest for some power at the Sierra Club to promote anti-immigration legislation seemed off-track to what pro-environmentalists often fight for. Oddly enough, Dick Lamm, or Da' Clam, as I call him, makes an excellent connection between overpopulation and ecological destruction. I'd love to see him head a symposium at Brigham Young University on the subject.

Just because Pat Buchanan and Da' Clam have both written books concerning immigration and overpopulation where they tread on some of the same ground doesn't mean that Lamm stands on a pedestal of hate, nor does it mean that perspective on immigration should be cast aside as right-wing extremism. If an ultra-pro-environment Democrat, Lamm, and a (fill in the blank) right-winger, Buchanan, are both raising population in the U.S. as a concern for socio-economic or ecological reasons, then it definitely is an issue that requires study, debate and discourse. Then and only then will a solution that is practical and beneficial to both the environment and the rights of immigrants and U.S. citizens have more clarity.

Peter Cohen

All wet: Stuart Steers's article on the candidacy of Dick Lamm for the Sierra Club board of directors made no mention of Lamm's curious involvement in the AWDI campaign to transfer water from the aquifer under the San Luis Valley and the Great Sand Dunes to be sold to Front Range communities. To my knowledge, no clear explanation of any motive other than being paid to lend his prominent name (a "hired gun," as it were) has ever been given. Further, it is difficult to find any "environmental concern" in his having done this.

Currently, Lamm's greatest claim to media coverage is his stance against immigration. This is why he is being promoted for the board and, sadly, racism and cultural "purity" are the evils peering from the shadows.

Robert Porath

Crowd control: Dick Lamm and others should get credit and support for efforts to reduce the growing pollution, congestion, gridlock, road rage and messes. Unfortunately, religions are focused on bigger head counts and revenues. Congratulations!

The government offers exemptions for each offspring so it will have more cannon fodder, slave labor, taxpayers, working poor and surplus people. Congratulations!

The merchants want more customers, sales and profits. Congratulations!

All the sexual imagery, propaganda and ads are acting as accelerants. Congratulations!

The population continues to double at a faster rate in spite of wars, genocide, epidemics, famines and catastrophes.

It is time for our leaders to put their differences aside and go back to the drawing board for the sake of future generations. Will they address the problem? If not now, when?

John F. Sisson

Drive, He Said

Taxi dance: I read Julie Dunn's "The Long Drive," her March 18 piece on Denver cabbies, with much interest, because I was also a cab driver. I started working for Yellow Cab in 1984 -- twenty years ago.

The dispatch system of those days seems primitive compared to the computerized system the company now has. Another difference between then and now is that we didn't feel pressure to work so much to make ends meet. On rare occasions now, I am a cab passenger. Almost every driver I end up with tells me the long-hours story.

Some things that haven't changed are the ridiculous competition, the utter absence of any kind of fringe benefits, the contradiction of not being an employee but being unable to do business independently. I also believe every word of the Yellow Cab president's comments on the not-so-profitable business. That's another thing that hasn't changed in decades.

It took me about six months to start making a living as a driver in the mid-'80s. About six months after that, my heyday was over. Most Denver cabbies' incomes took a nosedive. I lasted two more years till I took a job with a dependable income. There was a sense of independence about driving a cab that I loved, but the stress was a killer. We had to pay attention to the dispatches, tolerate every kind of individual imaginable and sometimes worry about making enough money to buy groceries and pay rent.

No, it's not an easy job. In fact, I'd say it's a rather difficult job. Only certain people can do it. I sometimes wonder how I pulled it off for three years.

Michael St. Peter

Yellow journalism: I just wanted to say thank you for the article on ProTaxi. Although I am not a member and have no intention of becoming one, I think it is good that the public knows what life is like for a lot of us. While I make a good living driving a taxi, I know a lot of the guys don't. I have built up a good customer base for myself and made over $50,000 last year working about nine hours a day. Most of the guys are barely surviving. With the price of gasoline rising like it has, it makes it even harder for them. Which, by the way, leaves me a little puzzled: Why would the GM of Yellow Cab care if the cost of fuel had risen? The companies don't buy any gas; the drivers do.

The article was a very accurate portrayal of the cab business in Denver right now. For example, on March 16, there were only 2,927 dispatched calls and over 380 cabs logged in that day -- an average of eight calls per cab for a 24-hour period.

Matt Dalbey
via the Internet

The Artbeat of the Matter

Power to the people: I want to thank you for Michael Paglia's March 18 Artbeat note regarding Roger Beltrami. While newspaper accounts portrayed him as a "loudmouth" activist for AIDS, we at EDGE found him to be a sensitive, introspective man who quietly gave us the power to fight our own demons. He was and is my idol.

Susan Berkley

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

Raising the bar: Dave Herrera, thank you so much for mocking the crappy local bar bands in this town in the March 18 issue. If you continue Bar Band of the Week, I would consider it as valuable as "Well Hung at Dawn," Chapelle, Pitchforkmedia, Jason Heller and John Stewart.

