From Whom the Baby Bell Tolls
Regarding Stuart Steers's "Disconnected," in the April 8 issue:
Whenever people such as Sol Trujillo talk about the thorough competitiveness of the telecommunications industry here in the state of Colorado, he had better read some of the comments made in this outstanding Westword article. Thanks for showing the purpose of a free press here in the United States and, yes, even in a monopolistic environment such as Colorado's.

Emile Sissac
via the Internet

I can verify everything negative mentioned about US West: I worked there. I used to be a design engineer at the Capacity Provisioning division in Littleton. CP is the division that handles the maintenance, planning, design and construction of all the phone cables and conduits; my job as an engineer was to plan and prepare drawings for construction or rearrangement of existing lines, cables and conduits. I can remember a number of occasions working on held orders for residential lines and being asked to stop and work on large business orders such as a Wal-Mart account. US West no more cares for residential or rural customers than does its competition.

I believe the company's pledge to upgrade the network is bogus; it has been saying that for years. Even in urban areas, I was reusing rotting cables buried in 1912. Remember the cable cut a number of weeks ago near Colfax and Bellaire (near a central office), which left 12,000 customers without service? That repair would not have taken so long if the cut cables were color-coded; they, too, were very old cables in an urban area!

Just like its competitors, US West targets only business and could give a shit about residential customers. I would like to add I am not a former employee who is disgruntled. In fact, I enjoyed my tenure at the company, which paid for my master's degree, and other benefits were excellent. The problem I had was with the lack of scruples. Every day I was there, the company became more and more amoral. Admittedly, I probably cannot avoid this everywhere I work, but I had another opportunity to help shape a company.

Bye-bye, US West, and thanks for the degree.
Roger Singleton
via the Internet

Fantastic article! Can you help us do a similar expose on US West's activities in Wyoming?

Brett Glass
via the Internet

Editor's note: As predicted in Stuart Steers's piece, last week state representative Jack Taylor of Steamboat Springs introduced legislation that would deregulate many of US West's services in Colorado, place new requirements on US West competitors and add surcharges on local telephone bills to fund telecommunication improvements in rural areas. But after reading Westword's story about the proposed bill, several members of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee voiced misgivings, and the committee vote was postponed until Tuesday, when it passed by one vote. It now goes to the full House.

Turks in the World
First of all, thank you for your publication. I must admit that I used to only read the movie showtimes, but I have since expanded my horizons.

After reading T.R. Witcher's "The Young and the Restless," in the April 1 issue, I have to say this writer moved me. Having no knowledge of the political history of Denver, my eyes were really opened by this article. I recently moved here from Los Angeles. Yeah, I know, another Californian--sorry, couldn't be helped.

Anyway, Witcher should be applauded. His article was refreshing, insightful, thought-provoking and at times humorous. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for the educational experience. And thanks, Westword, for the opportunity to share my thoughts!

Audrey J. Sherrod
via the Internet

Lieutenant Governor George Brown's branding tale, along with the Reverend Gill Ford's assertion that Mayor "Beef" Wellington Webb possesses the power to simply "will" a better northeast neighborhood, dramatically illustrate the historical mentality of these so-called leaders: to demand sympathy, resulting in demands for handouts from the great white fathers. All are apparently oblivious to the obvious: In order to create trade and commerce within the confines of the glorified "'hood," first and foremost a transformation must take place, a return to the values and standards of black neighborhoods of yesteryear--family-friendly, with safe and secure schools and streets that serve as recruitment and advertising tools to attract families, which in turn will create a demand for legit services far beyond the firewater and fried-chicken shacks that today dot the landscape.

Reverend Ford is unable to admit that what has driven off business in northeast Denver are the thugs, winos, bums and generations of parentless children, all of whom prey upon the weak and old in their neighborhoods. Ask any child or senior citizen whom they fear, and the answer will be not the KKK or Mark Fuhrman-like cops. It will be LaSheika and LaTenika's multiple offspring, who run wild in the streets and schools, destroying not just the lives and dreams of good, decent people, but their property values also. Ford also fails to point out that these destructive human elements inflate the unemployment numbers because they have failed to take advantage of public education and training, thus possessing no skills to pay the bills or buy their own babies' meals.

Ford and his peers would rather blame the white man--whom most black folks already know doesn't give a damn about the fate of Black America but simply tolerates our presence from a safe suburban distance--than, as real leaders, accept the shame of their negligence and dereliction of duties. Without debate, northeast Denver is not ready to grow nor is conducive to growth and investment from a black perspective. We have squandered our assets. All we can do is sit back and witness the yuppies reap the benefits of a once-proud community as our self-anointed leaders play the blame game.

Ford and these other lost Negroes are afraid to leave the welfare plantation, afraid to ask not what white folks and Uncle Sam can do for black folks, but rather what we, as black folks, can do for ourselves. It's easier to ask a "brother" like Webb to shovel them scraps from the table than get off their asses and do for themselves.

Desi Cortez

What is up with this T.R. Witcher article? You talk about up-and-coming politicos and mention folks not even running. I was given the endorsement from the Greater Denver Board of Realtors in District 11. You mention Happy, who they say has stale ideals for the next four years, and Dale, who is a lawyer and a minister (separation of church and state?), but not me--what's up? Can't another young turk get a break? I am the candidate who will unseat the incumbent but can't even get a mention in Westword. You mention folks not even running, not-even-looking-to-be-elected types. Come on, now.

