By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Since the article in the May 7 issue by Amy Silverman about my book, Policies of Deceit in Our Public Schools and Colleges, sold a few copies, I want to express my appreciation for your publishing the article ("Junior College Confidential"), complete with a telephone number.
I found it somewhat amusing, however, that Ms. Silverman would question my journalistic skills, which include 15 years as a reporter and executive on three large daily newspapers and 20 years teaching collegiate journalism for two community colleges and a university. She questions the entire creditability of my book since I referred to John Carver, author of Boards That Make a Difference, as Canadian.
My book is a crusade against what Carver is doing with his book--encouraging elected school officials to violate state laws and cede their sworn duties to the public to an educational chief executive officer. My book recites horror stories of this happening and the consequences.
Neither of Carver's books lists where he is from, and since the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, his alma mater, declined to reveal his birthplace, I relied on other sources. Those sources heard Carver speak at seminars. Board members from three separate public institutes of learning said Carter, in his lecture, said he came to the United States from Canada. Based on this, one can conclude since he came from Canada, he must be Canadian. Had Ms. Silverman studied under me, she would have been taught in order to be objective, one must ask both sources of a story about charges made in a story.
Three sources--Arthur DeCabooter, president at Scottsdale Community College; Paul Elsner, chancellor for the Maricopa college district; and his errand boy, Rick DeGraw--spewed personal venom about my inability as a journalist and failed to answer charges made against them.
DeGraw, a former political consultant, was indicted on nine felony charges in the AzScam scandal and, while under grand jury investigation, was hired, without board approval, to teach religion at Mesa Community College. But by the grace of county attorney Rick Romley, who reduced the charges to a misdemeanor, DeGraw is knocking down around $100,000 as executive aide to the chancellor instead of doing time in prison.
Elsner is one of the highest-paid collegiate executives in the nation, with a salary and benefits of about $300,000. Although a public figure, Elsner has managed to keep his salary a secret even from board members. The exact amount has never been published. It would be interesting to know why he makes it a practice to hire misfits and convicted criminals to work in the district.
These charges were made in the book against the unholy three, but Ms. Silverman seemingly was more interested in questioning my ability as a journalist than relating how taxpayers of Maricopa County are being ripped off. Nevertheless, I thank the New Times and Amy for their willingness to tell it like they see it, regardless of the status.
What the Doctor Ordered
Great BOMEX article ("The BOMEX Files," Chris Farnsworth, May 7). I was especially pleased that you put the BOMEX search form online to allow people to search for complaints that have been filed. BOMEX's own search tool shows nothing unless the person is censured or a letter of reprimand is done--and then it doesn't tell you what happened, only to call and ask them.
A few years ago, I attended a few BOMEX meetings and realized that the board was more interested in following drunk or drugged doctors than other equally serious ethics violations. People I know who have tried to get justice done on bad medicine have not been able to get through the system. I think BOMEX should report in the newspaper every year the list of doctors who have had complaints against them and the number of complaints they have had. That would help protect the patients.
I am writing this letter because I am one of the more than 12,000 patients who have had a positive experience with Dr. Gary Hall. The recent New Times article states there have been 121 complaints about Dr. Hall. I have read other accounts of this sort. Dr. Hall performed surgery on my eyes. After wearing glasses for more than 20 years, I now see perfectly!
My experience with Dr. Hall and his staff is, and has been, remarkably different than the accounts that I have read. His staff is totally professional and courteous. Dr. Hall is unequivocally one of the nicest human beings I have had the pleasure of knowing. He spent a great deal of time with me before surgery, and I felt totally cared for by this kind man during all post-op visitations. I have recommended friends to him, and they have enjoyed the same results as myself.
I can't speak for the 121 persons who have supposedly lodged complaints. I can only speak for myself and the many others who have had their lives enhanced because of Dr. Gary Hall's medical abilities and total professional care.
Congratulations to New Times and reporter Terry Greene Sterling on the investigative series about the slick money practices of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona ("The Moneychangers," April 16 and 23).