The Sprawlful Truth

Letters to the Editor

Mall-to-mall carpeting: I just read Alan Prendergast's "The Next Bad Thing," in the May 6 issue, about the suburbs taking over the open land in Colorado. I am from unincorporated Parker, and I feel the same way that the two gentlemen in the article do. I was young when I moved here in 1997, but I've still been able to witness countless shopping centers being built, along with more and more housing everywhere you look.

Off of Gun Club Road and Smoky Hill, there's now another ridiculous mall being built. Why is there need for more shopping centers? Drive down to Park Meadows if you want a mall experience! Along with that, there has been a constant battle with the residents of Parker and the wealthy assholes trying to annex another piece of land near Gun Club Road. When will it end? Isn't Aurora big enough? Worry about cleaning up that crappy city before expanding it into our nice city! It really angers me, to say the least, and I have to wonder if eventually there will be absolutely no open land anywhere in this state anymore.

Thank you for taking the time to bring this issue to light for more people. It makes me happier to see that there are still people out there who care about the old ways of life and a little peace and quiet away from all of the city noise and stress.

Nicole Drahnak

Wake-up call: Alan Prendergast's story on Elbert County may be the most depressing thing I've ever read. Is there any way to save this state before it's ruined? Neither our economic bust nor the continuing drought are apparently enough to stop this mindless growth. Wake up, Colorado!

Mary O'Rourke Denver

The road to ruin: I loved Alan Prendergast's article on Elbert County, as I am a resident who was involved with the local yokels who tried to ram a local-improvement district through our neighborhood a few years ago. They violated the open-meeting laws and put the issue on the ballot before our public hearing date -- then they canceled the public hearing. Why did we need to have one? Everything was set, thanks to the fancy talking of the lawyer that elected officials seemed to think of as God himself standing before them!

Thanks for the good job. We tried to get coverage over the sneaky, illegal road-paving local-improvement district. I didn't know people in public office could be either so corrupt or so stupid. It was hard to tell the difference!

Kathy Bernardini

Border line: Regarding the tremendous growth in Elbert County, as long as we have a never-ending growing population in this country, situations like that are inevitable. Unless we control our borders, our precious open space and other natural resources will remain in peril.

Jay Bloomfield

Can Do!

Life's lessons: I really enjoyed Laura Bond's story on Carlton Stewart ("The Can Man Cometh," April 29), because I knew Carlton. I lived on Franklin Street before moving to Washington, D.C., in 1995. My neighbors introduced me to Carlton, who was always looking for odd jobs. Over the years, Carlton helped with yard work, remodeling and other things.

I learned several things from Carlton about not making assumptions.

One day he was doing some work at my house, and my neighbor mentioned that it was Carlton's birthday. I took him down to the Burger King on Colfax and got him a hamburger, shake, fries and a pie for dessert and said "Happy birthday." Carlton got a bit quiet and then said it was the first time anybody had every gotten him anything for his birthday. Ever.

Carlton used to drive a huge and ancient Cadillac. I once asked why he didn't try a small, gas-efficient Toyota or Nissan, and he told me that he and his family had to move about every two months and they couldn't get their possessions into a Toyota.

On the day of that huge drop in the Dow Jones in the 1980s, Carlton was doing some work at my place. I said something about the stock market crashing, and Carlton thought the roof of a grocery store had fallen in. He had never heard of the stock market.

Carlton had a tough childhood, but he's a very decent guy, and I'm glad you wrote about him.

Daniel Settles
Vienna, Virginia

Good Golly, Miss Holly!

The party's over: I shudder to think of the piles of negative mail you have solicited with Julie Jargon's April 29 cover story, "The Importance of Being Holly." Certainly, Mrs. Kylberg won't deserve all the scorn that your article has guaranteed her, but did you really think that Westword readers would be intrigued by an obscenely wealthy socialite whose great "sacrifice" is her willingness to party for a good cause?

Adam Russell
via the Internet

The cat's out of the bag: I don't understand why so many people wrote to complain about Julie Jargon's article on Holly Kylberg. The story was funny and interesting. Granted, Kylberg's no Mother Teresa or Albert Einstein: I doubt we'll ever see her biography on the Tattered Cover's "Recommended Reading" shelves.

But she's not hurting anybody. To the contrary, Kylberg and her husband have actually done quite a bit of good in their own way. (People who donate to charity more than they spend on their houses and cars each year can't be all bad.) And she's obviously quite a character.

By the way, the letter you ran in the May 6 issue from Kylberg's so-called "friend" and fellow socialite Victoria Damone was unintentionally hilarious. You could practically hear the meowing.

