Letters

To those bands and former friends that turned their backs on Gloria and her family, I think that an apology is long overdue. I am sure you all know the number. And to those who knew Dana, I urge you to e-mail, fax and mail in your opinion to New Times. The legal system has to feel the pressure of the media and public opinion in order to keep this case alive and very well-known.

Mark Fronstin
Phoenix

My name is Mark Corona, and I was quoted in the "For Reasons Unknown" article. I would like to say to the person who wrote the letter to the editor titled "Grave Injustice" (Letters, April 1) that if the article did seem one-sided, it was only because the other parties involved did not have enough confidence in the story they came up with to tell it. They were all contacted to give their side of the story, but never responded.

No one accused Shawn and Miles of killing Dana. The only reason they feel threatened is because they don't believe their own story. What could be the "right" reason for not talking, or hiding the truth of a fatal accident? Money? That's what it seems like to me. Dana's blood-alcohol level was below the legal limit. As far as smoking pot causing the accident, you must not have known Dana like you thought you did. And I don't see how trying to find out what happened to your son is so vengeful; all that is expected is the truth. And as far as the passengers undergoing serious trauma, they will experience a serious trauma on Judgment Day. To the author of the letter: How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you withhold your name? Get the courage, stand by your story, print your name.

Mark Corona
Phoenix

Remains of the Day
Some commentary is warranted on Michael Kiefer's April 1 article "A Grave Error." His statement that "every time you stick a shovel in the ground, you run the risk of being an accidental archaeologist" should be clarified. Southwestern archaeologists know that prehistoric and historic sites are clustered resources. Some areas have concentrations of significant sites, and some areas have few or no prehistoric or historic resources. Human burials are more problematic; they can occur anywhere, but again, that does not mean that they occur everywhere. Property owners, developers, land speculators and investors and agencies can contact the Arizona State Museum (Tucson), the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (Phoenix) or the Museum of Northern Arizona (Flagstaff) to learn about their potential for finding a site during construction. For a modest fee, private archaeological research firms also will assist concerned landowners. A little due diligence will save time and money.

Kiefer wrote, ". . . archaeologists who work for other government agencies are wondering how the Bureau of Indian Affairs, of all government entities, got away with such a blatant violation of federal law," then reports that a damage assessment was performed. He continues, "In May 1997 and October 1998, SCIP held meetings with representatives of the various Indian tribes who claim descendance from the Hohokam to brief them on the damage caused by the earth-moving." All the parties involved have discussed what to do next. SCIP is now following procedures.

My experience in Arizona is that no agency in the state of Arizona has clean hands, despite printed protestations like "the rest of us would not do something like this."

The truth of the matter is that humans foul up from time to time. Look into the records of any agency, even those employing archaeologists in the NEPA, NHPA and ARPA processes. You'll find that people make mistakes. Most agencies do take steps not to repeat mistakes. This is the key to the whole issue.

It doesn't seem anyone got away with anything. Just look at the scrutiny SCIP now faces! With or without your reporting, it will be on the hot seat for some time. Check and see if it is hiring a staff archaeologist or a contract firm to cover its actions in the future. That step (or lack thereof) is something not considered in the article.

As to allegations of possible criminal intent, the professional intuition of archaeologists and tribal representatives cannot be relied upon, and the position of the United States Attorney was not reported. Guilt is determined by a guilty plea, by a finding made by a judge and jury, or in some other type of adjudication hearing. The site was damaged, and I'd be the first to say, "Shoot the bastards!" But the legal system needs to assess the guilt, not the tribal representatives or the archaeologists.

If the legal system chooses not to investigate or prosecute, then you should research and explain why. You'll find, unfortunately, that it is sometimes difficult to bring ARPA cases and vandals to trial.

A couple of years ago, the Arizona Attorney General's Office (Grant Woods) and I introduced a bill in the Legislature designed to close some of the loopholes in the Arizona statutes. I wanted to make it more difficult for vandals and fools. After clearing the House, the bill died in the Senate during the eleventh hour. I was told it wasn't a priority. I was mockingly reprimanded by a state senator who said, "Who cares about a few broken pots and bones? This is not important!"

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