Look for the Union Label
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Prints Charming" in the June 22 issue:
Oh, boy, this is a real shocker: Denver's "alternative" newspaper covers a labor story and somehow the "labor" story gets lost in a sea of biographical crap about the boss. Eighty--count 'em--eighty-plus paragraphs detailing Barry Hirschfeld's rise to the top of the corporate shit heap. There he stands knee-deep in his own press clippings alongside other recent Colorado progressives and future recipients of the Robert Reich Labor/Management Cooperation Prize: the Coors clan and the Monfort boys. The plight of the hundred or so striking workers, however, is reduced to a few sentences at the end of this great American success story. The failure to understand a labor dispute is expected from most local journalists, but eighty paragraphs on Hirschfeld? Please. Let me sum up his life story in a few brief words: Barry (college golfer and fun boy) inherits a big business and now seeks to test the depth (length?) of his manhood by screwing the people that built the business. This is so extraordinarily moving that I'm having trouble wiping the tears from my eyes as I type this.
So what of the strikers? Most of these employees worked (I mean really worked) at the press for fifteen or more years. These are real people with real families and real dreams and no real desire to look for government handouts. Yet here their story is reduced to this somewhat inaccurate photo caption: "Former workers still man the picket line, but Barry Hirschfeld broke the strike the day after it began." The writer fails to mention that the early replacement workers were supervisors and salespeople. Product quality was no longer a concern the day the company forced the workers out.
Don't believe for a moment that Barry Hirschfeld is a uniquely focused, bottom-line, unemotional guy. This forced strike is an old story about power and incompetent management. That management is now demanding elimination of the union security clause (a clause that has everything to do with the union local remaining viable and nothing to do with company finances) shows without a doubt that Hirschfeld is out to destroy people, not forge a new worker-management alliance. My, how unique, how unemotional, how bottom-line.
Shame on Westword for wasting so much space detailing this man's rise from nothingness to nothing more. Who cares about Barry Hirschfeld? As an alternative, perhaps you should talk with some real folks. The ones who built A.B. Hirschfeld Press have plenty of time to talk now. Pay a little respect.
I worked for over thirty years for Hirschfeld and found them to be kindly and understanding, even after I joined the Teamsters' union. All three Hirschfelds represented the best of employers. I knew them through nerve-racking negotiations with several union groups for all those years--and I know few people even cared what they were going through.
Now it is Barry's company, and his turn to call the shots. And the shoe is on the other foot since the number of press operators has decreased so much and many union members are not needed. I believe in the union, but if they had taken time to think since the typo department was computerized, perhaps they would not be out of their jobs for so long.
I wish the unions luck and good sense, but I also wish Barry all the best things because as an employer he was tops with me.
Ruth Van Hecke
Situation Norm: All Fouled Up
I just finished reading Ward Harkavy's "Out of the Norm" in the June 15 issue of Westword. Given the nonexistent standards for journalistic integrity in Denver, I have come to accept bias in both the printed and electronic media as a given. I no longer expect fair, objective reporting in stories, nor do I even expect reporters to get to the bottom line of any issue or story they happen to be covering.
But Ward Harkavy has set a new standard for irresponsible, slanted, manipulative, vengeful, one-sided journalism, even for Westword. He has sunk to depths that a nuclear submarine could not reach in attempting to assassinate the character of Dr. Norm Resnick and the people who listen to his radio show.
For the better part of a year I have had the privilege of knowing Dr. Resnick and interacting with him both on a professional and personal basis. I am the owner of Paladin Arms in Boulder, and I am a frequent guest and advertiser on his show.
Mr. Harkavy's narrow focus in his story was on Dr. Resnick's past academic career, the fact that Norm Resnick is Jewish and the insinuation that the subject matter of his shows and the mentality of his listeners is somewhere between lunatic fringe and Adolf Hitler. The fact of the matter is that Norm Resnick is an incredibly courageous man who is willing to brave shunning from the Jewish community and hatred from the fringes of the Christian Patriot movement to tell the truth about what is happening in this country. Sure, some of Dr. Resnick's audience are radical and maybe a little crazy, but couldn't the same thing be said about the people who read Westword, or any publication for that matter?
The only silver lining in this perfidious cloud is that by putting Norm's caricature on the cover of Westword, you will encourage people to make up their own minds by listening to him, and will dramatically increase his audience and clout.
As someone who has known Norm Resnick since birth (I'm his older brother), I was very interested to read Ward Harkavy's article. My wife and I have just returned from Greeley, where we spent a couple of weeks in the area, at the station and listening to his show. Congratulations! Your article captured the essence of Norm. Your coverage impressed me as being fair and open-minded, even though his show leaves little room for anyone who shows these qualities.
I, too, am retired from college teaching but, unlike Norm, am a Mason, Shriner, member of the NRA, and politically not ready to retreat into my bomb shelter lined with silver and gold coins and stocked with survivalist food.
Not knowing what type of response you would get to your article, I just wanted to say my wife and I thought you done good.
Gary S. Resnick
San Juan Capistrano, CA
It has always baffled me that while Westword relishes in lambasting those like Norm Resnick who support and defend the U.S. Constitution and Judeo-Christian values, it has no problem whatsoever portraying homosexuals and others who indulge in perverted, destructive behavior as persecuted heroes.
