"Merit Badgering," Kenny Be, July 10
It's rare that I feel compelled to comment on something political. Frankly, I just don't give a shit anymore.
But I just had to say something about this Kenny Be cartoon. I think it is one of the most balanced and honest things about politics I have seen in years. We are all to blame for the predicament we find ourselves in today. Not one group or one party, but all of us as a collective nation have allowed this to happen.
I'll quit while I'm ahead and not go on a complete rant that will leave me shlepping upstairs for a tranquilizer. Excellent work.
"Father of Invention," Joel Warner, July 10
Congratulations to Joel Warner and the Tillemann-Dick family for this remarkable story.
It hit home because 36 years ago, my own father was killed in an accident at 39 — the result of his political activism — leaving behind eight children and a beautiful, 32-year-old widow to face a sometimes beautiful, sometimes dark world. I was fifteen at the time, the oldest son.
And now at fifty years old, I'm here to tell you that love, education and creativity endure, and the Tillemann-Dicks have a lot to look forward to. We grew up and all became successful in our own right, and each day the e-mails fly, the cell rings with sibling pronouncements of family news, and you realize that you're part of the most remarkable support system of all — a big, loving and decent family.
To the Tillemann-Dick family: Ignore the naysayers or cynics who point to your unconventional upbringing or choice of faith. My family was neither Mormon nor home-schooled (Jewish-Catholic and Catholic-schooled), but the basic concepts of love, respect and protection of a big family transcend any faith, and any idiot who tries to make something good look rotten or sinister because of his own bitterness or twisted assumptions just has to be pitied. So keep going strong — you have lots to be proud of.
I have a feeling this isn't the last time we'll hear about the Tillemann-Dicks and their contributions to the good of the larger family of man.
Very nice article on Timber Dick and his family. I live nearby, and met him while walking our dogs down his alley. A very interesting guy and gone way too soon, same age as me. As a fellow tinkerer, I would have liked to have known him better. I voted for him for city council and still believe he'd have done a good job. The powers-that-be didn't like him, and that was all I needed.
The bus is still there, parked too long and vandalized somewhat. The place has a sad look to it now, for obvious reasons. One thing I found amusing: Why was a guy with eleven kids taking out his own trash? I would have delegated that job.
I wish all the best for his family.
"Art Attack," Michael Roberts, July 17
After about eight years in Colorado and a similar number of Columbus Days, Glenn Spagnuolo still confuses "radical" community organizing with staging a media circus. Or maybe that's due to his worship of Keetowah Klowns, which explains his Churchillian moon goggles. But what explains the skinhead look, goatee and Doc Martens? Oh, I forget: He's a tough guy. Sure.
Did Spagnuolo really ask the Denver Police Department to investigate itself after he learned that an artist, not the DPD, had played him for a chump? Spagnuolo's sniveling regarding those "threatening me with violence" is as hilarious as it is hypocritical, but maybe all that results from indoctrination sessions at his Jonestown compound — oops, I mean the Woodbine ranch. Whatever.
I'm a little confused as to the media's portrayal of Glenn Spagnuolo and the members of Re-create 68 as violent extremists. Though Mr. Spagnuolo is getting painted as Vlad the Impaler with a bag full of severed heads, I've yet to hear of him engaging in a single act of violent protest. Moreover, I've attended several Re-create 68 meetings — meetings that, it's worth noting, are never without a media presence — and have yet to hear a single suggestion of violent protest from him or from anyone else.
The controversy seems to stem from Re-create 68's refusal to disallow the right to self-defense. Re-create 68's explanation of this refusal is clear: There will be people protesting with Re-create 68 arm in arm with their children and elders; in large part, these will be representatives of communities that have most suffered from the never-ending betrayal of the Democrats. To attempt to deny them the right to defend themselves is to deny a fundamental human right.
The refusal to allow anyone, including the state, to abrogate one's rights is not anti-Americanism; it's bedrock American principle, which should be shared by all people of good conscience, no matter their political bent. Those who condemn Mr. Spagnuolo and Re-create 68 for standing behind their inalienable rights are doing so because they're either historically illiterate or pandering to push their own agenda. As no less a pacifist than Martin Luther King Jr. has pointed out, the principle of self-defense "has never been condemned, even by Gandhi."
Michael Roberts spoke with an "area artist," but we (the readers) are in the dark. I'm puzzled how this individual can convince a local publication to shield his identity after he has made ominous threats of violence against community activists. The anonymous artist has a credibility problem. How can anyone generate "some kind of critical thinking" by spreading "misinformation and subterfuge"? Shouldn't this ring alarm bells in the interviewer?
The artist calls himself a "Utopian anarchist." I don't want to cast aspersions on the general philosophy of the anarchists — they're quite diverse, and some of them (Noam Chomsky, for example) are sincere and intelligent people. But after some research of my own, I wonder if "utopian anarchist" isn't a disturbingly contradictory phrase, in the same sense that Hitler's "national socialism" wasn't socialism at all.
This is because nearly every use of "utopian anarchist" on the web leads to the same source: a certain right-wing wacko, Bill White, who once suggested that the Columbine shooters were utopian anarchists, an offshoot from his own organization. Something isn't right here, and it calls for a more robust explanation. I'm guessing the fellow is either pathological or just wacko, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was a more sinister motive at work. Unfortunately, Westword's article puffs this idiot. I think you owe your readers an explanation. This guy isn't a news source; he is the source of a possibly serious threat of violence against members of the community.
Patricia Calhoun responds: Reporters negotiate terms all the time with sources, and we had no problem granting the anonymity request in this case. We know the artist and had no reason to doubt his veracity — or to suspect non-existent links to Bill White and Columbine shooters.
"Malice at the Palace," Alan Prendergast, June 26
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We are so disappointed in Alan Prendergast's one-sided article. It is so obvious that there was no attempt to find the truth. No despositions that have been taken in the federal nor the Lori Stille case were reviewed; how about comparing the original complaints to the depositions or, more important, to the motions for summary judgment, which contain the lies and twisted facts in each case? You would think that after approximately fifteen years of Mike Zinna's pattern of behavior to obtain free money from the county, Prendergast would have his number. Everyone else does. It appears this article was narrated by Mike Zinna: No wonder it does not make any sense. Zinna has reveled for years in the destruction of individuals' reputations and careers with total disregard for the truth.
Right now this con man extraordinaire has the federal court's sympathy, but it is only temporary. If his case goes to trial, the court will see the true "bill of goods" that Zinna is trying to sell. We don't think the court or a jury will be impressed, nor award him for this performance and deceit.
What really angers us is how county officials can say they knew nothing of professional investigators being hired. They all knew. They ran for cover and could not wait to deny knowledge and blame commissioner Jim Congrove for everything. We have no idea how they've accomplished anything during the past four years, with all the infighting and intrigues going on. How sad that the court system continues to entertain Zinna's frivolous lawsuits at the cost of Jefferson County citizens/taxpayers. Do you realize that all of Zinna's suits are a result of him not receiving one hundred acres of Jeffco airport property to develop? He is getting even, and why not? He has nothing to lose: material, monetary or reputation.
The Daril Cinquanta Family