Bless the Beasts and the Children

Letters from the week of May 9, 2002

Arresting Developments

Disorganized crime: Kudos to New Times for its excellent article "Capitol Cop-Out" about the Capitol Police (John W. Allman, April 25). This is yet another example of the validity of the Peter Principle -- that organizations die because the people who run them who have risen to the top also have risen to the level of their incompetence.

Edward Xavier Laxalt
Glendale

Zoo Fan

It's a jungle in there: Thank you, John W. Allman, for the insightful yet tragic article regarding the poor treatment and death of a female porcupine at the Phoenix Zoo ("License to Quill," May 2).

The article exposed the Phoenix Zoo for its disgusting attempt at trying to hide how it handles the animals it uses for educational purposes, as well as those on display for zoo visitors. It doesn't surprise me that the USDA has placed the zoo under investigation considering the many problems it has had in the past with regard to caring for its animals.

When New Times initially uncovered what happened to the porcupine and the scorched iguana named Stumpy, zoo officials were outraged that such a story could be printed. This caused the zoo director, Jeff Williamson, to fire off his heated response expressing his indignation for such accusations about the Phoenix Zoo.

I'm an eight-year resident of Phoenix and have been to the zoo several times. With each visit it seems as though some zoo keepers couldn't care less about the animals, often leaving them with extremely dirty living conditions or, in some cases, animals had no drinking water available on an unseasonably warm day. Zoo officials boast about the fact that they have the largest "not-for-profit" zoo in North America, and it often shows with the lack of animal care and compassion. I am sickened by the whole thought of zoo officials trying to play off the incident as if the animals were not victims of zoo employees, but were the victims of their own stupid behavior, or were given to the zoo already in poor condition.

If being a not-for-profit zoo means that animals receive the kind of care given to the animals described in the article, then I say change your status from nonprofit to profit so you can pay zoo keepers what they are worth and can provide proper care for all animals and not just the ones behind the Plexiglas.

Russ Smith
Phoenix

Kid Crime

Moved to action: I was very upset after reading your piece about Adobe Mountain ("Dying Young," Amy Silverman, April 18). I recently moved to Arizona from Michigan and live near Adobe Mountain. I thought it was an adult detention facility. I wasn't aware it was a juvenile center. As a mother of four children -- and a nurse -- I am so appalled at the conditions you describe.

Thankfully, my children did not have any contact with the juvenile justice system, but I am blessed that despite what goes on in our world, they are all doing well for themselves and others. I did have a younger brother who was in the juvenile system in Michigan. He died at the age of 26, and I know that whatever happened to him there was traumatic, but he never shared it with anyone.

I need to do something to change this situation. The loss of that child and the way he died is tragic beyond words. We need to do something so that he did not die in vain. Those kids have no one to advocate for them.

Thank you for a very enlightening article. It moved me more than you know.

Catherine McBride
Via e-mail

Foul Play

Acting out: I am a theater major at Arizona State University and I am just e-mailing you to tell you that you have a new fan base! On behalf of a few of my peers in the theater department, we thank you for the review of Ramona ("Bust in the Dust," Robrt L. Pela, April 25). Most agree that the recent selection of shows at ASU, with the exception of a few, have been downright horrible! The ethnic plays are an issue for a predominantly white theater department, as are these unknown "plays" with little interaction or relevance to anything. Anyway, I just want to express my gratitude for your review; it's healthy to take some people down a notch.

Tim Cox
Via e-mail

Pointed Comments

The Spike misses the point: I just finished reading "Biodumb?" (Spiked, April 4) and I must say I was struck by a certain irony. The Spike, who ostensibly rankles at the very hint of political double talk, employs a typical political device: He asks "the hard questions" -- then answers them himself.

If The Spike is interested in The Answers, perhaps The Spike should pick up a phone and call someone who knows them. Short of that, this article is little more than The Spike raking The Muck and stroking The Ego.

Josephine Nikita
Phoenix

 
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