By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
I am a graduate of Grand Canyon University. I read Terry Greene Sterling's excellent investigative piece, "The Moneychangers" (April 16), on the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, and I consider it one of the best things that has happened to Southern Baptists and for those faithful who know, truly, that "religion" is the visiting of widows and orphans in distress--as well as moral chasteness--and not the institutional Babel-izing that has so shamed and mocked the wonderful truth of Jesus Christ.
I thank you for all the very even-handed reasonableness of your writing and the courage you and your co-workers have shown in pursuing this obvious outrage. One does not have to be a lawyer or an accountant to understand the convoluted wheeling-dealing that has enriched the BFA regimental commanders (though, obviously, only the inside oligopoly) while cynically depriving the real establishment of charity.
I have never been a fan of New Times, not because the writing is of poor quality--the writing is well-done--but because of the libertine nature of its advertising and promotions. I believe that this is inconsistent with my Christian beliefs. While I was a student at Canyon, I opposed the dispensing of New Times on campus. I felt, then, that the values held by the two agencies were antithetical, and that to be true to the ethical and spiritual principles Canyon professed precluded the presence of the paper. I later changed my mind--not because I accepted the paper, but because I saw that Grand Canyon University was (is) not what it pretends to be. Ironically, those administering Canyon saw, apparently, no reason to oppose the dissemination of New Times on campus because NT had long been available. Now, however, I imagine you will be persona non grata and a collective condemnation will rise from the "choir." Typical hypocrisy!
The reason I cite my position vis-à-vis New Times is this: Your paper will be dismissed as offal by those whom you have exposed. The amoral quality will be decried. You will be depicted as some cohort of the antichrist whose purpose is to interfere with the work of God. You will get the standard rhetorical treatment leveled by those who have a lot at stake and a lot to hide. I'm well aware of how it works, and I've seen the manipulators practicing their craft, artistically. Be importunate! Never is the value of investigative journalism so necessary as it is when it unmasks the religious fraud. I hope that you plan to continue your investigation, and to include the curiously imaginative administering of other Southern Baptist sanctuaries. I can tell you this: The light of public scrutiny is their greatest anxiety.
Name withheld by request
Wow! The expose "The Moneychangers" blows me away. I have always been one to favor privacy and minimal government interference, but what is going on? I'm seriously considering making a fool out of myself and drawing some attention to this subject by picketing in front of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona's office, or starting an initiative to repeal the Corporation Commission disclosure legislation.
I just read Amy Silverman's story on Marilyn Zeitlin ("Framing Marilyn Zeitlin," April 30) online this evening. When I first saw the headlines in the Arizona Republic, I was so depressed (as an ASU art grad) that I couldn't even read the story.
I did read your entire story and really enjoyed it. Thank you for outlining the sides to the story.
I, too, am a creative person who has been "bested" by the bean counters at times in my life. To tell you the truth, it is much easier to give up when you are constantly thwarted and constantly demeaned by the "by the book" types who don't have a creative bone in their body.
It is even tougher when you are a woman. I hate to beat a dead horse here and say: If Marilyn had been a man . . . but I have run up against so many Tim Feavels in my life.
To the bean counters it doesn't matter that she has brought almost a million dollars of great art to ASU; it's that 10-dollar traffic ticket they will obsess upon. And another person doing their job the way that their job must be done gets trampled.
Trial and Errors
Two years ago, I was one of the volunteer attorney coaches for Xavier College Preparatory's mock trial team. I take strong issue with Steve Running's comments that the attorney coaches teach the students to lie ("I Totally Object," Tony Ortega, April 16). I also doubt that Xavier's principal told him that's what happens in real courtrooms.
The fact is that all attorney coaches that I know, who each spend at least 200 hours per year with their teams, teach them the folly and the danger of lying in court. While it may happen on occasion, in 30 years of litigation in New York and Arizona, it has not been my experience that attorneys lie in court or encourage their clients or witnesses to lie in court. Not only would that lead to disbarment proceedings, it is a felony.
Mr. Running's comments demonstrate an abysmal lack of knowledge of the purpose of the high school mock trial program. Surely, he could not have sat in on very many sessions with attorney coaches.
Other than Mr. Running's remarks, I thought Mr. Ortega's article was well done and demonstrated the effort that the students, teachers and attorney coaches put into this program.
Edward O. Burke
Given the portrayal of attorney coaches in Tony Ortega's article "I Totally Object," we should be thankful that our names weren't mentioned in the article. But, because we are extremely proud of our team and its accomplishments, we lay claim to the fact that we are the attorney coaches of the Xavier mock trial team. While we beg to differ with the author's critique that the program teaches high school students the less desirable characteristics of lawyers, we are particularly concerned about the author's obvious sexist portrayal of the young women participating in this program. We take particular offense at the remarks given that we probably coach the only all-girls team in the state.
On several occasions, this article perpetuates unflattering stereotypes of female attorneys. Ortega characterizes the cross-examination between students from Central and Chaparral as "particularly bitchy." If Ortega had witnessed the same questions asked by a male attorney, the word "bitchy" would surely have been replaced with "aggressive" or some other less-sexist, more flattering adjective. We had the opportunity to compete against both these teams, and all the female members of the team were assertive, professional and poised.
