Letters

It's nice to have my sanity back.
David Seven
Electric Ballroom (RIP)

I am disgusted by the arrogance of the officials in this city. Where does the Arizona liquor board get off using its coercive power to threaten nightclubs based on the type of music the DJs spin or the types of bands that play there? And why isn't the clubgoing community pissed off?

Instead of booking the Genitorturers, perhaps The Heat could have had the Arizona Cardinals come in for an autograph session; then the liquor board would have kissed their ass.

Illy Smith
Phoenix

Weep Not
I found Barry Graham's column on Michael Poland ("Near-Death Experience," October 29) very one-sided, as most death-penalty-issue stories are. How touching that Poland's daughter-in-law, his paralegal and even Graham were shedding a tear. However, did Graham ever go into the victim's waiting room and see if maybe they were shedding a tear?

Heather Mackenzie
via Internet

I stand up and bow to Barry Graham after the column about witnessing the attempted "murder" of Michael Poland. It is about damned time that the death-penalty opponents get a victory, no matter how small it is.

We in Arizona are not far behind the likes of Texas and Florida in their bloodthirsty desire for vengeance at whatever cost. And the fact that we are using capital punishment as a tool to get people to "cop a plea" makes this whole façade all the more barbaric.

If murder is wrong, why do we teach our kids that it is all right if the state commits murder? And the barbaric and bloodthirsty lust for capital punishment today is reminiscent of the Colosseum of ancient Roman times.

Graham's attorney friend who saved the life of Mr. Poland (even though it may only be temporarily) is a modern-day hero. Thank him for me, and the other silent ones out there who still believe in decency and civilized living.

Brian Griffin
via Internet

Thank you for the excellent column about Michael Poland and his attorney, Dale Baich.

Marti Kaye
via Internet

I'm sure that watching someone being put to death isn't something a person would want to do and remember, especially in the case of Dale Baich, who watched his client, John Joubert, die in the Nebraska electric chair. However, I was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base when Joubert committed his two known murders, working essentially right across the street from where he worked. (I say known murders because there may have been more in his hometown of Portland, Maine.) And, as chance would have it, I moved back to Omaha from Phoenix just prior to Joubert's execution.

I can sympathize with Mr. Baich for the position he was in, getting to know Joubert, defending him, etc., but I'm sure Joubert got more than fair treatment because of Mr. Baich's efforts. Unfortunately for Joubert, there wasn't anything Mr. Baich could do at that point; and the sentence Joubert received was not out of line for the crimes he committed.

Mr. Baich's being haunted by watching the death of someone he came to know is very understandable; however, Joubert got the best deal he could ever hope for. And Mr. Baich appears to be Joubert's last victim.

Hard-assed? Maybe, but only toward Joubert. But I know what happened. Mr. Baich was given a loser from the get-go, and never had a chance.

Please accept my apology for any insensitivity implied or inferred to/from Mr. Baich, as that was not my intention. It's truly a shame that someone such as John Joubert has had that effect on someone who's decided to make his career attempting to represent such people in a court of law.

Chris Kaufman
via Internet

Green With M.V.
Why is a Pittsburgher reading the Phoenix New Times? 1) I found it thorough in keeping me current during my last business trip to the Phoenix area; 2) it's available online; and 3) the outstanding film reviews written by M. V. Moorhead! Mr. Moorhead's reviews are insightful and entertaining, sometimes thought-provoking, and well-researched. His command of words and ability to paint mental pictures is as enjoyable to me as many of the films themselves.

Sam Minehart
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Proposition Position
Proposition 200 ("The Serene Clean Elections Machine," Jeremy Voas, October 29) is clearly a sign that ordinary citizens are trying to restore government to some kind of "by the people" status. Unfortunately, it focuses on the election process instead of the representation problem.

Jon Hinz worries that "the worst kind of stealth candidates" will be created because he won't be able to see who gave them money and automatically know how they'll vote. Meanwhile, Lila Schwartz says, "Look at their voting record and where they get their campaign contributions. . . . You can draw inferences from that." It is clear to both opponents and proponents that money is buying votes.

But we're not talking election votes here; rather, undue influence upon legislation. Proposition 200 may alleviate that problem by allowing smart and talented citizens who don't happen to be rich or have loads of wealthy friends and business contacts to run for office. Or even those who are in fact well-connected and financially comfortable, but turned off by the current political give and take centered on PACs.

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