A Mountain by Any Other Name...

Letters from the week of April 24, 2003

Peaks and Valleys

A mountain out of a molehill: I just wanted to thank you for this insightful piece ("Squaw Peeved," Robert Nelson, April 17). My fiancé and I thought we were the only ones to see through the ridiculous posturing of our faux Democrat of a governor. I would never think to negate Lori Piestewa's contribution to the armed forces, but being in the wrong place at the wrong time does not substantiate renaming a molehill like Squaw Peak.

Janet Napolitano needs to get busy looking into the failing state budget, or rising unemployment, or possibly resolving that little upstate education funding issue mentioned in last week's New Times.

Jacqueline Porter
Scottsdale

Conduct unbecoming a governor: It would be fair to say that renaming Squaw Peak to Piestewa Peak would be nothing more than an injustice to the fallen soldier's name and the unity of the two tribes involved. Although it is wonderful that both Hopi and Navajo tribes have come together to mend the hearts of friends and family, Governor Napolitano has no right as a politician to rewrite history here in Phoenix. One must learn to think before they speak, especially on national television.

More so, it is so incredibly "unbecoming" of an elected official to publicly bounce weight around and ask someone to resign his position because she didn't like what he had to say pertaining the allowance of state and federal rules. Stand by your guns, Tim Norton!

Let us all be given the opportunity to calm down, freeze the emotional jolt of the war and get back to business. There are other items on the agenda far more pressing in this state that need to be taken care of.

In conclusion, Ms. Piestewa had no ties to Phoenix. She was able to venture in her community of Tuba City and see the San Francisco peaks some 60 miles away. Why not rename something in her honor there, beneficial to those who knew her? She will be forever in our hearts and history books nationwide. We appreciate what she did for her country, as so many before her have done. Too many people give lip service to what they think is best, yet their efforts are few and far between when it comes to making a difference. Why not concentrate or redirect ideas of providing services on the reservations -- i.e., substance-abuse programs, adequate medical care and schooling, trade apprentice programs and resources. The list goes on ad infinitum.

Governor Napolitano and former governor Hull made history by becoming back-to-back female officials in this great state. Hopefully, in the year 2006, history will not repeat itself.

Please withhold my name as I work for the state.

Name withheld by request

Then who's the Cheshire cat?: Governor Napolitano must have been channeling the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland when she demanded the resignation of the chairman of the Arizona Board of Geographic and Historic Names because he refused to consider her renaming of Squaw Peak. "Off with his head," screamed Arizona's self-proclaimed Red Queen. She ran over Tim Norton like an out-of-control Bulldog Diesel freightliner! "All ways are my ways," proclaimed the Red Queen.

Governor Napolitano is a former U.S. attorney and former attorney general for Arizona. One would assume that she would have both respect for and knowledge of how the black-and-white Arizona Revised Statutes are to be enforced. Her actions establish her as a card-carrying member of Arizona's cheat-elite politicians. There is a cadre of elected officials who do not believe statutes apply to them once they are elected to office.

In the past, such political thuggery has been all too common in Maricopa County. The skullduggery of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, County Attorney Rick Romley and former governor Fife Symington has been documented far too many times. The ham-fisted tactics of Governor Napolitano in the Squaw Peak renaming controversy clearly shows that the "good old boys" in elected office cannot hold a candle to our current governor.

Napolitano might be able to bulldoze local officials with her political thuggery. Hopefully our federal officials will be immune to her political pandering and will apply the laws as they are written. Our society is based on the theory that no one is above the law. Napolitano's mewling and screaming puts that concept in jeopardy.

Name withheld by request

The sword is mightier than the pen: I understand the New Times publication is a form of entertainment and many of the stories are feeble attempts to shed light on issues facing people of Arizona and the local area. You put a piece in the publication written by Robert Nelson blasting the idea to change the name of Squaw Peak to a war fatality, namely Lori Piestewa. This yahoo needs to learn to keep a train of thought. His rambling article relays nothing other than his tunnel vision and personal opinion on an issue that should be left to citizens with a sincere concern.

As a Native American, I am personally offended by such attitude which has underlying tones of prejudiced thinking. Heroes come in many different forms, but very few have come from within the power of the pen. Sorry, Mr. Nelson, for your lack of reason and sympathy. If Mr. Nelson considers himself a writer, maybe the former Iraqi news agency would have hired him. Mr. Nelson seems to fit in the same mold as the former Minister of Information of Iraq who is now wearing a target on his back. With a couple more insensitive articles, Mr. Nelson may be wearing a target as well.

Ervin Tsosie
Via e-mail

The ploy's the thing: I haven't lived in the Valley since going off to college in 1968, but I try to keep up with the news there. I would like to believe that your governor is well-intentioned, but in reality this is a political ploy by her that will do more to divide the community than to solve the controversy regarding the name "squaw," which was even simmering when I was a teenager.

As an engineer, I operate by the motto that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," and I think that is the best thing to do regarding Squaw Peak. Just leave the name as it is and has been for as long as even my grandparents could have remembered! Anyway, many thanks for the informative article. I look forward to each edition of New Times on the Internet each week.

Tom Hamlyn
Katy, Texas

Fatal distraction: I read your column and agree with you on this matter. However, I would like to point out that on that day of the infamous ambush, Jessica Lynch was driving. I wonder if Lori Piestewa was sitting next to her, seeing as they were best buds, and at one point Ms. Piestewa told her: Turn left here.

I wonder when they make the movie about rescued POW Ms. Lynch that it would come out. This would not make Ms. Piestewa a hero by any means.

I e-mailed the governor this info and told her to think twice about her actions before it comes back to bite her in the butt.

Rosie Coyote
Sunnyslope

Lori, we hardly knew ye: The only thing in your column that made any sense at all was saying Joe Arpaio was a politically powerful punk. I say let's name Squaw Peak Piestewa Peak. She was killed in the line of duty. Were you over there fighting? Were you putting your life on the line?

Josette Umbertino
Via e-mail

Government Inaction

Sin city: An excellent story by John Dougherty ("The Wages of Sin," April 10). I read the first one ("Bound by Fear: Polygamy in Arizona," March 13); Dougherty gave the public good information on a huge public rip-off, and it appears the "do-nothing governor" has blessed it. But remember the previous redhead governor? Also one who did not rock the boat, let alone make waves. It is no wonder the state is in the red.

Mac McKeever
Pine

Money squanderers: I find it appalling that the Mormon community fails to adhere to the United States Constitution within its close-knit communities. I feel that all involved in this corruptive circle in Colorado City should be barred from public office indefinitely. While other districts in the state are struggling to pay for educational necessities, we have this Mormon community squandering money left and right. They even bought a private plane with state funds, leaving me to wonder how just wasting money in idiotic ways benefits their students.

State educational funds should be spent on public-run schools, not on private schools, school board members, unnecessary school employees, unnecessary school facilities and things of this nature. I find taking money away from these children's education in the critical years where we develop into independent human beings to be completely unjustifiable by any man or any religion. Studies show that the less education one possesses, the more religious one is. If the Mormon Church is as divine as they claim, why don't they educate their followers and not commit human-rights violations? I'm not trying to put down anybody for their personal beliefs, but when these beliefs give fruit to misery, corruption, abuse and reprisal for pursuing knowledge, then I draw the line and say stop! This must come to an end, and I hope the State of Arizona intervenes in this deplorable situation.

Zotero Amavizca
Phoenix

Rules of engagement: Don't you know by now governments get tough only with those who can't get tough right back? All avid David Koresh's crew had were a few guns. This outfit is reported to have rocket launchers and other heavy-duty hardware; they'd at least match, if not outgun, any SWAT team brigades that went in after them. The killing wouldn't be as one-sided as it was at Waco and Ruby Ridge. This cult is bigger, better financed and probably a lot better armed than the Branch Davidians; so the SWAT heroes won't be quite so anxious to buck this one. And the President and the Guv won't dare send in regular or reserve military forces; to do so would be political suicide. Especially when the body count would be a lot less one-sided.

Marc Ridenour
Via e-mail

Male fraud: In response to "The Wages of Sin," I am wondering why the polygamous society in Arizona has not been put to an end. These bishops are brainwashing our youth, leaving underage females thinking that the only choice is to marry an extremely older man, sometimes their own stepfather or even second cousin. She is expected to accept the fact of being one of sometimes three or more wives. This leaves young males thinking that this is the correct way of life. Why hasn't the Colorado City School District been busted by the government for religious discrimination, polygamy, and the misuse of educational public funding with all of the evidence New Times has gathered? There is something horribly wrong with this picture. As a state, we need to put an end to this illegal form of Mormonism and its grossly sexist lifestyles.

Katherine Wing
Phoenix

Food for Thought

Sweet and sour: I'm wondering if perhaps Carey Sweet might consider a journal. Perhaps a support group, or even one of those "blogs" that have become all the rage. Perhaps then Ms. Sweet would have an outlet to the world for her personal issues instead of injecting them into her Cafe column.

In the past few months, Ms. Sweet's columns have grown curiouser and curiouser. Late last year I spent some time wondering why I knew so much about Ms. Sweet's car troubles and what they had to do with Peruvian dining. That was followed by a beguiling rant about Qwest, which, although I sympathized with, I had trouble placing the connection between the pagelong diatribe and whichever restaurant she was reviewing. Shortly thereafter Ms. Sweet made her infamous assault on raw food, and spent more of her article demeaning a lifestyle than reviewing a restaurant, followed by a puzzling assault on dog food. I certainly support Ms. Sweet finding any restaurant lacking in quality; however, I surely don't think that one's distaste for a movie should be either the cause of such a finding, or the basis of an article on dining. For goodness' sake, can someone please rein Ms. Sweet in?

Amanda Blum
Phoenix

Mercury Rising

Toxic avenger: Thank you for a most interesting and educating article ("Dentist the Menace," Speakeasy, Robrt L. Pela, April 10). Finally, someone should bring this issue up.

Considering the effect of mercury exposure (from mercury amalgams, as well as from other sources), the public must soon be made aware of this enormous medical and environmental issue. And the FDA, along with the EPA, should put a stop to spreading more mercury in our environment.

I have never been able to locate a comment explaining just how mercury leaking from mercury amalgam fillings can be so harmless, while mercury in our waters, and fish, is so dangerous. Could someone address such questions to the FDA? There are countries in Europe that have come much farther in prohibiting this highly toxic material. Why is the U.S. so far behind?

Boris Dragin
Via e-mail

You're not a dentist, but do you play one on TV?: Well, okay. That got a laugh from me. I am not a dentist, nor am I a chemist. It is obvious from the article that you are simply letting Charlie Brown hoist himself by his own petard, so to speak. This man seems to be another conspiracy nut -- if it weren't for his rantings, some of his points might actually get through.

I remember learning in basic chemistry that there are essentially three states of matter (we will ignore, for this discussion, plasmas and Bose-Einstein condensates): solid, liquid and gas. These states are passed through by most matter, depending mainly on external temperature and pressure, as well as by the chemical makeup of the matter. For example, water is a liquid at room temperature, at normal air pressure. Lower the air pressure enough, and it will boil without heat. Raise the pressure, and it takes more heat to boil. Drop the temperature, water freezes (turns crystalline in structure and becomes a solid), heat it high enough, and it turns into a gas (steam).

All forms of matter have these properties (don't try to correct me with something like dry ice -- yeah, under normal pressure and temperature it sublimes, going from solid to gas nearly instantaneously -- but it is possible to have liquid CO2 with the right pressure). When these state changes occur, there is no loss of matter -- the amount remains the same.

Robrt Pela is correct: If the mercury in our mouths is changing into a gas, and it is exhaled, or consumed, then that amount does leave the filling, and thus there should be less of the filling remaining. How much less, though, is anybody's guess. I would think the difference would be near negligible, and it would only be detectable within a proper experimental setting with very accurate measuring instruments.

I don't know if there have been any studies on this, Charlie. You don't seem to think so. I would think such an experiment would be rather easy to run -- start with an amalgam sample, weigh it before, let it sit, weigh it after. If you want to know how fast the mercury is subliming, weigh it continuously and take sample measurements.

All of this does, of course, assume that the mercury is not somehow chemically bound to the rest of the ingredients in the amalgam. Like I said, I am not a chemist, so I don't know. But it should be simple enough to figure out. I outlined a simple method above that doesn't rely on homeopathic tests of any sort, and can be repeated by just about anyone with an accurate lab-grade scale.

So, Charlie, try it -- and retry it. Have your friends try it. Run the experiment, put the scientific method to work. Write the paper, publish it -- and then you will have my attention.

Until then, quit your fear-mongering.

Andrew L. Ayers

Glendale

Dentured servant: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I absolutely love your coverage of the dental mercury issue and say kudos to Charlie Brown and all of the medical providers who are anti-mercury! As a person recovering from the ravages of mercury toxicity, seeing coverage like yours helps me believe that my suffering has not been in vain!

M.L. Gates
Via e-mail

Chicks Don't Dig It

Whistlin' Dixie: Let me start by saying I'm not a huge Dixie Chicks fan ("Chick Hunt," Chris Parker, April 3). I may know one or two of their songs total. But I was appalled when I read the story about them being extorted for voicing their opinion.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what our troops have fought and are fighting for? How hypocritical is it for a media company to choose a stance, either pro or con, on someone's opinion? Then to take it one step further by stating, "We're not going to play your music until you say you're sorry." Sorry for what? For stating what they feel? Aren't the media supposed to be non-biased? If we stopped them from transmitting for voicing an opinion, they'd be the first to scream, "It's our First Amendment right to speak our opinion!"

While I may not agree with the Chicks' opinion, I definitely support their right to voice it. And I most assuredly do not agree with some self-righteous, hypocritical media corporation extorting an apology because they don't like it.

I'm not ashamed our president is from Texas. I'm ashamed that we have media companies in this country that would stoop to this.

Name withheld by request

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