Victim's Assistance
I wanted to take a few moments to let you know of my appreciation for Patricia Calhoun's reporting on the trial of Ashley Gray's killer ("A Case Done to Death," November 20). Certainly, the News and the Post have chosen not to keep their readers informed of what's going on in this unbelievably horrible farce of justice.

This little girl has been on my mind since I first read of her murder. My husband and I were out Christmas shopping for our grandson, and I started crying because little Ashley's present was a grave marker.

This poor child had such a short, sad life, with an ending that I can't fathom. But here is another victim totally forgotten about, while the perpetrator has become the one the media pays attention to. This guy should have been put away a long time ago--key thrown away, done deal. I have believed from the very beginning that he knew all along what he was doing.

While hugging and kissing my little grandson over the holidays, Ashley will be in my heart.

Carol VanSickle

Commuters Rail
After reading Patricia Calhoun's "Get Stuffed," in the November 27 issue, I want to know where those RTD boardmembers (especially Ben Klein and Jon Caldara) get off being so sanctimonious and upset about Governor Romer's plan to bring light rail to I-25? If the RTD board had behaved itself during the Guide the Ride election, they might already have their own plan in place.

Jerry Foster

I find it hard to believe that anyone would oppose a light-rail line down the southeast I-25 corridor simply because a few homes would have to be demolished. Any transportation project is going to impact some group, and increasing the number of freeway lanes (which will be inevitable if rail transit is not built) will take out many more residences than what is being proposed for the rail system.

Another argument made against light rail always goes something like this: The taxpayers will be paying X billion dollars but only Y number of riders will use the system (assigning some high value to X and some relatively low value to Y). This argument misses the point. Whatever the public's transportation habits and preferences are now, they need to be changed. Building a light-rail system and then encouraging development along that corridor is the way to change transportation patterns over time.

We need to keep the big picture in mind. If Denver becomes another Los Angeles--a trend that is already under way--it will cease to be a desirable place to live. We need to stop thinking about our own personal bottom line and think about our children's future.

Rendell Bower
via the Internet

I urge the environmental and civic organizations that pushed the Guide the Ride boondoggle with little more enthusiasm than "It's the best we can do" to now work to develop a convenient people's transportation system for a fair price.

The RTD proposal was really a "Guide the Development" plan. "Progressive" business and real estate people understand that suburban sprawl limits business efficiency (workers delayed and stressed by traffic are less productive) and creates a poor business climate (that brown cloud isn't a pretty site--pun intended). Good for them for realizing that the suburbs of this century will be the slums of the next one!

So what was rejected in Guide the Ride was a plan to build a train and light-rail system largely designed for real estate developers, who would then be able to build the high-density, multi-use projects that will be the basis for their profits in the years to come. The plan's goals were not to provide convenient transportation that would reduce traffic in the short run. And not surprisingly, the plan would have been paid through sales taxes, which hit middle- and lower-income people, who can least afford new taxes, proportionally harder than wealthy people.

How would I "guide the ride"?
* Levy fair, progressive taxes to expand mass transit in the neighborhoods and corridors where it will be used and therefore reduce traffic.

* Make real estate developers and businesses that will profit from development along the expensive light-rail and train lines help pay for the infrastructure that will make their profits possible.

* Work to ensure that metropolitan Denver transit decisions continue to be made by an elected board, not an appointed one, but make the board more democratic and grassroots-oriented.

* Pass local and state legislation to ensure that big business can never again build a profit generator like DIA without mass transit.

We can build an affordable and accessible transportation system that will become a reasonable alternative to the automobile, but not if its only goal is to guide the development.

Marc T. Killinger

Whiskey Sour
Eric Dexheimer's November 20 article "Dry Society," on the lives and dreams of Dottie and Cleotis Grisby, was touching, and I appreciate how hard the Grisbys have worked. However, I am more impressed by the community group that has worked hard to maintain a decent, family-oriented neighborhood. Dottie's own words speak volumes: "I got behind the bar and I got everyone drunk on orange juice and vodka..."

I am truly sorry for anyone who espouses that as an achievement. Why is it that so many largely minority neighborhoods are populated by bars, liquor stores and clubs? Is it because far too many of us see partying and drunkenness as some sort of rite of passage, some sort of barometer of one's ability to enjoy him or herself? Why not a sports club, a theater, an ice cream parlor or a bakery? Does it always have to be about parties and getting drunk? The absence of constant police complaints from the neighborhood is a wonderful testimony to the efforts of Greater Park Hill.

After reading this article, I intend to become active in the effort to deny Dottie and Cleotis their dream of drunks wandering around and driving the streets of Park Hill.

Name withheld on request

I do not see the need to have yet another place for alcohol consumption--nothing personal. If the Grisbys see the need to fulfill such a dream, let them locate it on Colfax Avenue--not in the middle of a nice residential area.

La Verta W. Scott
via the Internet

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number. Write to:

Letters Editor
PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail (include your full name and hometown) to: [email protected]

Missed a story? The entire editorial contents of Westword, dating back to July 1, 1996, are available online at