Analyzing Dan at The Gazette

To the Editor:

Cara DeGette can duke it out with Gazette editor Dan Njegomir with more wit than I could ever muster [Public Eye, May 9].

But Dan and I did have our share of verbal battles over the years, and since he's in the catbird seat, I won a few rounds, but he always won the fight.

I was not surprised at his slurs and meanness to DeAnna Woolston and Jonathan Walker; Dan can go from friendly to furious as required, but I was aghast at his talking about booze, blondes and brunettes. Talk like that doesn't sit well with the puritanical powers at the G and woe betide Dan if James Dobson ever hears of such suggestive chatter.

Before I vent my angst and bafflement at The Gazette's wordsmith, I must say Dan has been mostly friendly to me. We had several long telephone conversations and we've gone the e-mail route as well. We talked of politics and issues (disagreeing on all), but until the end (couple of months ago), our discussions were polite and mature. Then, as I recall, I became incensed at the way he had edited one of my letters -- slashed is a better word. We are now at an impasse and that's fine.

I'm convinced that Dan, an arch-Republican/Libertarian, has a difficult time being objective when editing the letters of those who disagree with him. His bias restricts his rationale, which, in turn, diminishes his professionalism.

So, in the seven or eight letters I write to him a year, I feel fortunate if my letters are still readable after he gets through hacking away at them. I find myself writing the way he wants me to instead of the way I want to, which, in essence, makes my letter his letter.

I'm positive most of you agree it is so much easier to write the Indy than the G. The words flow when I write the Indy because the editor lets me be me (good or bad).

In closing, I believe Dan is too pro-business and too anti-government. For those who bother to read his Our View, you'll note he heckles government almost daily, but he rarely takes a swipe at business no matter how egregious the deed.

I think it is not only a reflection of his politics, but also of his character -- DeAnna Woolston and Jonathan Walker might agree.

-- Phil Kenny
Colorado Springs

Hot, hot, hot

To the Editor:

I wanted to express my delight for the article on salsa published in the May 2 Independent. I moved from Denver to Colorado Springs about two years ago for work reasons. Since then I've been very disappointed with the lack of variety in night entertainment here in Colorado Springs. Of all the dances out there, Salsa has always been my favorite; I grew up with it.

While living in Denver, it was easy to find places to go salsa dancing; for example: Sevilla, La Rumba, Supreme Court. Most of these places offer variety, great music, great people and a decent atmosphere to salsa.

Upon arriving to Colorado Springs I started searching for local places that would be like those in Denver. To my surprise, I only found one, The King's Palace. I don't mean to be brutally honest, but I must say that The King's Palace did not live up to the standard of quality set by the salsa floors in Denver, at all. It was like going back 20 years ago when salsa in the U.S.A. was confined to creepy-looking bars only found in very unattractive parts of the city; not the case in this age.

It was certainly uplifting to read your article and find that there is at least one more place to try: Cascabel's. I know the location but I was completely unaware that they offered salsa on Fridays.

And I was also happy to read that there are plans to open another place in 2003; that is great news! I hope salsa continues to find support in this city and I hope that more people, regardless of their backgrounds, make salsa their favorite form of entertainment.

-- Percy Neyra
Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The Latin Quarter, a dedicated salsa club at 1865 N. Academy Blvd., opened on May 3.

The best form of flattery

To the Editor:

I go to Pine Creek High School in District 20 and I was reading the Independent and I noticed the article on how Coronado is doing the play Much Ado About Nothing set in post-WWI Chicago ["Dueling Drama," May 3].

I just thought that you might find it interesting that at Pine Creek we did Much Ado About Nothing set in post-WWI Chicago first semester this year. At PC (Pine Creek) we were a bit surprised to find out about Coronado doing Much Ado About Nothing, but we found it even more interesting that they were setting it in post-WWI Chicago (how original).

-- Will Peteroy
Colorado Springs

A big chunk of income

To the Editor:

Do families leaving welfare face a child-care crisis? Five counties across Colorado are so short of child-care assistance funds that they will have to reduce the number of childcare slots available to the needy working poor.

