Prince and the Paupers

Letters from the week of May 23, 2002

Disappearing Act

Neighborhood watchers: I thoroughly enjoyed reading the article about Eva Mae Wilson ("Whatever Happened to Eva Mae?" John W. Allman, May 16). I, too, was relieved to hear that she is alive, and I, too, was disappointed to hear that she does not have good living conditions. I just can't believe that these two men probably staked out Eva Mae's house and took advantage of her for $30K. Unbelievable!

I do hope that you follow up with this story because I am positive that everyone who read that article wants to know more.

Carole Uhrig

Prince of Pop

Cultivating ethics: Paul Rubin and Prince might both be frustrated by Prince's relegation to the status of "cult artist," but one mustn't forget that Prince made the choice, fought tooth and nail to break his contract with Warner Bros. and has chosen to be an "independent" ("Purple Reign," May 16). The reason these less talented people are selling more records than he is is simple. By choosing to eschew the major labels, he also chooses to forgo the promotion and contacts that the record companies provide. In this age of record company bashing, it's easy to forget that the very machine he railed against is the one that made him a star in the first place.

Chris Quigley
Via e-mail

Supervisor Status

Acquiring minds want to know: I would like to respond to the statements made in New Times about plans for a downtown campus to serve the homeless ("Crack Addicts, Political Shenanigans and Indian Relics," John Dougherty, May 9).

The report noted my "connection" in the purchase of land for the proposed campus site. For the record, I had no involvement in the acquisition of property owned by Mr. Duke Cowley, neither in the decision to look into the land for purchase by the county nor in the decision to actually purchase the land, resulting in the condemnation proceedings. The decision to include that property in the plans for the campus was made by representatives of the nonprofit agencies involved in this effort, as well as Maricopa County staffers and contractors involved in the development of the project. The ultimate purchase price of the Cowley property will be determined in a court of law.

I am a member of a pioneer Arizona family. My business is commercial real estate. As a result, I know many people throughout Arizona. I have done business with Mr. Cowley in the past. That is a matter of public record. The fact is that I never provided any information to Mr. Cowley about the county's plans for the homeless campus. I was not involved, except to ratify the decisions. There was no conflict of interest.

Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and then-Supervisor Jan Brewer led the way for this tremendous project. They pulled the representatives of the different agencies and governmental entities to the table to get this project moving.

Maricopa County has recently been recognized, by Governing magazine, for its leadership and management skills by being awarded the magazine's highest grade in the country. I believe this homeless campus is an example of the county stepping up and taking action on a longstanding problem. The campus site will provide many solutions to the chronic problems facing the Valley's homeless, despite the New Times aspersions and weak, angry opinions.

Don Stapley
Maricopa Board of Supervisors

Investigating the Police

Journalistic offense: While there may indeed be problems at the Capitol Police department, John W. Allman's article suffers from many of the same problems he attributes to the department, namely, lack of factual evidence ("Capitol Cop-Out," April 25).

Why does well more than half of his article deal with situations that occurred prior to 1998? While establishing a history of problems is important, is it that much more important than what is currently happening?

Mr. Allman states that, between 1997 and 1998, 27 employees left the department. He implies that this is a large number but doesn't tell us what percent turnover this is, or how it compares to the turnover percentages of other law-enforcement agencies in the state. Also suspiciously absent are any explanations of reasons for this turnover. Were any of these employees terminated? Did they leave because of substandard pay? We don't know because, rather than providing the facts, the author prefers to bolster his allegations by implying that all of this turnover is attributable to the way the department was being run.

More important, what is the current turnover rate?

The author states that a Department of Public Safety investigator had reviewed more than 20 arrests by Capitol Police officers that had been declined for prosecution between December 2000 and June 2001, implying, but again not proving, that this is a major problem. How many more than 20 were reviewed? Where is the information detailing the total number of arrests during this time period and comparing that percentage to the percentage of other in-state law enforcement agencies? The implication is that all arrests are prosecuted or should be prosecutable, but that is simply not true — arrests in all jurisdictions are declined for prosecution, and for a variety of reasons. Where are the facts regarding the reasons for non-prosecution of these cases?

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