Letters to the Editor
Fighting like cats and dogs: I have been an avid, if not unreasonably loyal, fan of Westword for years, but Jason Sheehan's April 20 Bite Me column has gotten me angrier than a long-tailed cat in a rocking-chair factory. Shortly after you hired Jason, you printed my response defending him against numerous and rather vicious attacks on his writing skills, his ability to recognize good food and, most important, his gift of criticizing the restaurant scene here in Denver with a fair and equitable pen.
I now must tell that this "critic" is an idiot. He has crossed the line, attacking one of the country's most notable foods: the hot dog. In particular, he criticized Steve's Snappin' Dogs, one of my favorite places in the city to get a true and honest, American icon-class hot dog. No, Jason, these are not the soggy, watered-down, chili-covered hot dogs you can find sweating away in a rusted cart on the 16th Street Mall. These are quality dogs, and yes, they are a bit more expensive -- but I am not standing on a sidewalk avoiding the ever-present panhandlers asking for loose change. I'll pay a little more to sit and enjoy my food, regardless of what music they are playing (leave the music criticism to Casey Kasem).
Please, oh, please, don't ever let Sheehan out again without supervision.
Pup talk: I love Jason Sheehan's articles. They are the only thing I read in Westword. I could not agree with him more on Steve's Snappin' Dogs. Honestly, the hot dog stand outside Home Depot makes a better dog.
Thanks, Jason, for keeping me entertained!
We brake for Blinky: Jason Sheehan, nice hatchet job on Steve's Snappin' Dogs, which happens to be one of the finest new additions on that stretch of Colfax. Did you really use "Blinky-centric"? Ease up, ass puppet. Why wouldn't they push the Blinky legacy? Not only is Blinky Denver's only bona fide celebrity, but he is without a doubt the coolest thing that ever happened to this town. I was on Blinky's Fun Club when I was a kid -- unlike you, loser. I've walked past that abandoned garage since I went to East High, and I can't think of a better use for it. Maybe Steve's got a bad review because it doesn't advertise in Westword. Es verdad, no?
As for the food, I had a breakfast burrito that was magical at a price that was ridiculously cheap. At least we have the good fortune of knowing you probably won't be there when we go in. Best of luck with your community-college writing courses.
Fletcher Patrick Neeley
Green achers: Read about Steve's Snappin' Dogs in Bite Me, and just wanted to share a couple of things. I, too, thought they were pricey for what you got. I also thought I could make a better dog at home. I asked about the fluorescent Day-Glo green relish, and they said that's what they serve in Chicago and New York. Since I've never been to Chicago, I couldn't say, but I've never seen that color of relish in New York or anywhere else. Perhaps it's a "Blinky" thing? I didn't think that relish tasted good, either. I went back a few days later to try one of their fresh-squeezed limeades and had to throw it away.
They have a good concept and a good location, but with inferior product, I don't think they'll last too long.
Street smarts: I do not understand how Westword could name Steve's Snappin' Dogs the Best New Store on Colfax and then have Jason Sheehan's Bite Me be so negative. I grew up in the Chicago area and miss those dogs. Steve's new hot dog stand is a very nice addition to reviving the Colfax area. Hot dogs are the ultimate comfort food...and Steve's are terrific!
Editor's note: Hot dog! Of the many, many new businesses on Colfax Avenue, the editorial staff agreed that a great hot dog stand with a noteworthy lineage was the most worthy, and so gave the Best New Store on Colfax award to Steve's Snappin' Dogs. Steve's didn't need to serve the best hot dog in town to win that title (Jason Sheehan stands by his choice of the Old Fashioned Italian Deli, far to the south in Littleton, for Best Hot Dog); it just needed to serve a very good dog in a fun, fine store.
