Regarding Stuart Steers's "Bowlen for Dollars," in the December 20 issue:
According to your article, Pat Bowlen wants Denver taxpayers to agree to the continuation of the 0.01 percent sales tax, passed to help fund Coors Field, because he believes "the tax is minimal," "an insignificant amount of money." Well, $150 million to $180 million may be "insignificant" to Mr. Bowlen, but to me it is one hell of a lot of money.
About Pat Bowlen's contention that we need a new stadium: If the Broncos need a new stadium, let the Broncos, the NFL and the people who use the stadium pay for it. I doubt seriously that the Broncos being in Denver will really have any eternal significance for this city. So get this, Pat: If you want it, you pay for it, because you're right--I don't give a ---- about the Broncos.
The Trunk Line
Regarding two stories in the December 13 issue:
Let's forget the bovines in Stuart Steers's "Buffalo Bills." Change Denver International Airport to "Dumbo International Airport." You don't need a herd. One elephant will draw more attention than twenty buffalo. On top of that, they can earn their keep by selling elephant rides and pushing stalled cars out of mud and snow or carrying passengers to and from their cars. They are good baggage handlers, as they've handled trunks for many years.
Also, concerning Karen Bowers's "One Last Gasp for Marlboro Country": I might suggest Philip Morris abandon the diesel engine in favor of a steam engine that really blows a lot of smoke.
Warren H. Wood
The Light Rail at the End of the Tunnel
Alan Prendergast's December 13 article "Runaway Train," about RTD's light rail, was outstanding.
As Thomas Paine once said, "Man can be kept ignorant, but man cannot be made ignorant."
The public service that Westword is providing in getting the truth in front of the public is enormous. Once the public knows that light rail cannot provide the benefits claimed, it will be impossible for the politicians to trick the public into supporting it.
Great work! Keep it up!
Alan Prendergast's "Runaway Train" cites a host of economic and political reasons not to support RTD. But maintaining the status quo will only worsen the metro area's traffic debacle and further encourage auto use.
Judging RTD's single-line light-rail system is premature. It's obvious that one light-rail track (or even two) will not solve the metro area's traffic. Against all the political, economic and physical infrastructure in place for autos, it will take far more than a few rail lines to make a difference against all that has been done to encourage auto use.
However, to cite only the start-up costs of putting together a light-rail system without mentioning the costs of auto use seems a little--how to put it?--off track. The costs borne by average citizens for an auto-driven urban area such as Denver and the whole Front Range translate into big money, too. And then there are other very real costs that include tax money related to roads, environmental protection, etc. Of course light rail is not free, but neither is the present transportation system. No city runs well without a multimodal mass-transportation system--RTD's bus system isn't enough. No technological breakthrough will allow us all to remain in our cars and out of traffic jams simultaneously while eliminating all the economic and environmental negatives of an auto-dependent urban area. Knocking light rail reeks of the regressive attitudes endemic within the U.S. Congress that recently slashed mass-transportation funding. The broader issues surrounding transportation are too intellectually challenging for some, it seems. I have confidence that Westword and Alan Prendergast will, in the future, publish full-range articles touching on mass transportation in the metro area that will highlight those powers holding the policy-making momentum and those challenging it (with all the arguments) within the context of local, national and international debates.
As a taxpayer and regular patron of the RTD bus service, I am slightly disturbed over the recent allotment of "additional funds" for the purpose of assisting "The New Guy" in his relocation from Florida to Denver.
I am wondering if the powers that be at RTD are aware of the message that has been sent. Further, I am wondering if those same people have entertained the concept of logic long enough to realize that the monies might have been better spent in granting raises or some form of bonus to the approximately 2,450 remaining RTD employees.
As one who uses RTD's services on a regular basis, I would like to take this opportunity to tell those RTD employees that they are doing a wonderful job while performing an invaluable service. I find it truly unfortunate that RTD's administration does not feel the need to do the same!
Here's to tradition and the powers that be. And here's to the old, old adage that contends, "What goes around comes around!"
S. Lindsay Thorsson
I'm writing in response to Alan Prendergast's shoddy and misguided article on light rail. As an occasional user, I find light rail quick, clean and much more comfortable than a bus (although I also ride and enjoy buses). The present system definitely warrants further expansion (such as to Littleton, the Tech Center, Lakewood and Union Station, so as to have a link with the Air Train to DIA and other potential commuter trains). The notion that highways pay for themselves is an absolute fallacy. The truth is that in many local areas throughout Colorado and nationwide, user fees such as the gasoline tax, registration fees and license fees cover only 30 to 40 percent of what it takes to adequately maintain and enhance the existing roads; the rest comes from subsidies in the form of non-user fees such as income and property and sales taxes. As for the fools of the Independence Institute, they are just a bunch of pawns of the narrow-minded special-interest groups--i.e., the auto industry, the highway-builders' lobby, the petroleum interests and the parking companies. Let all of us visionary real people continue to push for an expanded mass-transit system so we all have a wiser alternative to our sometimes unreliable automobiles.
Scott A. Adamson
The letters in the December 20 issue regarding Alan Prendergast's light-rail story all sound suspiciously the same--much as light-rail supporters sound the same at all the meetings they attend. Cars cost money, highways cost money, blah blah blah. May all these policy wonks take a right turn onto the light-rail tracks at just the wrong time.
A Real Museum Piece
Regarding Elana Ashanti Jefferson's "Going to Pieces," in the December 6 issue:
I first came to Denver as a child of half a dozen years. My father refused to drive through downtown, claiming that the places he wanted to visit were all gone. But skirting the edge of a city with a cloud of pollution being its only outstanding feature, a wonderful museum came quickly into focus. The Forney Transportation Museum was an exciting place for my whole family. There was nothing like it. Of course, the museums of today are more interactive, but the Forney still holds its own. I just wish I could play on the trains as I did a quarter-century ago.
Now, some labeled the museum's owner as a "character." I think of him as someone who showcased possessions of great character. As for the Denver Planning Office and its sheep--do they know what they are doing? I think not. Look at that project across the river, Elitch's, subsidized with millions of your tax dollars. Now the city wants to take back plans for a park in the valley--a view corridor, as it's called--to put another entertainment complex next to Union Station. Plans that took years to develop are tossed into the wind.
In the last two years I've seen enough broken promises and broken laws to consider the Denver Planning Office incompetent. Perhaps cuts in its staff could help pay for the sixth runway at DIA. Or perhaps the city would allow the Forney to move into Concourse A. But that might go against plans for a museum of government employees!
Regarding Kyle Wagner's "Class Acts," in the December 13 issue:
In the caption for the review, you say that "Assignments passes the taste test," yet the body of the review doesn't really have a preponderance of good comments. I had a very lackluster meal there, and it took forever to get our food--which looked beautiful but was as bland as paper with no color added.
Let us head up our articles with truth, not misleading blurbs.