Letters from the week of September 18, 2003

 Jazzed Up

"Vee" day: You should have known the "Vee" back in the late '70s and '80s when it was smaller and more seedy-looking ("Jazz Rift," Ilan Brat, September 11). It was The Bomb then. Times have changed and people have passed on, but places like the "Vee" exist more than you realize; you just got to know where to find them.

Deborah Johnson

A real loose cannon: I am surprised that the author of "Jazz Rift" did not report about the other "Sunday Jam" that's also been going on for a long time in south Phoenix. Located at the American Veterans' Post No. 5, 3805 South 16th Street (just north of Broadway), this jazz and blues jam also features low drink prices and no cover charge.

My band, the Loose Cannons Blues Band, plays there quite often, as well as jazz and R&B-based groups. It's always a jam with at least five or six different performers coming to sit in. We're playing at AmVets Post 5 there September 29 from 7 to 10 p.m. The atmosphere is just as electric as at the VFW with a larger room and more people enjoying jazz and blues.

Love to see you report on the jazz scene in Phoenix. It's a vital scene that's horribly neglected by the media.

James Bailey

All that jazz: As a "regular" at The Vee, I have to agree with Ilan Brat's description of the once-a-week little-known jazz night. Promoter Carolyn Clark certainly does make you feel like you've stepped into her living room to listen to some of the best music in town. Also, her husband Tony and Irvin Tate are sure to make you feel at home. The music is first-rate and played by local pros. It doesn't matter if it's "old school" jazz, salsa or rhythm and blues. It's just great music. It's sad to read that there is a rift between Dave Cook and Mrs. Clark. I think that all parties involved have the same goal, and that's to provide a type of music that is not heard enough, but should be, in a city as large as Phoenix.

Tom Valenzuela

Street Wise

Blowing smoke up our . . . what?: Been reading your newspaper online for a while now. You are great! Your cigarette theft article is on the cutting edge ("Smoke Ring," The Street, September 11). Keep up the good work.

Ernie Costa
Clermont, Florida

This is your brain on drugs: From my experience in Child Protective Services, it is quite common to find children abandoned with drug families ("More Meth Madness," The Street, September 11). I had several of them, myself. Addicts will go off and leave their kids with whomever. Awfully unreal what these drug-damaged minds will do.

Meth users are the most horrid and nasty of the druggies. They are quite manic because of the drug's effect on ego. They all get a mental superiority complex. They are pure crap to deal with. Meth users are not rehabilitatable.

Violence rules their lives. All their children suffer. All should be severed of their parental rights.

Name withheld by request

Meth mania: I read with interest your article in The Street section concerning the meth labs ("Meth Mess," September 4). I think a far more interesting story might be written concerning the results of this raid.

You state that more than 100 officers from several Valley agencies gathered together to arrest six men and women who were in the process of killing themselves with stupid mixtures of chemicals available in any grocery or drug store. While I have no sympathy for these individuals, I cannot deny their right to live as they see fit, so long as it does not hurt other people. To sell something as stupid as a mixture of cold medicine and acetone is not much different from selling a mixture of grain and alcohol to an alcoholic.

Does anyone think that the arrest of these people is worth the expense of the manpower it took? Think of the expense to the public to arrest six people in the process of killing themselves. Our tax money is being used to pay more than 100 police specialists including chemists, laboratory workers, court costs, judges, lawyers and on and on, just to take these vicious criminals (well, homeless people) and put them away for life (well, years or months or weeks or days or perhaps hours).

I would like to see a follow-up story about how the situation has been terminated. Take, for instance, the family of four who lived in a storage shed. Are we going to put the mom and dad in prison and the two children in an orphans' home? If so, we can add the expense of feeding and clothing them for a long time. Of course, we will have relieved them of those expensive handguns that they carried.

Anyway, congratulations for the removal of these vicious criminals as well as the terrific reporting done. To all, keep up the good work!!

Joseph F. Dwyer

Radio Waves

The man behind the mike: "True Believer" (Susy Buchanan, September 11) was really an enjoyable article, and thanks for taking the time to do a little research and a personal interview. I have been listening to the Mike Newcomb show, and it adds another dimension to get to know the man behind the microphone. Please let us know more about the network you spoke of that will hit the airwaves in January and any other liberal talk show programs in the Phoenix area. Remember, contrary to popular opinion, Democrats have carried this state in past presidential elections and conservatives like to ignore that fact.

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