Letters to the Editor

Gat's Life

Shoot to thrill: Regarding David Holthouse's "Justin Got His Gat," in the May 8 issue:

This kid got what he deserved and in no way should he receive any sympathy. This has nothing to do with him glorifying some media-hyped rap culture, but with lost white kids who can't stick up for themselves. Instead, they sit on weapons and envision what they would do if pushed to the limit. Then one day they reach their breaking point and act on these fantasies -- see Columbine.

This kid didn't have a gun for pleasure; he wanted to feel hardcore. Well, now he got what he earned, and has no right to bitch about it. I'm glad he got seven years. I'm glad his privileged lifestyle failed him. Any other kid from north of 23rd Avenue would have gotten the same, probably worse. You do the crime....

Anthony James

No justice: Deputy District Attorney Diane Balkin and Denver District Court Judge Morris Hoffman are prime examples of why I have come to distrust and detest the state's judicial system. How sad that the Green family fell for Balkin's false offer to beseech the judge for a "minimum" sentence of five years. (That's ridiculous in itself, considering that child murderers and other violent criminals have received lesser sentences.) It appears this self-righteous harridan has an ax to grind. And I would have to question her ethics.

I believe that Judge Hoffman's assertion that he "forgot" the terms of the Green family's plea bargain is total crap. And his "loose grasp of facts," as David Holthouse put it, is more than disturbing -- it is positively alarming! This judge appears to be exactly the sort who would attempt to put the screws to someone like Justin Green.

Certainly Mr.Green's actions merited some kind of punishment. But it appears his greatest "crime" was to be a good-looking, young and smart white male whose parents had money.

Jan Johnson
via the Internet

Classical gas: If Justin Green has any hopes of being a teacher when he leaves prison, he should start redeeming himself now instead of being completely self-absorbed in his "prison classics." Seven years is a long time to do nothing but think, be pissed off and read in a four-wall cell. Justin could use his experience to teach junior high and high school kids personal responsibility.

Now, if he wants to be an artist when he grows up, then he is heading in the right direction and will probably be famous one day for nothing else but his shitty attitude, selfish behavior and irresponsibility.


Not a bad enough rap: After reading David Holthouse's "Justin Got His Gat," I had a few things I needed to get off my mind. First, I am so sick and tired of hearing about how society's offenders displace blame and continually find ways to not take responsibility for their actions.

Justin, you meant to shoot at the house and the attendees of that party, and you didn't care what the repercussions were until you were busy dumping the evidence in that lake. As a Hispanic American, I also take exception to those "friends" who informed you that you would receive a "tap on the wrists" because you're white. This proves the perception of our justice system and society's inequality. I hope that many of my fellow Hispanic/African-American citizens read Mr. Holthouse's article and realize that the pendulum sometimes swings slightly the other way -- as they often don't think it does. This person had every single opportunity that most Hispanic/African-Americans can't get or would die trying to get in this country. Justin, you messed up your own life because you thought you had to prove your manhood by shooting off your gun and your mouth. You have 100 percent control of your life and the decisions that you make. This means that you don't use drugs and alcohol irresponsibly, you don't blame rap or any other type of music, and you don't use some sort of "neurotic" inefficiency as an excuse for your lack of intelligence. Your IQ isn't good enough if you don't use common sense. This proves that if you mess with guns, drugs and alcohol, you suffer the consequences. You did the crime, now do the time.

Unlike Justin Green, I had a bad childhood, a time of disillusionment in my life, but you don't see me going around trying to pop a cap in everybody because I wasn't loved enough. And I never felt I needed to prove something to those who were trying to oppress me by doing something more outrageous than going to school, earning a degree, a job, a house, etc. Working hard is how you earn respect, to take a page from the elders.

My only regret is that those going down the same pathway as Justin will not read this. "Those who do not learn or remember the past are condemned to repeat it," to paraphrase a great author. I think Justin is well on his way to doing exactly this: forgetting his crime by substituting excuses to justify it. Unless an epiphany enters his deranged cranium, he will continue to whine like a silver-spoon-fed baby in that jail cell that I'm paying my hard-earned taxes for. Unless he becomes a man and takes responsibility for his own actions. It's up to him to disprove my perception without the use of violence, and with the greater power of knowledge. Only then will he earn the respect of his peers.

Thank you, Mr. Holthouse, for shedding a different light by writing an excellent article.

Adriana Martinez

A Read Letter Day

Village voices: I read the letters in the May 8 issue with amusement. Talk about your good, your bad and your ugly! You guys must be doing something right to provoke such a variety of strong opinions.

For the record, I had a heck of a time reading the activities notices as they had been appearing for the last several weeks, so I'm glad to know they are on the Web at a less torture-making size!

Oh, and while I will argue with Jason Sheehan about smoking till the cows come home, I think he is doing a first-rate job, and I always enjoy his reviews. I'm glad his work has been nationally recognized. Maybe there is hope for us as a food town.


