"SWEET 16th," Adam Cayton-Holland, June 14
As much as I hate to admit it, I am completely on the side of the loathsome, fancy-boy city officials who are trying to make the 16th Street Mall respectable. While I can somewhat sympathize with Adam Cayton-Holland's longing for non-trendy accoutrements, my utter disgust and frustration with walking down the mall every lunch hour outweighs my underdog leanings.
It may be cool to some that the mall is "kind of shitty" and hosts some of the crappiest stores in downtown Denver, but when you have to make your way every lunch hour down a street that's teeming with panhandlers, junkies, gutter punks and degenerates, the coolness wears off real fast. If Adam is worried about the mall inviting big, ultra-trendy businesses (which it already does and undoubtedly will continue to do), maybe he should consider the fact that non-shlocky small businesses aren't going to set foot onto the mall until it gets cleaned up a little. Actually, a lot.
And Adam, as far as culture on the mall goes, who are you kidding? Obviously yourself, if you think it really exists. Just as you stated, "It's a simple pedestrian mall." It's not Haight-Ashbury, it's not Sunset Boulevard. It's just a freaking street in Denver that people should feel safe walking down without being panhandled, pestered or yelled at every block. Is it too much to ask that just once, I can walk to Mad Greens on my lunch hour and not get hassled? Gentrify away, Denver officials.
Why is panhandling on the 16th Street Mall down 92 percent? Because it's illegal! The Business Improvement District and the Denver Police Department state that panhandling on the mall is illegal. In fact, BID personnel will alert the DPD to charge you with loitering, trespassing, aggressive panhandling or something. On the other side, panhandlers asking for change for food are deceiving people. There are sufficient free meals and food banks that no one in Denver should go hungry.
Does this make me an Impressionist? I'm going to do a quick impression of every Westword article I've read for the past month. Are you ready? Here goes:
"Dingleberry Dan does (or does not) do this thing that is only tangentially related to what we're talking about. We're going to spend a paragraph writing about this because hopefully it will grab your attention and get you interested enough to keep reading the article and not notice that you're now leaking blood from your poo-hole. Dan is better known around Denver for doing this thing that only scenesters will find interesting, because they get bored of everything more than five minutes old. They will be entertained because they're either too young to have heard about this topic ten billion times already or because they're entering the early stages of dementia.
"'I'm basically a self-absorbed tool,' says Dan as he sips a Vitamin Water. 'I'm really influenced by people with more talent, but I'm glad everyone is paying attention to me instead. It's nice that Denver's insulated from the rest of the world. Otherwise, people might actually focus on something worthwhile.' Sadly, Dingleberry Dan's story happens to too many (or not enough) people, and you should feel kinda bad about that. But don't feel too bad, because those jeans look really good on you, and the girls at Buffalo Exchange give dirty looks like that to everyone." Aaaaaaaaand scene.
Okay, Westword, I'm pretty sure that there are interesting things that happen in Denver; I'm almost positive that there are important social, political and cultural issues that need to be addressed; and I know for a fact that those pants are entirely too tight for anybody with a scrotum. So I ask you: Why do I doubt myself when I read your paper?
Ask a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano
I wonder if anyone has drawn the parallel between black slaves and the Mexican immigrants here now. I hear so much about how primarily the white people want the Mexicans out of here, yet they perform an essential role in keeping the whites pacified. Think about what would happen if the Mexicans — legal or otherwise — left. Who would serve you your cheeseburger or Egg McMuffin? Who would water your yard or dig your ditches? Now that the Mexicans are in abundance, you want them out of here. Didn't the whites want to do that with the slaves after the slaves practically built this country for them? I find it amusing that the events are similar.