"Change of Plans," Jared Jacang Maher, November 30
I was fascinated by Jared Jacang Maher's article on Northglenn. I'm a lifelong resident of Denver, and I think its central core's diversity is exciting and wonderful.
In the 1970s, Denver faced challenges like a declining downtown, integration of its schools, pollution and crime. Tens of thousands of people "voted with their feet" and moved to the new suburbs. Suburbs that grew like weeds because the Poundstone Amendment froze Denver's boundaries in place. Suburbs that sneered at Denver, filled with people who wanted nothing to do with Denver's problems and felt they could walk away from them.
So now Northglenn, Aurora and other inner-ring suburbs have the same problems that Denver has. Many of those suburbs want to cooperate with Denver. Imagine that. The reason is obvious: People are people, no matter where they live, and will create the same opportunities and challenges. I shouldn't engage in schadenfreude, but part of me does.
Yet people still push ever outward, chewing up more and more prairie and productive farmland, moving into new "exurbs," in a vain hope to escape problems. Suburban denial, "voting with your feet," won't work.
The article on Northglenn's problems was great. I lived in Northglenn for 35 years and saw some incredible blunders. The city failed to annex the electronics plant (Western Electric) and sealed its ability to grow forever. Then the city built an expensive new water system to handle 250,000 users, even though there are only 35,000 residents in Northglenn. Apparently the city fathers never figured that neighboring cities already had their own water systems and Northglenn has enormous debt. The last screwup occurred when the city left out a 1,600-spot parking lot, a transit-only tunnel and future development possibilities from FasTracks planning. This park-n-ride is right across the highway from City Hall. Talk about lack of vision.
Northglenn is the only metro-area city to vote against FastTracks. Three strikes and you are out of business.
I'd love to take a gander at the appraisal report that'll eventually be used to secure a loan on the house that Bill Sullivan is rehabbing on Leroy Drive in Northglenn. I love good fiction!
You dump $275K into rehabbing a house surrounded by 7.5 miles of fifty-year-old, $50,000-$80,000 HUDs and $125,000-$150,000 individual-owned Perl-Mack crackerboxes, and you'd better be prepared to take a helluva loss, hope to find someone with an extra $200,000 they don't know what to do with, or have a really crooked appraiser in your pocket. And a little hint for sixty-something Mr. Sullivan, who's enamored of huge lots: Unless you can subdivide it (and you can't) or raise livestock on it (nope), all that dirt is pretty useless. To most younger homebuyers, a 20,000-square-foot lot looks less like God's half-acre than it does a half-acre of back-breaking labor from March to October every year. To say nothing about Northglenn's infamous, historical and currently barely solved water problems, something neither Jared Jacang Maher nor any of the cheerleaders in the article seemed to know a thing about. Hopefully, Sullivan and his pet appraiser won't put someone into what will be a fraudulently over-valued house who can't afford it and will allow it to become just one more HUD repo blighting the Denver real-estate landscape.
Pie-in-the-sky pipe dreams are fun. Getting smacked in the kisser by a lead-pipe pie? Not so much.
There was a slight mistake in your wonderful article on my home town. The Northglenn Mall was torn down in 1998. The sight of it being torn apart will always remain in my memory, as I was born and raised in the Thornton/Northglenn area. I even worked at the new version of the old Office Depot store in late 1999 and early 2000.
The Northglenn Marketplace, while full of great stores, will never come close to the Northglenn Mall and all the memories I have of walking along the rows of old favorites. Remember Woolworth's, the store where you could purchase a car battery, a parakeet, a chainsaw and have dinner afterwards?
"Pucker Up," Off Limits, November 30
Once again, your wonderful reporter Alan Prendergast has written about a subject that many other reporters are afraid to touch. Alan fully understands what many don't. CBS lost its objectivity the moment it "hired" Michael Tracey as a consultant. And Trip DeMuth's "I am shocked" was the poorest acting job I've ever seen.
San Diego, California
Great, funny article. I e-mailed 48 Hours because I had problems with statements like "the evidence shows blah-blah" without the show telling us what that evidence might be. The producer and Erin Moriarty both wrote me back. The most interesting thing the producer said was that while traces of DNA have been found in unopened packages of underwear, the foreign DNA in JonBenét's was ten to twelve times that amount. That was news to me.
Walnut Creek, California
"Knock on Woody," Michael Roberts, November 30
Turn the Paige! Woody Paige is a fucking tool! He thought going to New York City would be g-r-e-a-t! He left Denver in the dust, and now the failed ESPN tool is returning to Denver, a city he spit on as he left. We should all turn the Paige and let him know once and for all he is not welcome back to the city he thought wasn't good enough. Randall Centers
Enjoyed your piece on Woody Paige's fleeing of Cold Pizza. I do feel obliged, however, to point out that my site, Deadspin.com, is anything but anonymous. My name is Will Leitch, and I write it. I only use the royal "we" to be a pretentious ass.
New York, New York
"To the Max," Michael Roberts, November 23
If the Boulder ACLU takes an interest in something, you can be sure it's a publicity-rich issue so blatantly obvious that even a stump could figure it out. Such was the case in the recent Max Karson pseudo-controversy, in which there was much less than meets the eye. Despite University of Colorado Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Ron Stump's halfhearted efforts to get his foot into his mouth, in the end, nothing much actually happened.
This performance was actually an improvement for Stump, who once famously threatened to haul students before what is laughingly called Judicial Affairs for talking to the press about their drinking habits, until general howls of derision forced his hasty retreat. The Boulder ACLU joined the chorus on that one, too.