Ellen Hertzman
via the Internet

Monumental Stupidity

The art of the deal: After reading Patricia Calhoun's "Go Figure," in the May 8 issue, I went to see the Borofsky sculptures she wrote about. Put me down in the "revile" category, and that's before those awful things are even standing. But once they are, Denver will have the perfect monument to the Webb years, when art (and everything else) was all about how this city looked to the rest of the world, and not what it meant to the people who live here.

We paid $1.55 million for this, when Denver's trying to figure out how to cut $50 million from the budget? If we can't return them to the artist (my first choice), let's do the second-best thing: name them "Wellington and Wilma."

Harriet Wilson

That's the way the cookie crumbles: Lillian Norgren's May 1 letter does contain one truth: Mayor Webb is dedicated. But I take issue concerning the recipients of that dedication. Ms. Norgren says Webb has been "genuinely responsive" -- but it hasn't been to "Denver's needs," as she suggests, but rather to the petty, self-indulgent wants of the rich.

For one example (and there are several), he turned the old Stapleton airport (a perfect facility for the disenfranchised/homeless and low-income population) into yet another Yuppie Village, with homes costing in the $200,000-to-$300,000 range (and up). And as a token for the less fortunate, he added a "few" homes in a slightly lower price range. When confronted by the press concerning his repeated neglect of the low-income bracket, his response was essentially, "I do as much as other community leaders." That's akin to saying it's all right to kick puppies because the fellow down the street drowns cats. I hope and pray that the next mayor dedicates himself to serving the entire population of Denver -- including those whom Webb ignored (apparently because there's just no profit in housing and feeding the poor).

Ms. Norgren ended her letter with a proposal that "a grand memorial" be built for Mayor Webb. I have the perfect solution: a giant Oreo cookie.

Melinda Brindley

The grass is always greener: Patricia Calhoun should check out the new sculpture in the median on Broadway near Yale at the Englewood city limits. Are we entering the land of mutant giant crabgrass?

Kevin Cooney

Reach Out and Touch Someone

Caller ID: The May 8 Off Limits item regarding campaign-related phone calls rang true to me. I received a message from Manny Flores, who let me know that "for a city that works, we need an alderman who works for us." I really wished I could have been one of his ninety votes to avoid the nasty runoff. Later that afternoon I received the phone poll from Adele Arakawa. At least she was quick.

Yesterday I received a call for a mayoral poll that was either a push poll or researching various negative campaign themes against Hickenlooper. I used to do these types of polls, but they never seemed as blatant as this one.

J. Mark Blaising

Be Line

The right stuff: Kenny Be is brilliant. "The Morning After," his May 1 Worst-Case Scenario on what the mayoral candidates would be doing on May 7, was not only hilarious, but he predicted everything right. More, Kenny, more!

Terry Simons

Meter market: I hope and pray John Hickenlooper wins so I can go downtown to eat without having to worry about meter maids. Not all of downtown has expensive parking garages, so you have to jump up and run to feed the meter that feeds city coffers and the boondoggles and friends of Mayor Webb. This policy of 10 p.m. meters is penny-wise and dollar-foolish. San Francisco cuts off meters at 6 p.m., encouraging people to spend money downtown. Please, Kenny Be, do a cartoon on meter maids eating their young.

David Hester

You missed the vote: Silence equals cowardice. I want to take exception with Westword's paltry coverage of the recently concluded municipal balloting. Particularly in the at-large city council race, where a bona fide progressive, Tony Robinson, ran, your refusal to endorse conveyed the impression that Westword's political interests lie opposed to serious change.

For a paper that constantly markets itself to a youthful readership -- a readership that owned a stake in Robinson's affordable-housing and youth-involvement messages -- by not endorsing, you effectively allow revenue streams to determine editorial policy. An unflinching endorsement would have been worth vital votes to Robinson; it would have aligned your paper's political posture with its natural constituency. Many people supported Robinson privately but shied from public backing for fear of damaging pre-existing relationships. A candidate of progressive pedigree cannot afford such cautious niceties.

In fairness, Westword wasn't the only institution that dropped the ball by staying silent. But know you must that your retro non-endorsement doomed Robinson against well-financed competition. He deserved better than the shabby "money talks and we won't" bin.

It is fine to lampoon the sanctimony of the political system, as Westword often does. But if the price of such mirth becomes an inability to support authentic alternatives, then substance has capitulated to lucre.

Hank Lamport

Curtain Call

Better late than never? I just read Juliet Wittman's reviews of Bent and Relatively Speaking in your May 8 issue. Bent was scheduled to close May 10, and Relatively Speaking on May 11. What is the point of reviewing a show just two or three days before it closes? Why not publish the review so that potential audience members can read it, decide whether they want to see the show, and make plans more than a day or two ahead?

Wade Livingston

The Art of the Matter

The show must go on: Where in the hell are the gallery listings and art-opening listings?

