Letters to the Editor

Qwest for Ire

A family affair: I enjoyed reading Patricia Calhoun's column on Qwest's ever-so-helpful insert about how they protect our privacy by offering to give our privacy away ("Out of the Blue," January 24). She did a lot of research about how heavy they are into marketing. Thanks for the toll-free number at the end of the column; I used it without any trouble to tell Qwest I don't want their family contacting me.

Although I have to wonder what kind of family Qwest's is: traditional, nuclear, extended, multi-ethnic, same-sex, family by choice?

Shalom Aleichem! Peace be with you!

Peter Gross

Hold on: If Qwest is going to share customer information with other businesses in its "family," the company should at least give customers call waiting for free. That way, you'd be able to put a Qwest telemarketer on hold so that you won't miss a call...from another Qwest telemarketer!

J.R. Hillary
via the Internet

Editor's note: On Monday, Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio announced that the company had given up plans to share customer information between divisions -- for now, at least, pending new FCC guidelines due out later this year. Insisting that Qwest does not, and will not, share private customer data with outside businesses, Nacchio added, "We did not do a good job of communicating." Which, for a company in the communications business, is saying something.

It's All Downhill From Here

The last resort: After reading Stuart Steers's "Winter Park Grows Up," in the January 17 issue, I found myself overcome with nostalgia and a sense of loss for what's happened to Colorado. Skiing used to be a fun family sport. Now few families can afford it, and the state's ski resorts have turned into nothing but expensive advertisements for tacky mountain condos. Winter Park has been a rare exception.

Amy-Jean Foster

Snow job: Denver has no business owning a ski area when it can't fix its streets or give its kids a decent education. Mayor Wellington Webb has had two chances to sell Winter Park, and he's blown both of them.

Harvey Robinson

Photo finish: In case your readers are interested, the young woman sitting on the porch rail of the warming house looking down on the T-bar near the old Hughes run at Winter Park is me! The photo was taken in the spring of 1954, when my parents and college friends were staying at the Arlberg Club. Other pictures taken at the time include one of my dad, Hudson Moore Jr., and me riding the T-bar. As noted in the credit, those pictures are in the Colorado Historical Society archives.

Stuart Steers's article was great about past and present Winter Park issues.

Barbara Moore Rumsey

A Slippery Slope

< Airheads: Regarding Jonathan Shikes's "Airtime," in the January 10 issue:

In light of the fact that the CEO of Vail received a $1 million-plus bonus in 2001, the use of public funds to finance ski-industry ads is unconscionable.

Tal Jones
via the Internet

Hitting Them Where They Live

Mean streets: I just completed David Holthouse's January 24 article on Eric Scott, "A Hard Hit." I am sure that you will be getting a few, if not many, letters regarding Mr. Scott's life and lifestyle. That's not the reason I'm writing this response, however. Mr. Scott sounded like one of those individuals who comes along that we never have in our lives for long. He was truly special, and I am sure those who knew him will miss him tremendously. He was one of those people who didn't have the guidance and examples in his childhood to show him the way; he was figuring it out and basically was making things right for himself.

I was touched by what his friends said about him and the fact they did not get to properly say goodbye to him. Whether he was the president of some corporation or what he was, he did not deserve to die the way he did.

As a person who works in a building directly next to Skyline Park and the 16th Street Mall, I see the "street kids" all the time. Since I get to watch and listen to these kids, it's hard to have sympathy for them. I have to remind myself all the time that the majority of them are on the streets because they have problems at home, mental problems, etc., and have no other place to go.

I would like to make a simple suggestion to Eric's friends: The best way to "keep Eric's memory alive" would be to continue what he basically did naturally -- help the street kids. You don't need lots of money to simply talk, learn and teach. Maybe some of these kids will hear the message and help themselves get it right.

Thanks for the story. It reminded me that life -- no matter what -- is special.

Carla Clarke

Life on the outside: My heart goes out to these kids and to Eric Scott. People need to learn how to respect life. I hope David Holthouse's article helps in the investigation.

Keep 'em coming.

Jody Woodworth

A citizen of the planet: Thank you for the attention you've given to the murder of Eric Scott. Horribly shaken friends of Eric's in Denver alerted me to his murder. It is sad that so little appears to have happened in what seems to be an open-and-shut case. It is terrible when the wishes of a fine soul are not followed simply because officials could not locate a formal will. Shame on those same individuals for not letting his friends know where they might purchase his belongings at auction. Until the state realizes that non-blood relationships are often stronger than genetic ones, this sort of unfairness will continue.

The world is changing, and legislation must change with it. Eric was as much a citizen as anyone else. He deserved better. We all do.

Phil Waters
Avon Lake, OH

Good thinking: The story of Eric Scott has brought to my attention the sad truth of reality. After reading the story, I felt like I knew him, if only because I know many good people. After reading the things his friends said about him, I knew he had a good soul. If only there were true justice in this world, maybe at least in death he could have been treated fairly along with his loved ones. No one should have been able to sell off his things or bury his body when everyone knew he wished to be cremated. Now there is no way except through personal memory for people to think of him -- and even then, not enough people know how deserving this individual was to at least be honored with a proper memorial in death.

I would like to know if there is any way that a donation can be put together -- or if one already has been -- to at least give his friends a proper place to remember him.

Myrica Ouish
via the Internet

Local hero: I just wanted to say thanks for writing such a moving article on a most unlikely hero.