John Goldar

Local vocals: For the 29 years I have played music in Denver, it has always seemed like there were incredible musicians here making incredible music, but the music scene always seemed kind of splintered. It feels like the potential exists here to become a major music market like Portland or Austin, but for some reason, it just hasn't come together. Westword is in a position of power to facilitate the growth of the local music scene. But I feel like Michael Roberts's March 18 review of Waiting For, the new CD by Bop Skizzum, contributes to the divisiveness of Denver rather than being a creative force.

I don't know Roberts. Perhaps he has recorded his own CD. Perhaps he knows how many hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars it takes. Perhaps he knows the joy of feeling the Creator move within. Perhaps he knows just how hard it is to bare your heart and soul to an audience and to question your wisdom in doing so. Perhaps he has gone through deep self-doubt and asked himself why in the world he is going to such great expense and effort if no one cares. What makes it all worthwhile is knowing that you have raised the level of consciousness in the world; you have given people greater connection to their inner selves; you have helped people have fun, and that people care. May I suggest Roberts pursue these qualities in his own writing?

It is a truly primitive society that chooses to spend billions of dollars on war and death and destruction but forces creative artists to expend most of their energy on their "day gig." They can't afford to just do music, and the world is a poorer place for it. I myself think Waiting For rocks. I feel honored to call those guys friends and to have performed with them. They are truly bright lights on the local scene. And believe me, they bust their asses for Denver. Most people would be appalled to know how many hours musicians rehearse and prepare for a gig and how little money they make and how many CDs they must sell to recoup their investment.

So I'm asking reviewers to be sensitive to their position as a part of the creative force in this great city. You can facilitate an artist's chances of making a living, or you can be an impediment. You can help Denver become a great music market, or you can keep it splintered.

Clay Kirkland

Now Showing

Run for his life: Regarding Bill Gallo's "Jingo Jangle," in the March 4 issue:

To say that Hidalgo is even loosely based on a true story is giving it far too much credit. It is a total fabrication. Frank Hopkins was never a member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West, he never rode in a long-distance race, and basically, he did little that his autobiography (on which the movie is based) claims he did. Are there some other parallels here between Frank Hopkins and George W. Bush?

Steve Friesen

Seeing is believing: Just read Melissa Levine's insightful and poignant review of The Same River Twice, "Because We Could," in the March 4 issue. As a review of a good film should, it made me determined to see the thing.

I read Westword in order to catch the reviews of Bill Gallo, the nonpareil, but from now on, I will look for Levine's, too.

Dick Conway
Port Townsend, Washington

A mind is a terrible thing to waste: This is just a note to express my appreciation for your "Short Takes" on movies. My husband and I enjoy a good film nearly weekly. We didn't have a copy of Westword last night when I read the reviews and picked out a four-star film. After our mind-destroying experience at the Mayan, we have pledged to forgo sampling any film that has not been reviewed by your newspaper on risk of deep regret that we didn't stay home.

Your movie reviews are excellent, and I agree with your reviewers.

Betty C. Shuttleworth
via the Internet

Cruise Control

Busted: David Holthouse's February 26 "Cruisin' for a Bustin'" contained quite a few errors. Allow me to address some of the egregious ones.

I am not and have never been executive director of Equality Colorado, an organization that suspended operation three years ago. I am executive director of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, a fact that is clearly stated across the bottom of the several e-mails I sent to Mr. Holthouse, and which should have been apparent to him when staff at our agency answered the phone "Anti-Violence Program."

Lambda Legal is not based in Washington, D.C., but in New York City. Lambda has regional offices in several cities around the country, including Washington.

It is not true that men arrested by the Adams County Sheriff's Department who agreed to plea dispositions were not made to register as sex offenders. At least one of the Colorado Anti-Violence Program clients was made to register as a sex offender after a plea arrangement.

The overwhelming majority of pedophiles (studies vary, but the estimate is around 95 to 97 percent) are straight men. The quote by Sergeant Louis Dixon from the Adams County Sheriff's Office that children might be "in danger of being taken advantage of" reveals that his understanding of sexual predators is based entirely on myth. Holthouse, by repeating this misinformation, has directly contributed to the erroneous belief that men having consensual sex pose a threat to children, or anyone. Heterosexuals actually pose the greatest threat to children in terms of sexual violence.

In a similar vein, I've never heard of arresting people described as a "proactive" effort, but maybe it's an innovative new community policing strategy that Adams County has developed. Generally, "proactive" efforts regarding sex in public parks have focused on posting warnings, holding public forums, distributing materials describing rights and responsibilities to people using the parks, and forming coalitions to identify strategies to change or reduce behavior.

By now the pattern is apparent: Holthouse's article was sloppy and inaccurate. But it wasn't bad, as soft porn goes, which I'm guessing was the point. I hope Westword readers enjoyed the titillating fantasy, but don't mistake the article for a thorough, thoughtful, nuanced discussion of a serious issue. Try Penthouse for that.

Denise de Percin, executive director
Colorado Anti-Violence Program


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