Where there's smoke, there's ire

Letters from the week of July 4, 2002

Burning Man

Put it out already: I enjoyed the "Up in Smoke" interview by Robrt L. Pela in last week's issue (Speakeasy, June 27). Enjoyed it, as in it was hilarious!

Roger Egan from McDuffy's needs to suck it up and move on. Why can't he understand that our voting process has been this way before Proposition 200?

Is it fair that only Tempe and Mesa have the smoking ban? No. Should the ban be structured to include the entire county or state? Yes. California is doing just fine. Years from now this will not be an issue.

Dennis Kelley
Tempe

Smoke gets in your eyes: I read with great interest Robrt Pela's interview with Roger Egan. It was apparent that Mr. Egan doesn't quite understand all the facts. This most absolutely is about a health issue. If he kept up with current news, he would have heard the World Health Organization report that tobacco smoke is much worse than we ever thought, causing liver cancer, kidney cancer, stomach cancer, cervical cancer and leukemia. The article I read said the WHO considers this an urgent situation.

Egan also states that it is unfair for a small number of petitioners to dictate what a larger number of smokers do. Does he realize that on the whole as a nation 75 percent of people do not smoke, and so that leaves 25 percent who are dictating that the 75 percent of nonsmokers must endure the toxic effects of their habit?

Finally, perhaps if Egan did his research on California since its inception of no-smoking laws, he would find that tourism has increased and business on the whole actually improves. Logical when you realize the majority of people do not smoke and are more likely to go out if they don't have to be exposed to deadly poisons.

Here in New Mexico we are thrilled that you have passed your legislation. There are many here who agree and we will be close behind.

DiAnn Walkinshaw
Albuquerque

Smokers are people, too: As a smoker, I have always been considerate around those who do not participate in it. But I am deeply concerned about a government that can dictate to the public (those who pay their paychecks) what and where we can do things such as smoking. If they are so concerned about my health from secondhand smoke, then maybe they should give up driving! The carbon monoxide they are putting in the air far outweighs that of my cigarette. Let's get real, people, and start doing what you are paid to do besides dictating to the general public. Are we not still a democracy?

Margaret R. Fischer
Phoenix

Law of Nature

Plumping up the truth: I read (with some amusement) Michael Lacey's lighthearted column about Southwest Airlines' policy of charging large passengers for two seats instead of one ("Large and In Charge," June 27). It seems that most public comment on this issue ignores some basic physical laws that tend to support Southwest's policy.

The operating cost of an airplane is dependent on its total weight to a much greater degree than ground vehicles (cars and buses). This is mostly due to the fact that a passenger's weight in a car is supported directly by the ground, and doesn't require any fuel to be burned just to support the weight. An airplane, on the other hand, requires constant fuel burning to generate the "lift" necessary to support the weight of the airplane and its passengers.

It turns out that about 50 percent of the cost to make an airplane trip is in the fuel burned, and each passenger's contribution to that fuel consumption is proportional to his/her weight. The actual cost to carry a 300-pound passenger is about 25 percent higher than the cost to transport a 150-pound passenger. Indeed, in the early days of commercial air travel, each passenger's fare was based on the actual weight of the passenger and his baggage.

Obviously, this issue is more about the social stigma attached to obesity than physical reality. But it might be worth remembering that while the anti-discrimination laws allow the courts a wide range of interpretation, the laws of physics do not.

Steve Fahrner
Chandler

Food Fetish

Ignorance is bliss: Carey Sweet's ignorance comes through loud and clear in every sentence of her article "Severe Grain Damage" (Cafe, June 27). There is nothing wrong with being ignorant, Carey, but there is something wrong with staying that way. Try eating only raw foods for three months and then write another article and see if your views have changed.

James Kleveland
Chicago

Gene Therapy

Profit marginal: Enjoyed the article "Romancing the Genome" (John Dougherty, June 6). Given the opposition to interviews, fine job. The deal stinks to high heaven.

Here's why: Richard Mallery and son alliance, flexible financing, political fast-tracking, and last but not least I assure you, not-for-profit to for-profit spin-off harvesting. Arizona may be 41st in bio-spending, but that's half the story. The flip side is, yes there is, our boom to bust losses are low à la the Mercado. Is this not real estate speculation in a different suit? Field of dreams?