Thanks for the omission, T.R. Just urge folks to vote May 4. Like Bailey, I hope to have more impact than all the folks you mentioned in the long run!

Jon Bowman

It is at a feverous pitch right now, but many people are not aware of it just yet. Political-campaign time is upon us, and many candidates are doing what they do best, fundraising and shopping for endorsements. Now, this is not to blame the politicians for what they do but for what it does to the politician. Reality dictates that when someone does a favor for you--be it donate large sums of money to your campaign--a favor to the contributor becomes the implied and sometimes direct obligation. And this is the very relationship that has soured the taste of politics for many people. In essence, it is the purchasing of the candidate and the office for personal/business gain. Mayor Wellington Webb has raised over $700,000 and will continue to have fundraisers even up to the date of the election to do battle against Gill Ford, who is not accepting funds.

Denver is being sold to the highest bidder by the same mayor who criticized and chided Norm Early's fundraising in 1991. It is amazing how eight years of power can change you.

Alvin Massenburg

Witness for the Prosecution
Regarding Harrison Fletcher's piece on Vivien Spitz, "A Matter of Record," in the April 8 issue:

Thank you, Westword, for introducing us to a local hero. Her courageous efforts are very much needed. As she says, ignorance is the greater danger. Ignorance is what allows insidious organizations like the so-called Institute for Historical Review to exist because it conveniently fills a void. The name alone is as diabolically innocent as that of the Reich Commissariat for the Strengthening of German Nationhood, a Nazi government organization designed to rid annexed German provinces of Jews. A visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, would stop any non-belief of the Holocaust in its tracks. Exhibits showing real piles of children's shoes, or elderly people's eyeglasses, are shocking. A result of someone "following orders"--and a good lesson for us all.

Thank you Vivien Spitz, for speaking out and "following conscience."
Ben Gilliam
via the Internet

Something's Sacred
I would advise all those letter writers criticizing Westword for not taking religion seriously to read Robin Chotzinoff's "The Blessing," in the April 1 issue. It was an inspiring story about people finding meaning and community--inspiring no matter what a reader's faith might be.

Heather Grant

Bravo, Robin Chotzinoff! As a member of Congregation Beth Evergreen for many years, I'd like to commend you. You have hit the nail on the head in your description of our unorthodox, lovable and spirited congregation. Now, when are you going to join us?

Jill Wildenberg
via the Internet

State of the Union
Stuart Steers's article on Colorado AFL-CIO leader Ellen Golombek, "No Labor Lost," in the April 8 issue, was a great start but told only some of the story about the importance of Ellen's and the labor movement's work.

While the labor movement often gets tagged as only caring about union members in the workplace, Ellen and the Colorado AFL-CIO prove this wrong on a daily basis. While big-money corporate special interests work to deepen their pockets with more millions at the expense of workers and our overall quality of life, the labor movement is at the legislature every day standing up for the rights of all workers--union and non-union--in times of unprecedented corporate greed and bloated executive salaries. Without this presence at the Capitol, Colorado would have no workplace safety standards and much lower wages and benefits, and workers would receive even less respect at work.

While the article noted that union members are only 10 percent of the state's workforce, big business and its legislative puppets should take note that union members are not the only Coloradans who care about rights, raises and respect on the job. All anti-worker attackers should beware: Colorado possesses a strong worker-rights and economic-justice majority that will not forget the continued political attacks on working families in our state.

Bill Vandenberg, Co-Director
Colorado Progressive Coalition

I am visiting from Arizona, which has right-to-work laws. Everyone in Colorado labor must support Ms. Golombek, as well as endeavor to enlarge and enable (through funding, organizing and lobbying) Colorado unions to put a stake through the heart of right-to-work laws.

Lawrence R. Tiernan
via the Internet

Shrink Wrap
Regarding Eric Dexheimer's "Head Case," in the March 11 issue:
I worked at the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology for two and a half years, a year and a half of which I worked in the same office as Peter Buirski, as his assistant, and was privy to the inner workings of the faculty. In situations like that, you get to see people at their best and at their worst. My observation was that Peter Buirski was a caring father, husband, son, friend and co-worker--and a regular guy. The faculty, with one notable exception, was devoted and hardworking. The stress of working in the university's psychology program was so great that it caused Dr. Deitz to have a serious mental disorder? Gimme a break! It's a crime that the school, once a vibrant community, has had the life sucked out of it by this situation.

Kat Kandel
via the Internet

Eric Dexheimer's "Head Case" is a public service. I am a Ph.D. psychologist; this story was about the making of Psy.D. psychologists. The difference lies in scientific rigor. The Ph.D. degree requires students to study epistemology and the philosophy of science, which is all about what we know, and how we know what we know, and rules for belief, etc. Many Psy.D. programs are all about playing doctor, and many have no quantitative or statistical or research design components at all. This makes a big difference, because without it, the psychologist has no idea how to evaluate the reliability and validity of a test, much less to develop and validate tests. Protection of the public requires exposure of the nonsense going on at the University of Denver. You have really done a fine job that shows how far off base this program is and how awful the players are.

It's good to get these reactions off my chest. I'll bet Eric Dexheimer stayed in the shower for a long time after writing this story.

Name withheld on request

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number. Write to:

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