Amity Horror
John Dougherty's article about Amity, Inc., put a horrid "spin" into print, thereby doing a disservice to Amity board members, past and present, all of whom are of exceptional integrity and honor and who should be thanked for selfless, exemplary and dedicated service ("Children of Synanon," October 10). Any innuendoes or claims by any persons to the contrary are absurd. This article should be thrown into the nearest trash can.

Additionally, the services provided at Amity by fine volunteers and staff are excellent and will hopefully be continued as the agency works its way out of reorganization.

Priscilla S. Kuhn
Amity board member, Tucson

My current boss, two of my former bosses and my current place of employment were plastered on the cover of New Times for the "Children of Synanon" piece. I am a co-manager of the Amity Firehouse, a substance-abuse prevention program that targets high-risk youth in Tucson and Pima County. Being associated nonstop with Amity for seven years, I have witnessed many changes.

If it were not for Amity and all the people mentioned in this article, I would surely be on drugs, back in prison or dead. My best friends are drug addicts and alcoholics who have benefited from Amity, many of whom have gone on to help make a difference to high-risk children and addicts in recovery. Some didn't make it, but others lead successful lives.

"Too much too fast" is how I would describe what happened from 1990 to 1994. We went from having a few programs and employees to having 235 employees working in more than 15 programs in three states, providing services to more than 20,000 men, women and children in residential and nonresidential environments. I wonder what the cost of housing and/or providing services to this number of people would be for the Department of Corrections, or the Department of Economic Security, or even our welfare system every year.

The intent of my letter is not to place or shift blame, but rather to emphasize the impact that Amity has had on thousands of people in need and on the community as a whole, regardless of who made what mistakes.

Barry Lindstrom

Stir Crazy
Congratulations to New Times and Tony Ortega for the splendid and fact-filled article on the travesty that was perpetrated on Scott Norberg by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's animalistic thugs, i.e., "jailers" ("Sanitized for Joe's Protection," October 24). All those involved should be brought to justice. Thanks for the help.


Same Old, Insane Old
I read with a heavy heart "A System Gone Mad" (Paul Rubin, October 24). I have worked in the mental-health field for eight years, and have dealt with ComCare and case managers on a daily basis. I have had clients placed in our community-based program by ComCare who needed much more supervision. Case managers' jobs are to get the clients placed; it does not appear to matter if the clients' needs are met.

It is near impossible to get an unstable client into a crisis unit. The system is set up so that a client would have to hurt someone or himself before anyone takes the matter seriously. ComCare's urgent-care centers are a joke. The crisis line puts callers on hold for long periods of time. The system is like one huge dysfunctional family.

I can only imagine what happens to those clients ComCare deems able to live in independent apartments. Oh, wait a minute, I don't have to wonder; New Times already wrote about Donald Ellison.

Name withheld

Living Large
Thanks for doing a feature about Dave Alexander ("Heavy Competition," Amy Silverman, October 17). Keep up the good work, Dave, teaching that thinness does not equal good health (i.e., Jim Fixx), and fatness doesn't mean we can't be fit doing what we love to do.

Why does there continue to be the assumption that if one is fat, one simply cannot be healthy or fit, when there is plainly much evidence contrary to this long-held falsehood? Why do professionals and laypeople continue to ignore the evidence about obesity and its causes? Ignorance is no longer an acceptable excuse for this form of discrimination.

In response to Dr. Art Mollen's statement that it is unusual to find a fat person participating in these kinds of physical events, I acknowledge that there is truth here and submit that it is so mainly because we have been told and have accepted that we simply can't or shouldn't do such activities if we are fat.

As for Dr. Roger McCoy's concerns regarding Dave's health risks, I find them to be unfounded and biased (as though thin people never have these health risks). How many individuals of any size can boast a record of not only entering but also completing 261 triathlons in 13 years?

Finally, Bobbie Slate's statements epitomize the continued discrimination and ignorance about the subject of obesity. What are the "facts" that support her view that, quote, "You could die . . ."? How does she come to this conclusion? Certainly not by recognizing or accepting Alexander's accomplishments!

Name withheld

Deprogram Director
I cannot believe that New Times is still printing stories about Rick Ross and portraying him as some sort of a saint ("Cult Expert Must Pay," Tony Ortega, October 10). Ross makes his living by violently deprogramming people out of their religions after taking them against their will and holding them until, under duress, they "recant."

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