Once again, Arizona taxpayers are being treated poorly if the $8 million intended for ASU by Proposition 301 is ponied up without restrictions. You won't see any "profits" if I were able to spin off into a private corporation thereby harvesting profitable revenue streams/products.

Ron Rouyer
Phoenix

Pitching Woo

Man of steal: Thanks for a great article on Chuck Kniffin ("Pitcher Perfect," Paul Rubin, June 20). Great story, with information and insight balanced throughout. What a refreshing perspective of one man's love of the game. Here's hoping he has a chance to sleep on the clubhouse couch for many years to come. Your article put the spotlight on a man who worked so hard and so long without ever expecting to be there. Add me to his list of cowbell-ringing fans.

Norm Watkins
Gilbert

Base on balls: Chuck Kniffin's got the best job in baseball. He just pencils in the starting rotation. If there's any problem with relievers, he recommends if they stay or go. He doesn't have to work with them to improve them. There's no coaching at the Triple A or major league level. If you're not good enough, they just move you and bring in somebody else. It's a never-ending stream of wanna-bes and mediocre players looking for a shot. Kniffin will never have to coach, just evaluate.

Ward Hendrix
Glendale

Tribal Customs

Failure to grasp it: I think you were, at best, unwilling to convey to your readers another way to understand sexuality and what the Deer Tribe stands for: autonomous and free-thinking individuals ("Sacred Orgasm," Susy Buchanan, June 13). This is not surprising considering how our mainstream society and culture loves to vilify anything it does not understand.

To stress a point, suppose the Deer Tribe disappears and all who oppose it are happy. Guess who the politically correct police are going after next? New Times! Look out! There is an astrology section in your paper. You must be pandering to the "New Age sex club" movement. You also have a romance section. You must be encouraging sex out of wedlock and, oh my, teenage sex. Worse yet, you have "Women Seeking Women" and "Men Seeking Men" sections.

Now, if these folks answer one of your adult bookstore or massage ads (we all know what goes on in the massage room), maybe it's New Times that shows "marginal" character and is "awkward" in its attempt to have its own "international empire."

Ridiculous? Yes! So is your portrayal of Swiftdeer and the Deer Tribe!

Dan Fulkerson
Scottsdale

Appropriate behavior: I read your article "Sacred Orgasm," and was disappointed that a professional writer such as yourself would allow the opinion of one person, "Lucy," to prompt you to write such a negative article. I have never met Harley Reagan but I can speak on behalf of the Quodoushka workshop. The workshop was run by four very respectful and professional people. One of the greatest emphases of their teachings was to be respectful of others. No one was forced to do anything they felt would be uncomfortable.

I never, at any time, saw anyone touch the private parts of another individual in a sexual way. The leaders were sensitive to each attendee's sexual issues, questions or concerns and allowed them to express themselves without the usual guilt or stigma that one normally grows up with. It was the first time my husband and I could actually be educated about misnomers about sex and female and male orgasm.

Let's get real: Too many women don't even know how to achieve sexual orgasm, and they depend on their mates to know, when, in fact, many men are clueless. Guilt then ensues in otherwise loving relationships because neither one knows what to do. The workshop teaches adults to take responsibility for their own growth, whether it is spiritual, sexual, etc.

"Lucy" seemed to be just a close-minded individual who couldn't even understand that 25 people need to be respectful not to flush a septic tank toilet since it could overload the system. She obviously was not mature enough to handle the very intimate teaching of the gift of orgasm.

It troubles me that other people have to "knock down" a program that offers freedom of thought and immeasurable growth. I guess some people are just not meant to "step out of their box."

My husband and I are both in the medical profession, dental and speech therapy, and praise the work of these dedicated professionals.

Name withheld by request

Healing experience: I read this article and wonder if you really were reporting or getting solitary opinions and expanding on them as general. I know Harley Reagan and, yes, his opinions are expressive, sometimes radical and often inflammatory. The write-up on the Q workshops was completely counter to my experience of them. The thing I most wonder about is that nothing was spoken of the healing that I and others have been empowered to manifest in ourselves.

I must say that it seems you took Harley out of a context of expressing himself and put it forth as the beliefs of Deer Tribe and the people involved. Your reporter did not do a comprehensive or complete job but took the hot issues of guns and sex, which sell papers, and did just that. Want a story that's not so hot but is truth? I am willing to write you one, if indeed you are a newspaper and not just another tabloid looking for exposure and hype.

Les Harwell
Morristown, Arizona

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