Letter published in 3/28/96 Boulder Weekly (it took 6 weeks to get them to publish it.)

How I was "terminated" by the Colorado Daily

How hypocritical for Colorado Daily reporter Lisa Marshall to lament "Student activism at all-time low" on the 1/23 front page, and for editor Clint Talbott to write on 1/26 that Lisa is working to include a "broader array of voices on our opinion page." When yours truly (voted "Best Activist" by Boulder Daily Camera readers) told a CU "diversity" meeting last May 1st that CU should "democratize", Lisa told Clint that I had "disrupted" the meeting and he fired me as Daily columnist, denying me any hearing. I wrote "As the Millennium Turns" for 4 years.

The co-chair of the meeting, Assistant Professor Esteban Flores, wrote the Daily that he "much appreciated Mr. Ravitz's comments at the May 1st meeting." Professor Marty Walter, who jumped to his feet at the meeting (all 6'5" of him) and began by saying "Yes, we need more democracy!", later said "If anyone disrupted the meeting it was me." Published letters ran 18-2 for rehiring me, the two negatives being from an employee each of the City and the University, institutional targets of my column.

Small-minded control freaks like Lisa and Clint, in media and politics, are the main reason people shrink from "activism". The hopeful bumper sticker "If the people lead, the leaders will follow" rarely pans out. Usually, if the people lead, the leaders attack them.

Clint breaks his word to Daily readers. He wrote: "I have not `censored' Evan Ravitz...and hope he uses the open forum [letters] to express his views". Yet Clint (or subordinates) held back for months three of the four letters I've since written, and removed the key sentence -where I invite people to take "action"- from the fourth! I had to call the Daily publisher to get each one published at all. The same kinds of things happen to many other letter-writers. When Clint learned from Mr. Flores and others that I didn't disrupt anything, he said he'd talk with me and reconsider, but after putting me off all summer, he reneged. "This conversation is terminated" Clint told me on the phone.

After failing to talk to Terminator, I finally called Lisa (who I'd never spoken to) and asked why she started this. She said she thought I "wasn't very objective" at the meeting. Lisa doesn't understand that her job as reporter is to be objective, but mine as columnist was to express opinions. I was at the meeting to participate, and not to write about it, anyway. Even reporters are free to "be active" at meetings they're not reporting on.

I've never met Lisa. But I know Clint too well already. He told me himself that he's a "misanthrope", which my Webster's defines as "A person who hates or distrusts all mankind." Clint lords it over the community he's cut himself off from: he rarely returns calls at work, and has an unlisted number at home, unlike those of us who care for and respond to our readers. I regularly give out my number: 440-6838.

Law 'n order man Clint called Matt Franzen a "moronic vandal" when Matt in '92 removed the County-erected "safety" gate which prevented cyclists headed to 4-Mile Canyon from using the Creek Path to avoid the Canyon Highway. The County's gate forced cyclists like Cheryl Amet onto the highway, where she was killed by a dozing driver. This, not vandalism, prompted the local legend "Torchmaster busts County-gate". Clint now proves a more real danger to law by tacitly advocating vigilante action in an October '95 editorial, which attorney Patricia Mayne wrote to admonish him for.

Other letters have pointed out his paper's prejudice against "transients" and "rainbows". Here's Clint's September Freudian slip: "Sam Archibald taught journalism law and ethics (ha, ha) to 75 people at once." You do have funny ethics, Mr. Talbott.

The Daily, supposedly run by its employees, should consider a new editor. In any case, they should make the editor accountable for his or her words and actions. Democratize, even.

Evan Ravitz

University Hill