Fair and foul: The thing I love about Westword is reading about the city I love being talked about in a manner that is not always objective, but inspires passion because the words themselves are written with passion. Being the son of a political family and being politically (read: and sometimes stupid) minded myself, I read Patricia Calhoun's articles each week to see what is happening in our fair city.
Stuart Steers's February 13 "Blockheads" featured an argument between two city councilmembers, one of whom happened to be my mom, arguing whether the city's allegiance was to the constituents or to developers, and in Calhoun's February 20 "The Smile High City," I read about the mess the mayor's office has left for its successor. I find these two items to be linked, and I can only hope that someone with the ability my mother has to see the "big picture" that Ms. Calhoun talks about is elected to office. Whether it is dealing with developers or with city employees entrenched in their jobs and not their work, Denver has problems. The new mayor will not only inherit a budget crisis and a workforce that has seen cronyism become a way of life, but also a city council made up of almost entirely inexperienced civil servants. Indeed, the new mayor will need to smile, because as far as we have come in the last twenty years, we are still far from being the shining city on the hill, and sadly, we leave a difficult job to those who have no idea what they are in for.
Saint elsewhere: Back in the '90s, when the economy was on fire, mayor Wellington Webb was only a step away from sainthood. I think I am about the only person who believes that it was the economy that was the real hero, not any great work on the part of Webb. He sure had a lot of people fooled. Back then, Webb was in the headlines every day getting credit for yet another big project. Meanwhile, a lot of things went unchecked.
The police department was, and is, out of control. Traffic enforcement was, and still is, a joke. Rampant red-light running was a problem back then just as it is today, with almost no enforcement. When they actually target an intersection, it makes news. The questionable police shootings. Even the little stuff like idiots riding bikes on city sidewalks. They can't even enforce that. The list goes on and on.
Now that the economy has gone into meltdown, you hardly ever hear about Webb. A dog could have been mayor during Webb's tenure with the same results. Denver needs an energized, fresh, new-thinking, new-style mayor. Unfortunately, I'll bet we get another old-school clunker with tired ideas.
Group therapy: I was sad to see that Robin Chotzinoff's 25th anniversary series has ended. It was a delight to read her work every week, and the February 20 "Social Security" was particularly poignant.
Yes, we do have to "live in a group from now on" -- and Chotzinoff's pieces helped bring us all a little closer together.
via the Internet
In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream: Regarding Julie Dunn's "Can You PayPal a Dime?" in the February 20 issue:
Well, I don't have credit-card debt because I handle my cards responsibly and pay them off each month. But golly gee, could you toss me a few bucks to help pay off my mortgage so I can live comfortably "in the black?" My 22-year-old could sure use your donations toward the $15,000 ACL surgery he's facing soon. And while you're at it, he needs donations to pay off his last semester in college before he can register for another semester, and he needs auto insurance. He has a good job, but it isn't enough to ease his financial burden. My 26-year-old has been unable to land a decent job since he left the Navy almost two years ago. He could sure use your donations to help him get through school and pay his arrears in child support. Oh, yeah, and since he often goes a couple of days or so without eating because he barely makes enough for rent and gas, could you also throw in a few bucks for food?
Seriously, people like Michael Palmer, Kristi Laurita and Karyn Bosnak thoroughly disgust me. Sorry, having to give up Starbucks lattes and weekly manicures doesn't merit my sympathy. Society has certainly reached a new low if these cyberbegging leeches are able to persuade saps to help pay off their student loans and credit cards, especially since these individuals obviously don't need financial assistance in order to survive!