Letters

From the week of April 19, 2001

Lollapollution

Emission statement: I am totally appalled at the evident pollution that TRW is spewing out ("Arizona's Worst Neighbor," Laura Laughlin, April 12). Operators of those kinds of plants are very smart in emitting pollution in the evenings when the human eye can barely see it.

Mrs. Bertleson is doing the right thing, collecting data and evidence, but it may not be enough to fight the giants. Maybe it's time to call a professional air-monitoring company. This is a big battle in which I hope someone jumps in to help Mrs. Bertleson. I would like to thank New Times for exposing TRW.

Dina Rose
Scottsdale

Running Commentary

Charles in charge?: Just to let you know, I am indeed a candidate for Mayor of Tempe ("Skirting the Issue," Amy Silverman, April 12). I feel that you may not fully know this.

Charles Goodson
Tempe

Editor's note: Charles Goodson filed his candidacy after press time last week. Also, the story incorrectly reported the number of signatures on petitions gathered by a committee seeking to recall Mayor Neil Giuliano. The committee has gathered almost 5,000 signatures, not 50,000.

Arpaio à la Mode

Common cents: I refuse to subjugate our Sheriff's Office for spending $3 million a year on an executive suite ("Joe Arpaio's Balloon Payments," Robert Nelson, April 5). In a county of nearly that figure in population, we gripe about pennies to fight crime, while criminal activity in itself deprives each and every one of us of both life and liberty, not to mention some astronomical bucks.

In a world mandating law to moderate human rights over liberty, our criminal justice system is more like a church than a circus. I am more than satisfied to give 10 percent of my worth to a home where I can sleep without a loaded pistol under my pillow, while the 10 cents a week I spend to watch a bunch of monkeys in the county jail on the Net provides safe and sane entertainment.

Scott Andrew Klabis
Phoenix

Joe blows: That was a great illustration of Joke Arpaio by William Taylor last week. Bravo.

The article about Arpaio's mismanagement is the type of excellent journalism that we readers have come to expect from you at New Times. It is little wonder that your reporters continue to win prestigious awards every year.

Let us hope that your efforts will be as successful (vis-à-vis Arpaio) as they were with the Baptist Foundation.

Name withheld by request

Give it arrest: I am sick of your reports on Joe Arpaio! Can't you guys find better things to write about? It seems whenever you can't figure out anything to write about, you print an article about him. Why not write about more important things going on in our community? Next time you decide to write about good ol' Joe, go ahead and e-mail me and I'll give you a list of better things and/or people to write about!

Michael Matkin
Gilbert

I, Spy

Overt and out: Nice story on Jeff Ofstedahl ("The Spy Who Came Out of the Closet," Jeremy Voas, April 12). The military not only taught Jeff to be a spy and a gay activist, it taught him to be the kind of fine young man that anyone would be proud to have for a son. In fact, I always told Jeff that if he ever became orphaned, my husband and I would be happy to adopt him!

The world needs more good men like Jeff Ofstedahl, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Bobbi Dugan
Queen Creek

Diverse Court

Race card: As a fairly pale Arizona female, I can't even pretend to imagine what it's like to be black -- or male, for that matter. However, I may be able to provide some limited insight into Arizona race relations to the African-American man who wrote about his experiences (Letters, April 5) since returning to the States.

Growing up here in the '70s, I thought of "race" as an out-of-state issue. Perhaps the area I lived in -- surrounded by Honeywell, Sperry and Digital -- just had a broader mix of people than elsewhere, but my experience was that no one really cared what color your skin was, or where you were from, except to show a positive interest. If anything, dark skin was considered pretty. I never heard anyone say anything derogatory about blacks, Hispanics or Asians. In fact, it wasn't until my Cuban-born high school Spanish teacher brought up her disagreement with the issue that I learned that some people -- both Hispanic and non-Hispanic -- considered Hispanic another race.

After college, I worked with a Cameroonian grad student who told me that he'd experienced racism in France, where his brother lived, and in Philadelphia, where his wife came from. He said that here in Arizona, people were polite but wary until they realized he was from Africa. I guess they figured an African wouldn't be carrying the kind of hostility that some blacks from up North understandably display toward all whites.

In the early '90s when my nephew entered first grade, I was at first puzzled, then shocked, to hear that his teacher had told my sister that he didn't belong in the magnet school he was attending because he wasn't white. She meant that he was half Hispanic.

More recently, my younger nephew, one of the most beautiful and sensitive young men I've ever known, was told by a classmate that his "skin looks like poop." My sister told him that the other boy was probably just jealous because my nephew is so popular with his classmates. While she's probably right, it bewildered and hurt him, and broke our hearts as well.

The really sad thing is that, at one time, I would have said Arizona was a haven for diversity -- racial, social, gender, whatever -- because people here had a "mind your own business and keep your business to yourself" attitude that had nothing to do with either liberalism or conservatism. Unfortunately, that social ethic has been completely overtaken in the last decade by a group of newcomers who appear to think that they are the last word in social mores and do their utmost to squelch any lack of conformity to their efforts to "enlighten" us -- no pun intended.

Linda Wilson
Peoria

SMoCA Signals

Museum peace: The day my wife and I arrived in Scottsdale, I somehow ended up at the Scottsdale City Council meeting speaking on behalf of the Turrell Sky Space, or at least that is what I intended to do ("Artistic Differences," Edward Lebow, March 15). That night, I met many of the players in your article who had walked out on the plank before me. None of them was a board member of either the Scottsdale Center for the Arts or the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

The question I find myself asking is: What are they thinking? I can't believe anyone is worried about attendance numbers at a two-year-old museum that has built such a tremendous reputation, apparently without any help or support from the very people who should have been willing to lay across the tracks for it. Just try hanging an Andres Serrano Piss Christ and watch the numbers go up and the ax come down. It wasn't that long ago they had to haul a Luis Jimenez sculpture out of Scottsdale away to the National Gallery in Washington, D.C., because it was too controversial.

All SMoCA needs is to take a deep breath and relax and quit acting like the Donner party. The museum has a competent staff or it would not have been able to mount the shows it has. The board seems to be made up of big people who, if they start acting like a team rather than a herd of cats, will attract Mr. Janssen back and others like him from all over the world.

Scott Robertson
Scottsdale

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