Letters

From the week of March 22, 2001

Museum Piece

Arty fact: In Edward Lebow's recent article "Artistic Differences" (March 15), a former Scottsdale Cultural Council board member states: "Last month Susan Stamberg did a piece on Turrell for National Public Radio, and plugged the show. This month, I hear that the New York Times will probably be covering it. What other museum in town is getting that kind of play for contemporary art?"

Well, I have the answer. The Arizona State University Art Museum.

Not only was the ASU Art Museum's traveling exhibition on "Contemporary Art From Cuba" featured by the Wall Street Journal, NPR and twice in the New York Times (once in the New York Times Magazine by Amy Silverman of New Times), but the group tour organized by the ASU Art Museum that attended the 2000 Havana Bienal was recently featured on CNN.

And the exhibition by Tempe artist Jon Haddock, which was first covered by Kathleen Vanesian in New Times last October, has also garnered its fair share of international press. Recent articles about his "Screenshots," which to date have only been exhibited at the ASU Art Museum Experimental Gallery, have appeared in Newsweek, Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, METROPOLIS, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Computer Gaming World, Salon.Com, PC Gamer, and the April issues of WIRED and SPIN.

Not to mention the numerous articles by national press on the past exhibitions "Sites Around the City," "Bill Viola: Buried Secrets," "Art on the Edge of Fashion," "Jim Campbell," and the ASU Art Museum's annual short film and video festival, just to name a few.

John Spiak
Curatorial Museum Specialist
Arizona State University Art Museum

Sloppy Joe

Campaign wishes: I would like to clarify one statement about Robert Nelson's article "Web Feat" ( This Just In, March 15). The situation that Nelson speaks of regarding the possible fines from the County Attorney's Office is in regard to donations made to Tom Bearup's campaign. It is civil in nature, not criminal. I allegedly contributed more than the $320 limit. Turns out there is a campaign law in which the party that did the donating can be held civilly liable for three times the amount of the contribution over the amount of $320. Karen Osborn, director of the Maricopa County Elections Department, makes statements in her affidavit that she is not qualified to make and that are misleading and unfounded.

There was no mishandling of money on my part, as Karen Osborn is trying to portray with her sworn affidavit. I, in fact, had nothing to do with Tom Bearup's preparation of any accounting, campaign finance records, donations or expenditures during his campaign.

This is just another example of how far Joe Arpaio will go to tell less than the truth and divert the facts from the issues at hand.

Thank God for New Times, because if it weren't for you, no one would ever hear the real truth about Sheriff Joke unless He said it was okay first.

Jim Cozzolino
Peoria

Skinny Tipping

Serves you right: I am so sick of you guys in the food industry complaining about the lack of tips you get from the public ("Tipper Score," Eater's Digest, Alex Neville, March 8). Here's a 100 percent tip for you:

Why did you get this job in the first place? If you knew how the game worked, then why aren't you in a different job?

You act like we, the public, owe you 20 percent just because you smiled and were pleasant. Give me a break. That's standard for any job.

If you don't like the way we play the game, then get another job.

Sirrah Ray
Mesa

Two cents' worth: Hooray for Alex Neville! I'm sure you will get tons of letters from bad tippers proclaiming their right to have separate checks and their narrow argument that they should not have to tip to pay the servers' salaries.

To those people, as a young woman who put herself through college waiting tables and tending bar, I say: That's the way it is. Stop punishing hard workers who are trying to pay for classes or feed their kids for the industry's faults. You have to tip in this country.

Servers in Arizona make $2.13 an hour. Yes, you read that right, $2.13. That's barely enough to cover taxes.

So the next time cheapskates out there try to decide what they're hungry for, remember my motto: Tip 20 percent or eat at Taco Bell.

And all my thanks to Alex, who gave servers a chance to say what we feel about the ungracious, grouchy, cheap and unendingly demanding minority of customers who can ruin a perfectly good shift.

Name withheld by requestBum tip: As a veteran restaurant junkie who has eaten at many of the Valley's trendiest eateries for the past 20 years, I feel Mr. Neville's article omitted a few points when it comes to food service and tipping.

