As 2015 winds down, we're starting to look back at what helped define the year.
And what better way to do so than to listen again to what you had to say.
What follow are the ten most viewed 2015 posts from our Comment of the Day archive. As you'll see, the topics that got Westword readers talking most this year include debates about marijuana and heroin, high rent prices, Colorado natives and Tim Tebow — twice.
But the most popular take (by a landslide) stood alone.
Count down all ten, including original photos and links to the articles that spawned them.
READER: SMOKING POT IN PUBLIC IS GETTING OUT OF CONTROL
February 6, 2015
Our recent post about the back-and-forths between marijuana advocates and pot haters over crime statistics was subsequently supplemented by an online conversation that went into many different areas. In the example below, two readers debate whether public smoking has become more prevalent since limited recreational cannabis sales became legal.
Liz Lemonds writes:
I do notice a lot of people smoking out in public, especially at events like the People's Fair and Pride. Come on, folks, knock it off. You give everyone else a bad name.
Angelica VonBeerstein writes:
People have been smoking in public and at those events long before it was legalized. No one is giving anyone else a bad name by doing so....
Liz Lemonds writes:
Not at this level. I have lived here over 40 years, and I've never seen anything like last year. Last year at Pride, it was all-pervasive. You couldn't escape it, anywhere.
READER: PROBABLY HUNDREDS HAVE DIED FROM MARIJUANA OVERDOSES
September 18, 2015
We recently shared the latest report about marijuana legalization in Colorado from the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, an anti-pot organization that receives federal funding.
The group cobbled together stats meant to portray Colorado's marijuana policies as a societal disaster that's wreaking more havoc with each passing day.
Most readers viewed this War on Drugs-era approach as highly dubious.
Take the respondent who reacted to information about the allegedly rising number of marijuana-related hospitalization with a tongue-in-cheek post that had other readers wondering if he was serious or celebrating his sense of humor.
Here's the exchange.
Nathanael Mulder writes:
In all those hospitalizations, I wonder how many of them died from marijuana overdoses? I bet like 50%. Probably hundreds died from marijuana overdoses.
Lance Osburn writes:
Cannabis = 0. Zero.
Dana Thompson writes:
Oh god, I hope this is sarcasm.
Aaron Patterson writes:
It obviously is sarcasm... And quite funny!
READER: HERE'S WHY THERE ARE SO MANY HEROIN ADDICTS IN DENVER AND BEYOND
October 20, 2015
A reader recently argued that Big Pharma is responsible for the influx of heroin in Colorado.
His belief: Pharmaceutical companies have been pushing opiate-based pain killers, and when doctors cut off patients, they turn to heroin supplied by Mexican cartels looking to make up for the money they've been losing since limited recreational marijuana sales became legal.
The theory definitely rang true with plenty of readers.
However, one person maintains that the real reason for increasing heroin abuse is multi-faceted — and as a former addict herself, she speaks from experience.
Here's what she had to say.
A reader writes:
Yes, and then no. I have worked for substance abuse agencies in this state and others, and was once an addict myself. Yes, pharmaceutical companies are to blame for introducing opiates as an easy out for pain, without being responsible about the consequences. But who is really to blame for all the addicts on the streets of Denver, increasing daily? It's a variety of things that have created a perfect storm. Society is to blame, for the stigma they attatch to addicts. Stigmas, and judgments that have been engrained into the American belief system. These beliefs that addiction in the result of a moral failing- that leads to people not asking for help. Or it leads to insurance companies not believing that addiction is a disease that should be treated on a continuum of care, like any other disease. It leads to entire neighborhoods in America being caught in a vicious poverty cycle, stuck in our legal system and unable to fufill their potential as humans with rights. These are just a few of the damaging consequences of the drug war, which is THE reason for increased substance abuse disorders of all kinds. Period.
READER: COLORADO NATIVES NEED TO GET OVER THEMSELVES
May 29, 2015
A reader recently argued that thanks to some recent changes for the worse, even Colorado natives don't like their home state anymore.
To say that sentiment received some push-back is a large understatement.
Plenty of readers say they adore Colorado as much as ever, whether they were born here or not.
Here's a passionate example.
Erin Jones writes:
What a bunch of cry babies. You think that since you were born here you own the state?? You don't think some of us wish we got to grow up here?? Get over yourselves. If the natives don't appreciate Colorado anymore, I'll do that for you guys.
READER: WANT TIM TEBOW BACK IN DENVER? THEN YOU DON'T DESERVE PEYTON MANNING
September 15, 2015
After the Broncos defeated the Baltimore Ravens in what ESPN commentator Mike Greenberg accurately described as a "slugfest," Twitter exploded.
And not with compliments for Peyton Manning.
A similar range of reactions popped up on our top twenty tweets about the game.
Take this reader, who's decidedly pro-Manning and anti-Tebow.
Brian Batrowny writes:
Can't wait for Peyton to leave Denver. You don't deserve him. You will be trash the day he leaves. I guess you forgot about how bad Tim really is.
READER: I'M PAYING $950 RENT FOR 325 SQ. FT. — WHICH IS WHY I'M MOVING TO THE MIDWEST
August 10, 2015
When we recently shared a post highlighting rent prices for 25 people in the Denver area, we asked readers what they're paying.
Lots of you weighed in — thanks! — and the results were all over the Denver-metro map.
Some folks felt pretty good about the amount they're being charged.
Others had the opposite view.
Here are six examples.
Stacy Hutton writes:
Was paying $1,450 for a duplex off of Broadway/Evans. They raised the rent to $1,975 WTF! Greedy!!!!!
Spin LeBlanc writes:
$1600 for a "vintage" (read: hasn't been updated, at all, since the 70's. Not even the appliances ) 2 bed 1000 sq ft in a high rise building near (not on) Cheeseman Park.
Christy Articola writes:
I'm paying $925/mo for a 1000 sq foot two bedroom with a garage and laundry. Where are you finding these places? They are clearly the exception not the rule. Stop trying to convince everyone Denver is expensive, Westword. Still one of the most affordable major cities in the country.
Chris Heller writes:
That one is overpriced and no amount of finish is worth that but also $1,000 for a two bedroom is a bargain.. Either that person has been there a while or is in the suburbs. They aren't in central Denver, no way. No Denver is not one the most affordable cities in the country; just not true.
Faith Martinez writes:
My place is cheap at $1250 for a 2 bdrm house, with a slum lord. Wheat Ridge.
Josephine Nordstrom writes:
$1385 for 1,065 sq foot 2 bedroom. I-25 & Hampden ish.
Danielle Alexander writes:
$950 for 325 square feet in Congress Park. Hence why I'm moving back to the Midwest....
READER: DENVER IS FULL OF ADULTS WHO LIVE LIKE TEENAGERS
February 11, 2015
A comment from a reader who's paying $1,700 per month rent on a converted motel room in Five Points definitely got people talking. Here's the opinion of someone who highly critical of a certain Denver demographic.
Denver is full of adults who live like teenagers. Grown men whose only employment is delivering Jimmy Johns or working at Starbucks. They think because they have a job, the world should open up to them and give them everything. I could train a monkey to pour coffee, then give it two pumps of some shitty syrup. I live in the Hale neighborhood, 900 sq ft apartment for $1,000. I have had 5 jobs in the last 5 years, each job paying a higher salary. I didn't complain, I worked my ass off to move up in life. I don't have cable, I drive a used card, I don't go out to bars to pay for drinks. It's called becoming financially fit. Denver's young adult population is so full of beta males, its actually pretty easy to compete for jobs, since most of the competition are weak and have no direction in life. Most of you slackers couldn't cut it in a different city with more competition and less stoner population. If you don't like your rent, tough luck. You're the idiot who signed the lease. Better yet, go spend your minimum wage paycheck on Pabst beer and fixed gear bikes, just like me and my buddies did when we were 13 years old. Grow the fuck up, you weak ass bitches.
READER: THE BRONCOS NEVER SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN RID OF TIM TEBOW
June 29, 2015
A large number of respondents agreed that Manning's best days are behind him.
