Letters to the Editor

Denver's Hot!

Where's the fire? Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "The Bare Necessities," in the November 6 issue:

Tell me the truth: What would be wrong with Eugene Dilbeck going to a strip club? I thought that the idea of promoting conventions in the Mile High City would be letting visiting firemen know that we have bare ladies and adult drinks after your convention duties are over for the day.

Think about it: If you are a man from Littletown, Iowa, where the good folks don't know what you are doing in Denver, it's like, "Wow, let's go to the Diamond Cabaret club, have a little to drink with our buds and then go back to Nowhere, Iowa, when the convention is over!"

If you are a man, not a woman, no problem -- that's why we have a place called P.T.'s, where they have male strippers and adult drinks for the visiting firewomen! Denver is where it is happening!

Jim Morlan
via the Internet

Pots and Panhandlers

Tutu good to be forgotten: As someone who lived on the edge of 16th Street for 26 years before and after the area became an outdoor mall, this letter is to praise "Mall in the Family," Patricia Calhoun's factual yet hilarious October 23 column.

The situation on the mall has been both overstated and downplayed. The truth lies somewhere between Calhoun's experience and those who are pushing the panic button. I have walked the mall at various times of the day and night, and I never felt personally threatened. Yet I have seen firsthand a segment of people who do become abusive and aggressive when passersby decline to give money. That segment is small in comparison to most beggars, who are harmless.

Rosemary McManis's letter in the November 6 issue asked if any Westword readers knew the "mystery" of the man who used to don a tutu and tiara while roller skating in downtown Denver. The skater was a daily treat to those of us who lived in the area. I was always amazed by narrow-minded people who expressed disgust at the man "in a tutu" and didn't focus on the skater, whose talents easily qualified him to be in the Olympics. Like the "Princess of Capitol Hill" to whom McManis referred, the skater passed into eternal rest three years ago in Denver. It will be difficult for anyone to ever match those two gentle and wonderful human beings. Ya descansan en paz.

Donaciano Martínez

Back to the 'burbs: I read with interest Patricia Calhoun's "Mall in the Family." I have to disagree with the last sentence: "I'll be back."

I have relocated back to my home town. I lived here until I was 23; I was gone for 23 years. I took my teenage children down to the 16th Street Mall a few weeks ago -- middle of the day, middle of the week. Mom kept telling us how great it was. Our impression was it is a great place to buy Colorado/Denver junk and a wonderful place to buy whatever street drug you are in search of.

Coming from the large city of Chicago -- with great shops/sightseeing, Navy Pier, great food -- I find there's no comparison. If Denver ever wants to compete, it had better start looking at the bigger cities. There is nothing to do in downtown Denver but buy street drugs. The mayor had better wake up. We won't be back downtown; it was a waste of our time.

Sheila L.
via the Internet

Getting Under Their Skin

All the nudes that's fit to print: I was very pleased to see "Skin City," Alan Prendergast's in-depth article in the October 30 issue about the shady dealings of the Sheridan city government in recent years. I thought it was very balanced, and I wasn't the slightest bit surprised that the Sheridan mayor and the Sheridan City Council refused to comment, since the facts argued against them.

My only issue with the article was that it did not show the original petition text and the reworded mess that ended up on the ballot, care of our city council. The ballot measure contained only oblique references to nude dancing (veiled as adult entertainment), yet went out of its way to mention lawsuits and legal fees -- an obvious ploy to get voters to vote the way that the council wanted. I was under the impression that campaigning in the vicinity of a polling place was illegal. A comparison of the wording of the two documents would have helped illustrate just how far the city council was willing to go to thwart the will of a citizen-sponsored initiative.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm no prude. I'm all for nude dancing. But like the majority of Sheridan voters, I voted to repeal the ordinance and send a message to the city council that I'm unwilling to let our city be hijacked by the owner of All Stars, much less by our "elected" officials. And come the next election, this is one voter who will remember what this city council and mayor stood for.

Keep up the good work, Alan! My hope is that "Skin City" sends a clue to whatever state agencies police local governments that perhaps an investigation is in order.

Ron Howerton

A sense of self: Vicki Johnson's need to be "necessary" has incited a moral revolution in her community. Who better than she to pioneer the crusade? She herself was one of those girls she speaks of "with low self-esteem."

