Letters to the Editor

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I will gladly demonstrate my working prototype to media. Lives can be saved. This is not about selling a product, only selling an idea.

Steve Schweitzberger

Home Is Where the Hurt Is

Agree to disagree: I was inspired by Julie Jargon's "Alienation Nation," in the August 22 issue. My wife of eighteen years divorced me a year ago for reasons that I have never known. I was very hurt and angry, and still am. Our daughter is only eight. Yes, we started late; that is another thing that baffles me. She didn't figure out that she didn't want to be married until after we had a child. The divorce process lasted almost two years and was very acrimonious. It still is.

I agreed to "guidelines visitation" in a marriage settlement agreement, so there was never a divorce trial. I did so because my lawyer insisted that I would probably end up with this situation anyway, and going to court would cost us both more money. I would like to try to convince my ex that fifty-fifty would be best for our daughter in the long run; she is already having troubles in school, both in learning and discipline. These are common traits in children of divorce.

I love my daughter very much and would like to be a bigger part of her life; I don't want the inertia of the past years' status quo to be used as an acknowledgment that I agree with this arrangement.

Glenn Markos
Venice, Florida

Son damage: Thank you for the informative article on the divorce situation in this state. I felt Julie Jargon was non-biased in her report and showed some real problems that exist in the courts when a family splits. I have spent the past two years fighting for my son through the courts and have been treated like a criminal. Accusations are thrown around by my ex and believed constantly by the people placed in charge of finding out what is in the accusations and getting down to the division of my son's time, only at a considerable expense.

I found it interesting that she followed a case that occurred in Douglas County: I, too, have my divorce proceedings through Douglas County and must say that fathers are not listened to by the courts or the child advocates. My soon-to-be ex and the courts would rather I disappear and just pay child support so I can be labeled as a "deadbeat dad." It's difficult to accept this when you were home every day since the birth of your child and now are forced to be a visitor and pay money as if you victimized someone. The only victims are the children. Children need both parents, not driven-away parents.

Again, I appreciate your article on this growing problem. It's unfortunate that it will take years of legislation to improve the process of divorce when children are involved.

Darren Dennstedt

X Marks the Spat

Cover your children's ears: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Good Sex, Bad Sex," in the August 29 issue:

I find it hypocritical that a cluster of stations that air sex-themed shows like The Zoo, Loveline, the KOA morning "news" program and Lewis & Floorwax considers ads from sex-themed stores to be inappropriate. To quote Clear Channel's Don Martin from a previous Roberts column: "It's the year 2002. Give me a break."

John Ravetti
Colorado Springs

The Skyline's the Limit

Park place: Regarding Michael Paglia's well-intentioned but somewhat wrongheaded defense of Skyline Park ("Showdown at Skyline," August 29):

Lawrence Halprin's design for Skyline around 1970 shares much of the same design merit shown by other Halprin works -- like Ira's Fountain in Portland and Freeway Park in Seattle -- in its evocation of natural form, its boldness, and its attention to detail. Skyline, though somewhat of the sunken living-room school of park design then in vogue, addressed a problematic site (long and narrow, with five lanes of traffic rushing by, in a then-disused part of town) in a creative and picturesque way. Since then, the neighborhood surrounding the park and American notions of urban design have changed. Where we once saw streets as grim channels meant exclusively for conducting car traffic, we realize now that they are as essential to the life of the public realm as parks and that parks that turn their backs on the street are likely to be relatively unused.

Michael Paglia evinces surprise that all the consultants invited to make recommendations for Skyline came to the same conclusion: that the grade of the park should be raised to that of the surrounding street. While he is probably correct that the style of the park makes little difference to its function, he ignores the fact, obvious to all the consultants and to any first-year design student, that the form of the park, namely its bunker-like character, is a serious design flaw having implications for its use. Generally speaking, sunken plazas tend not to work. To be widely and democratically used, a city park needs to be visually and psychologically accessible, not hidden behind walls, berms and shrubbery. It is also, contrary to Paglia's water-use red herring, a perfectly appropriate place for the city to use a bit of water on a patch of turf for the enjoyment of the large and diverse crowd who would enjoy it.

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