There blows the neighborhood: Regarding the April 20 What's So Funny:
Does Adam Cayton-Holland know whether or not the Gathering Place or similar organizations have actually attempted unsuccessfully to set up shop in Hilltop or Cherry Creek? That must be how he came to the conclusion that residents and merchants in those neighborhoods feel that "helping the poor is great and all that, just as long as [those who live and work there] don't have to actually look at them." Or perhaps when he and a group of underprivileged went to canvass the neighborhoods, they were chased away by intolerant, rich white kids with lacrosse sticks? If that were the case, I hope he and his fellow crusaders found refuge in the McDonald's on Colfax and Krameria -- an establishment proudly welcomed and tolerated by Park Hill. I couldn't think of a better place for him to be one with the people, proud of his Park Hill origins and relieved that he's nothing like those Hilltop and Cherry Creek people.
Up and Adam: Adam Cayton-Holland's column about the Gathering Place moving to Park Hill was dope. I liked how Adam ended with "We have Boulder for that." Ha ha. Keep it up!
Chief supporters: After reading Adam Cayton-Holland's "Chief Concerns," in the April 20 issue, I wanted to add a local homeowner's perspective. Many who live here feel our community is poorer with the loss of David Peri's management of the Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground. Having lived here for well over a decade, I speak from experience.
Previously, Chief Hosa was more a run-down private clubhouse than a public business -- closed more than it was open. Mr. Peri changed that. The entire campus was cleaned up, the facilities made safe, attractive and open all year; suddenly, Chief Hosa belonged to the community. Starting with a Mother's Day benefit before the lodge was even finished through his final days, hundreds of community events and meetings were held there. He also reached out to homeowners. Experts gave free lectures on how to live with mountain lions, bears and wildlife. Fire threats were addressed. The summer Red Rocks concert camping became more controlled and safer than ever before.
By not supporting his efforts, Denver has done more than darken a lodge. Like the namesake Chief Hosa, he fought to keep the peace. We wish him well. He is missed.
The blame game: I am writing in response to "Chief Concerns," about the lawsuit filed against the City and County of Denver by David Peri of Periscope Marketing, the last concessionaire of Chief Hosa Lodge and Campground. For twelve years, I painstakingly and lovingly restored this beautiful, historic lodge. I resent the insinuations made by Mr. Peri concerning the condition in which it was left. I stated in the article that "we left it in good condition"; I should have stated that we left it in excellent condition. Chief Hosa was scrubbed from top to bottom, the ovens turned off and all bathrooms cleaned -- including the toilets. We only took what belonged to us, and those items were on a list compiled by the City and County of Denver and given to Mr. Peri prior to his possession of the property. We took only those items, nothing more.
We now operate a beautiful, clean and very successful event center just one mile east of Chief Hosa. We like to "under-promise and over-deliver." It's obvious to me that Mr. Peri does just the opposite but is looking to blame anyone other than himself for his failed business.
Getting Hosa'd: Thanks for Westword's story making the first mention of the treatment my company received from Denver at Chief Hosa. We appreciate your position of trying to offer as many competing views as possible. However, we have overwhelming evidence that Denver promoted an opportunity that did not exist, nearly destroyed the asset from neglect and malfeasance, then pushed responsibility for fixing this mess onto Periscope with threats and promises that were never kept. Denver actively interfered with the operation to the point of public boasts "to push Chief Hosa into bankruptcy." Even by the lax standards of local government, this is shameful behavior.
Where the previous concessionaire received a wink and a nod and paid only $3,000 for each year of his first decade, we were pushed into investing more than fifty times that amount every year, never receiving the promised opportunities tied to those payments. Cole Finegan, our attorney at the time, encouraged us that we'd have a compelling case to file against Denver for compensation. It is ironic that, as Denver's current city attorney, the same Mr. Finegan is responsible for defending Denver against the complaint he urged.
Outside counsel Denise Maes says she detected anger in our complaint. On that we agree. But it is not just what we have lost; we think Denver taxpayers would also be angry if they knew what had been taken from them.
Who has been hurt? Periscope, which was prevented from enjoying the fruits of our expensive and difficult labors; the lenders who provided the money to rebuild Denver's assets; the City of Denver, which would have earned millions of dollars during a budget crisis by simply allowing those businesses it had already approved and had under contract; and, most important, the public and taxpayers, because they are denied the use and knowledge of these important, historical assets that belong to them.
David E. Peri
Periscope Marketing & Management, Inc.
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