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Letters to the Editor

No Walk in the Park

Food for thought: I usually look forward to Adam Cayton-Holland's column for quirky humor, damning critique and guaranteed laughter. But the April 20 What's So Funny actually had a different effect: It got me off my butt and down to the Gathering Place with $200 worth of groceries to help the folks down there out. All thanks to his mention of them. That Montview Watch is a true group of idiots -- we wouldn't want to risk their little insular lives, heaven forbid.

Man, I feel as good (if not better) than when I bust a gut laughing at Adam's prose. Thanks.

Don Langeberg
Denver

Homeless is where the heart is: I just read the What's So Funny about Montview Watch. What a bunch of jerks. I mean, to pick on homeless women with children -- my God!

My family moved into the Park Hill neighborhood in 1972, and what a great place it was. My block was full of families of all different races (black, white, Hispanic) and economic backgrounds (from lawyer, judge and editor of the Denver Post to a family that lived in a house owned by the Denver Housing Authority, and everyone in between). There were so many kids, and we were like a family. I loved Park Hill and was sad when my mom sold her home in 1997. But if this is what Park Hill is turning into, I am glad she moved.

Gina Jecminek
Aurora

Words get in the way: Aside from having a name that I find vaguely and inexplicably annoying, Adam Cayton-Holland is a right clever young man and has a way with words. From time to time, however, the words get away from him, and his intense, self-conscious desire to be excruciatingly funny obscures his point. He had a decent argument early in his latest column -- that neighborhood opposition to the temporary relocation of the Gathering Place smacks a bit of NIMBYism and liberal hypocrisy. But by the end of the rant, by ratcheting up his hyperbolic humor several notches too far, his position had all the authenticity of a Bill O'Reilly editorial.

As a thirty-plus-years resident of Park Hill and a member of the board of governors of the Greater Park Hill Community, I can assure Westword readers that not all opponents of the Gathering Place are "mongoloids." (Thanks so much, by the way, for that tasteful metaphor.) There have been several presentations to the board about the issue, and residents on both sides have presented arguments that are generally reasonable. So far, no testimony has been of a variety that would incite wackos at either end of the social/political spectrum.

I think having Montview Presbyterian host the Gathering Place for a year is, by and large, a pretty cool thing. The church has an admirable history of community involvement. The Gathering Place clearly does wonderful work. But the move does present some real challenges. Surely you cannot deny that more than 300 people a day seeking assistance at the church will have an impact. And surely you cannot deny that if you were on the same block, your insights might be slightly affected.

Also allow me to suggest that Park Hill, despite the fear expressed by Mr. Cayton-Holland, is not about to become a Cherry Hills or Hilltop anytime soon. We have neither the median income nor the philosophical bent to allow such a conversion.

Jack Farrar
Denver

A matter of values: Great story by Adam Cayton-Holland! I, too, feel that the progressive attitude regarding helping others has been an integral part of Park Hill's history. Why should that change because property value has increased? It is part of what made that community so special in the past.

I am looking to move back to the area after being suffocated by religious, right-wing, military Christians down here. What Park Hill has is special, and not to be taken away by homogenous white thinking. Just because diversity is different doesn't mean that it is unsafe or bad. Where better to put a safehouse than in a safe area? Give the ladies some hope! God knows they are trying their best without having to further worry about their safety when stepping outside of their designated safehouse. It's not like they are crack whores who are going to break into the surrounding houses. These are women who have been beaten and are at their breaking point, craving compassion and change. Some of them may be from wealthier families than in the surrounding community. Has anyone ever stopped to think about that?

The last time I checked, abuse was not contingent on income. Neither was compassion. Park Hill should be proud that this community was chosen because it was deemed relatively safe. Ugh, the ignorance of a few leaves distaste for the masses.

Lisa Gonzalez
Colorado Springs

Park hell: I was so happy to see Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny in the paper the same day I was attending a meeting at Park Hill. I have been volunteering at the Gathering Place for a year now, and after hearing some of the ridiculous concerns, I was extremely embarrassed for the Park Hill community. Although I do not reside there, I feel sorry for those who do. They have no idea what the women at the Gathering Place are like. No, they are not all addicts; in fact, many of them hold jobs and have families. I volunteer in the children's area, and the children are amazing. I did not know that money separates character. I also was not aware that money buys you safety. They act as if domestic abuse does not occur in their neighboorhood.

