New Times incorrectly reported the number of times the Arizona Republic has won the Pulitzer Prize ("Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss," August 10). The newspaper has won twice for cartooning. Also, Eugene S. Pulliam was Nina Pulliam's stepson, not her son.

Shiny Clean, No Tangles

Just Simplify: The bureaucratic tangle created by the Clean Elections Act ("Wash Daze," Amy Silverman, August 3) could be reined in with common-sense simplification and reform, now that the precedent for public financing has been established.

There's no need for $5 contributions and bloated financial compliance forms. Traditional petition signature and filing requirements provide sufficient basis for a simple reform, which also improves the quality of campaigns.

Instead of providing participating candidates with cash to purchase expensive advertising and postage, the Clean Elections Commission or Secretary of State should directly purchase TV and radio time, space in newspapers and direct mailings for the free use of all candidates willing to limit fund raising and spending, and appear together with opponents in each free media exposure. (Nonparticipating candidates would be charged a market rate if they chose to appear with a participating opponent, and supplemental funding would continue to be available to participating candidates who are outspent by opponents.)

When candidates appeared opposite each other, voters would have a convenient way to compare them and hear their own words. This would be especially convenient if it were timed to supplement vote-by-mail ballot distribution. Better-qualified candidates would be attracted to compete with ideas instead of fund raising. And presenting all candidates together in one mailing or ad would be most cost-effective because of economies of scale. The mailings would go to all voters; they would not be "targeted" to only those deemed most likely to vote one way or another.

That would stimulate increased participation by better-informed voters. And appearances by all candidates together could be sponsored by nonpartisan public-service advertising, in addition to tax-advantaged personal contributions.

The pioneering Clean Elections law is just the first step toward a rejuvenated voter-friendly electoral process.

Bill Searle

Tired of Taking It

Public ought to be fed up: Soft cell? Hard heads is more like it. I cannot blame any of the parties involved in your "Soft Cell" article (Robert Nelson, August 3). I mean, who could truthfully tell themselves that, if they were in Lisa Roberts' place, they would willingly go to the general population of the jail and take their full punishment like everyone else? If you're that person, you'd better get fitted for wings and a halo.

I can't even blame the offices of the sheriff or the U.S. Attorney any longer. They're just getting away with everything they can, and right in front of our faces. It's almost like the bully on the block saying, "Yeah, I did it. What you gonna do about it?" It's arrogant, to put it mildly.

What is annoying is that the people of this state have continued to allow this nonsense to go on for all these years -- from the police to the city leaders, and oh, yeah . . . even the governor! I've never seen this level of blatant corruption in any other place.

Is this blind faith, stupidity or just old-fashioned ignorance? One thing is sure: If these slick end runs don't stop, they're only going to get worse. At our expense.

Chris Fox

A Matter of Class

Swimming in money: Although the story about Gary Hall Jr. ("Diff'rent Strokes, Shane DuBow, August 3) was interesting and well-written, when I got to the part about his "falling out" with his grandfather, Charles Keating, it dawned on me: Who cares about the poor, athletic rich boy from Snottsdale?

P. Cardenas
via Internet

Masses of the Opiate

Blind hypocrisy: So the Immaculate Heart Church of Phoenix has burned down ("Immaculate Heartbreak," Gilbert Garcia and Laura Laughlin, July 27). I have little sympathy for the occurrence in general, and marginally less for the Reverend Saúl Madrid, who, although he seems persecuted himself, could have applied his latent compassion for humanity in more secular social work, instead of choosing to lead gullible idiots along the path of the Great Deception, preaching the notion of undetectable gods to them. He's certainly no martyr to me. Boo hoo, so there's no more church architecture in which to worship, and his followers on Washington Street have relocated to the gymnasium and are upset about the new surroundings. Hypocrites! If they truly had faith, they wouldn't let this affect them at all. I thought believers didn't care about material environments. In any case, they should take both fires as a message from their god: "Hello, God here! I'm torching another firetrap because you didn't get the message the first time. Now close the doors for good and move it to an upscale neighborhood: Scottsdale. And don't forget the circular driveway."

That's entertainment.

Nick Foster

For shame, for shame: As a practicing Catholic, I read with disheartening dismay your article on the happenings at St. Anthony and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic churches. The fires at the churches point to, at a minimum, gross neglect. No one allows an advent candle to burn after services. They are all immediately extinguished after Mass. Second, candles in front of statues are not allowed to be in close proximity to flammable materials at any time. I'm surprised that the insurance companies agreed to pay damages in these cases.

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