Rolf Asphaug

Building a foundation: I have witnessed Holly Kylberg's transformation over twelve years, and her desire to make an impact in the world through worthy charitable causes has been incredible. As an example, the Children's Starlight Foundation chooses a deserving couple based on the work they have done in the community through their lifetime, honoring them with a dinner and creating an additional fundraising opportunity. As your article aptly noted, by choosing Rich and Holly Kylberg last year, the foundation touched a younger, new base of people. As an honoree, she could not avoid saying something that evening. She spoke eloquently, poignantly and with poise, displaying the ability to rise to the challenge when needed.

For someone like Holly to dedicate herself to a number of charitable causes and use her intelligence and creativity to produce something that serves the dual goals of creating fun and entertainment for the participants and donations for the charities is inspiring. I hope your article will cause others to find their passions in giving back to the community -- and to do so in similarly unique ways.

Mark Kalkus

Pearls before swine: "Rebel With a Cause"? With that April 29 cover line, was I reading Westword or Us magazine? Please. No matter how much good Ms. Kylberg thinks she is doing -- and no matter how much Westword pandered to her ego -- the simple fact remains that she probably spends more money yearly on makeup than many families earn. The priorities of a woman who "wouldn't turn down either!" diamonds or pearls are probably just that: money and what it buys. Who cares how she assuages her guilt with charity work? Truly, what else does she have to do?

Dan Meester

A wealth of opinions: The critics of your feature about Holly Kylberg seem to imply that wealth and the people who create it are at best irrelevant and at worst evil. This criticism is quite ironic considering that Holly's story happens to demonstrate the contrary. Obviously, Holly is a significant contributor to the vibrancy of the Denver community and the well-being of many within it. The fact that she has chosen to give such significant quantities of her time, energy and financial resources is indicative of her compassion and her grace. If she is not Mother Teresa (or Pat Tillman), there are thousands of animals and their human companions, artists and their patrons, and sick and underprivileged people who are fortunate that she is Holly Kylberg.

Alan Sparks

Charity begins at home: Give the girl a break!

I am relieved to know there is someone out there in the community who is giving of herself to others, while still committed to extraordinary style and grace. As for some of Holly Kylberg's social foibles, it was the writer's intent to show a humanistic and vulnerable side to someone of monetary privilege and social status. In a tabloid-frenzied world where celebrities and wealthy individuals are chronicled for their antics and social ills, Holly is a refreshing breath of air. Why can't a girl just have some fun along the way? No one said you have to be a martyr in peasants' shrouds to convince others to give back to their community.

Holly's message is simple and clear: Be socially responsive. Her personal style is merely an afterthought. Anyone who knows her on a personal level, as I do, knows that she is just having fun. Isn't all this criticism the same old argument between "those who have and those who have not"? I challenge each and every one of us (rich or poor) to make the best use of our time for community involvement. We all have something to give. We all have a choice to make about how we present yourselves. I know many people in this great community who don't have the financial resources that Holly does, but take just as much pride in their personal appearances, and have fun giving either time or money. In some cases, both.

When is it time for others to stand back and admire someone else's community efforts without nasty criticism? Mother Teresa is a personal hero of mine, as is Princess Diana. The women existed on opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both gave unselfishly of themselves (and either could be criticized for her personal wardrobe). Each one of them attracted a following of supporters that ultimately benefited others.

Who cares what you're wearing or how you go about giving? Just go out and do it!

Bradley Joseph

Adding insult to injury: I know that Holly does good work in the community, and I appreciate that this article helped get people out to the Mask Project, but please, can we have a little less pandering? I found the whole thing rather cloying and incredibly insulting (not to mention condescending) to the patrons of Don's Tavern, who see a diversity of people popping in there every day...

Christine Urbanek

A friend indeed: This is a letter to Holly Kylberg:

It was very upsetting to read the letters in the last issue of Westword about the article featuring you. Contrary to the published opinions, I thought "The Importance of Being Holly" was wonderful. When I finished reading it, my only thought was that I wanted to be your friend! The opinions that were expressed in those letters seem only to be jealous cuts at your lifestyle and in no way account for the amazing things you have helped do for this community.

I just wanted to let you know that I applaud all of your work, and if you want to get your hair done and look cute, there's nothing wrong with that. Please don't let jealous, petty people affect anything that you do. I think you're great!

Molly Zimmerman

Sitting on their assets: I find it unfortunate that some people would choose to write letters critical of Holly Kylberg and the amazing work she does for our city/community. Holly is one of the nicest people I know. The focus of your story -- that Holly is different from most of the rest of Denver's philanthropic community -- was lost on some of your readers. Maybe the Kylbergs should just sit on their money and not continue to give it away.

