Letters to the Editor
Borderline behavior: I appreciated the combination of Patricia Calhoun's pieces in the October 6 issue. Compare what the Martinezes ("United They Stand") have done for this country with what the Minutemen ("Blow Hards") say they are doing down on the border. Who are the real patriots?
I'll vote for Padres Unidos.
Low blows: Sorry, but Patricia Calhoun's "Blow Hards" was really a farce of an article. Try starting at square one again.
Elephant man: Regarding Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny? in the October 6 issue:
I love Adam's column; he is my favorite Westword writer. I can't explain how funny that article was; reading it in my dusty cubicle was hard, because I had to suppress the evil laughter that was trying to resonate at the thought of an elephant killing a clown.
I share Adam's sentiments about circuses. But if he wants to talk weird circuses, the Shriners' Circus is like being in the twilight zone. Avoid it at all costs. Thanks for the laughs, again.
Trunk show: Thanks to Westword for printing Adam Cayton-Holland's column illuminating the ridiculousness and inhumanity of Ringling Bros. circus. If we all took a minute to look behind the velvet curtain, as Mr. Cayton-Holland did,we would be appalled to find that what the powers-that-be tell us is true is, in fact, a bunch of outrageous lies.
Animal crackups: We agree with Adam Cayton-Holland that the Ringling Bros.circus public-relations machine can't fool anyone who gives thought to the use of animals in entertainment. Many animals used by Ringling have died as a result of egregious neglect or outright abuse. An eight-month-old elephant named Riccardo was killed by Ringling after he fractured both hind legs when he fell off a circus pedestal. Benjamin, a four-year-old baby elephant, drowned in a pond as he tried to move away from a trainer who was threatening him with a bull hook. Ringling paid federal authorities $20,000 to settle charges of failing to provide veterinary care to a dying baby elephant named Kenny.
Other animal deaths include a caged tiger that was shot to death, a lion that died of apparent heatstroke, a horse that was used despite a chronic medical condition that died during a Ringling animal march, and a wild-caught sea lion that was found dead in her transport cage.
Animals in Entertainment Campaigns Writer
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Word without end: Thanks for "War of the Word," the great article by Bill Gallo in the October 6 issue. Decent works of journalism are few and far between today. Gallo is an excellent writer and, what's more important (or just as important), he is a fair interpreter of a complex issue.
Thanks again -- it was very informative.
via the Internet
Hate on parade: Why does the City of Denver promote hate? With the continuation of the Columbus Day parade, that is exactly what the city is doing. Supporters of this parade seem to be expressing their racist undertones. Germans do not want to celebrate Hitler. So why do Italians want to celebrate Columbus?
It seems as if there is no getting through to the parade organizers. I mean, some of them actually still believe Columbus discovered America? With this level of intelligence, there is definitely no winning on any side. So come one, come all to the Parade of Hate, sponsored by the City of Denver and the KKK.
The reign in Spain: I fail to understand the big flap over Columbus and the Italians. It wasn't the Italians who did the genocide, it was the Spaniards. There were few, if any, Italians involved in the early colonization of the Caribbean and Latin America.
Frederick C. Sage
Time marches on: I can hardly believe the article in Westword about the "ridiculousness" (is there such a word? If not, I just made it up!) over the Columbus Day parade issue that currently seems to be capturing the attention of some residents of Denver.
What? The "Indians" -- who exactly are these people? The only people I know of, for this country anyway, who are unfortunately referred to as "Indians" are Native Americans from many cultures and nations who lived on this land long before anything we know.
Now for the Italians. Exactly who are they? If you're Italian, shouldn't you be living in Italy? Hey!
By the way, what about the Asians? Or people like me -- I come from a German, English and God-knows-where-else heritage. But I think of myself as an American. Always, forever and most of the time, proud of it! I personally believe in the freedom and ability to acknowledge your heritage no matter what it might be. But I also believe that if you live here, work here or just are "cashing in on the cow" here, you are called an American-something-or-other.
