Letters

Fund With Dick and Jane
I read with great interest Terry Greene Sterling's article "Old School Ways" (May 30). We are grateful and acknowledge the $141,000 we received for building acquisition from the Arizona Heritage Fund administered by the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office/Arizona State Parks Board. The article, in error, credited the Phoenix Parks Board with the grant.

We have been able to identify only one of our alumni as an octogenarian. Our membership is open to all ages and all ethnic groups. Presently the annual membership is only $10.

The period from 1945 to 1954, we call the Principal W.A. Robinson era. Robinson was a real visionary and an advocate for students. He insisted on and secured quality supplies, materials, equipment and building additions. He was also able to get employed teachers with master's degrees, from around the nation, and even before the Phoenix Union High School District made this a requirement. We have been able to locate 12 of these teachers, most are active with us, ten residing in Phoenix, who are proud of their students and their participation in providing them quality education.

I am a Carver alumnus and was employed as school accountant from 1949 to 1954 and know firsthand about the quality education provided the students during this time period.

Calvin C. Goode,
properties management
committee chairperson
Phoenix Monarchs Alumni Association
of Arizona, Phoenix

My Sweet Lord
I'd like to respond to David Holthouse's column (Coda, June 20) from the perspective of a "born againer" (whose underwear is twist-free, thanks very much). No, this isn't a diatribe about how "bad" heavy metal is. I was just curious: Does Holthouse honestly believe that all the Satanism in this music is just an act, presumably designed just to "freak out conservative Christians" like myself? If so, he needs to pull his head out of the quicksand.

Satanism is growing at an alarming rate--along with ritual child abuse and human sacrifice. The connection to heavy-metal music is undeniable--to anyone who isn't in total denial. No, I'm not saying heavy-metal music is the sole reason. Nor am I saying that anyone who listens to it will suddenly become a psycho-killer. What I am saying is, ". . . as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." What one is constantly filling one's mind with molds one's behavior. Continuous images in one's mind of violence, murder, rape and blood are hardly conducive to healthy behavior. (Even if those who produced the input were "only kidding.")

This has gone way beyond backward-masking and pentagrams on album covers when groups such as Morbid Angel have audiences chanting "Blaspheme the Holy Ghost," (the only sin that is unforgivable). These guys are for real and they're playing for keeps. That's their choice, of course. As well as Holthouse's choice to write about it. But, at least, be honest with readers, please.

I was a teenage metal head myself, living on a steady diet of Sabbath, Zeppelin and Alice (I owned some of the albums Holthouse mentioned). I'm not judging the writer, nor am I blaming all of society's problems on heavy-metal music, and those who promote it. But I learned that that lifestyle just didn't cut it. There had to be more. It took all these years (38 actually) to find that the only thing that truly satisfies is knowing Jesus Christ and having a relationship with Him.

Mike Jones
Phoenix

Paper Chaser
I would like to respond to Amy Silverman's article about Mike Berch ("The Smutty Professor," June 20). I believe the article was valuable, but I also believe it may have misled some readers to believe that the heroic investigative reporter uncovered some sort of code-of-silence conspiracy at Arizona State University's College of Law.

Before the trolley party, during one of Berch's fall-semester lectures, I remember that he admitted that he has a problem with alcohol and had previously been accused of sexual harassment.

I don't believe the administration should be compelled to make a public statement about Berch's behavior, any more than "Jane" should be compelled to publicly reveal her identity or describe her experience. The administrators are, albeit in a more abstract way, also victims.

It is a problem that Berch has returned and is teaching. However, "Jane's" statement that she is not afraid of him seems to indicate that she, at least, believes she is in a secure environment. I am not as confident as "Jane," and I am afraid of Berch. However, I am confident that if I needed to take a Berch class as independent study, I would be able to find a sponsor among the faculty.

Marcus Chappell
Tempe

I read Amy Silverman's piece about ASU law professor Michael Berch. No one condones Professor Berch's conduct. Still, his former students and others who know him confirm Berch's skilled teaching, good heart and deep concern for his students.

Shawn K. Aiken
Tempe

Bard Company
I was very impressed with Marshall W. Mason's astute review of Shakespeare for My Father ("The Pater Principle," June 20). It contrasted sharply with the negative review in the morning daily, which apparently was assigned to someone with no affinity for Shakespeare or much regard for the Redgrave theatrical dynasty. Unfortunately, the latter review was the only one widely seen early in the play's run, and probably turned off many people who might have been as entranced and enlightened by the performance as I was.

Richard E. Lewis
Scottsdale

Hide and Sect
Tony Ortega's description of Sherry Roberson's vocal abilities and her career background were very well-written and informative ("Blues Bodhisattva," June 13); but I was just a little surprised (though not shocked) by the inaccuracies concerning Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and its past relationship with Soka Gakkai International.

SGI was the lay organization for Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism in the United States during the time that Roberson was introduced to the religion. However, in 1976, Roberson did not join SGI; what she did was to become a believer in Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism and a member of the nearest Nichiren Shoshu Temple. There was no Soka Gakkai Buddhist sect at that time.

Soka Gakkai has only been in existence since its establishment in 1930 and then later, in 1951, sought and was granted permission by Nichiren Shoshu to establish SGI as a religious corporation for the purpose of propagating Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism outside Japan.

SGI has always been hung up on its numbers. During my tenure as an SGI district chief, I had some knowledge of how these numbers were accumulated (I would not be surprised at even finding my own name still listed on the membership roster, even though I severed my ties with the organization five years ago).

Of course I realize that SGI will, as always, attempt to put its best spin on what I've stated above, but the facts are the facts: SGI was excommunicated in 1991 and has no connection to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism.

Steve Pontious
Fountain Hills

Gotcha Covered
New Times' coverage of Governor Fife Symington's indictment and the lack of adequate coverage by the Arizona Republic underscore the acute need for a publication like New Times ("Governor J. Fife Crook III," Michael Lacey; "Castle Creep," John Mecklin; and "The Governor and the Lawyer," John Dougherty, June 20). Thanks.

Aubrey Kesterson
via Internet

Thanks, New Times, for telling it like it is! I work in the Arizona Department of Administration, and I have seen so many things done in arrogance without regard for state rules and regulations in this administration. My biggest gripe is that exempt employees, many of whom are friends of Fife Symington or are former Symington employees, were allowed (encouraged) to work on Fife's last campaign, on state time.

They do not have to take annual leave for anything less than eight hours, and many don't even submit an absence slip, as the rules require. Even though the governor's people surely understand state rules and regulations, they regularly flout them. The sooner this whole bunch is out, the better!

Secretary of State Jane Dee Hull will really enjoy the palace Symington created on the eighth and ninth floors. She will probably be a very good governor and certainly has the experience to know how government works.

Name withheld
via Internet

People ask me, "Why does a Texas lawyer read New Times' online cousin avidly?" Answer: Its coverage of the Fife Symington saga is creative, courageous and delightfully humorous. New Times maintains a balance. New Times appears to be a combination of Atlantic Monthly, Washington Monthly, Spy and Mad. Thanks for being on the Web.

Terry O'Rourke
via Internet

Editor's note: And thank you for not mentioning Cracked magazine.

I'm out here in rural Arizona, where the only newspaper I can get is the Arizona Republic. Though New Times writers have, for the past eight months, been writing about Fife Symington and his imminent indictment, I never read one word about the same in the Republic. It blew my mind! The Republic missed the biggest story in the West. What a pathetic piece of trash! Henceforth, the only time I will ever touch the Republic is when I'm out in the middle of nowhere, and I need to take a crap.

George Smith
via Internet

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