Letters

What's Up, DOC?
In your recent article "Custody Battle" (Chris Farnsworth, April 2), you inaccurately describe as a "settlement" the recent agreement between the Department of Corrections and attorneys representing inmates in protective segregation. It was nothing of the sort. Rather, the department and the inmates' attorneys simply agreed to a stay in the proceedings for two years, or until the department submits a new plan for selecting inmates for protective segregation--whichever period of time is shorter.

I have agreed to listen to the attorneys for the inmates and to consider their thoughts on how to improve our protective-segregation system. I have stated my intention to survey other states in seeking to create a protective-segregation system that might serve as a model for the nation. Throughout this evaluation process, I will consider the finite resources of the state. Ultimately, the department will craft a protective-segregation system that meets constitutional standards and maximizes the efficiency of taxpayer dollars.

I remain convinced that to permit the federal courts to micromanage our system for classifying and housing inmates would mean accepting an unprecedented and egregious intrusion into our state's sovereignty. In Texas, a federal judge's detailed decrees in Ruiz v. Estelle so undermined prison order in the 1980s that an explosion of inmate violence ensued. Such an outcome in Arizona obviously would make life much more dangerous for both inmates and department employees, and it would be an ironic result, to say the least, for litigation that originally arose out of concerns for inmates' safety. I will continue to resist such uninformed and potentially hazardous intrusions into our prison system by inmate advocates, attorneys and judges.

Terry L. Stewart
Director
Arizona Department of Corrections

Chris Farnsworth responds: There was no "inaccuracy." DOC made an agreement with the plaintiffs in the protective-custody lawsuit to get it out of court. The plaintiffs call it a settlement. DOC prefers to call it a consent decree, as DOC spokesman Mike Arra said in my article, or a stay in the proceedings, as Terry Stewart says now. In plain English, it's a settlement. Stewart was offered a chance to express his views as a part of the article. He declined to be interviewed.

In regards to scum like pedophiles, rapists and snitches being put in with the general population of prisons and county jails, I am all for it. Maybe if people like pedophiles and rapists get put out into general population, they'll get the punishment they so richly deserve that the courts seem to fail quite often to mete out!

Lester Rees
Mesa

Earth, Wind & Ire
I am writing in response to Robrt L. Pela's theater review ("Leader of the Pachyderm," March 19). I feel the Valley is very fortunate that Arizona State University theater professor Jared Sakren had the courage to take on the challenges of artistic director of Planet Earth Theatre. Planet Earth needs to be kept alive so the Valley has a place to go see unusual and inventive theater. However, I would like to point out to Mr. Pela that his cheap-shot remarks about Planet Earth's past artistic directors Peter and Mollie Cirino were snooty and unsupportive. Doesn't he understand that PET is a venue for artists to learn and grow, and this includes all artists. Not just theater majors or seasoned pros. Even artists that are not perfect typists. All Mr. Pela did was focus on the uncomfortable chairs, typos in the programs and his nervousness with the homeless patrons that were welcomed to the theater (Peter and Mollie welcomed all walks of life). If Mr. Pela is searching for safe, comfortable, slick theater, he will not find it at Planet Earth because they take chances on people, which means risks are involved, which means typos may happen, and with no big budget, donated chairs may have to be used. Mr. Pela is a theater snob!

David Gonzales
Phoenix

This is in response to Robrt L. Pela's review of Planet Earth Phoenix's presentation of Rhinoceros, where Mr. Pela not only reviews the show, but manages to get in yet another dig at PET founders and previous artistic director, Peter James Cirino, and wife Mollie Kellogg Cirino:

Thank you for reaffirming our decision to relocate to Seattle, where we have been welcomed with open arms and open minds.

Peter James Cirino
Mollie Kellogg Cirino
Planet Earth Seattle founding members, and eight others

A Czar Is Born
"Our Hero." In whose opinion? I resent that you have the nerve to consider Jerry Colangelo a hero (Deborah Laake, March 26). I am one of the pee-ons who paid for that albatross and finds no redeeming value in it whatsoever. Why should sports stadiums be "slammed down the throats of unwilling commoners"? What purpose does that serve? Yours?

My hero doesn't take from the community then turn the phrase around and say, "I'm doing this for you." My hero doesn't acquire personal financial gain at the expense of others. My hero makes a difference in others' lives by showing them how they can have self-respect, integrity and love without money or fame.

I don't watch sporting events, haven't seen the America West Arena, don't want to see the BOB and can think of a million other ways to spend my time and money. If 1 percent of the people who waste their precious time on those events spent it volunteering in their community, spent some quality time with their children or visited the sick or elderly, this city would be a better place to live.

I think you wasted 14 pages of your paper on nothing; no wonder I don't read it.

Mary Weil
Tempe

There is no doubt in my mind that the baseball stadium is a monument to Jerry Colangelo's ego. As an honest taxpayer struggling to make an everyday living, I find it hard to believe that he is a regular guy. I think he lost touch with reality; he is a rich guy using his power to influence self-serving politicians to build his own egocentric world. He says that his relationship with Jesus Christ is number one. His number-one priority should be winning souls for the Kingdom of Heaven, not winning souls for the Kingdom of Jerry.

The Bible says that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Can Jerry influence God to let him in? He should try to convince Him that there is a need for a baseball stadium in Heaven and to tax the devil and his angels for it.