Costs of child care form a significant portion of working family budgets; often it's the largest monthly expenditure. In El Paso County, the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute has estimated that a family including two working adults, a preschooler and a school-age child would have to spend 22 percent of its monthly income for child care.

A family consisting of a single adult, an infant and a preschooler would have to spend 29 percent of its income for adequate child care. Our community certainly doesn't want its children to be left home alone during working hours.

The welfare program will be renewed by Congress this year. Both the administration and Congress will tweak the program to meet various agendas. President Bush's plan proposes to increase work requirements from 30 to 40 hours per week. It would also increase the percentage of welfare recipients required to have a job from 50 to 70 percent.

While increasing work requirements for those who receive assistance -- perhaps requiring some people to work two jobs -- funds for child-care assistance will not be increased. Our state and congressional delegations should address this pending problem.

-- Jane Merritt
League of Women Voters of the Pikes Peak Region
Colorado Springs

Light a candle

To the Editor:

The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial is the world's largest and oldest annual grassroots HIV/AIDS mobilization event. Since 1983, the memorial has mobilized communities to honor the memory of those lost to the disease, show support for those living with HIV/AIDS, raise awareness, and mobilize community involvement in the fight.

This Sunday, the Southern Colorado AIDS Project is coordinating an event in Colorado Springs to join more than 1,600 communities in 86 countries who are participating in this event. More than 1 million people around the world are expected to light candles in remembrance and support for those who have been touched by HIV/AIDS.

As we observe this year's memorial, we all must join the fight by making known our presence, our caring, and our optimism for a community in which AIDS has been met and defeated.

Take action and attend this year's memorial. It matters!

-- Sally Brookins
Board Member

Southern Colorado AIDS Project

Editor's note: The local processional begins at 7:30 p.m. in downtown's Acacia Park, capping a day of events at the park that begin at 2 p.m. In addition, part of the International AIDS quilt is currently on display at the Antler's Adams Mark Hotel downtown.

Imaginary controversy

To the Editor:

Well, I really feel that the Independent got dragged into the old Latino/Chicano label controversy. And it didn't do anybody any good. The article in the May 2 Independent on Cesar Chavez by Gustavo Arrellano was an unfortunate misinterpretation of Cesar's meaning for Mexican Americans.

Arrellano seems to dislike any kind of association of Chavez with the word "Chicano," a term which Chavez himself used frequently to describe himself and his labor movement.

"Chicano" does have political overtones -- the word describes a Mexican-American person who is encouraged by positive trends for equality in the U.S. but who has developed a keen awareness of the terrible social and economic injustices suffered by Mexicans and Mexican Americans in a racist society.

"Chicano/a" also describes a person who has a non-Anglo image of himself/herself, an image of self which is not conformist to the mainstream culture. This is not to say that Chicanos/as reject American culture, but it is to say that they want to be bicultural and even create a third culture -- the Chicano -- out of Anglo and Mexican cultures.

Cesar Chavez personified the hopes and dreams of millions of Chicanos/as. He was not a "Latino," in the sense that he was a focus for Cubans, Puerto Ricans, etc. The "Latino" category is simply too broad to catch the special character of the Mexican-American farmworker movement.

There's too much diversity in the so-called Latino group, which is not to say that Chicanos/as cannot appreciate the struggles of their Puerto Rican or Central American brothers and sisters. But I believe that other Latinos and the American people in general can understand Cesar's message, which is one of fairness and justice for all.

Arrellano doesn't understand that the specific Chicano ethnic symbols associated with Chavez really don't get in the way with other Latino groups. And newspapers who run articles like his really don't serve the cause of justice. The controversy is not real -- no one in the Chicano/Mexican-American/Hispanic/Latino communities is upset if Aztec dancers help to celebrate Cesar Chavez Day, or Cinco de Mayo, or September 16.

-- Jose J. Barrera
Colorado Springs


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