However, there was a considerable amount of disagreement over what the team should do next.
Among the options: a return to The Chosen One, which one writer espoused in the face of some fierce criticism.
See the exchange below.
James Rush Smith writes:
Why did we let Tebow go? Oh ya, he was getting more attention than Elway was...
Paul Peck writes:
*facepalm* Yep,Tebow has done so well for himself elsewhere.
James Rush Smith writes:
Idk, he took us from 0-4 to the playoffs. 2 National titles in college. His only flaw was that the people loved him more than they did the actual team... Why did we drop him for an injured washed up qb?
Andeeze Nuutz writes:
An injured washed up qb that took the team farther than Tebow.
James Rush Smith writes:
Took us to a superbowl and laid down, lmfao!
Michael Shaun writes:
Another f**kin Tebow reference? Just stop... I can't tell if you're actually serious or just being a troll. If Tebow is so good, how come he isn't still in New York or New England? And why won't he be the starter in Philly this year? Oh that's right... He can't throw!!
READER: PEOPLE ARE MOVING OUT OF DENVER BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AFFORD CALIRADO
November 25, 2015
Here's a reason to give thanks: The rate of rent increases is slowing in Denver. But don't breathe a sigh of relief just yet. This city is still breaking records for average rents, and the results are ugly, says Andy:
The rich Californians and Chicago creatures will just keep flooding in. The moneyed elite are making a fortune here while the bulk of the working poor are being run out of their homes. Sad, really. I know people moving out to places like Alabama (ugh) because they can't afford to live in Calirado anymore. The irony is yuppies are disrupting way more lives here than any Syrian could ever dream of. The homeless population growing like a weed now — enjoy that blast of desperation every time you step out your front door.
Is Denver's boom a bonus, or a blight? Is Colorado starting to look like Calirado to you?
READER: YOU SHOULDN'T PAY YOUR PHOTO-RADAR TICKETS, AND HERE'S WHY
June 11, 2015
Our post about Governor John Hickenlooper vetoing a bill pertaining to the elimination of red-light cameras and photo-radar citations attracted plenty of comments.
But none was as long and passionate as the one below.
The author sent an e-mail with the all-caps subject line "DO NOT PAY" and described in detail how he has successfully followed his own advice.
He's identified by a pseudonym of his choosing, for obvious reasons.
Here's what he had to say.
Warren Listi writes:
I'm very frustrated why the media does not clearly, directly mention in ALL articles about this issue that no one has to ever pay these "tickets."
The unconstitutionality should always be clearly laid out for the reader.
The secret to making this program go away is if everyone just stopped paying the city.
They will not properly and legally serve anyone. Ever!!!!! It's logistically cost-prohibitive, if not even physically impossible.
This citizenry behaves like sheep. Whipping out the checkbook immediately after opening the letter — thinking that it will show up on their credit report or MVR one day.
Stop, stop, stop.
And the media needs to do a better job of criticizing and clearly explaining the ways in which those letters in the mail ARE NOT an actual citation, summons, infraction, etc.
They are nothing. Zip.
I got about eight of them last November after they set up a van on 17th near City Park.
Didn't pay one of them.
Gone. Went away. Nothing.
If the city had any intent of serving somebody, it would have been me.
Think about it: One process server or uniformed officer could have handed me papers amounting to an approx. $1,000 gain for the City of Denver.
Did they take the time to take down this 'whale'??
When the sheep stop paying the city, every red light and photo radar van will disappear overnight.
And no thanks to our punk governor, masquerading as a beer-brewing, affable geologist and Everyday Joe.
Just a whore politician in love with our cash.
And the gorgeous irony of me taking the time to rant?
This issue doesn't even affect me anymore.
Because i'll never pay them.
It's just horribly frustrating to see the city doing what they do, and the woefully ignorant citizens letting them get away with it.
Please convince your colleagues at other media outlets to do their fucking jobs better. It wouldn't be hard to spell this out more regularly and clearly....
I believe i read somewhere that the city issues 700-800 of these "violations" every day. So logically, that implies that the city somehow has the ability to serve all violators, in person, when the time comes due.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.