Some Stern Talk
I'm not sure what affiliation, if any, Westword has with KXPK-FM (the Peak), but in searching the Internet, I found Celebrity Death Slalom, a contest depicting Howard Stern, Leo DiCaprio and Calista Flockhart.

I would ask you to join in my disgust that Howard Stern is afforded a venue for his sick and twisted comments regarding the kids at Columbine. This may be my own personal way to deal with the events of last Tuesday, April 20. His comments made me so angry, I can't believe any human being could be that uncaring, callous...that unconscionable. But it doesn't surprise me in regard to Howard's track record.

I'd like to get Howard Stern off the air. Please join me in severing any ties to Howard Stern. If that includes taking him off the Westword Internet site, please do the right thing. Look inside your own heart as to what that is.

Dave Meyer

Editor's note: Westword has no affiliation with the Peak. Howard Stern was chosen as one of the participants in our Celebrity Death Slalom because we wouldn't mind if he hit a tree--and that was before his comments about Columbine. (See Michael Roberts's Feedback column, starting on page 82, for more on the Stern situation.) And so Celebrity Death Slalom will remain on our Web site, at On the site, you'll also find many of the letters discussing the Columbine tragedy that Westword has received in the past week.

Blast From the Past
Thank you for reporting on one of Denver's most volatile times in Harrison Fletcher's "Smoke and Mirrors," in the April 22 issue. There is so much more to the story of Denver back in the late Sixties and all of the Seventies. Police injustice was rampant, and civil unrest/rights were carried to extremes. Westword has become Denver's most important paper to read.

Thank you for bringing Denver's history/ background to print for all the misinformed to see.

Alex Tafoya
via the Internet

In these times of trouble, it was enlightening to read Harrison Fletcher's article about the Crusade for Justice and to realize that we have indeed made some progress in accepting our fellow man. Thank you.

Joy Rosen
via the Internet

Zeroing In
It is time that we distinguish between the people who cause the trouble and the people who do not. Not everyone who wears a black trench coat is a killer. And not everyone who has a shaved head is a skinhead. The mainstream media needs to remember that.

Juliet Wittman's story on Lisl Auman, "Zero to Life," in the April 15 issue, showed that sometimes a person is just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is it right that Lisl must pay the price of her "bad choice" by spending the rest of her life in jail?

Tony O'Neal
via the Internet

In a day and age where it seems that nothing is shocking anymore due to the ever-increasing jadedness that accompanies one atrocity occurring after another, our desire to take a stand as a society and demand justice is completely understandable.

Sadly, though, as in the case of Lisl Auman, we as a culture are overly ready to rush in blindly (or perhaps with a personal agenda) to accuse, prosecute and persecute one who, in reality, had nothing to do with the horror that occurred.

We now have additional victims of inhumanity. When will we ever learn?
Patrick Murphy
via the Internet

Tragedy and grief fall heavily on both sides of this family equation. Neither moralizing on the human motivations nor siding with one set of allegations or the other, one must necessarily question whether in the case of Lisl Auman the punishment fits the crime.

Ray Tapia
via the Internet

I am a friend of Rob Auerbauch's and have known him for eight years. He has always spoken with pride about Lisl and has always been very grateful to be her stepdad. I cannot imagine that Lisl could be the horrible person everyone says--and Juliet Wittman's article proves the lies and the discrepancies in testimony. Thank you so much for running this article!

Candi Davidson
via the Internet

The tragedy of Lisl Auman lies not just in our corrupt judicial system, but in the continual mischaracterization of the police as "saints" and "heroes." The mainstream media is largely responsible for this, but ironically, it is the mainstream media that has also brought to life how wife-beating, adultery and excessive drinking are rampant among members of the police department. How does this behavior constitute "sainthood"?

I am not a skinhead, nor do I hate the police, but I am not particularly enamored with them, either. As a law-abiding citizen, I rarely have an opportunity to interact with the police, but when I have (usually over an inadvertent traffic violation), they have always been rude and condescending toward me.

I don't doubt that there are good people on the police force, but my impression is that the majority of people (particularly the men) go into police work not because they want to "serve and protect," but because they enjoy the power they have to bully and intimidate others with impunity. Not only can they get away with bullying and intimidating average citizens, but they can get away with killing an innocent person as well. Where is the justice when a police officer can kill an innocent citizen and is "punished" with a slap on the hand or taken off the street and placed in a desk job? Why aren't these officers spending their lives in prison? Apparently, as far as the police and the district attorney's office are concerned, a human life has value only if it is clad in a blue suit and totes a pistol on its hip.

The man who killed officer VanderJagt was dead. The police had no one to persecute and vilify with their hatred, so they framed an innocent girl via a series of inconsequential trivia and destroyed her life. How can they live with themselves?

I don't like the skinheads or what they represent. But the skinheads don't threaten our way of life, or our freedom; the police and the corrupt politicians who empower them do.

Susan Jenkins

On behalf of all of our members, Dr. Ray Greek and I would like to thank you for writing the two articles you have published exposing animal experimentation at CU Medical Center. If the animals could talk, they would thank you, too!

