Letters

Corrections
The August 1 story "A Cop on the Beat" described a Phoenix Police Officer James Gibbs as having been fired from the force the then reinstated by the Phoenix Civil Service Board. The article stated that he now works for the drug enforcement bureau.

Officer James W. Gibbs, Badge No. 4128, does in fact work for the drug enforcement bureau, but he has never been disciplined in his 14 years on the force.

A different officer, James L. Gibbs, Badge No. 5317, was fired from the department in 1993 after his arrest for domestic violence and other offenses. He was subsequently reinstated by the Civil Service Board but was fired again in 1995, following additional violations, and was not reinstated.

A photo of Jimmie Vaughan was included in the August 1 issue in conjunction with the Fabulous Thunderbirds' performance as part of the House of Blues Barnburner Tour 1996. Vaughn is no longer affiliated with the Thunderbirds. New Times regrets the error.

Give a Hoot
That was a nice run on the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity ("Owl See You in Court," Michael Kiefer, August 1). Michael Kiefer seemed to hit the nail on the head; this is a hard-core crew that does whatever it takes to slow Arizona eco-cide.

Somebody smarter than I once said, "History always honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers." No doubt even J.D. Hayworth's grandchildren will be singing the praises of these folks' vision. See you in the underground.

Tom Miller
Phoenix

Noise in the 'hood
Oh, God forbid that local people should give a damn about their neighborhoods ("Vigilence or Vigilantes?" August 8). Writer Betty Mihalopoulos starts off griping about a local resident telling a hooker (as in criminal) to get a real job, with the hooker replying that the resident should be complaining about "real criminals" like child molesters. As though the resident, not liking the idea of someone hustling on his street, automatically could not give a tinker's cuss about child molestation.

Neighbors on Patrol doesn't seem to be doing anything illegal or that the police can't or won't do in the same situation. One bar owner talks about a single confrontation with Neighbors on Patrol . . . try asking the same guy how many confrontations he's had with police, and I guarantee you it's more than one in the past year.

Neighbors on Patrol is clearly not about inciting violence, either, as the members are oriented toward observing and reporting--rather than trying to actively stop--crime. That there have been two confrontations in which Neighbors on Patrol members may have had their lives threatened is most likely because crack dealers don't like busybodies any more than they like rival gang members.

The writer's problem, from the tone of her article, is not that people are doing something to help the police stop crime in their neighborhoods--it is that they dare to wear those horrid, awful, baby-killing guns, that they dare to harass poor, honest hookers, and that they dare to do something that the state cannot--or will not--do for them. It sounds like Mihalopoulos is not at odds with the potential for violence, but for the potential of Neighbors on Patrol's success, as such success would disprove several of the extremist beliefs of liberals.

Scott Malcomson
via Internet

Editor's note: Mihalopoulos simply reported a dispute, giving Neighbors on Patrol and those who criticize the group the chance to make their points. And, frankly, Mr. Malcomson, people who protest vehemently about ideology where none is apparent look awfully silly calling others extremists.

Out of Order
I was not convinced by New Times' story about Judge Ramon Alvarez that he is bad ("It's My Courtroom, and I'll Try Like I Want To," John Dougherty, July 25). He may need some brushing up on his parliamentary procedures, but New Times did not produce an adequate volume of evidence that he is corrupt.

Two cases were discussed, both involving "drug-related offenses." One of these alleged offenses was "possession of paraphernalia."

I was left wondering if the problem is only between some zealous local prosecutors and a judge who is unwilling to play along with the corrupt politics surrounding this "Second Great Prohibition Crusade of the 20th Century."

D.H.
Phoenix

I was appalled at the hatchet job New Times did on the Honorable Ramon Alvarez. I was the defense attorney who was in chambers with Alvarez and deputy Cochise County attorney Edward Rheinheimer when the judge exclaimed, "Bullshit!" to Rheinheimer.

