Letters

Language Lessons
I liked Michael Kiefer's lengthy article on the bilingual education issue in Arizona, which I found quite evenhanded, and much more in-depth than anything that had yet appeared in the dailies ("Bilingual Blues," March 18). Much of the most detailed and thorough coverage of the California initiative occurred in New Times Los Angeles and L.A. Weekly, and it seems like the pattern may be repeated in Arizona. Thanks again for the apparent time you put in researching the issue, though there's a lot more to go.

Ron Unz, chair,
English for the Children
Los Angeles, California

Thank you for your article on bilingual education in Arizona. I found Michael Kiefer's research and the way he put the story together so beautiful. I found his story to have a strong essence of the heart, backed by a healthy range of well-documented sources.

Carmen Joy Tenney
via Internet

In my opinion, the references to "home language" in "Bilingual Blues" represents the key and ultimate solution to the problem, not whatever school or teaching system may or may not be most appropriate.

A case in point: My maternal grandfather was a Swedish immigrant, and I am told that Swedish was the "home language" until his first child reached school age, at which time he decreed that from then on, they would speak only English at home, since that's what was required to get ahead in America. Although my grandfather never lost his thick Swedish accent, I don't recall ever hearing my mother, uncle or aunts speak Swedish. I don't speak a word of Swedish, nor do my siblings or cousins, and so far as I know none of us feel culturally disadvantaged as a result.

As for "getting ahead in America," my uncle ended up head of the geology department at a major university. My aunts and mother all had professional careers. All of my grandfather's grandchildren went on to graduate-level degrees. Seems like the moral of the story would be: Change the home environment, and the schools will take care of themselves.

T.J. Gibson
Mesa

OK Chorale
I read with open-mouthed astonishment the letter from Ellis Badon (March 11) concerning Tony Ortega's story, "I Varied Wyatt Earp" (March 4). After having just read Ortega's devastating expose on Glenn Boyer's fraudulent book, I Married Wyatt Earp, Badon writes about Boyer that, "Anyone who says, after years of reading his material, 'he tricked me,' I can only say, you allowed yourself to be tricked." This is an amazing statement. On November 13, 1997, Badon wrote this letter to The Tombstone Tumbleweed on the subject of Boyer:

"Editor,
"As a journalist, I have a lot of difficulty with Glenn Boyer's processional attitude.It's easy to pass something off as fiction, but not after the fact.

"We in the newspaper business have space devoted specifically for news stories. They should be facts, not opinions. As you know, however, opinion creeps in to one degree or another in every story. When it comes to blatant opinion, that belongs on our editorial or opinion pages, or is labeled clearly as 'opinion.'

"Mr. Boyer says he is a novelist and a damn good one. I agree. But if he wants to give us fiction, he should label it as that from the get-go. I don't know about you, but from this point forward, everything I read by Boyer will be 'suspect' and not be trusted as fact. More likely, it will be fiction and not unlike his excuse for behavior in this matter."

All one can conclude from this is: Glenn Boyer didn't trick you, Ellis; you allowed yourself to be tricked.

Allen Barra
South Orange, New Jersey

Grave Injustice
I am writing in response to "For Reasons Unknown" (David Holthouse, February 11), the first article New Times has ever written that actually hit home with me. I am also writing in response to all the letters and e-mails that poured in in response to it. I was just as curious to read the letters as I was to read the article itself.

Everyone wanted to somehow be associated with Dana Wells, and having their names printed in the paper was what they wanted. I can tell you that damn near every one of those people didn't know Dana as well as they claimed. Everyone "knew" Dana. Phoenix is a small town, and Shadow Mountain is a small school. Everyone is somehow connected. I knew Dana and everyone else in the car, although only by casual acquaintance. No, I did not know them well. But, well enough to know that David Holthouse's article was rather one-sided.

It has always been apparent when I read a New Times article what point they are trying to get across. Facts are stated and, I realize now, facts are left out. It is called selective journalism.

Yes, Dana was good. But to portray him like a saint is sadly untrue.
It is unfair to think that the other passengers in Dana's car were the only ones at fault. Maybe a confrontation did happen, maybe a chase did ensue. But I know that Shawn and Miles had a lot of enemies. If it did happen, maybe it wasn't over drugs.

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