Arlen Beaudette
Sacramento, CA

Lost in America: Thank you for telling this story. It is one of many that normally would have been overlooked as insignificant, but it is filled with so many grim realities that it deserves recognition for what happens to those who disassociate themselves from the mainstream, and the fruition of the systems as they apply to many people lost in our society. Their choices should not devalue them, and your article recognized this fact.

While I never met this person, I have lived several eras within this lifetime associated with folks who have lived this type of life. You told this story with both fact and insight. I really enjoyed the read.

Michelle Rosenberry
Houston, TX

A friend in need: Huge, huge kudos to David Holthouse for an excellent article about the murder of Eric Scott. Thanks to Brian Stauffer as well for great art. I can't say how happy I am with the story. I was (it still hurts to use the past tense) friends with Eric. We rode scooters together. I want to share a story about what a great guy he was. It was about four years ago, and I had just bought a house. Eric calls me about 9 a.m. on a Saturday to see if I'm up and if he can come over, doesn't tell me why. He shows up fifteen minutes later with his dog and just starts washing the outside windows of my house. He had decided to start a window-washing business and just wanted to practice!

I have a lot of fond memories of Eric. Thank you very much for telling everyone what a great, kindhearted person Eric Daniel Scott was.

Pamela Anderson

A friend indeed: I am a retired, 54-year-old, Harley-riding Denver resident who for the past six years has owned a home that's equidistant to both the Broadway and First Avenue area where Eric Scott had his first apartment and the residence where he had his head bashed in. Also, as a part owner of CJ's Leathers, I had many occasions over the years to see and chat with Eric Scott. To me he was just one of the many youthful, interesting and charming faces that reminded me of myself so many years ago.

Last night, I picked up a copy of Westword and was browsing through the paper when my eyes focused on those of Eric Scott. A vague memory stirred my interest, and I began to read the article. Because I was waiting in line for a takeout bag and a check, I could only scan the words quickly, but I tucked the paper under my arm and resolved to read the article when I could give it the focus I felt it deserved. There was something in his eyes that I recognized strongly. About a half-hour ago, I began to read.

Like so many others in the Denver public, I was totally unaware that this young man had been murdered -- and that the murder had been perpetrated only two blocks from my home! The deeper I got into the article, the more I remembered that this was the kid I had casually spoken to several times on the street and in the shop over the past years. I did not know him personally as a friend, but I remember him as a well-spoken, sincere and friendly guy with eyes that held my attention. I want to tell you that both the uninspired investigation by the police and the callous attitude adopted by the public administrator for the City and County of Denver enrage me. R. L. Steenrod didn't want to disclose the amount of money Eric's belongings fetched at auction out of "respect for Scott's privacy"? Give me a break!

This kid may have been a pot dealer, he may have died with Xanax in his system, he may have maintained a strangely shaped beard and sported colors of hair not found in nature, he may have ridden a motorcycle and led a ratty, ungroomed, lock-dyed Afghan around on a leash, and he may have led a life considered unworthy of sympathy or note by more conservative elements of our society, but he was a man with a heart, a man with a blessed soul of compassion, and a man who made the difficult personal choices we all make in our lives to pull himself up by his self-sewn bootstraps and try to make something good of his life. As I finished reading David Holthouse's words and brushed away the tears from my face, I understood the truth of my emotion. Twenty-five years ago, this young man could have been me.

I want to thank you for publishing his story. Eric has been shamefully relegated to that pathetic category of men "whose lives don't matter." Had he been rich, politically connected and living in Cherry Hills, you can damned well bet that Earl Taylor and his "crew" would have been arrested, tried and convicted by now. At this point, I don't know what can be done, but I thank you for researching and writing this piece. I hope city officials at least have been embarrassed enough to try to make some amends for the shoddy way this young man was treated...if not in life, then at least in death.

Rich Dockter

A Crash Course

Drive, he said: Regarding David Holthouse's "Bad Boys," in the January 17 issue:

Unfortunately, the guy involved in this incident seems like a hothead, which doesn't work in his favor, but I have to say that I am infuriated almost daily by rude and aggressive or absentminded and distracted driving on the part of the Denver Police Department, in fully marked cars. It's a miracle if they ever signal a lane change; they flick on their lights just to get through intersections; and they drive aggressively, cutting people off and causing near-miss accidents. If they are not driving insanely, they are weaving around on the road, not staying in lanes, and driving in a fashion for which an ordinary citizen would be pulled over under suspicion of drunk driving.

While I doubt there is a vast right-wing conspiracy on the part of the DPD, I do believe that, on the whole, they have very poor driving habits and a cavalier, above-the-law attitude when it comes to how they treat other motorists.

Michael Ditto

Citizen raising Cain: David Holthouse wrote a mostly fair and accurate story regarding my experience with Captain J. Padilla, with the exception of two points. 1) I never said, "Mullah Padilla went Taliban on my ass." What I did say was, "Mullah Padilla went Taliban on me." 2) Magistrate Paul Quinn admonished me for allegedly making obscene gestures to Mullah Padilla. Yes, the Padilla did make this groundless accusation at the start of the trial, but nobody in the relatively full courtroom could verify that I made any alleged obscene gestures at the Padilla! What is true is that the Padilla did wink and smile at me while the magistrate reprimanded me based on the Padilla's false allegation that I made an obscene gesture at him.

Steven Dwyer, patriot and citizen

Editor's note: David Holthouse stands by the "my ass" quote. And for the record, Magistrate Quinn did not use the word "allegedly" when he admonished alleged citizen and hothead Dwyer.

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