If New Times' "crack" investigative reporter had bothered to talk to all the parties involved, he would have discovered that Rheinheimer was completely out of line and came perilously close to contempt of court with his outrageously flippant attitude toward the court. Alvarez had warned Rheinheimer several times to stop contradicting him and to curb his animosity, to no avail. Finally, the judge told Rheinheimer to lay foundation by his rules. Instead of doing the proper thing and respectfully doing as the judge had ordered, Rheinheimer continued arguing, telling the judge he did not know the law. Then, completely frustrated, the judge said, "Bullshit--you'll do it my way."

As for the other case the "article" referred to, again Rheinheimer was completely flippant, arrogant and wrong as to the law. The rule of Exclusion, Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure 9.3(a), is very clear. Once the rule is invoked, NO witnesses may discuss testimony until after the rule has been lifted, or canceled. Rheinheimer knew or should have known the rule when he willfully violated it.

Alvarez was treated outrageously by New Times. However he became a judge really isn't an issue--he is the judge. If New Times wants to attack Fife Symington, do it fair and square. Don't backdoor the attack through Alvarez.

I have found Judge Alvarez to be a man who deeply cares about the law and the rules of procedure. While some of my clients have been hammered by Alvarez, I know that when I make a legal argument, or when my opponent makes a legal argument, Alvarez listens. His decisions, even the ones I disagree with, are based on the law and a fine sense of fairness.

New Times and its "crack" reporter should be ashamed for such a badly researched, meanspirited and biased attack on Ramon Alvarez.

Craig Williams, deputy public defender
Bisbee

Sale of the Century
I wanted to drop a line about Peter Gilstrap's column about the guy who spent $10,000 for an escort (Screed, August 1). After reading Gilstrap's work in New Times for some time now, I don't think he'd bother to write a story like that just because it would elicit a yuk or two from the readership.

It says something about the nature of life in late-20th-century America. That guy's situation says two things: Everything is for sale nowadays, and a lot of lonely people are out there. After all, this guy wasn't just buying sex (which has been for sale for a long time), he was buying simple companionship. Companionship--and all the warm, fuzzy feelings that go with it--has for a long time been considered something that is strictly not for sale, that can't be bought, in fact.

Despite urbanization, despite rapid means of communication and transportation, a lot of people can't get their recommended daily dose of human contact without literally having to buy it. People everywhere and, yet, no one knows anyone or cares to.

Aaron C. Schepler
via Internet

Blank Screen
Arrowhead 14 (AMC) is one of the largest, if not the largest, theatres in the Phoenix area. It opened August 2, and New Times' movie listing did not show it. This is the sort of carelessness one would expect from the daily newspapers, not from New Times. I had to actually call the theatre to get times. Just holding New Times to a higher standard.

Jack Levantino
via Internet

Editor's note: All movie titles and times received before press time are included in each issue's Showtimes listing. The responsibility for sending along that information rests with the theatres.

Facts and Figures
New Times has disclosed that Governor Fife Symington apparently "splurged" on undergarments at Victoria's Secret (Flashes, July 25). Well-kept secrets? Ha!

How about these two for starters? Jana Bommersbach's weight, and the IQ of Mary Rose Wilcox. Now we're talking secrets.

Arthur G. Moser
Glendale

Almost every week, Fife Symington's attorney objects to allowing any other attorney to have anything that might possibly be helpful in determining the governor's guilt in the various matters at hand. His attorney has resorted to name-calling and has repeatedly insulted Symington's creditors' attorney for trying to get documents relating to the case.

Why does this governor believe that he should be treated differently from any other defendant? Perhaps when one is born into wealth, one feels that one is better than everybody else and shouldn't have to obey the same laws as the common people.

Pat Jones
via Internet

Fate Is the Hunter
Well, I guess getting shot in the head is pretty bloody heavy (Screed, June 20). I was robbed at gunpoint in my apartment once; I still wonder about kids who see life with such a disregard for the depth and breadth it can have--and how stupid it is to waste someone.

There are just too many impossible coincidences that lead to anyone coming into existence--a left turn by your great-great-great-grandfather instead of a right and you wouldn't be here. Life's preciously unique in each of us. I hope you live long and prosper, Bob, you've certainly had your share of bad breaks.

Paul Marcano
via Internet (Canada

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