When I read the details of her life in "Skin City," I couldn't believe the similarities there were to mine. Alan Prendergast's article touched me personally for many different reasons. Like Johnson, I also lived in group homes and foster homes from thirteen on. I started cleaning homes in New York at eighteen and went on to have a cleaning business for three years. I also was held hostage by a stranger, as well as beaten severely. I managed to escape. I also believe in God and raise my children to believe in God.

"The only difference between you and I is circumstance." Someone said that to me once -- and that person was Troy Lowrie.

Is Johnson's crusade driven by her desire to uphold the social and moral covenant of her community? Or rather to prove to herself, her community and the world that she is no longer that girl of "low self-esteem"?

I am not trying to prove her wrong, but I will ask that she prove her intentions are credible. That they serve a purpose for her community, as well as for the "prostitutes" and "girls of low self-esteem" that she claims Lowrie employs in his club. Employment at these clubs keeps many families from becoming hungry and homeless.

Twelve years ago, I was a new mother, young and afraid and alone. I was working for a singing-telegram company and not making my rent of $250 a month. Because I was working, I didn't qualify for financial assistance from the state. I soon discovered a redefinement of entertainment. Entertainment that provided me with the opportunity to go anywhere in the country and make enough money to house and feed my children. What I also discovered was acceptance and belonging. It is impossible to name all the people I've met in those clubs who've touched my life over the years. Those clubs are more than just smoke-filled air, beer on tap and the viewing of "private parts." I am more than a stripper. I am a dancer known as Echoe.

Vicki Johnson should remember my name and my story if she finds cause to have another "opinion" about the people who work in or patronize these establishments.

Debbie Dayton
via the Internet

Editor's note: Last week, Sheridan citizens voted to repeal the ordinance passed last spring that had permitted all-nude dancing at All Stars Sports Cabaret. They also returned ousted city councilwoman Vicki Johnson to office; Cynthia Radke, another supporter of the repeal, won a council seat, too, giving the anti-nude faction a majority for the first time since last year's recall of Johnson, the mayor and one other official. All Stars owner Troy Lowrie, who helped finance the recall, has not yet indicated whether he will sue the city -- again -- for banning nude dancing at his club.

No Walk in the Park

Block head: Regarding Stuart Steers's "Between a Block and a Hard Place," in the October 30 issue:

My family has been in the Curtis Park area for over eighty years now, and I do a lot of work there as a realtor. I wanted to back up Stephen Gregory's comments in the article. The new residents of Curtis Park have never indicated to me that they are trying to get rid of lower-income families. Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth is known to call the new residents in Curtis Park "elitist." It seems to me that it's a personal problem on her part, and not the reality of the people who live and work in the neighborhood.

The zoning changes are needed to ensure not just the continued existence of Curtis Park, but also the safety of the residents. Semi trucks barreling through the heart of a residential neighborhood are unacceptable. Is it going to take someone's death to correct this situation?

Councilwoman Wedgeworth should be ashamed of herself.

James Arroyo

Comfort zone: I have been a Curtis Park home- and business-owner for over twenty years and fought the proposed zoning change. The "new" property owners who are shocked by the B-8 zoning remind me of those who buy a house by an airport and then want the airport to be closed. Many of their concerns about what the zoning allows are unfounded, as setbacks and parking requirements will restrict what is permitted. In the fifty years the area has been zoned B-8, none of the terrible things they predict have come to fruition.

I bought in Curtis Park and moved my business here because of the B-8 zoning. I feel that no one has the right to change my property value. The super-majority of ten Denver City Council votes to pass the change is not standard. We, the property owners, brought that condition to bear by signing a petition opposing the change. As is often the case, neighborhood groups can be nothing more than special-interest organizations that are small in number but loud in voice. Elbra was right: She was misled by a few and was quick to learn that the majority of property owners like things as they are.

Tom Horan

Both sides now: Hmmmm... It seems to me that precisely because of her background and who she is, the same thing could be said of Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth that she was quoted as saying about Curtis Park Neighbors: "She doesn't get the other side of things."

Sue Glassmacher

Reach out and touch someone: Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth is the one who is out of touch, out of sync and out to discredit the people who live, work and support the best interests of Curtis Park. Those of us who make less than the "average income" are not all "residents of color," we don't play the schism game with our friends and neighbors, and we are here because we want to be. We need a representative who wants to help, not exacerbate our differences of color, income and opinion.

Marty Burns-Wolfe

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