I would also like to thank you for the story written by Juliet Wittman about Lisl Auman. Much like the anti-vivisection side of the story is never mentioned by the mainstream media when discussing animal experimentation, Lisl Auman's side of the story was never told when the mainstream media covered the murder of Officer Bruce VanderJagt. It is very disturbing to think of Lisl in prison for life, just for having been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am hoping and praying that she will be vindicated on appeal.

Animals have never had "rights," but it seems to me that as the powers of the police and government continue to grow unchecked that human rights will barely exist, either. So much of maintaining human rights depends on a free exchange of uncensored information. We need to know what's really going on--not what the powers that be (i.e., the corporate business conglomerates that control the Denver Post and the Denver Rocky Mountain News) want us to know. That's not "news"; it's just one-sided propaganda.

Thanks so much for just telling it like it is--for not letting politics or money or anything dissuade you from saying what's on your mind. Without Westword, there wouldn't be much news in Denver, and we just wanted you to know that there are a lot of people who are very grateful to you and your staff for that.

Renada Cerniglia, director
Citizens for Responsible Research, Littleton

To Swerve and Protect
Alan Prendergast's very well-written article about the life of Richard Rother and his unfortunate suicide ("Falling From Grace," April 8), is just another glaring example of the inadequate ways of the Denver Police Department. I have a real simple idea: Transfer the detectives in the fencing unit, where they obviously are not doing any real productive work, to a detail where they could really be useful.

Protecting the students of the Denver school system comes to mind.
Graham Hickey
via the Internet

Shoot to Chill
I wonder if you people at Westword ever stop to think that the garbage you publish--cartoons like Jesus of the Week, which makes fun of God--does nothing to make the world a better place? In fact, your paper contributes to the cynical culture that allows tragedies like the Columbine shootings to occur.

I hope you are proud of yourselves.
Jan Steiner

That the letters column of Westword has recently been subverted as a forum for about twenty square inches devoted to Jesus of the Week is a sad commentary on the readers of Westword.

First, that cartoon does not carry any negative connotations about Christianity, nor does it insult practitioners of that religion. What it does do is insult the intelligence of the people who don't understand it, which is evidenced by their seeing insults where none exist. I find it more amusing than the cartoon to see how many people are willing to distinguish themselves by publicly announcing that they totally miss the point.

Second, there are tons of controversies within Westword and in the world at large that may rightfully deserve the attention of practicing Christians. That these issues go largely unnoticed in the Letters column makes me wonder if the people complaining about Jesus of the Week ever read any of the rest of the paper or if they just look at that one cartoon and decide to vent.

Keep up the good work, Westword.
Jahfre Northrup

I guess it's true that Christianity is the only politically correct bigotry left. I find Jesus of the Week tasteless and insulting. Try substituting another religion in that spot, or maybe blacks, Hispanics or gays--then tell me how funny it is.

I guess you get the quality you pay for. Just another liberal rag.
Mike Murphy
via the Internet

The Bottom Line
When I read "Star Search," Kyle Wagner's April 8 review of Restaurant Kevin Taylor, one thought came to me: Kyle should eat more fiber!

Eric Herren

I usually agree with Ms. Wagner's reviews, but she is deluding herself if she believes that she is not recognized when she is out doing her job! I have been around the Denver restaurant scene as a designer and a diner for the past thirty years, and almost every maitre d', host, owner, chef or professional server I have known knows who Kyle Wagner is and what she looks like, and they try to give her special treatment. I was even in a former four-star restaurant kitchen where her photo was prominently displayed with the caption "Look Out for This Woman." Denver is still too small a town for someone of her influence to go unnoticed.

Marc Roth

All my restaurant life, I have watched as other restaurant owners were skewered (and salted) by ruthless and inaccurate (they claimed) reviews in Westword. Their shrill hysteria matched the venom of the review, and they would invariably cancel their advertising. Now, at last, there is a club that I can join.

Kyle Wagner's review of the Goosetown Tavern ("Acting Neighborly," April 15) was mean-spirited and laced with misinformation. Based on her review, it appears her research must have occurred before our new chef was hired in March, and yet she didn't bother with such elementary professional courtesy as a phone call to check such facts. Her obsession with acoustics betrays a geriatric sensibility (which, alas, I share) that ignores the youthful clientele living in that neighborhood. And finally, I purchased the historic back bar and booths from the original Goosetown Tavern simply so that they would be saved. Only later did the landlords of the building on East Colfax approach me.

We are in the process of expanding and renovating the bathrooms and installing a full-sized exhaust hood in the kitchen. I hope that Ms. Wagner will see fit to grace us with her palate at that time. Unfortunately, our managers will likely not wait until that time to renew our advertising. It appears your organ of sensationalism remains the best means to reach our audience.

John Hickenlooper

Kyle Wagner's April 22 review of Pacific Star, "Sting for Your Supper," was great. I have been there two times for lunch and twice for dinner, and I agree with her review 100 percent. Quite overpriced for what it delivers, and too many misses versus hits. I hope Pacific Star improves, because it's a great place for celebrations.

Thanks for all the great reviews. I read restaurant columns in many, many papers (I travel quite a bit for business) and think Kyle Wagner is one of the best writers in the industry.

Ania Popielak
via the Internet

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:

Westword Letters
P.O. Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail (include your full name and hometown) to: [email protected].

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