Come on, Denver. Our country (and world) has so many incredible issues facing us. To name a few: the war, and natural disasters that have hit our country with thousands still unable to call anything "home," which you and I will be paying for for years to come! How about this thought: Do you feel your job will be there tomorrow in order to pay for the huge credit debt most of us carry?! Oh, and what's the latest issue? Oh, yeah, the flu thing that can wipe us all out! Yikes.
Sorry, what prompted me to e-mail Westword? Oh, that's right! The Columbus Day parade. Well, for all of you trying to keep the peace in Denver, I salute you.
Mt. Vernon, Missouri
Space case: Regarding Jared Jacang Maher's "Scoot!" in the October 6 issue:
The bicycle racks at Auraria are heavily used by bicyclists. Scooters take up more space, and there are certainly enough of them to create serious space problems at bicycle racks. I take the "political statement" behind a bicycle much more seriously than that represented by a scooter.
By and large, scooterists subscribe to trend value much more than utility. It would be nice, sure, if the campus designated free parking to such vehicles. But they occupy the same space any motorcycle does, and I see no reason for the campus to sacrifice its perfectly legitimate "cash cow" (i.e. trading a service for payment).
Vroom service: I read Jared Jacang Maher's "Scoot!" and noticed a quote by Adam Baker from Sportique Scooters, that "This is across the board; everyone in town is sold out." I wanted to let you know that Erico Motorsports, Denver's Vespa dealer, is not sold out. In fact, we have an ample stock of Piaggio and Vespa scooters in all colors and models available for the people of Denver. Because we are the top Vespa dealer in the country, we have a great working relationship with Italy and have access to whatever we need in a very timely manner. In fact, we just took shipment of a container of over a hundred Piaggio Typhoons that are sitting in our showroom, waiting for their new owners to pick them up. Our sales manager does a great job of forecasting sales to ensure that we can meet our customers' needs.
I don't want Denverites to think that we are not prepared to take care of them. We are always fully inventoried and happy to put more scooters on the road. Thanks for listening.
Tai B. Beldock, marketing director
With Friends like these... Thank you, Jessica Centers, for "Beating a Dead Horse," in the September 29 issue. It has taken me a few days to decide whether or not I should write, because I wasn't sure if I could convey exactly how angry, disgusted and saddened I am after learning the truth about Friends of Horses. I have tried to contact FOH on a couple of occasions, figuring that my twelve-plus years' experience working with horses would make me a valuable volunteer. Oh, silly me! There's no place for someone who knows how to take care of horses properly with an organization that seems to place that care at the bottom of the list of priorities!
What Jessica didn't mention, however, is that there are wonderful equine rescues in the metro area, like Colorado Horse Rescue. To adopt an animal from CHR, you must go through a bit of a process, which includes an in-depth application and more than one meeting with the animal to make sure the adoption is a match, as well as regular followups. They are also quite up front about an animal's limitations, listing many of their horses as being purely "companion" animals: unable to be ridden, but still very capable of being a loving friend. Could there be more of a polar opposite to FOH?
I hope the article will incite some kind of real action for the good of these horses, not simply more warnings. It is truly saddening that they seem to need rescuing from their "rescuers."
Giddyap: Thanks so much for researching and printing "Beating a Dead Horse." The more that is known about this man and his "business," the less credibility he will have in the horse community. He is truly evil, and many appreciate Jessica Centers's hard work.
What the hay: Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the article about Bill Stiffler and his "horse rescue." I boarded my horse and gave riding lessons at the Peoria Barn (I referred to it as "the Ghetto") for nearly nine months, until Stiffler told me he wanted me off the property. No reason was given, but I imagine he did not appreciate having someone around who knew a lame horse from a sound one and a good bale of hay from a moldy one.
