"Your Tube," Michael Roberts, August 16
In the Message, Michael Roberts presents Mark Cornetta's musings as to why Your Show isn't getting respectable ratings. The answer is not a revelation: To be brutally honest, Adam Schrager is b-o-r-i-n-g! He is a bright guy who seems politically astute after all these years, but his style is not conducive to attracting large audiences. It doesn't matter what format or concept you try to put him in, he is just not an interesting personality. On top of that, he's too conservative in his questioning of guests. Patti Dennis calls him an "extraordinary journalist." Maybe he should write for a newspaper. He's fine for quick spots that take no more than a couple of minutes. The sooner Channel 9 recognizes that and finds a more dynamic host for such shows, the better chance Your Show will have of surviving.
"At Your Disservice," Joel Warner, August 9
I read with interest your article about Starkey International. In the early '90s, Starkey placed a woman with us to help out with a household including a wheelchair user. She was originally from Germany (where I have lived, and became fluent in the language) and turned out to be a disaster. She was racist and intolerant of a wonderful black woman who had worked with us for years, and constantly stirred up trouble gossiping and talking too much. Her last day of work, she left behind several hundred dollars' worth of my shirts that she had wrecked by spilling bleach on them.
I found Mary Starkey to be less than helpful, defensive and argumentative. Needless to say, I was never compensated for the shirts, and Ms. Starkey simply denied all responsibility, in effect calling me a liar. The shirts weren't wrecked, it was an accident, she hadn't done it, and she hadn't noticed. Like the old story about the man who borrowed a pot and returned it broken, excusing himself on the grounds that it was broken when he borrowed it, it wasn't broken, and he hadn't borrowed it.
I generally take a lot of stories in Westword with a grain of salt. It's not hard to find the disgruntled ex-employee of the month, particularly if one starts with a leftist/populist bias. However, although my experiences with Starkey were on a different scale and in different aspects of their business from those discussed in your article, they are certainly analogous, and consistent with what you reported. Nice work!
Joel Warner's profile of Mary Starkey was fun to read. She has been a vibrant addition to Capitol Hill. When I first encountered Mary, Starkey was in a home at the corner of High Street and 14th Avenue. She was out front with several well-dressed pupils, being photographed for an Italian newspaper. I was struck by her ambitious business sense and friendliness. You could practically hear her purr — and I mean that in a good way.
It tickled me when she moved her school to another location, across busy Logan Street from the incredibly precious Denver Women's Press Club. A professional neighborhood brimming with a sense of civil service and city pride. Mary Starkey has always added to the flavor and glamour of her friends' lives. She has been admired by many. She is a major maven, comparable to Denver treasures like Jo Farrell and Dana Crawford.
Keep pushing, dear Mary. You have never lost a friend who counted. May your students keep coming and your client list be anchored in the securest regions of our ever-changing world.
Great article on Starkey. I am the not-so-proud owner of a certificate from Starkey, signed by Mary herself and dated March 2, 1990. I was in the very first Starkey certification course. In other words, this sham has been going on for many, many years.
Long story short, and as your story chronicles, I kept plodding along with the course under the delusion of employment. Even though I felt as though I could've taught many of the "classes" myself (having a background in catering and restaurants), I still dutifully went every day. After "graduation" — i.e., the end of slavery — I finally got to speak with the placement counselors at Starkey, none of whom seemed to know or care about us recent grads. There were no jobs in sight, and I felt totally taken.
I withheld the final payment for the course. (In those days, Mary would take payments. I'm sure she demands all the money up front now.) I felt that the course and implied promises were a scam, and I told her. She threatened a lawsuit, and we settled out of court. I vaguely remember having one interview for some couple in Michigan...but I picked up my pride and pursued other career opportunities. (I wound up going into business with Lannie Garrett; I did talk radio and eventually ended up writing for 5280 and the Rocky Mountain News.)
