Letters to the Editor

"Your Tube," Michael Roberts, August 16

Show Is Slow

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.
Patrick Horton

"At Your Disservice," Joel Warner, August 9

The Butler Did It

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!
Joseph Meyer

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.
Randy Wren

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.)