Rafael Silva
Phoenix

Jerry Colangelo? A hero? Perhaps saving us from the death and boredom of not having a (yawn) baseball team. He seems to be more of a Phoenix icon, and certainly Valley resident Craig Barrett, Intel's new CEO and former COO, might be a better pick for the front page of New Times. At least he's not using tax dollars to make millions on his processors . . . and, I would imagine, probably provides a much larger number of jobs to the people in this city. Who is the real hero?

Name withheld by request

Deborah Laake says that Jerry Colangelo is a Christian man and a rich man, even though Jesus himself said it was "easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." The "needle" was an entrance to Jerusalem, and it was possible but very difficult for a camel to get low enough to pass through it. There are numerous other Biblical passages that should be profoundly troubling to the wealthy if they are primarily concerned with pursuing wealth and have little concern and solidarity with the suffering world around them--especially with the two billion people who live in abject poverty and the 40,000 children who die every day from inadequate food, water and sanitation.

Mr. Colangelo has not given me any reason to believe that he is more in touch with the poor and the needy than he is with himself (salvation is primarily a freeing from self-absorption), his rich fellow owners and his rich ballplayers. He reminds me of the first-class passengers on the Titanic, isolated from the "lower classes" even in their worship services.

Roland James
Phoenix

Assault Shaker
I am writing about the articles written during the past year by Amy Silverman, concerning Kim Boyden and Michael Logan ("Not Victim Enough," March 27, 1997; "Prosecutors Change Their Minds," May 8, 1997; "Personal Justice," February 26, 1998; and "Logan's Shun," April 2, 1998). I feel her articles are grossly slanted against Michael.

Just because a female is the weaker sex physically does not mean that every one of them who yells sex abuse is always telling the truth. There are words to describe women who get trashed and take home men who they just met. In one of Silverman's articles, she stated that Boyden's blood-alcohol level was .024, six hours after the incident. Which means that at the time of the incident she was stuporously drunk. Why isn't Kim Boyden taking responsibility for her own irresponsible behavior?

I know Michael Logan. I dated him for a while a few years ago. Even though he is a large man, he was one of the nicest, most interesting and gentle men I ever dated. He was not rough with me even once. I can imagine almost any man could give you rought sex if that's what you wanted, but I know for a fact that is not Michael's way with a woman. In all of these articles it leaves the reader thinking Logan is a monster that rapes and assaults women. Why don't you tell your readers that this whole scam is because Boyden was furious when a grand jury cleared Logan of rape charges because there was no evidence?

I would guess that Kim had a hard time finding someone to listen to her story because it was all fabricated garbage. But, since she convinced Amy Silverman not only to listen to her but to write all these slanted articles, I'll place bets that Amy Silverman is a man hater!

Elizabeth Swan
Mesa

Amy Silverman responds: Michael Logan never was charged with sexual assault, but was convicted of simple assault against Kim Boyden and was sentenced on March 27 to three years' probation. Each time I wrote about Logan, I asked him to tell his side of the story. He always declined.

Hello, Columbus
A friend of mine sent me the article on Bonnie Johnson ("To Serve and Humiliate," Barry Graham, March 12). Needless to say, I was totally outraged! My heart went out to her.

I don't know if you have direct contact with Ms. Johnson, but if you do, please let her know that I am in her corner 100 percent. I am praying for her complete and total recovery. I wish her much success in her lawsuit. I showed your article to a co-worker; she, too, was outraged at the police officer's behavior. In our opinion, based on their past track records, they should both be fired! Police officers must be made to realize that they are not above the law!

Lorraine Thomas
Columbus, Ohio

Your story "To Serve and Humiliate" clearly exposes an injustice to the fundamental principles of American rights as set forth and refined over the centuries to prevent being ruled by a dictator-style police force and government. Our rights were designed and intended to "protect the citizens" and limit police and other government agencies to a level of equality and fairness to all.

Your story was excellent and powerful; it directed the attention of thousands of readers to their own sense of fairness. I feel relatively sure many other important city leaders will be moved to question the fairness issues in much the same way they did in the Rodney King case in Los Angeles. It would not surprise me to see attempts to remove the police chief of Scottsdale if he fails to immediately do a thorough and honest in-depth internal investigation to obtain the truth. If the truth is the same as your story, then officers Walther and Angelini should spend their day in court or at least be removed from law enforcement.

Ken
Gilbert

Lighten Up
Thanks for the great article about the "Phoenix Lights," and those who are exploiting the event ("The Hack and the Quack," Tony Ortega, March 5). You did a great job, but I'm afraid you'll never make it in the real world. If you want to make yourself a household name, you need to go along with the promoters of pseudo-science, not expose them. I mean, who ever heard of a reporter placing emphasis on quotes from people who actually know what they are talking about?

Barbara A. Meissner
San Antonio, Texas

I read and thoroughly enjoyed your article on the Phoenix UFO Lights. I wish that other journalists would approach stories such as these with as much skepticism and inquiry as you have.

Casimir Couvillion
Houston, Texas

I enjoyed your piece on UFOs and the believers surrounding those beliefs. I really enjoy seeing a reporter doing his homework, such as actually asking Hartford University if Jim Dilettoso did have a degree, or even attended classes. This article goes a long way to flush out some of the ridiculous claims made by some of these people.

Brian Kornfeld
Los Angeles

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