Letters to the Editor

There's No Place Like Homeless

There goes the neighborhood: In his excellent June 8 story on Lowry, "How to Build a Ghetto," Justin Berton failed to point out one important fact. No matter what the developers say about new urbanism at Lowry, it is obvious that their goal is to turn the place into another Highlands Ranch. And in suburbia, poor people should be seen -- working as yardmen or cleaning ladies -- rather than heard. As for the homeless? If the suburbs don't see them, they don't exist.
Jane Boyd
via the Internet

Slum fun: Why make such a big deal about placing homeless housing among the more affluent homes? People want to live near their economic peers. I certainly wouldn't want to live among people who can afford $500,000 homes. I would be awfully lonely!
Ed Duncan

Give the Man a Hand

Don't make us beg: I would like to thank Harrison Fletcher personally for the load of crap he tried to peddle to readers as an actual human interest story with his June 15 "Beggar's Banquet." Let's be honest here and admit that most of the story had to either be made up or romanticized to the point of utter absurdity. In his column, "Fletch" would have us believe that there is an upside to being a "hippie bum" and that rather than step over this kid, who, incidentally, is only two years younger than I am, I should drop a quarter in his guitar case and think of him as a misunderstood artist. This is exactly the kind of romantic, granola-fed, left-leaning Boulder hippie tripe that makes me want to wipe my posterior with Westword.

Does Fletch really expect us to believe that this kid just puffs on marijuana "every now and then"? Does he expect us to believe that this kid has a repertoire of 200 songs?! Please -- B.B. King doesn't know 200 songs! Does he also expect us to believe that this kid's biggest worries are having to play "Margaritaville" for a quarter or playing blues riffs for a bum to mumble over? Being homeless is not glamorous or fun. It can be really fucking dangerous. Fletch tells the story as if Mike, our runaway hippie, is some modern-day Jack Kerouac.

I sometimes work up to sixty hours a week to pay off the debt I accumulated getting a photography degree at the University of Northern Colorado. I know a little about artists; I am one. To romanticize this runaway bum as an expert in the panhandling arts is ludicrous. To mention his influences (Whitman and Dr. Seuss, Seger and Skynyrd) verges on stupidity. Fletch, the next time you don't have anything to write about, take out one of those full-page strip-bar ads in place of your column. It would probably be more socially redeeming. Or, better yet, write about something that matters. You had many useful angles in that article. You could have written about the influx of hippies for the Rainbow Family gathering. You could have written about the panhandling law and what it entails. Instead, you did a personality profile on a bum. Nice reporting.

Now, that's goooood journalism.
Michael W. O'Neill
via the Internet

Yours, Mine and Ours

Deep trouble: This letter is in response to Alan Prendergast's "Enemy Mine," in the June 8 issue. As a native Coloradan and a descendent of people who came here over one hundred years ago to make their living from mining, I ask how we went from a state that was founded on mining to a state where opponents of mining are trying to ban mining altogether. Since when is there something wrong with mining?

When people go to places like Breckenridge, Aspen, Telluride, Central City and Cripple Creek, they are traveling on roads built to access the mines in those areas, and they're staying in towns whose infrastructure was built from mining. When people drive along Colorado highways, the presence of mine sites old and new doesn't detract from the scenery -- it adds to it. Do people actually think that mining would be bad for Colorado tourism in some way? What tourist doesn't come to Colorado because there were too many mines here? Mining makes up part of the history, heritage and culture of Colorado, and we should support it rather than try to ban it.

Why do people think that mining can't be done in an environmentally responsible way? Modern mining is a highly technical, global business. Our understanding of mining/environmental problems has come a long way in the past thirty years. In fact, the Colorado School of Mines is where much of this research has been done. Ironically, almost all of its graduates leave to work in other places. The United States Geological Survey is located in Lakewood. This government agency has made Colorado the most well-studied place in the world with respect to mining/environmental problems. The wealth of background information, combined with the excellent geologic potential of the state, could make Colorado the ideal location for modern, state-of-the-art mining.

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