Letters

Letters from the week of March 11, 2004

 The Need for Speed
The fast and the corrected: I would like to correct some misinformation contained in the article "The Fast and the Frustrated" (Jimmy Magahern, March 4).

It was reported that Superior Racing Development performed "the high horsepower engine swap and the installation of the nitrous kit" on Michael Esquer's car that crashed into and tragically killed Mr. Donald Bratcher of Chandler. Although Michael has been a customer at our Tempe shop, SRD did not sell or install the motor swap or nitrous kit in Michael's car.

SRD does routinely perform motor swaps as well as general and custom aftermarket work on cars, which increases performance and horsepower. As always, customers are encouraged to take their cars to the local tracks where racing is monitored for safety and performance is documented with a time slip. SRD will continue to sponsor, promote and participate in racing at the local tracks and events rather than on local streets.

Michael Maggiore
Superior Racing Development/
TeamSRD Racing

More outlets for racing: I just read your article on street racing and must say I'm a little pissed off. First of all, a lot of your information is very misleading, and I happen to know for a fact that some of it is downright false. For instance, you went along with all the other media when saying the accident Michael Esquer was involved in was directly related to street racing, but it wasn't. Another thing, with all the talk of drag racing and giving young people an avenue to alleviate their "need for speed," you forgot some other crucial organizations that cater to this crowd on a different level: road racing. There are several local road racing organizations that offer, for a fee, the opportunity to take your car on a real racetrack and learn to control it at speed. The downside is, however, the fact that while people are crying for a way to get kids off the street, they're in turn eliminating avenues for this to happen. Arizona Motorsports Park, which is located in Litchfield Park, was shut down just over a month ago. The topic could be argued forever, but the fact is, if Phoenix wants to get kids and adults off the street, more outlets need to be created or allowed to exist that will facilitate that. Why don't you do some investigative reporting on that?

Name withheld by request

Lots of streets, no waiting: This article is a complete warp on street racing.

First off, the entire city makes a big deal of these accidents yet doesn't even give a hoot when Arizona Motorsports Park closes down, which was the biggest and safest place for this stuff to go down. And you wonder why the spike in street racing occurred? Why not reflect on that aspect? Oh, because people will agree with it and realize that all this extra street racing is partially our own fault for not making outlets for our youth. No one wants to wait at Firebird three hours to race once, so they hit the streets. DUH!

I want my 15 minutes back from reading this article. I felt like puking.

Name withheld by request

Political Climate
The lies exposed: There's an old saying about politicians: "Anyone who goes into politics as a business has no business going into politics." John Dougherty's column"Dangerous Duo" (March 4), about elected politician Mark Thompson and his wife, an appointed politician, proves the truth of this saying. What greed! What self-serving! What kind of unthinking constituency elected him? What kind of laws do we have that we cannot force this corrupt board member out of office? Thank you, John Dougherty, for exposing the lies and conflicts of interest of this duo.

Beverly Terry
Tempe

Christ Almighty
Picky, picky: The review of The Passion of the Christ movie in your February 26 issue ("Suffer Unto Mel," Robert Wilonsky), like other reviews, ignored the fact that the events depicted could not have occurred as described, because: (1) Jews obeyed the Exodus 12:22 commandment not to leave their house after the Passover meal; therefore, no Jews would have been available to seize Jesus, who also would not have left the house where he had the Passover meal; (2) Jews did not hold trials during Passover week, so no priests or other Jews would have been available to question Jesus; (3) Jews and others would have wanted to befriend someone who could heal the sick and raise the dead; (4) Jesus did not violate Jewish law by calling himself the Son of God, but he did commit a capital crime under Roman law by calling himself a king without Roman authorization; (5) the Romans did not release a prisoner during Passover, and Pilate did not have the authority to release someone (Barabbas) accused of sedition; (6) Pilate, who had massacred thousands of Jews and looted the temple, did not meet or speak with Jews and did not comply with their demands; (7) if Jesus had appeared before Pilate and Pilate considered him to be innocent, he would have freed him, but he could not free anyone claiming to be a king; (8) the gospel accounts are contradicted by Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts; (9) there is no historical evidence to support any of the contradictory gospel stories.

John Monkton
Phoenix

The Pit of Hell
Phoenix's own Bob Guccione: Upon a recent trip to Phoenix, I picked up a copy of New Times to see what was happening in the area. I happened upon the article by Stephen Lemons titled "Freaknik Flossin'" (Inferno, February 26). Wow, was I blown away! I can't believe he can get away with writing about the things he described. It seemed like something out of Penthouse magazine. I definitely would not want my wife to read it, but it sure stirred my curiosity. However, this is not the type of journalism that should be allowed in a public forum which minors might get hold of. What would your (or Mr. Lemons') mother have to say about such trash? Who gives you the right to publish this kind of filth for the general public to read? Someone should pull your plug!

Ralph Lassiter
Little Rock, Arkansas

Racist Rebukes
We all have struggles: "The New Racism" article was a little disturbing (Paul Kix, February 26). I can't seem to understand where the racism is coming into play. Just because they would not let the group perform didn't have to do with the color of their skin. According to the article, not all the members were black. And the gentleman, Michael Mack, whose son didn't make the basketball team wasn't because he was black, maybe he just wasn't very good. I get upset being a white with just as many struggles as anyone else. But some blacks of today just want to segregate themselves. They want a black student union. Show me the white student union. Why is it always the whites being racist? The blacks just do it to themselves. So quit whining, quit blaming everyone else and learn to look past the color of your own skin.

Charles Huber
Via e-mail

Can't we all just get along?: I am a freshman currently enrolled at Millennium High School. The article written accusing Millennium of being racist was completely out of line. To start things off, the Impact club should not be allowed to perform to a song that has the word "hell" in it. No other club is allowed to, and it's against school policy, so why should the rules be bent for one club? The dance line performed to the song "Born to Be Wild." How is that in any way even remotely similar to the rap and R&B songs the Impact club wanted to perform to?

I am a manager for the boys' basketball team. I can honestly say that Tim Butler is in no way racist. Have you seen our varsity basketball team? Two or three starters every game are black, and more than half the team is black! Whoever said that no black kids made the JV team was wrong. This whole argument was just some parent who was mad because his kid didn't make the team.

Millennium teaches about many diverse cultures and backgrounds. All of these problems and accusations were blown completely out of proportion. If you took a look inside the day of a student at Millennium, you wouldn't see racism, you would see students of different races getting along, and being friends. If you ask me, parents are the problem. They are the ones who build hate.

Amy Wong
Via e-mail

Neither "new," nor improved: I am a 2003 graduate of Millennium High School, and currently attend ASU as a computer science major. I have seen and experienced racism, both blatant and "new" (it isn't new; people are just noticing it more), as I am multi-ethnic (Indian, Peruvian, