Complaints Congressional and Correctional

Letters from the week of August 8, 2002

The Candidate

Wolf in sheep's clothing: In regard to your column about the Democratic candidates for Arizona's Congressional District 1, I understand why you think Fred Duval is a carpetbagger ("Boy State," Michael Lacey, August 1). But I think your favorite candidate, Apache County rancher Steve Udall, is a poor alternative. That's because Mr. Udall is a good example that the worst narrow-minded, right-wing Republicans are rural Democrats.

In your column, for instance, you mentioned that Mr. Udall is one of the founders of the Coalition of Arizona/New Mexico Counties for Stable Economic Growth. The first item listed in their mission statement is to "Protect the rural economies of Arizona and New Mexico."

To them, this means protecting and promoting grazing, logging and mining on the region's public lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. One of their objectives is to prove that a federal grazing permit creates a private property right, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld that grazing permits are a privilege that may be revised or revoked. None of these traditional consumptive uses of our public lands are growth industries. In fact, the reason there is so much weakness in the economy of Apache County is precisely because these types of businesses still compromise their economic bases.

Most Arizonans, including most of those in District 1, want the feds to focus more on managing public lands for wildlife, watershed health and recreation. They would be poorly served by the election of Mr. Udall. It would be like sending a more strident version of J.D. Hayworth to Congress, if that's possible.

Jeff Burgess
Tempe

Youth Decay

The real criminals: The problem with the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections is the same cancer that affects most of the state's department directors and administrators. These appointed political ass kissers are at best incompetent and at worst the kind of garbage that runs ADJC ("The Hanging," Amy Silverman, July 25). Your articles are much too lenient with the likes of David Gaspar, his boss, Jane Hull, and the prior and current superintendents of Adobe Mountain school.

Most of the inmates at ADJC don't deserve any sympathy (for which you seem to have an unwarranted supply) and reflect the disgusting state of our justice "system." But no inmate, and more important, no citizen of Arizona, deserves this ADJC, which in its own way is a criminal organization. The fact that Adobe Mountain is a credentialed "school" is disgusting and reflects the condition of the Department of Education — another farce. I could never understand how 16-year-olds are qualified to get GEDs. I used to think that GEDs were for people too old to go back to school.

By the way, what exactly do you mean by such statements as Christopher Camacho did not have optimum living conditions in his tiny cinder-block room? Was he at Adobe Mountain on a scholarship?

I would be happy to trade my 8-by-9 gray-walled, stuffy and windowless cell-like room I work in for Camacho's. Why should delinquents have better accommodations than thousands of other kids in Arizona who haven't done anything wrong?

Name withheld by request

Raw Energy

Slop stop: I have reviewed your original article ("Severe Grain Damage," Carey Sweet, June 27) and the sequel "Raw Nerve," the response from the owner of the Rawsome! Cafe (Letters, July 25). I believe that Charles Thomas Mort "ate" your lunch in his articulate response to your malicious attack on his customers. My much-loved son is a strict vegan and eats at Rawsome! on a frequent basis. He is a very spiritual person and takes the tenets of his religion very intensely. He is lean, but he is not the willowy cripple that your article makes out of Mr. Mort's cafe. If I was not on house arrest, I would be sitting with my son at Rawsome! enjoying a raw pizza. I can tell you that the food you described is one hell of a lot better than the "kibble and bits" I was forced to eat at the Madison Street Jail. Fresh raw food sounds a lot better than the old spoiled, outdated slop that Sheriff Joke forces upon his inmates and pretrial detainees.

Brian Finkel
Phoenix

Change of diet needed: Mr. Charles Thomas Mort, I hope you got your advertising in by writing your monstrously lengthy diatribe of how you and your small circle of diners have solved all of man's woes by eating rabbit food (Letters, July 25). My God, man, we're all inundated day after day on the radio, TV, magazines, etc., of how bad most of our diets are. You say that giving up cooked food is something most have never heard of. Or considered. Ever hear of vegetarians who have been around for decades?

The current scandals you mention (Enron, Catholic Church, WorldCom): What the hell do they have to do with food and diet? You're on a roll, buddy. Did someone defecate in your multigrain spinach-enriched breakfast soup? For someone with a shoestring and no advertising budget, exposure is exposure, good or bad. At least people have heard of you, and maybe they'll spread the word to all of their tofu-eating acquaintances in the future.

"We all choose our own path." Okay, leave us alone and let us continue trudging through the "muck and mire" we apparently now find ourselves in. Remember, "you are what you eat" — in your case, that would make you a vegetable. I have to give you credit for one thing, though — more free advertising. Have you hugged your trees lately?

Jerry Hagans
Glendale

Music Scene

Metal man: Thanks for the Slayer article ("Highway to Hell," Eric Waggoner, August 1). Finally some brains among nowadays music scene (especially in the Valley, might I add). As you mentioned, 'Tallica, 'Deth and Slayer have been the spearhead of speed, precision and aggression on stage and I'm sad that it's pretty much over. Megadeth broke up because of Dave Mustaine's injury, Metallica is resting on its laurels as well, and Slayer is getting older, too. Let's hope that there are anynew bands out there that are going to be able to step into the heroes' footsteps. It would be terrible to be stuck with *NSYNC clones for the next 20 years, wouldn't it?

Name withheld by request

Smoke Screen

Wafting away: Tears welled up in my eyes when McDuffy's Sports Bar owner Roger Egan made me realize just what I had done when I voted for Prop 200 ("Up in Smoke," Robrt L. Pela, June 27). I did not know what I was doing when I was tricked into signing that petition. I am truly ashamed that I am now one of the elite few McDuffy's patrons who bothered to vote in an election. As one of the "poor slobs" who hangs out there, how I ended up actually voting for something is beyond my comprehension.

My buddies and I still go to McDuffy's to watch games, bet on horses, and drink plenty of brewskis. Alas, the ashtrays are all gone, so we bring our chewing tobacco. It's a little messy, but heck, coming back is the least I can do now that I know I helped ruin business there. Roger may be right about Tempe, but if he's really serious about moving, I think he ought to give Apache Junction a good look.

Paul Thomas
Tempe

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