Jerry Simpson

That's entertainment: Thank you, thank you! Your old calendar listings were so tiny that I could never read them, and they were a waste of space. But with your new calendar pages, I can now read about all kinds of interesting events going on in town -- and even if I never make it to any of them, the stories themselves are entertaining!

It's a big improvement. Give yourselves a pat on the back.

Louise Hall

Free expression: Thanks to Michael Paglia for the great review of "Above & Below," our current exhibition ("Springtime in the Rockies," May 8). We can't thank him enough for his support of our artists. But if it weren't for Michael, we wouldn't be listed at all due to Westword's new format. The art community in Denver relies on this publication for the listings of changing cultural activities every week. It is not enough to have only the critic's pick.

The art listings are on the Web now, which eliminates all of the traditional readers (I personally dislike reading from a computer screen). Besides, the events online are awkwardly listed alphabetically by title of the show instead of by venue. Westword uses twelve pages to list every restaurant in town. Restaurants don't change their menu every month like the galleries/museums change their shows. Why not put those on the Web? Restaurants, dance clubs, movies and concerts all end up being listed twice because of their paid advertisements and their free listings. Is Westword favoring those who advertise with them? Please, Westword! Give this town's art community a break and bring back the free art listings!

Kate Thompson, gallery administrator
William Havu Gallery

Butt Seriously, Folks

Something smells: About this whole smoking-ban hoo-hah and the letters in the May 8 issue. You know there is zero evidence that secondhand smoke is at all harmful. It's pseudo-science nonsense that helps fuel the yuppie rush for a world that's as bland and harmless as they are. You don't like the smell? Okay, well I don't like Humvees, George Bush, Mike Rosen, anyone who wears Tope, women who wear too much perfume, dog poo, men who wear too much perfume, cell phones in movie theaters and especially people who bring their children to restaurants. If we can do something about these loud, offensive, dangerous and sometimes smelly items, then maybe we can talk about my cigarettes.

Until then, you can either move to Boulder or just shut the hell up.

Sam Fall

Toxic avenger: It's time to bring a little sanity and perspective to the smoking-ban debate. I think the most important issue here is choice, for the smoker, the non-smoker and the business owner. If the owner of a bar or restaurant thinks it will improve his business to ban smoking, then he/she should do so -- and many have. There are close to 200 dining establishments (not including fast-food restaurants) here that do not permit smoking, and that number is continuing to grow. So there are numerous options for those who can't tolerate smoking in any section of a restaurant. This option is also available to food-service workers who want to work in a smoke-free environment (though a good percentage of them smoke, and most of the others don't care).

I realize that smoking in dining areas is an idea whose time has gone. Fine. Just leave us the bars -- and the bar areas of restaurants that have some separation from the dining area. It's one thing to be exiled to the street in Southern California or Florida, but smoking outside in Denver for much of the year is a miserable experience.

Come on, folks. Let's show a little tolerance. There's room enough for all of us. And if you're truly serious about protecting us from ourselves, you'd better stop driving your car: What's coming out of your tailpipe is a heckuva lot more toxic than what's burning on the end of my cigarette.

John Goldstein

Bursting His Babble

Blame Canada! This is for Greg Weinkauf. Your review of X-2: X-Men United sucks ("Violent Femmes," May 1). I don't read comic books, and I don't normally read the movie reviews, but I'd just seen X-2 and wanted to hear something enthusiastic about it. What I read was overly wordy, cynical and, in the end, presented no conclusive opinion on how the movie actually was, except for the mind-boggling final quote: "Who wouldn't want to hang around in Canada for months on end, pretending every day is Halloween?"

Well, guess what? That doesn't make any sense, and that's not a review. That's a half-page of babble where you loosely outline the plot but mainly just stroke yourself over how above the movie you are. I realize everyone is entitled to their own opinion and, wait -- what was yours? Oh, that's right: You didn't really have one.

C. Sands

Fast-Food Notion

Not in this back yard: Following David Holthouse's April 17 " You Want Flies With That?," which raised some concerns about the wildlife habitat at the Colorado Boulevard McDonald's, we sent a staff member to inspect the site. Contrary to Mr. Holthouse's comments, we found the habitat in respectable condition and devoid of the debris that Mr. Holthouse observed. Perhaps he was there at a particularly busy time, before the day's cleanup crew did their sweep.

Our representative met with the restaurant manager and did make a few suggestions about the need to clean the birdbath regularly and perhaps enhance the habitat by adding more flowering native plants. We were assured that the habitat is cleaned every day.

While the McDonald's habitat may be more sparse than the typical Backyard Wildlife Habitat, it does provide the basics for wildlife survival and serves as an example of what people can do to accommodate wildlife in our world. Our hope is that the McDonald's habitat will build awareness so that those visiting there might consider establishing a habitat in their own back yards. Information on how to create a backyard habitat can be found on our Web site, at

David Mizejewski
Backyard Wildlife Habitat program manager National Wildlife Federation

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