Letters

Letters from the week of February 5, 2004

Investigative Lead
The rest of the story: Kudos to John Dougherty for "Blasphemous Backlash" (January 29)! The article was very informative and well-balanced.

Mr. Dougherty, while presenting Ross Chatwin as a brave soul willing to stand up to Warren Jeffs, also gave the readers the "rest of the story" when he mentioned that Chatwin had attempted to lure two teenage girls as his other wives.

I was also impressed with the information Mr. Dougherty provided concerning the Colorado City School Board. I guess the term "conflict of interest" doesn't exist in their vocabulary! It would appear that there may be possible grounds for criminal fraud charges against some school board members and administrators.

New Times took the lead with the story of the polygamous cult of the FLDS in Colorado City and it continues to set the pace for everyone else in the news media. Keep the heat on!

Glen Chern
Phoenix

Medical Practice
Lien on me: I found your article interesting but also somewhat inaccurate ("Double Hit," Amy Silverman, January 15). It seems the laws should be changed to protect all of us from uninsured motorists like the one who hit the victim in your story. The hospital is not to blame. They are trying to heal these folks and expect to be paid for their services. They need these lien laws to be paid. Far too many accident victims receive a settlement and never pay the medical provider. Hospitals, doctors and chiropractors need to treat and not chase patients all over town to get what they deserve. They are not detectives. I prefer my doctor concentrate on my care and not have to worry about collecting from folks who maybe have never seen that amount of money. Let's go after the real problems: uninsured motorists, greedy lawyers and lazy people who expect the insurance settlement to be easy money!

Dale Shephard
Via e-mail

Off the Record
Taking stock: At first glance, I thought the article was going to be only about how Zia's selection is pitiful ("Spun Out," Brendan Joel Kelley, January 15). I never realized they were in such disarray! Then again, I guess I should have been clued in by the recent upheavals from old locations and remodelings. The big thing to me is I used to go there exclusively for used or rare vinyl records and they used to be pretty selective. Now it seems they'll take just about anything! Especially the 40th Street and Thunderbird locale. They're so overstocked, I could barely flip through the LPs! Want cassettes? Might as well forget it. Either they don't carry them anymore or the selections are priced at 25 cents for acts most of you have never heard of! They sell mostly CDs now and they even overprice those, like they're selling diamonds from London Gold or such.

The workers are younger and could more than likely take or leave their jobs. The '80s and '90s were Zia's golden age; today they're a faint shadow in a big desert. Won't you please, please help Z? Anyone?

Name withheld by request

A proud employee: I am an underpaid, unhappy and musically handicapped employee of Zia Records. I say this having just read your article that was so flattering to the hardworking, music-loving employees of Zia. We bust our asses every day trying to keep this company from becoming a Sam Goody or Best Buy. You have insulted everything that this company means to us. You may not realize Zia is a family.

Zia carries all genres of music, yes, including Nickelback and Disturbed. We do also carry Desaparecidos. Sorry if Tempe was out of stock when you visited. Maybe you were looking in the wrong section. We carry numerous "indie" bands as well as underground hip-hop.

But that isn't the point. We all want Brad Singer's dream to stay alive. This is why we work every day for minimum wage. The dream is alive in every damn employee in this company. We don't just alphabetize and run the registers. We eat, sleep and breathe the music.

As for all of us hating our jobs, maybe you haven't taken a chance to ask us our view. Yes, I hate my job because it is a job, but I love my manager, I love the customers, I love the music we play. I have worked for Zia for two years and I don't regret one day of it.

Rikki Hale
Via e-mail

Territorial Concerns
Money issues: Thank you so much for Robert Nelson's painstaking reportage on George Johnson's depredations ("Big Bad Developer," January 22). Please follow up with any news regarding Pinal County's decisions regarding La Osa Ranch and any national efforts to stop further destruction of the area.

I join those who hope our governmental authorities have the moral courage to back away from the Johnson bribery machine. Money is tight all over, but a sizable chunk of whatever has been allocated to Pinal County law enforcement should be diverted to this case. You have shown that tribal, state and federal governments have much at stake in this as well.

Thanks again for a great piece of journalism and a significant contribution to the local culture and environment.

Catherine Gilman
Tucson

Traveling man: Congratulations on a most excellent piece of writing! It's not often these days one gets to read such a well-thought-out, well-researched and well-presented study. You had my undivided attention all the way to the end.

I live in Canada, but have visited Arizona many, many times (and will many more times), and have extensively traveled the subject territories in your article. And your writing helped me see and better understand issues going on there.

Ian Brown
Via e-mail

New Fans
Poor service: Kudos to you on your review ("Dying on the Vine," Cafe, Stephen Lemons, January 22)! I agree with you 100 percent. During my first and only visit to Ken Cheuvront's establishment during a First Friday, I found the service to be dreadful. Sitting on one of the couches with a friend of mine, who is a personal friend of Ken's, and whose father is a retired state legislator, we had to ask to be served, only to receive the service with hesitation. On top of that, we had to chase down the check and wait further upon our request for the check. Living downtown, I desperately want this establishment to be successful. I will try Ken's place again, but at this point, I prefer Postino's.