Neither the ACLU nor Mr. Stump were exactly eloquent in another recent flapdoodle, in which the CU Ski and Snowboard Club was publicly whipped and forced to grovel after campus activists and two perennially left-of-the-moon professors denounced the club in trademark over-the-top style. The club's terrible sin against political correctness was in planning to hold a "pimps and hos" party in which they intended to dress and rap in the same style that has made numerous performers of color millionaires and earned these gangsta mavens the fawning admiration of the black community, except maybe for Dr. Bill Cosby.
Ho, indeed. Apparently, not all American civil liberties are created equal.
Michael Roberts implies that "publicity-hungry...media darling" Max Karson contacted the media to promote himself, when in fact he was the one approached by Colorado Daily reporter Paula Pant after CU administrator Ron Stump threatened his First Amendment rights. While Karson did distribute copies of The Yeti to the Colorado Daily office adjacent to his regular distribution location in the UMC cafeteria, he had been doing that for nearly two months before any news stories came out about him. To write that his distribution, rather than Stump's comments, sparked Pant's story is simply false. And to imply, as Roberts did, that after his meeting with Stump, Karson went running to the media is also false, misleading and disingenuous. The two met on October 19, and Paula Pant's first piece was published November 5, almost two and a half weeks later. Colorado Daily staff obviously did not consider Karson's writing newsworthy until it was denounced by the CU administration.
It's clear that the Daily, like Westword, is mostly interested in writing about things that make CU look bad. Rather than taking the great opportunity that an alternative newspaper would have afforded to write critically and in depth about the substantive issues -- sexism, misogyny, female masturbation -- that Karson addresses satirically in his newsletters, you chose to revisit the hackneyed story of another CU PR screwup. What a waste.
Michael Roberts responds: Let me get this straight. A guy who publishes his own self-consciously provocative newsletter; who hands out copies of it all over the CU-Boulder campus, including at the office of a newspaper; who eagerly chats about his scolding at the hands of a CU official with a reporter at that newspaper, not to mention representatives of every other media organization who contact him; who records a rap song about the ensuing controversy that includes the line "I like the attention, now I got an erection"; and who then gives away CDs featuring the tune on campus, too -- that guy isn't interested in publicity?
"How Swede It Is," Tuyet Nguyen, November 23
If Tuyet Nguyen is so dense she can't see the irony of a Swedish rock band that sings its songs in English and is marketing itself in the U.S. complaining about American cultural "oppression," she really needs to find another job.
Give me a break. Do people even think before they start reflexively spouting off garbage? If the Swedes in the Sounds were so worried about American cultural "oppression," you'd think they could have picked a better vocation than "rock star."
And if that's all your reporter can write about this group, it's a shame you can't find better.
Playlist, Glenn BurnSilver, November 23
I just loved the JJ Cale & Eric Clapton Road to Escondido review. It's great when writers let us know how icons like Eric Clapton "saved his floundering butt (career)." If anyone knew who Glenn BurnSilver is, I'm sure we could take his opinion a little more seriously. Can you say "chutzpah"?
"A Pizza the Action," Jason Sheehan, November 30
Two and a half columns on a pizza joint in Rochester that probably is no longer there -- and even if it was, Rochester is not on anyone's holiday trip. Then this verbose critic goes on to talk about a local pizza place, raves on for one column about how terribly the place is situated and doesn't critique the food, just raves on about where it is.
Come on, Jason Sheehan, get over yourself. Overall, I've enjoyed your reviews once I've scanned through your verbosity on your past experience that two columns later relates to the subject, a local eatery. Maybe Patricia Calhoun should give you only half a page and we wouldn't be so bored with your ramblings.
"Bum's Rush," Jason Sheehan, November 16
Ah, Jason Sheehan is at it again -- waging a noble war of attrition against all that is pretentious in the restaurant world. Then again, sitting in the ivory tower and taking pot shots at the plebes must make fighting the good fight pretty easy. Seriously, Jason, it would be a lot easier to swallow your attack on the haughty and snotty if your own bleating indignation weren't laced with such palatable arrogance. Such a martyr, you.
If we were to distill your little two-page tantrum into something more manageable, we would end up with this point: Clothes don't make the man. No matter how a guest is dressed or what they order, they deserve to be treated with respect. More than that, every customer should be served with an establishment's highest standards in mind. Agreed.
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A guest's behavior, on the other hand, does matter. And the ratio of rude customers to snide servers is a monster number. Really, if a guest wants to handcraft their own entree from components menu-wide, fine. Accommodating a slew of complicated requests is no problem. Just say please and thank you, please. Dressing well is no longer protocol for going out to a nice dinner, and thank God for that. But manners should be. Is Jason honestly advocating that the kind of baboon-like behavior that goes on in restaurants should be tolerated? In fact, things have gotten so bad that asking for manners might be aiming too high. For a server, it would be a small victory if every guest on a Friday night conducted themselves with a minimal amount of decorum. Politeness is a waning virtue in the world; let's try to ask a little more of ourselves. So, Denver, if you can't bring a bit of civility and a touch of class with you when you leave the house, then get the hell out of my dining room.
The condensed version of this rant: Treat others as you would like to be treated. We all, in the dining community and elsewhere, would do well to remember that old rule.
Finally, Jason, another (perhaps pretentious) note of propriety: Writing words like f*ck and douchebag doesn't make you sound edgy, nor does it ingratiate you with the restaurant rank and file. Writing like that just makes you sound like a certain celebrity chef with a taste for vulgarity. So please, Jason, give Mr. Bourdain back his pen. Like Asian-fusion cuisine, Bourdain's shtick hasn't been new or fresh for quite a long time. His impersonators are really starting to clutter the landscape. Go on, take those copies of Kitchen Confidential out from under your bed, where you stuffed them in the early '00s.
P.S. Your food-critic superhero power of anonymity is fleeting. We know what you look like. Soon, all you'll be getting is little celery snackies. And they will be smothered in myriad wacky pomegranate concoctions.