I wish to write in response to Patricia Calhoun's December 5 column, "Homeless for the Holidays." What an artful job of pitting the homeless against such unpopular icons as lawyers and developers. Too bad the question of whether citizens should be able to enjoy the use of the South Platte wasn't addressed. I'm one who walks the trails in the dead of winter and uses them daily for my bicycle commute to work and weekly to the University of Denver. It's loads of fun to dodge broken forty-ouncers all the way. I don't always feel safe on this route, and I wouldn't even consider it if I were a woman.
A recent Denver Post article covered this same issue. Your story and that one both note that the "homeless" on the Platte are the mentally ill and substance abusers who reject the civilizing standards of the shelters. These are just the people I want lurking along the embankments as I ride home from DU at night. They don't exactly lurk, but they take over many of the small picnic areas along the way every night. These are places I stop for water during the day in the summer, but never at night.
As for squatters' rights, may I suggest that Patricia get with the Christmas spirit and invite the displaced to unfurl their bedrolls on her lawn February 1? Ink's cheap.
Here's a solution for the bums living along the Platte: When the city builds a new stadium for Pat Bowlen and the Pepsi Center for Ascent--as it will no doubt do--it can put housing for the homeless right alongside the skyboxes.
Taxpayers might as well get some something for their money.
Since I moved to Denver a year and a half ago, one of the many things I've come to enjoy about this city is Westword, and particularly Patricia Calhoun's column, which reflects intelligence and caring.
I am writing regarding her "Homeless for the Holidays." I agree that we need to be more concerned about the human rights of homeless people rather than about developers' rights to unlimited profits. But as we discuss the issue of moving the homeless from the South Platte River, let's also consider the rights of a third party: the general public.
We all know that public space such as that along the banks of the Platte River is intended for everyone to use freely and equally. It is not designed for people to camp in, whether they are homeless or not.
This is clearly an issue that is bigger than the one between the homeless and developers. I know you will agree that what it takes is for all of us, in various segments of the community, to work together to arrive at solutions that benefit everyone. It's a matter of maintaining balance and fairness for all members. And it is not an easy thing to accomplish. But this is the challenge to those of us who care about our larger society.
The Hair Apparent
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Real Life. Real News. Real Bad." in the November 14 issue:
I can't believe your attacks on Natalie Pujo. You, Patricia Calhoun, of all people, condemning someone for their looks! You should get down on your fat dimpled knees and pray to whatever god you believe in that there are people like Natalie Pujo on the air--or would you rather see an endless procession of Aimee Sporer and Katy Keifer?
Don't hate the woman because she's beautiful and talented. And by the way, with that haircut and blue eyeshadow (circa 1960s-70s), you look like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show!
I think Patricia Calhoun was a bit shortsighted in her assessment of Channel 7's new format. Granted, there are some problems, but I think many people in Denver are ready for a format like this. I did a short writeup of it on my Web site at www.net-mgt.com/~dbarnes/news.html.
via the Internet
Is it possible that a former Toronto anchorperson by the name of Natalie Pujo is now working there in beautiful Denver? Well, a few of us here in T.O. miss her smiling face...so please pass along to her our best wishes for fame and fortune!
via the Internet
Go to the Head of the Class
Two thumbs up for Alan Prendergast's December 5 article "Head Trips" for covering a variety of intense issues in an objective manner. Everyone involved (Mental Health Corporation of Denver, boarding-home managers, the City of Denver) shares the blame, yet no one is willing to take responsibility for their actions or lack of action. Unfortunately, the mental-health population gets caught in the middle--not an uncommon occurrence in mental-health treatment.