First, an appropriate tip of 15 percent to 20 percent is not calculated on the total bill. It is figured on the subtotal before tax. This is the portion of the bill on which the server should be rewarded for her or his effort, not the portion that goes to the government. Second, a tip is a reward for good service, not an entitlement that the server gets just for showing up at your table with a pulse.

Here are a few examples of when it's appropriate to tip much less than 15 percent:

The disappearing server. Now you see him, now you don't.

The forgetful server. I know you're all very busy, but should I have to ask three times for a glass of wine, a loaf of bread or thou?

The ignorant server. "Specials? Uh, yes, I think we have some. Just a minute, I'll go check."

The leering server. Do you really think that kissing my date's hand up to her armpit or trying to see just how well her Wonderbra works is going to improve your tip?

The condescending (or snobbish) server. If providing me with good service is beneath you, think what an insult accepting money from me would be.

The rude server. Repeat after me: "I want to speak to the manager."

These examples, culled from my personal experience, are the exception. The Valley is full of excellent restaurants staffed by courteous, hardworking, competent food servers who go "above and beyond" every day to ensure that you and I have a pleasurable dining experience.

Bad tippers do exist, but so does bad service. And the tip is still the most appropriate and direct way of rewarding excellence and responding to mediocrity (or worse). So the next time I walk in wearing my "Members Only" jacket, ask how much the specials cost and order the dressing on the side, don't make a bad tipper an excuse for bad service.

Joe Carter
Phoenix

Wah-wah peddle: While I agree with Cherie Randall's comments regarding "Tipper Score" (Letters, March 15), particularly about the poor attitude wait staffers have toward female customers, I disagree with her assertion that it is appropriate to diminish a tip "if I order a beverage and it never occurs to you to bring a glass of water also." Growing up here in the '70s, I seem to recall a public effort to dissuade restaurants from serving water unless it was specifically requested. Of course, that was before the Valley was turned into the Land of 1,000 Mini-Lakes (or is it actually 12,000?). Now, I suppose such a practice seems merely quaint.

Linda Wilson
Glendale

Mute Point

Penalty box: The Arizona Attorney General's Office is reluctant to talk about the death penalty issues because it has been caught in covering up sloppy investigative work that was done with the county prosecutors at the time of the original trial ("Janet Clams Up," Amy Silverman, March 15). Rather than debate the issue on all fronts, the office only accepts interviews that will articulate its best performances in cases in which the county and the state have acted responsibly and professionally.

Just like the capital murder case mentioned in your article, the state is reluctant to discuss the Debra Milke case and the impropriety of police investigative work. Milke's case highlights a confession that Milke never made to a police officer who was reprimanded for developing false testimony.

Pat Roach
Janis Griffin

via Internet

Speak for Yourself

In other words: No doubt when the author of the letter headed "Source Spot" ( Letters, March 8) reread what she had written, it became obvious to her that her point was misplaced. The example she cited showed the government not attacking free speech, but defending our right to free speech. The enemy of free speech is normally not the government, it's the people; in this instance, a number of home owners who were involved or thought they could be involved in losses caused by the alleged arsonists.

If you look back through our legendary history, the examples that spring to mind are typified by that of the U.S. Marshal trying to bring law and order to a situation taken over by a local lynch mob, or, as happened in this case, a ruling by a judge that preserved the freedom of the press against strong-minded people who thought that this freedom should be curtailed when curtailment would seem to benefit them.

The inflamed passions of people who are too close to a situation to treat it rationally, the stirred-up and mad-as-hell mob, are the true danger to our freedoms -- seldom the courts that represent the government.

Another enemy of justice is local morality. If "God has spoken" to the people, or if one person has convinced others that God had spoken, then what is interpreted to be God's will is fully justified, regardless of what it is, and a small band will feel itself doing "God's work" in wreaking all kinds of blessed vengeance.

The distance that the courts place between the act and the people directly involved is an essential protection for the innocent. You would not want to live in a country ruled by your self-righteous and raging peers without the intervention of the government.

Of course there are exceptions, since nothing is perfect, but I would much prefer living with only the exceptions than living under mob rule. Certainly if we can get ourselves upset about a fictitious malevolent government, then we can also get ourselves upset enough to examine these exceptions and take the actions needed to reduce their numbers.

Ted M. Hopes
via Internet

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