While Ward Harkavy's highly conspicuous, cliche-ridden choice of language--"banter," "shtick," "bugger," "rouse the rabble," "gaggle of conspiracy," "pistol-packin'"--unmistakably attempts to paint Dr. Resnick and all right-wing conservatives as unstable and paranoid (Harkavy even attempts to make "patriot" a dirty word), the carefully chosen words Harkavy sprinkles throughout his story also evidence his unsuppressed desire to push an important story aside and simply put his thesaurus to use. (Hey, Ward, is the Roget's a recent gift?)
Mr. Harkavy needs to keep in mind that as he and his Westword buddies help along the destruction of America, he not only deprives me of my rights and quality way of life but his own as well. Long live real heroes like Dr. Resnick and KHNC!
Ron Baxendale II
Petty Boy Floyd
Regarding Michael Roberts's "Sucking in the Seventies" in the June 22 issue:
You got some kinda par excellence rock musik critik down there at yore newspaper, lemme tell ya. Michael "I Don't Like Nuttin' Recorded Before Tomorrow" Roberts shore hit it on the head fer once with his review of them "Eagles Pink Fuckin' Floyd" shows. I was slappin' my knees red through the holes o' my jeans when I perused them reviews, lemme tell ya.
I think you oughta seriously consider keepin' this fella.
Some friends and I attended the Pink Floyd concert at Mile High Stadium. We enjoyed it immensely and it exceeded our expectations. There was a great crowd because, when you see Pink Floyd, you know the music will be mellow and the show spectacular.
What was not enjoyable was the treatment we received from stadium security. The stadium is an open-air arena but anyone in the crowd smoking was told to put it out. At one time the crowd was bouncing a rubber ball around and one of these security people grabbed it and popped it--no doubt to prevent a riot. At one point my friend and I were standing and dancing around and were told to sit down. But at the same time, they allowed people to stand in the aisles instead of their seats, which could be a potential fire hazard. It was very disturbing to be in this kind of atmosphere, being treated like we were doing something wrong. Isn't that what Pink Floyd's message is all about? "Hey, Teacher--leave the kids alone!"
Dee Dee Crawford
Consider the Alternative
This is in regard to all of the letters and articles I have ever read in your publication concerning the "alternative music scene." I would really like to know what idiot named it that? Alternative to what? This so-called music is no different than any other music that has come out in the last thirty years. The only thing that is different or alternative about it is that it's another new band that made a new record, with a few chords changed around and people buying into this belief that there is something different about it. If any of your readers want to hear something that is really alternative music, compared to anything they have ever heard before, I suggest they go out and buy an Alan Holdsworth record. Then maybe somebody out there will get the message of what I'm talking about. This ought to change a few people's minds--if they just open their minds. And no, I am not an Alan Holdsworth fan, but it's not hard to tell what is alternative and what's not.
The Bright Stuff
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "The Best and the Brightest?" in the June 1 issue:
I was impressed by the fine job of reporting Eric Dexheimer did considering that the central figure in the article, Joseph C'de Baca, was an inaccurate source of information and made many false statements about the gifted and talented (G/T) program and Hamilton Middle School in Denver.
Mr. C'de Baca states that the Washington, D.C., trip is a G/T activity. This is false. It has absolutely nothing to do with the G/T program and I pointed that out to Mr. C'de Baca last year. The only two requirements for the D.C. trip are that the student know how to behave and that she come up with the money to go. The faculty sponsor even helps the students with fundraising. They have opportunities that I never even dreamed of when I was a kid.
An accurate point made in the article is the high mobility of some target populations. For an enrichment science class I am teaching this summer I obtained the names and latest phone numbers of 27 students in the bilingual program. When I called the homes to speak to the parents, 13 phones were disconnected. That is one half!
I don't know what we can do to satisfy the bean counters like C'de Baca. We could put a gun to kids' heads and tell them they have to sign up for special trips and programs, or else. Or perhaps he would just like to pull a Wilma Webb and cancel all enrichment activities for everyone.
Michael Johnson, Science Department
Hamilton Middle School
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Rights Stuff
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Last Rights" in the June 15 issue:
"No one knows who the Minority Coalition is in the community [Colorado Springs] and nobody cares." With that statement, Vince D'Acchioli, the fundamentalist Human Relations commissioner who believes one shouldn't dialogue with someone he disagrees with, defined what "his" Colorado Springs is all about. One could easily delete the word Coalition and say, "No one knows who the minorities are in this community and nobody cares," and get more directly to the point.
The issues surrounding the HRC were brought about by a failing of the City Council led by a mayor who boldly declares that there is no discrimination in Colorado Springs. When a City Council appoints people to a Commission who make no secret of their opposition to it and who are unwilling to dialogue with people with whom they disagree and when it disempowers and eliminates the administrative support for said commission, it is obviously the council's intent to destroy that commission's effectiveness so that it can be eliminated.
Colorado Springs is controlled by the radical right. Nowhere in the state of Colorado is there more of a need for an empowered, working Human Relations Commission. City Council is the Majority Council of Colorado Springs. Minorities have no voice in Colorado Springs. The suspension of the HRC, as ineffective as it was, left those in Colorado Springs who are different from the dominant majority with no hope of having an effective voice in the near future.
Rita Ague, Executive Board Member
The Colorado Springs Minority Coalition