Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Terror Mom rap terrorizes Leadville

Leadville has a long, colorful history. Colorful enough even without the latest colorful chapter: the much-publicized arrest in Ireland of Leadville-come-lately resident Jamie Paulin-Ramirez, a 31-year-old blond, single mom whose own mother -- also a recent addition to the Leadville lineup -- has been all over TV talking about her daughter's Internet hook-ups with terrorists.

It was while talking about this story to Fox that Denver Post reporter Mike McPhee referred to Leadville as a "dirtball town" that's "nothing to write home about."

That inspired a heated response from state representative Christine Scanlan and state senator Mark Scheffel, who represent Leadville.

After visiting that towering town in 1882, they note, Oscar Wilde did write home about it, telling of a saloon "where I saw the only rational method of art criticism I have ever come across. Over the piano was printed a notice: 'Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best.'"

In defending Leadville's "beauty and rich history," the legislators offer these other Leadville points of interest:

• Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States • Leadville was one of the most populated of Colorado's towns during the gold rushes. • The Leadville Historic District, with 67 mines, was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1961. • Leadville boasted the famed Tabor Opera House, which drew the likes of Houdini and John Phillip Sousa, and was known as the finest theater between St. Louis and San Francisco. • Leadville's Annual Boom Days, which takes place the first weekend in August, has been honored by the United States Congress as a Local Legacy Event. • Leadville was in close running to become Colorado's state capital. • Leadville is used for filming locations, depicting a pristine mountain community.

(And to be fair, Leadville is also used in films to depict a non-pristine mountain community, as it was in John Sayles's Silver City.)

Scanlan and Scheffel have invited McPhee "to join us for a special tour that we are calling 'A Day in a Dirtball Town.'"

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun