[County Attorney Rick] Romley's gripe at Steve Brittle for suggesting the possibility of criminal behavior is ill-founded on Romley's part. Unlike Romley, Brittle understands what the criminal standard in environmental law is, and Brittle was absolutely correct in bringing this to Romley's attention. While it is Romley's discretion to prosecute Sitix criminally, it is improper of Romley to suggest any wrongdoing on Brittle's part. In fact, if Brittle had not referred the ex-Sitix employees' allegations to Romley, he could have been prosecuted (and no doubt zealously), just as Michael Fortier in the Oklahoma bombing was prosecuted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for not coming forward regarding suspected criminal behavior. So according to Romley, Brittle is damned if he passes on the allegations and damned if he doesn't.

The motives of Romley perhaps become more understandable when one studies the citizens' complaints against Sitix, where it becomes abundantly clear that Maricopa County is lying to the public when "resolving" the citizens' complaints. Maricopa County is telling citizens who complain that the smoke is just "steam" when county inspection reports indicate that at least some of the smoke is 70 degree ammonium nitrate. Also, when citizens complain about the foul, rotten-egg odor, county employees tell the complainant that they "will check the scrubber logs." Problem is that the process creating the offensive odor, as documented in county inspection reports, has no scrubbers and therefore no scrubber logs! This is usually called fraud.

Whether it's Maricopa County Environmental Services on its own, or with complicity from Rick Romley, a federal-level investigation and a federal grand jury should be called to look into why Maricopa County appears to be fraudulently lying to the public on behalf of Sitix. Then we'll really clear the air.

Scott Meyer
Don't Waste Arizona, Inc.

Trash, Man
I am writing this letter in response to "Bill Blake's" Trashman column in the March 26 issue of New Times. Not only was his account embellished, but what really was upsetting was that the author of this account wasn't anyone by the name of "Bill Blake." In fact, it was none other than Brian Smith of the Beat Angels. Moreover, he was the one involved in the debacle at the Jar that night. His words were hurtful, self-serving and fictitious.

My problem is simple: If your paper wants to sell itself as journalism, it might not be a bad idea to inform your dedicated readership where these accounts are coming from. That way, readers such as myself and others who have grown to depend on New Times for their coverage of the Valley's happenings won't have to take everything they read in it with a grain of salt.

If I wanted to read fiction the day I picked up the March 26 issue, I would have gotten a comic book. With The Rep and Get Out gaining momentum, I seriously doubt that you want to add comics to the list of your competitors, which is exactly where your paper is headed until you make a commitment to present accurate, unbiased accounts in all of your articles. In short, the people of Phoenix and I deserve an apology from Bill Blake (a.k.a. Brian Smith) for his duplicity in this matter.

Franco Gagliano
The Mason Jar

Editor's note: The Trashman column in question did not mention the letter writer or his establishment. The Trashman rocks!

Reading "Mother's Little Girl" (Bill Blake, May 21) was like reading one of those short stories that leaves your emotions screaming and a hole in your gut. Achieving that in less than 10 paragraphs was amazing. My nieces, ages 9 and 11, were visiting the day I read the article, and upon finishing it, I immediately grabbed one and gave her a huge hug with tears in my eyes, thanking God that she has a far better lot in life.

You're there and obviously care; why don't you do something? Fatalistic attitudes are for wimps, whom you obviously detest, according to your Dio article. Simply recording the event and doing nothing makes you just one more lame-ass critic who knows how to complain and criticize but does nothing of real value. Real change comes from helping people in your immediate circle of influence. If this sounds like a challenge, it is.

By the way, why don't you ever listen to music you like? It would probably improve your outlook. Thank you for that wonderfully written article. It helped to remind me of my responsibilities.

Greg Autrey
via Internet

CPA System
As an average reader, I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this story ("Accountants Payable?" Amy Silverman, May 14) and the others you write. Although it doesn't directly affect me, I like to be informed. I think New Times is the only newspaper in the state that tells the truth. Anyway, I just wanted to thank Silverman (and her co-workers) for her hard work, and I hope you get the support you need to continue.

Deborah Abrams
via Internet

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