I am glad there are good people like Adam out there. As for these members of the community against the move, I feel sorry that they are so ignorant. Great article!

Kati Arnold
Lakewood

Land of opportunity: I am an elder of Montview Church and am on the board of directors of the Gathering Place. I enjoyed reading Adam Cayton-Holland's article regarding the Gathering Place's temporary move to Montview, and especially appreciated an introduction of humor into the somewhat disturbing events of the last couple of weeks.

I love Park Hill, and I love the Park Hill spirit. I have been discussing the Gathering Place move with neighbors, both individually and in meetings, for the last few months. An overwhelming majority of our neighbors support the project wholeheartedly, although some do have minor reservations. The people behind Montview Watch are the minority, and I don't want you to think that they in any way speak for this community. The older residents of this neighborhood have especially rallied around this cause. I have heard time and again that "this is what Park Hill is all about."

My hope is that the Gathering Place's temporary move will bring this community back together and renew its renowned commitment to social justice. I believe that those who insist on believing and retaining their worst fears are missing out on connecting with and appreciating a group of individuals with a lot to offer, despite their poverty. My family, one among many, sees this as an opportunity, not an invasion.

Michele Horn
Denver

Yup and at 'em: Adam Cayton-Holland's call-out of Park Hill yuppies was brilliant. So good, in fact, I kinda feel bad for the number of times I have publicly proclaimed him a tired, cliche, whiny douchebag. Sorry.

Chris Wals
Denver


Budding Columbines

Photo finish: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Hiding in Plain Sight," in the April 13 issue:

If someone is worried about those two knuckleheads being copycatted if the tapes are released, then make sure you throw in the autopsy video/pictures of Klebold and Harris. Maybe when they see their brain pans opened up like dog food cans and their split-open chests, the romance will go out of that little fantasy.

Jake Jakelsky
via the Internet

Play it as it lies: I wanted to thank you for Alan Prendergast's story about Columbine and the hidden lies. We cannot honor Klebold and Harris, but we do need to see the tapes they made that later led to the death of thirteen innocent people. I'm eighteen, and it means a lot to me and others that there is always going to be someone fighting to uncover the truth that we all so much deserve to know.

Thanks for your support.

Angie Bohner
Denver

A bitter pill: I felt that "Hiding in Plain Sight" fell short of addressing the true cause of Columbine. Columbine's remaining secrets are indeed dangerous -- to the pharmaceutical industry's bottom line. The anti-depressant drugs the two killers took were directly responsible for the tragedy at Columbine. Interlocking boards of directors prevent the mainstream media from addressing the problems associated with anti-depressant drugs. These drugs are directly responsible for many mass murders. My own grandfather committed suicide after taking Prozac. We must expose the pharmaceutical drug companies for the murders they have committed and investigate the CEO scum that profits from death.

Christian Peper
St. Louis, Missouri

No end in sight: I enjoyed Alan Prendergast's article very much. It was investigative and thorough. As a survivor of Columbine and a "friend" of Eric's, I'm always a bit cynical of "news" stories. But Alan's was very well-researched and -written. He was right when he mentioned "suffering without end."

Today marks the seventh anniversary of Columbine, and for whatever reason, I chose today to read the archives. And on this day, one of the saddest days of the year for 2,000 young adults who lived through it, I have to read "Kleboldish"? Was that absolutely necessary?

But thanks for the story.

Name withheld on request


Breaking Out of Prison

Parole play: Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Over and Over Again," in the April 6 issue:

Thanks a million for your more-than-in-depth story on the plight of the men and women on parole. My wife and I have been volunteers for over twelve years in the Department of Corrections as prison evangelists. In 2004, we decided to get involved with after-care programs to help reduce the recidivism rate. We have seen the horrors of the parole system as truly portrayed in your article -- DOC believes the lie that they help. Our church consists of men and women who have gotten out of prison and have a church to help them and hold them accountable to be a part of the community. Thanks and God bless you!

Pastor Norm Chase
Mercy Kingdom Outreach, Denver


That's Rich

Think big: As usual, you guys got the story before the "big guys." Frank "Kelly" Rich just got his mug on the front page of the New York Times Styles section -- seven years after you introduced us to him.

Allan Yu
Grand Junction