Letters to the Editor

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Lesson learned: same crap, different decade. Black folks should be seldom seen and hardly heard.

Desi Cortez
Former KOA talk-show host

Are we having funds yet? John Andrews must be laughing up his sleeve at this one. As chief spokesman for the Libertarian wing of his party, there's all of the negative publicity Andrews could hope to gain, plus it involves publicly funded broadcasting, a favorite whipping boy of Libertarians. If Channel 12 becomes bold enough to cancel the contract with Andrews, imagine the fun he will have creating a firestorm, leading to the next hapless attempt to end federal support for public broadcasting.

The larger issue of an underfunded public broadcasting system is out in the open once again. A stronger and more independent public TV and radio system comes with a high price tag. Those of us inclined to cease supporting Channel 12 over this mess would be wise to remember that such inaction plays into the hands of those who despise public broadcasting. Though its detractors cannot zero out federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the Andrews folly illustrates the "de-volution" of the system. Its decline started in 1981, when David Stockman, President Reagan's budget director, proposed to end all funding for CPB. That chilling threat resulted in federal cutbacks, forcing many in public broadcasting to take a more cautious approach to programming. The irony lies today in the fact that quite often the larger the budget of a public broadcasting station, the less likely it is able to take programming risks.

An examination of how CPB distributes its limited funding to qualified stations is long overdue. Under a convoluted formula, each CPB-qualified station receives a varying amount of money. The sum is partly based on how much non-federal money each station raises, the amount of which is then matched by CPB (one dollar for every five raised, or whatever percentage is used from year to year). Do the math, and you'll see that stations covering the most potential viewers and listeners (and subsequently, more local businesses to potentially underwrite programming) usually wind up with the largest chunk of change from Washington, with no questions asked about programming content. By examining Channel 12's need to rely on Andrews for some of its operating revenue, perhaps the tainted method of public funding for public broadcasting will be rectified and move the system closer to the original intent of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967.

Pete Simon, jazz announcer/producer

Nights of the roundtable: In the interest of full disclosure, Michael Roberts should have identified Westword editor Patricia Calhoun as a member of Channel 12's Colorado Inside Out panel.

The so-called liberal press has played right into Karl Rove's hands, again. The Republican propaganda machine asserts that all liberals are interchangeable. The Republican strategy to weaken the Democratic Party through congressional redistricting worked in Colorado, with the help of John Andrews. Now Republicans need to control public opinion as the court challenge to this redistricting begins.

Who really makes a better "foil" for Andrews: Newsum or Susan Barnes-Gelt? Newsum is an attorney; Barnes-Gelt is not. Newsum, a former Democratic spokeswoman, worked with the Colorado Legislature and knows the redistricting issues. Susan Barnes-Gelt holds a non-partisan city position and has been not been involved with redistricting. Duh.

Joanne Marie Roll

Patricia Calhoun responds: Also in the interest of full disclosure, Michael Roberts's media column is under the supervision of another Westword editor -- which means that I have the pleasure of reading The Message for the first time after the paper comes off the press each week, and Roberts has the distinct pleasure of feeling free to ignore me. But Ms. Roll is right that the "Public Row" column should have noted my role as a panelist on Colorado Inside Out -- the weekly Channel 12 show that, public row aside, continues to feature Dani Newsum as a panelist. And for the record, this week's cover boy, Congressman Tom Tancredo, was also a regular on CIO at one time.

Upbeats and Beatdowns

Vocal locals: Dave Herrera's The Beatdown, in the June 19 issue, was a nice article that made me wispy for the days of lore.

I was part of the local scene in Denver from 1989 until around 1996, when I moved to San Francisco. I was in the Nixons and then Grimace. Those were the days! I moved to SF for school and ended up starting a band with a bunch of Denver folks who live out here, and we sound just like the Fluid. Even have a tune named "Kulwikki," after Rikki! We are the subtractions (, and as a point of note, there is hardly a scene out here at all. A magic show would draw more people in this town than a good ol'-fashioned rock band!

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