The rest, as they say, is history. I would run into Mary socially, and we were even civil to each other. Reading your article brought it all back. I feel sorry for the fools who are duped by her, and that includes all the press who swallow her story line. Thank God you finally wrote the truth.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Right fucking on! I've just been waiting for someone to see through the veneer that is Starkey and its leader, Mary Starkey. I graduated from there several years ago, and they haven't done a fucking thing for me. I found my own position. The problem with their placement is that they tell prospective clients that their grads can do anything, including work for days with no sleep and little food. It's ridiculous what they tell clients. The article was exactly the way things work around there.
Excellent, excellent story.
Name withheld on request
Joel Warner responds: Mary Starkey had been slated for an August 14 jury trial in Denver County Court in connection with her alleged attack on former Starkey International teacher Raymond Champion. But that trial has been delayed until September 26 — which means it will occur after the trial connected to Starkey's alleged assault on student Lisa Kirkpatrick, now scheduled for September 14. In the meantime, go to the Westword blog to read parts of Starkey's official response to the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools regarding the complaints filed with the division by two of Kirkpatrick's classmates, Skip Muller and Natasha Madison.
"Drink Up, Ladies!," Patricia Calhoun, August 9
Should of known that a woman wrote the ladies' night article. I applaud Steve Horner in taking on this cause. I turn on the television or call a company, and all I see and hear about are women. While many of you women want to bitch and moan about equally, what you actually want is supremacy. All it takes is a reasonably prudent person to see that the media and government are turning American society into a culture wherein women dominate everything.
If Patricia Calhoun stops writing about him, will Steve Horner please, please, please go away? This "man" gives mankind a bad name.
Like all great endeavors, one rarely reaches the summit on the first, second or even third attempt. As with fighting the inherent hypocrisy of ladies' night, I'm fighting years of prejudice where these Denver County judges believe that discrimination is only about blacks, lynchings and women's 1970s pay inequity, plus the fact that I can't find a lawyer with guts enough to want to jump into the fray, so I'm on my own, doing the best I can, learning from each case. I'll eventually get there. And then we will have all learned the lesson that if we want to end discrimination, we have to stop discriminating.
Patricia Calhoun responds: Everyone but Steve Horner, turn to Off Limits on page 10 for a ladies' night update.
"The White Stuff," Letters, August 9
As ignorant racists go, Teri Rosen should.
Rosen writes, based entirely upon what her current BF of a few weeks (no doubt a graduate of the Ward Churchill School of Made Up Stuff) has told her, that there is no distinction between "Spanish" and "Mexican," and that besides, all are "Latino" and/or "Hispanic." I'd have paid to see her try and sell that at, say, 38th and Mariposa, circa 1980. Moreover, she's equally certain (ibid) that it was "Mexicans" who first settled (must come as a shock to the Zuni, Hopi, Navajo, et al.) what we today call the American Southwest, and not the Spanish. Which would likely come as a big surprise to all those Spanish missionaries, conquistadores and well-heeled Spanish gentry awarded land grants here by Spanish kings.
When Ms. Rosen's "Mexicans" first came to the Southwest, the nation of Mexico did not yet exist. A vast tract of land from just south of modern Mexico to about the Arkansas River in Colorado and from California to the Mississippi River was simply called Nueva España, or New Spain. Mexico was simply one region of the whole. The "Hispanics" who first settled here in our own San Luis Valley in the early 1500s came directly from Spain, via Mexico, where Spain had numerous ports. This may explain why some of their descendants still living in the Valley speak an archaic Castilian-Spanish patois, now long extinct in Spain.
As for what "white people" might name things, even the Nazis considered the Spanish of Aryan blood. To help with Ms. Rosen's continuing geo-historical education, the other half of this state carries French names. And the third half English. And there's even another half that has German names. And a big half with Native American names. I believe Ms. Rosen, like so many other racists, confuses language with skin color. I hope she never runs across a French-speaking "black" from Cameroon, or a "yellow" who speaks English. She'll end up like that little robot that Captain Kirk (whose crew was made up of "blacks," "whites," "yellows" and even a "green") had to beam into deep space.
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Ask A Mexican, August 9
To the Mexican: You answered Un Poco Loco saying, "Dear Mucho Crazy Gabacho." Isn't saying "mucho crazy" akin to saying "mucho loco" or "mucho bien" (instead of "muy loco" or "muy bien")?