A Public Nuisance
Patricia Calhoun certainly got herself worked up over the Denver City Attorney's decision to make supposedly public documents private (September 28's "The Client" and October 5's "Open and Shut-Up Case"). But I, for one, applaud Daniel Muse's attempt to keep the city's legal contracts confidential. It is difficult enough for government officials to do their jobs without the media always looking over their shoulders.

Don't reporters already have enough dirt to dig into?
Roy Adams

After reading Calhoun's latest column, I was outraged. It is our money that the city is using to pay these lawyers, and I think we have a right to know where it is going. Particularly since some of these attorneys bill as much for an hour of "work" as some of us earn in a week. I will certainly remember this when election time comes around.

Jane Hoffman

Hey, Calhoun: Give it a rest. Did it ever occur to you that the city attorney's office might have a good--and legal--reason for hiring outside firms? And for not wanting to share that information with you?

Name withheld on request

Trickle-Down Economics
Hart Hill's article about abstract expressionism ("Mind Over Matter," September 28) would stunt the mental development of any student who read it. So for the sake of the children, and for adults who think like children, we must critique the critic. For starters, Hill's prose does not parse: "Broad brush strokes twist and curl the forms away from the specific, creating dreamy, canvas-spanning washes of dripping paint--perhaps echoing the way tribalism is whitewashed by a racist society." And no matter what she meant, a pious swat at racism does not legitimize nonsense.

When the cognoscenti speak about art, they use the technique of educators--or maybe it's the other way around. In either case, it is fake erudition meant to befuddle dissenters. Art-speak originates, we are told, in a world of refined sensibility--memberships available. The sustaining members of that world (patrons) must buy the product, but associate members are only expected to "talk the talk" and throng at soirees.

The economist Veblen used the term "conspicuous consumption" to describe how status accrues to owners of objects that require great amounts of labor to produce--the less utilitarian the object and the more labor required to produce it, the greater the status. Mass production upset that relationship, but Veblen was redefined by Art. The labor component (craftsmanship) is waived when non-utility is exaggerated. Gresham, another economist, would say when bad art drives out good.

Unless dissenters challenge its sophomoric, brazen demands, the Arts will be the only welfare class paid to urinate on its masters. Attention, masters: Look at your pant legs.

Norman Ely

Camp Followers
Regarding Karen Bowers's "Cop-a-Doodle Doo!" in the September 28 issue: There is absolutely no way this letter, no matter how eloquent, is going to do justice to the accomplishments, talents and character of Edward Camp. As always, when you admire someone intensely, what you feel in your heart can't be expressed on paper. My deficit of expression reminds me of what has been lamented about the language of the dolphins: "Some feelings are not comprehended by a language but are understood best by a state of being." This is an exact summation of the language of Ed Camp. It is who he is as a person--his integrity, his loyalty to others and self, his commitment to others and self, his "being"--that speaks of who he is as a man.

I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Ed on a joint community policing effort, a basic law enforcement training program and an instructor development course in which we were both students. Ed attended the latter training because many of his agency employees were attending and he wanted to show his support to these people and his commitment for their career development. I, too, am the grateful recipient of enormous support from him in my successful endeavor of opening the only private basic law enforcement training academy in the state of Colorado. Ed's commitment to me in this laborious process was unyielding.

Ed has very much impressed me with his organizational and administrative abilities, so much so that I try hard to model his managerial skills in my own organization. He never fails to affirm, promote or motivate his staff to do the best they can, and he constantly encourages continued education. He wears the hat of sheriff with confidence, yet he can still be humble enough to take on the responsibilities of helping someone else in a job lesser than his.

Jeanni P. Trevino
President/Director, Colorado Institute of Law Enforcement Training

I am writing this letter as my endorsement of Bill Shearer for sheriff of Adams County. I have known Bill since 1987, when he came to work for the Adams County Sheriff's Department as chief of detectives. As a detective myself, I worked directly under Bill from 1987 until 1989. During that period of time I learned that even though Bill was a quiet, friendly, unassuming type of person, he had a way about him that brought out the best in all who worked for him.

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