Kurt Kuebler
Phoenix

Frightful experience: Great review! When I moved here seven years ago from Washington, D.C., I was frightened by the lack of places to go, as well as the lack of most to realize the cultural/gastronomic hole they were in. I criticized the homemade pizza place we waited two hours to get into, to be excessively charged and badly treated (Pizzeria Bianco), but quickly realized that since I moved here by myself in this company of Midwestern strangers, I'd best keep my opinions to myself and wait patiently for Phoenix to ever so slowly evolve. I haven't even read a review in the past few years, I've just tagged along to places with my local friends to the "hippest" new places. I stumbled upon your column by accident and will make it a regular thing. Thanks!

Carla Darby
Phoenix

Brain Pans
Just normal kids: Your article on IB elitism was not only misinformed and poorly written, it was downright offensive ("Brainiacs," Jimmy Magahern, January 15). The IB program at the school I attend is made up of mostly regular and above-average students who were forced into the program by their parents. A lot of these students do homework far more than five hours a day and many of them are depressed and suicidal. To characterize them as brainy and elite who are always having a good, albeit dorky, time, is not correct because most of them don't even want to be in the program and are normal kids but feel they need to because of their parents or pushy counselors. There are the occasional brainy mean kids, but they make up such a small portion of the program it's usually unnoticed. Next time you write an article about the evils of IB, focus more on how the program is bad and not the students. We are just normal kids trying to fit into the hardships of high school.

Mike Druckman
Boulder, Colorado

The "in" crowd: I just finished reading your article on the International Baccalaureate program. I am a graduate of the North High IB program and I had a few thoughts on your writing. I feel you did not honestly give a good representation of the program. So many of the students who are enrolled in the program are not "brainiacs" but hard workers who wish to achieve a higher education. Many of the students could not afford college (such as myself) without the program giving them the opportunity for scholarships or tuition waivers. If you did more research, you would have found that in last year's graduating class, the star quarterback of the football team was IB, the first chairs in band were IB, as well as the fastest swimmers, best volleyball players, soccer, track, baseball, softball and artists. IB students are the most diverse crowd on campus. The International Baccalaureate program is one of the best programs public schools have to offer. There is no reason an article should be printed about elitism. I am sorry if you were not allowed the chance to be in a program of such a high regard, but please do not take that out on everyone who does.

Marin Andrews
Via e-mail

Junior achievement: What a shame that in today's world, when we are all concerned with underachieving kids and schools, New Times would publish an article that is written in a childish and petulant manner that denigrates children who are engaged, active, involved and are trying to do what is right. The tone of the article is childish and mean, calling these children names like "geek" and making fun of their appearance and interests. The sad intent of the article seems to be not only to make fun of students who want to do well in school, but to cause divisiveness among various groups on campuses. The use of racial stereotyping in the article was especially repugnant.

Why does New Times not celebrate the hard work and achievements of these children and write about all the community service they do and how involved they are at their schools? I guess that wouldn't be the kind of article that sells "personal ads."

Pat Wright
Phoenix

Learning what matters: I graduated from the IB program at North High 10 years ago. I found your recent article about the IB program both curious and disappointing that time has not helped to change the culture. Although we weren't as cruel as the current IB students profiled in your article, the divisions and prejudices you highlight were just as prevalent a decade ago as they appear to be today.

The reasons behind this strange culture can be explained using simple math. The administration, both at the school level and the district level, has long supported the separation of the IB students from the general population because the investment pays off. The IB students show up for class, which results in daily attendance dollars from the state. They also perform well on standardized tests, which keeps the school's overall average score much higher. Invest in a sure thing, right?

Why are students from the general population not permitted to attend college fairs, only the IB kids? It's not that IB kids have higher goals, but that someone told them that college was an option and supported them in their efforts. The truth is that most parents, educators and community members have given up on "those" kids by the time they reach high school. It is time that IB students step up to the plate and start acting like the leaders they hope to become.

In IB, it is still cool to learn, discuss your studies, and be smart. In general, American high school education has failed in making learning "cool." Idealistic, maybe, but Astrid can succeed, too, if given the opportunity. She may not have attended the best schools and may have to work much harder, but she can go to college, too. So I say to the IB kids, don't you dare take for granted the chance you have before you and how much hard work it took to get you there. There are others who have to work much harder.

The teachers in the IB program are rare gems -- Paul Lowes, Marilyn Buehler (retired), Michael Cady and Suellen Brahs (retired), just to name a few. They are shining examples of what educators can be. Learn all you can from them, but know there are some lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom. That is where "those people" can teach the IB kids a lesson or two. We all have different experiences, and those experiences have value. At my 10-year reunion, I had a chance to see people I knew and some I never knew. Rosie Garcia was not in the IB program, but I spent all four years in IB. She is now the mother of three young children. My little boy is 10 months old. I went to both undergraduate and graduate school, but in the end, I am no better at being a mom and wife than Rosie. We love our kids. Someday, these students will learn what really matters . . . and it isn't anything they learned in high school.

Tiffany (Powell) Huisman

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