Worst-Case Scenario, Kenny Be, April 5
Shame on you, Kenny Be. How could you not mention pit bulls and meth when discussing Commerce City's name change? If the idiot riche moved to Reunion without doing their homework, that's just too damn bad. If the good people of Commerce City ever do change the name, I hope they go with Crystal City...but I guess they already call it that.
James G. Ayling
Interesting ideas from Kenny Be regarding the future of the industrial heart of the Front Range. As with those who voted against the name change, I say, with respect, "No thanks."
I work in this area and spend a lot of time up here. Commerce City is one of the few areas in the metro region that has yet to be yuppified, gentrified and sissified into a parody of its former self. Indeed, many areas of Colorado resemble an Old West theme park, displacing folks who once earned a living from the land and replacing them with drugstore cowboys who have more money than brains. Commerce City is still full of folks who work for a living, and has a housing stock that working people can afford.
I'd like to see an old-school part of the Front Range preserved rather than turned into another BloDo or Cherry Creep. For those who don't like the occasional bad smell wafting their way, head back to the concrete canyons of downtown Denver.
For years I've been holding my tongue about the Best of Denver; however, this year's issue ruptured something inside me and put me in stitches. And so I think a new Best of Denver category should be submitted: The Best Place to Read a Best of Denver List and Try to Figure Out Which Staff Member Picked What Winner and Why. Most winners win in part because of their relation to the writers'/ judges' personal tastes (as all winners are not chosen by writers/staff), but most become Best of Denver simply because the judges have heard of them, or they just did a piece on them, or they advertise with the paper or, worse, the paper wants them to advertise in the future.
It's no secret that Westword does not have the pulse of any scene in Denver, but the Best of Denver issue is an annual reminder of this. So for Westword readers disappointed that their cool new underground record store, nightclub or restaurant didn't make the Best Of, don't fret. Laugh it off. After all, if you're in the issue, it's probably because you've been around for a while and they've heard of you, or they're one of your friends (so it doesn't count), or they want your advertising revenue to reach other out-of-touch demographics that they cater to.
Hey, Westword, it could be worse: 5280 once voted Starbucks the best coffeehouse in Denver. At least your staff members aren't that behind the Denver community's cultural curve -- well, at least not yet.
In response to being voted the Best Underground Venue in Denver, we would like to personally thank all the voters for sucking the essence out of the idea of underground. To the person who thought it best to put our exact address in a mass-read paper, without any approval from us whatsoever, we would like to thank you for your utter disrespect and stupidity. All the previous spaces mentioned in the award description got shut down because of selfish journalists looking for a quick ego boost in exposing an underground space. The blast-o-mat is more than a "haven for misfits and rockers"; we are a community that provides a safe space to play and practice music. The labels so generously dealt upon us have nothing to do with what we are about, and are only proof of one's ignorance and laziness. To say that we are the latest space to carry the torch is already assuming that we won't last.
By including us in your Best of Denver, you are making us a part of your system, and we are not and never will be. Word of mouth is the core of the underground, not some hopped-up blurb about how we are the best. Because of this publication, we are no longer underground. Thank you again for helping us realize that no matter how under the radar one is, there is always some loudmouth waiting for the wrong time to kill a good thing.
Erase us from your agenda; we no longer exist. You shut us down. Perhaps you should have everyone in the editorial department define the word "underground" -- for your reference, of course.
The Blast Beatz
Under Best Guide to Colorado, you listed the "Colorado Mountain Guide Press," citing that organization's many fine publications. There is no Colorado Mountain Guide Press. You intended to honor the Colorado Mountain CLUB Press. It's the publishing division of the nearly 10,000-member Colorado Mountain Club, the largest recreation, outdoor education and conservation organization in the Rockies.
Most CMC Press books are written by CMC members dedicated to exploring, preserving and enjoying the Rocky Mountains. One of the CMC's books, Guide to the Colorado Mountains, has been in continuous publication for fifty years and is the best-selling Colorado book ever, with 250,000 copies sold to date.
In addition to publishing, the CMC leads 2,000 outings a year in the Rockies, from relaxed strolls to mountaineering adventures. It also holds classes on dozens of subjects. And with the American Alpine Club, it has the best mountaineering library in the world.
Drop by the CMC's headquarters at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, or visit the Colorado Mountain Club at www.cmc.org. It's definitely a Best of Denver, and a Colorado treasure.
"Crazy Train," Jessica Centers, March 15
Regarding all the letters printed in the March 22 issue about Jessica Centers's "Crazy Train" and I-70, trains aren't for most people. Still, forecasts by a top national expert show a 15-to-25 percent train share, varying by season, weekday and location. It's similar to RTD and equals several highway lanes that won't need building and rebuilding. Distribution in mountains can be local transit, "car sharing," door-to-door jitneys, hotel buses, call-and-rides, etc. Trains aren't for kayakers or hunters, but for those going to lodging, second homes or a Sunday outing. They'll prefer trains over cars, and they'll reduce congestion.
After fifteen years of highway building, in five years congestion will be as it is today. Next: more lanes, another billion-dollar tunnel, towns with huge parking lots, more air pollution, haze, creeks in pipes under highways, a wildlife Berlin Wall, Clear Creek pollution, highway sound walls blocking car passengers' scenic views, a Los Angeles aesthetic?
All-weather elevated fast trains can carry projected ridership and are economical now. CDOT's monorail cost is above the Swiss FLIRT estimated $5 billion cost. A twenty-year "Context Sensitive" highway is $5 billion; more billions must follow in a 25-year plan. Mr. Kullman's comments mask CDOT's intention that, as he told me, CDOT will never have mountain rail. CDOT's "preserved" rail alignment is unsuited to fast rail; perhaps that's why they want it preserved. I was a 1960s CDOT commissioner (creating the Glenwood Canyon process); we were "highways-only" then and still are. Transit can be more cost-effective for certain cases.
CDOT environmental studies mislead on highway-widening harm. Another 1.4 million metro people will love our mountains to death if we don't have environmentally friendly, user-friendly rail choices. We can do that, and should start soon and not wait for exotic technology that may never be feasible.
"Swift Gloating," Michael Paglia, March 22
My grandmother, May Morris, and her twin sister, Lily Morris, are spinning in their graves over Michael Paglia's contention that "the Jewish Community Center...was set up because Jews couldn't join country clubs." As the founders of that institution, the sisters' intention was to provide recreation for poor children in the area of the original center, at Colfax and Gilpin, regardless of their religions.
That the JCC has become an alternative to country clubs is rather a measure of its success than an intention of its founders.
"Progress?," Michael Roberts, March 22
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I appreciate Michael Roberts's coverage of the struggling station on which I find much that is enlightening. Jay Marvin is kind and fair. He includes guests who give an educated perspective to "the news." The station deals with national and international events, not just sensationalism. I like AM 760 and hope it survives and thrives.
Nice work on the liberal talk audience. But Michael Roberts left out one other NPR station that pulls listeners from AM 760. KUNC, at 91.5 FM, also carries Morning Edition, as well as other NPR programming, and our cume audience in Boulder County has topped KCFR's in the last couple of ratings periods. I don't have access to the full Arbitron numbers, so I can't tell you how we match up with AM 760, but we pull 36,300 out of the Denver metro market from 6 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, more than 20,000 of those out of Boulder County alone.
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