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Sprawl in the Family Regarding Alan Prendergast's "The Sprawlful Truth," in the January 14 issue: What is it about the American West that makes us so impervious to experience? California ought to be a lesson emblazoned on our noggins: single-family housing, no mass transit, arterial and freeway traffic jams, horrifying...
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Sprawl in the Family
Regarding Alan Prendergast's "The Sprawlful Truth," in the January 14 issue:
What is it about the American West that makes us so impervious to experience? California ought to be a lesson emblazoned on our noggins: single-family housing, no mass transit, arterial and freeway traffic jams, horrifying strip malls--the whole catastrophe. So what do we do? Well, we escape by moving to Colorado and creating the entire mess all over again. The state of Oregon actually grappled with this issue and came up with strict growth boundaries. Why? Because they love their state, not just their individual appetites and lifestyles. Do Coloradans love their state enough to do the same? Dream on.

Walter Hall
via the Internet

Alan Prendergast's story about growth around Superior read like sheer poetry. Too bad "The Sprawlful Truth" included such ugly truths about what is happening to our state.

John McFarlan

An Unhealthy Choice
Thank you for Stuart Steers's well-researched and well-written piece on Trish Nagel's Meridian nursing homes and her financial support of Bill Owens's campaign for governor ("Nursing a Grudge," January 7). This is journalism as it should be, alerting us to the relationship between campaign donations and nursing-home reform. Nagel's appointment to Governor Owens's transition team manifests an obvious conflict of interest. Please follow up and inform us of further actions and decisions of the transition team.

Dolores Curran

Here is my salute to Mr. Owens's inauguration, commenting on his unbelievably bad nomination for director of the health department, on which your excellent article throws considerable light. A bad nomination from a bad nominating committee.

Governor Bill Owens's appointment of Jane Norton to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is a shocking mistake. The appointee is described as an "executive" with the Medical Group Management Association and a graduate student at Regis. No area of public regulation I know is more turbulent and troubled than health care. Few areas of public regulation are more complex; fewer still involve higher monetary interests of stakeholders. To this arena, Mr. Owens sends a non-physician without public-health graduate training or state public-health experience.

The Medical Group Management Association, Ms. Norton's current affiliation (I know--I am a member and college fellow), has one principal function: protecting physicians' incomes. This does not constitute cognate experience. It is merely conservative networking. Ms. Norton does have previous appointments by Republican administrations, those of both Reagan and Bush. I cannot remember a clearer case of an unqualified political appointee.

What this means for our state health policy is very simple: weak administrative leadership. This leaves the existing stakeholders--physicians, hospital systems, nursing homes and insurance companies--without significant regulatory leadership. This is what the health system players want--standard conservative laissez-faire--and if Colorado citizens do not object, this is what we will get.

Our public health department needs strong, qualified leadership. If we don't get it, the field will continue to be dominated by people who feel their enormous financial stake entitles them to dictate public policy. As a member of the Colorado Trauma Advisory Council Facility Designation Committee (1996-1998), I watched this happen under administrative leadership that was weak by design. Public-health policy will get worse, at the worst possible time.

Governor Owens needs to find someone qualified.
Michael M. Kiley

It appears that new Governor Bill Owens has started his tenure as a political leader for Colorado with a clear message to average Coloradans. By soliciting thousands of dollars in corporate money to fund his inaugural ball, it is growing very clear where his priorities will lie in fugure decision-making.

It's vitally important that all Colordans participate in our political process, but where is the line drawn when special access to our elected officials is limited to big-money corporate contributors? It appears that our new governor has already decided that he is for sale to the highest bidders.

Janie Hartung

Copping a Plea
I am responding to Tony Perez-Giese's article, "Don't Call the Cops," published in the January 7 issue. As a longtime employee of the DVAMC on a locked psychiatric unit, I am grateful for the VA police. I have called them on a regular basis. They are polite but firm. Without them, there would be numerous people injured or dead.

There are also a number of staff members, at various levels in different departments, who are mentally impaired.

I am not a girlfriend to any of these officers.
Beverly Wright-Alley

Names Will Never Hurt Us
Congratulations on the addition of Dan Savage to your paper! His column is a refreshing mix of politics, philosophy and, of course, sex, sex and more sex! Why don't you move his column up to the front of your newspaper? I'd rather read about blow jobs than suffer through another one of Patricia Calhoun's columns.

Kenn Stafford
via the Internet

I'd be willing to bet Westword would not publish a letter, regardless of context, addressed to C****, S*** or N*****. Why, then, is it okay to publish "Dear Faggot" in "Savage Love" letters?

Tolerance of the language of bigotry, especially in the name of free speech, is why we live in such a racist, misogynistic (how about that KBPI ad in the January 14 issue?), homophobic society. I'm hopeful that this is a serious lapse of judgment, not a trend in Westword's content. If it were a trend, I would never pick up another issue and would encourage everyone else to do the same.

Alicia Edwards
via the Internet

Editor's note: Dan Savage, who is gay, created the "Dear Faggot" salutation--and asks that newspapers printing his column use it.