While some may find it frivolous, imagine the people who would be without a job if the local philanthropic community did not spend money to attend benefits. People who work for event planners, restaurants, caterers, nail salons, tanning salons, clothing stores, valet-parking companies, etc...not to mention the cost of the event itself, usually $100 to $300. Then there are the outright contributions that you are obligated to give for the privilege of already having given hundreds of dollars to attend an event benefiting those who are less fortunate than you.

It is obvious that some of your readers chose to only read what they wanted to in the Holly Kylberg article. The real story was about a loving and caring couple who give more in time and money to benefit others than they spend on their own living expenses. I doubt if any of the readers who chose to write critical letters would give a dime to charity if the tables were turned. Holly is an asset to our community, and I am proud to call her a friend.

Tom Lorz

Popular mechanics: Add my name to the list of readers confused and angered by Julie Jargon's piece on Holly Kylberg. What is your excuse for this? Why did you think an article about the party-hopping lifestyle of a rich socialite would interest ordinary, working Denverites?

Five hundred words won't suffice to point out every offensive passage in this piece. The two worst:

"And though she hobnobs with the social elite, Holly is no snob; she frequently hangs out with her stylist and personal trainer..."

"I'm about to pretend I don't speak English when Holly answers that she's originally from Illinois. She isn't even rude to creepy men in bars!...(Note to guys: Look at a woman's left hand before you hit on her; Holly's 4.5-carat rock is especially hard to miss.)"

Note to Julie Jargon: Read your articles before you submit them to ensure you haven't written in the gushing tone of the class geek who's been invited to a slumber party by the most popular girl at school.

Get a clue, Westword.

Lawrence Pelo

The heart of the matter: It was about a year ago that I met Holly Kylberg. Matthew Morris had just hired me as his assistant at Planet Laboratories. As she walked in, I was quite unsure what to expect from this pretty Denver socialite. What I discovered underneath the glitzy exterior was a warm, shy young lady with a big heart. Her sense of perfectionism stems not from being a diva, but from a real desire to be her best. I can truly say that as time has passed, my appreciation and affection has only grown for Mrs. Kylberg.

James Gammage

The gift that keeps on giving: The obvious infuriation of some readers begs the question, "Why so much anger and dismay?" And I'm not referring to those who directed their dismay toward Westword, but rather toward Holly. As a director of a non-profit organization and a past president of another that Holly has helped, I am grateful. She has given her time and money generously to many nonprofits. Those in our community who are blessed with the time and wherewithal to volunteer, provide expertise and give generous financial support should be appreciated. Not all who are blessed do so.

That said, should we be referring to those who have given time and money with words like "fuck" and "shit"? I don't think so. People like Holly have also given many organizations a new sense of spirit and hope that "the community supports our cause."

Without people like Holly, we --directors, administrators and program staffers -- would be saying "fuck" and "shit" a whole lot more, as our resources ran dry when trying to provide assistance to people who have a debilitating illness, are hungry, homeless, trying to pay for their medications or have a dog or cat they so dearly care about but cannot afford the veterinary service that will extend its life.

We should embrace people like Holly who volunteer, give money and provide hope. As more and more people become similarly involved, our community becomes a better place to live, period. I commend Westword, because you are a part of our community and you should keep us abreast of the people and organizations that make such a difference.

Roger Armstrong

Hooked on Chronophonic

Fancy Footwork: I read Morgan Wells's May 6 review of Chronophonic. Hmmm, where does one start? Let's just make it simple and say that it was probably one of the most jaded, self-righteous reviews I have and probably ever will read.

First of all, I find the language in the "review" unacceptable. Phrases such as "tap that ass," "fuck you," "shit factor" and "assholes" make Wells sound uneducated; the words sound as if they were used with ill-intent. Second, her opinion is valued. In a review, we, as readers, expect the personality of the writer to illustrate the words. However, I am not quite sure how making references to bandmembers having no tact is actually part of the review of Footwork. Wells is making judgments on the individuals in the band, rather than on the album. But worse than that, she is making cruel and unwarranted judgments on good and talented people she has probably never met.

Next time, she should keep her "opinions" straight and save us the bunk about the two lead singers being assholes. No one said she had to like the album or even give it a good review, but as a writer for a newspaper, she should keep her personal issues to herself. I must say, I am disappointed. This is not the caliber of writing I expect from Westword. She has not done the newspaper or fellow journalists justice.

Meghan Terry
via the Internet

Raw courage: I enjoyed the review of Chronophonic. I would like to see more articles that speak the truth and give it to me raw.

Matthew Davids


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