Ethnic Flood
Thank you so much for penning the poignant story on my interesting friend Pavle Milic ("To Serb With Love," Michael Lacey, June 3). His fragmented and diverse roots have sculpted him into a talented and passionate person, especially sensitive to the ethnocentric nature of Americans.

His future writings will surely reflect the dichotomy of his parents as well as his unique vantage point of our culture. Although I've had the pleasure of meeting Pavle's fascinating father on several occasions and been fortunate enough to listen to his powerful opinions and stories, I'd never heard the moving tale of his last encounter with his father. It brought tears to my eyes.

We take so much for granted in this country. No matter how often we see the images or hear the tragic stories of this war, it seems impossible for us to truly understand the kind of deeply historic loathing and unrest that the people in the Balkans have endured for so long. The intricacies of these disputes each have a personal story. I often find disturbing the oblivious arrogance our country often exerts, which other countries understandably resent.

Gia Venturi

Bennett Surf
David Holthouse's excellent article "Culture War Heroes" (May 27) was too mild, in my opinion. The State of Arizona has in the last decade developed a terrible record on juvenile justice, teenage pregnancy, abused elderly, needy elderly, child molestation, education and a host of other problems. We went downhill because the same people who attended this family-values meeting are the movers and shakers who have refused to properly fund and supervise necessary public services. They worship the God of Growth.

They have spent 10 years lowering taxes for the wealthy and the powerful, the special interests who have paid for their power as political wheelers and dealers. In various ways, real estate taxes are abated for special interests and passed on to the general public. I've seen it reported that $1.5 million in contributions earned $90 million in tax reductions. Necessary government services--police, fire, roads, etc.--previously paid out of the general fund now require federal grants or sales taxes. In order to lower taxes for mines, industry, utilities, sports teams, etc., they pride themselves on doing more with less in public services. These family-values advocates are directly responsible for Arizona's failure to perform services adequately. They remind me of Charles Dickens' portrayal of leaders feasting on gourmet foods and highly irritated when working children ask for a second bowl of swill.

As to their hero and guru, William Bennett, I can safely say that he and his cronies talk the talk, but don't walk the walk. Spending hundreds of millions to vilify the president, they then supported family values, well-known adulterers Gingrich, Livingston and Hyde.

The radical right chastises the president for his non-war record, but at least 90 percent of our male right-wing elected Republicans of Vietnam age avoided military service. I would estimate 75 percent of the family-value advocates are divorced.

Are all the members of the Republican Right hypocrites and leeches, preying on the members? The rank and file are honest, decent, loyal citizens. But the politicians, the family-value organizations' leaders and the televangelists have built up a substantial list of gullible, naive citizens who fall for their sales spiel.

I wish Mr. Holthouse will use his talent in the future, when he attends a conference of phonies and hypocrites, to bear down more severely; they are responsible, in large part, for the shortage of social services to protect the family.

Name withheld by request

Y2K Readiness
I very much enjoyed your article ("Grist for the Millennium," James Hibberd, June 3). The only thing that bothered me was that you did the same thing that the conference did--a lot of talking about Y2K, without providing any practical information about it. It would have been nice to see some recommendations for the average Joe, what to do to prepare. Store some extra water and batteries? Common sense tells us these. But what about other things we don't usually think of missing? Gasoline? Medication? Toothpicks?

Now I'm not going to be sitting on my roof with my rifle, taking pot shots at people who venture too close to my stockpile of Spam and Kool-Aid, but I do certainly want to be prepared for a little inconvenience.

I would have liked some resources to look into for answers to these common questions, be it Web sites, phone numbers, or just your common knowledge gained from doing research for this story.

Chad McMinn

James Hibberd responds: Representatives for Phoenix utility companies such as US West, Salt River Project and Southwest Gas say they will be Y2K compliant long before January 1, 2000. For a detailed preparedness checklist, see the American Red Cross online brochure at http://www.redcross.org/disaster/safety/y2k.html or call the Red Cross Central Arizona Chapter at 602-336-6660.

On the Waterfront
I finally plowed through your article on Rio Salado--it was hard only because the article was so negative ("A Fortune Runs Through It," John Dougherty, May 20). I finally found the time waiting for the bus (I'm sure you would argue that if more money were available for the bus system, I wouldn't have had to wait).

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