Welcome Home
Regarding Duane Derrek's January 14 letter about the JonBenet Trivia Challenge:

It's clear that he hasn't read Westword before. You folks have a penchant for dark and irreverent humor--a very refreshing thing in this world of anal political correctness. I'm going to let some people know about the challenge. You'll receive many letters of approval. You should be proud of yourselves.

I also just wanted to say how happy I was to see Westword online. I lived in Denver for twenty years before moving to Kentucky, and while in Denver, I never missed an issue of Westword. Your paper was sorely missed when I moved. I've found imitations of, but none as good as, the original Westword. I stumbled upon the Web site while doing a melancholy search of Denver.

Anyway, I'm home!
Charles Cusumano
via the Internet

The Wrath of Khan
I have been meaning to write and tell you how much I've enjoyed Kyle Wagner's writing recently. Her review of BD's Mongolian Barbeque ("Here's Your Hat. What's Your Hurry?," January 14) was particularly good, and I liked reading all the related information in Mouthing Off. For those of us who can't get out as often as we'd like to, it's nice to live vicariously through Kyle. And I really appreciate the fact that she also gives us tips for how to re-create dishes at home! The recipes are a great addition. Thanks.

Helen Parks

We seem to have dined at two different BD's, since my experience with the restaurant was totally opposite to Kyle's. The waitstaff was extremely friendly and helpful. They gave us a quick overview of the concept and led us on our way, even giving us a personal favorite recipe (handwritten by the waiter to try on our next visit). The shrimp weren't minuscule, the rice wasn't clumpy (and even so, isn't Asian rice supposed to be clumpy and sticky?), and tortillas are by nature tasteless and chewy. My drink was frequently refilled, and the table was always being cleared of finished dishes.

Now, maybe this isn't exactly what the Mongolians did for their meals, but I had a fun dining experience at BD's and have recommended it on many occasions. I do know that I am not the only one who feels this way; my whole office enjoys BD's (we go there often for lunch). I think you need to re-evaluate this restaurant, or maybe just publish another opinion that may not agree with yours.

Kymley Parker
via the Internet

Kyle Wagner's review of BD's was right on target. However, there are three more points I'd like to mention:

It's damn expensive for lunch. A minimum $7 meal cost, plus tax and tip, for one person is steep.

There's unneeded waitstaff. The customer does all the work--except for clearing plates and getting drinks--but still has to pay a tip.

The food bowls are tiny.
Overall, BD's is a huge disappointment.
Dale Reeves

Get Out!
Regarding Michael Roberts's review of Teletubbies: The Album, in the January 7 Playlist:

Apparently, the buzz in Britain has been that Teletubby "Tinky-Winky," the purple, purse-carrying, largest Teletubby with the "lambda" antenna, is gay (not the actors, necessarily--so far there have been two). There are even jokes to that effect now, and the Washington Post's "In/Out" list for 1999 "outs" Tinky-Winky, as a matter of fact. Any clues in the Teletubbies album (country-Western songs, etc.)?

As for Kenny Be's Owens family screen saver at www.westword.com: Don't you think Monica Owens strongly resembles actress Alicia Witt (Cybil)? If so, why not offer a real picture?

Steven Chostler
via the Internet

Grave Reservations
In "Dancing on Her Grave," his December 24 review of Aunt Edith's Wake, Jim Lillie referred to Tony and Tina's Wedding. I remember that review. We already had tickets when I read it, and I thought we were in for an awful evening. To my surprise, the performance was fully audible. The size of the audience and arrangement of the tables was just like at a real wedding. The audience laughed throughout, and no one walked out. I saw it again a few months later and had the same experience. I should also mention that we enjoyed the acting and thought the style appropriate to the material.

Neither I nor my companions are novice theatergoers. My husband, in particular, has very high standards. So I wondered at Mr. Lillie's review and the negative capsule that kept running in Westword. In conversation with one of the people associated with the production, I mentioned what a long run the play was having and that the review didn't seem to be hurting it. I asked what production Mr. Lillie saw and learned that he really had seen a poor production, because he reviewed the play before it was ready.

Why they opened before they were ready I can only surmise. But didn't it ever occur to Mr. Lillie that a play that was so bad would have closed early--not run for months and months? I think Westword did a disservice to the theater-going public when you continued to run a review of a play that was not reflective of the play they would see--or would have seen had they not been warned off. Maybe Mr. Lillie should have seen it again.

Vita Wouk
via the Internet

I saw Aunt Edith's Wake at the Mercury Cafe in November. It was cramped and cold; I kept my coat on the whole time. The buffet dinner of turkey was pretty good, but I was expecting a sit-down dinner. The acting was okay to lousy. This was a wasted evening, and it was not that funny.

Terry Miller
via the Internet

Wake-Up Call
I read "Never Mind the Troubles," Bill Gallo's December 10 review of Waking Ned Devine, on the Internet. The movie is indeed a breath of fresh air. Enough positive things cannot be said about it. As a music educator, I was captivated by the soundtrack, along with the scenery and the outstanding acting.

I hope that the success of this movie wakes up Hollywood to the fact that a great movie can exist without every other word starting with "F," that not everyone on this planet wants to kill someone and do drugs, and that with a little imagination, today's directors could make a decent movie in the way the likes of John Ford used to.

Terry R. Rush
via the Internet

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