We are even more appalled, however, by the manner in which Ortega first introduces the reader to our team: "Squeezed into their power suits with short skirts and dark hose . . . putting Ally McBeal to shame." First, we can assure you that there was nothing inappropriate about the way our team was dressed for the competition. Second, the only detailed reference to what team members were wearing was directed at our team--the only all-girls team in the competition. This comment has caused the young women on our team pain and disappointment. Instead of focusing on the consummate skill they displayed after spending hundreds and hundreds of hours preparing for the regional and state tournaments, this article memorializes what they wore.
Finally, with all due respect to Mr. Running, the teacher-coach for Xavier's program, we must sharply disagree with his interpretation of what we teach our students. His comments do great disrespect to the hundreds of volunteer attorney coaches who give up weekends, nights, and hundreds of hours to help foster a respect and an appreciation of our legal system. Neither of us has ever or will ever instruct these young women that lying is the way to approach the problems. The team that strays from the affidavits provided or makes unreasonable inferences from the record will find themselves losers in this program. In fact, lying in the mock trial context does nothing but lower a team's scores.
Our team is a winner in all respects and they deserved better representation in this article.
Lisa J. Counters, Esq.
Dawson & Rosenthal
Tony Ortega responds: Counters and Storie fail to note the lines following the observation that a Chaparral attorney was engaged in a "bitchy cross-examination." Central High School coach Diana Krauss explains that the female students "need to be careful or they come off that way." The article was attempting to make the point that an aggressive female attorney can come off "bitchy," something male attorneys aren't burdened with. Perhaps the point was too subtle for Counters and Storie. As for describing what the Xavier team wore, I can only plead guilty for trying to set a scene that accurately portrayed the moment. Nothing inappropriate about their dress was implied. The Xavier team had a great court presence, and their clothing seemed to enhance that. Somehow Counters and Storie missed the other compliments the article paid to the Xavier team members on their prowess as attorneys. They also apparently skipped past descriptions of what other students were wearing, including male participants.
This letter is in response to your article "I Totally Object." As a member of mock trial at Mountain Ridge High School, I was mildly offended by Steve Running's assumption that the mock trial program breeds liars and swindlers, "Johnnie Cochranes," as it was written. For all those not involved, this may appear the case. Mock trial is not a celebration of dishonesty. It is an act, pure and simple. It is a competitive dramatic production that just happens to take place in a courtroom. Most of us don't even intend to become lawyers. We were just blessed with oratory skills and presence, and mock trial is an amazing forum in which to display our talent. We are not conditioned liars; we are merely taught to think on our feet. Isn't that a good skill that everyone should know? There is nothing wrong with healthy competition, and that's exactly what mock trial is all about. My teammates and I have the utmost respect for all of the teams (especially Xavier, Deer Valley and Central). I also believe that anyone who witnesses one of our trials would have the same high regard for this program as I do.
Mountain Ridge High School
I want to advise you that the information in your David Spade story, "Spade in Full," in the April 16 issue regarding Tempe Mission Palms was not correct.
You assumed that since the show's credits say accommodations were at Tempe Mission Palms, then David Spade was referring to Tempe Mission Palms when he made the less-than-flattering remarks about his hotel accommodations. I would like to set the record straight by saying that David Spade was not a guest at Tempe Mission Palms during his stay in the Valley. However, members of his crew were guests at the hotel.
If Mr. Spade had chosen Tempe Mission Palms for his accommodations, I can assure you his stay would have been more enjoyable.
Principal, KC Marketing Communications
M. V. Moorhead responds: There was no inaccuracy--I quoted Spade correctly, and the show's credits do acknowledge the Tempe Mission Palms. An HBO spokesperson confirmed that he stayed at his own house while here in the Valley, and also noted that the HBO personnel that did stay at the Mission Palms found the accommodations delightful.
I can't believe you wasted a whole page of your paper to let Barry Graham whine about a speeding ticket ("Ticket to Deride," April 23).
Let me understand this. By his own admission, he is driving down the freeway with no idea of his speed, doesn't know he is being paced by a police vehicle, and "hits the brakes" to try to throw him off.
Then he whines when he gets a ticket!
Oh, yes, he claims, "My car can't go that fast"--now there's an original and imaginative defense; he must be an aspiring journalist to come up with that! The judge probably hadn't heard that in the preceding hour.
Get back to writing insults about dead people, Barry. At least that won't kill anybody.
Did the big bad policeman give Barry-boo a tickety-wickety? I'm so sorry. But it's cheer-up time now, Barry. When you get to be a big boy, you'll learn to watch your speedometer. You won't just drive like the other children. You'll pay attention like you're supposed to.
Now let's learn another thing from grown-ups. Of course all clever children know that Officer Anunson should have said "kept" instead of "keeped." Please remember, Barry, that Officer Anunson might not have had the chance to go far in school like you do. If you work really hard on your homework every night, you can learn the legal definition of "hearsay." You might even be able to use the word "hearsay" correctly, just like a real adult.
As boys get older and bigger, they learn to admit it when they're wrong. They don't whine and insult police officers. They pay their fines like grown men. If you grow big and brave enough, Barry, you could even go to the Police Academy.