I witnessed his abusive treatment of horses and personnel. I believe everything about Bill Stiffler and Friends of Horses is a sham that will eventually be exposed. Stiffler's management practices are shoddy and have resulted in sick and injured horses that he can't or won't call a veterinarian for. By his wholesale approach to horse rescue, he has made it impossible to do justice to any of the animals in his custody. Legitimate rescues take on only as many horses as they can realistically rehabilitate, train and adopt out.
Stiffler will do all he can to lay blame on others for his failures. He blames underlings for sales of lame or ill animals, poor hay or no hay at all, and lost or incomplete records. Well, the buck stops on his desk: He's the director of Friends of Horses. I fear for the people whose lives or careers will be demolished by their association with this man. Many people are afraid to speak out against Mr. Stiffler. I hope your fine article will give those people the courage to stand up and fight against him and his bogus "rescue operation."
Enlisting help: Regarding last week's response from a recruiter to Michael Roberts's "Wanted," in the September 29 issue:
I think it is awful that military recruiters use misleading tactics to recruit students, especially at a time when so many of our troops are in harm's way in Iraq. The promise of $70,000 for college is just factually wrong. If you study the GI Bill, you will learn that very few veterans qualify for the amounts that recruiters and advertisements quote. The United States government needs to understand that today's students are smart and can read the fine print about how much money we will actually receive for our education in return for military service. The amounts typically received aren't even close to the ever-increasing costs of a college education. We need to work together to end these misleading ad campaigns that entice young people to enlist by offering false hope and empty promises. Surely America can do better than that! Enlisting when you are told the truth and have the facts you need to make an informed decision is one thing, but enlisting when you are given misleading or false information is just plain wrong.
A true helping hand: I read the September 29 letter from "name withheld" about Leon Kelly and Brad Braxton (Luke Turf's "Last Chance," September 22). It saddens me to hear a person talk about another person who has stepped up and worked with the young people in our inner city, when most people would turn and look away and not concern themselves with such problems.
I know Reverend Leon Kelly, and I am very proud to consider him my friend. I have seen the good work he has done firsthand. Furthermore, anyone who would step up and work more than full-time and try to point our youth on the right path in times when our troubled young people are forgotten and dismissed is a great person. It is easy to say "Do what makes you feel good, don't be a follower," but it is quite another to have an active role trying to help our youth. I have seen kids say, "Remember me? I am doing good now," and that is cool!
So I say if you are going to speak "the truth," then leave your name, so it is written who said it.
Shake and flake: In response to Michael Roberts's "Real News," in the September 22 issue:
Yes, the Hurricane Katrina stories continue. I have worked in local television for over twenty years as a producer, director and camera person; recently, I worked for LASEA Broadcasting, channel 53, a Christian-based television station in the Tech Center that has affiliates throughout the U.S.
What a three-ring circus! While employed at LASEA, I was witness to a weekly staff video from Pete Summerall, owner of LASEA Broadcasting. On the last video, Pete told everybody within his network that New Orleans (where he lost a television station because of the hurricane) needed a few improvements. But first, he stated it wasn't his problem to get paychecks to the people who were no longer working at the New Orleans station because it was destroyed. They should have had direct deposit; otherwise, it was their fault that they didn't get paid. He then stated that New Orleans needed to be cleansed of the bad people. His words: "I don't care if we have to shoot and kill people, put them in jail. or run them out of town. If they don't believe in what we do, get rid of them!"
Wow, spoken just like a religious terrorist changing the words of his bible to suit his situation. I'm sure he is endorsed by Republicans everywhere. It's that kind of airhead mentality from rich Republicans that keeps the "United States" name a hated word in other countries.
You thought news stations were flaky?
Our weekly bread: I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate Jason Sheehan's writing style. Reading his restaurant reviews has become a weekly tradition for us. We gather around the glow of the laptop, with friends and family, good food and drink, and take turns reading his reviews. We're always impressed, usually laugh, and sometimes are moved to tears. Thanks for being a part of our lives!
All that jazz: Regarding Shawn Bauer's Critic's Choice on Buckner Funken Jazz in the September 29 issue:
That's nice work, captain.
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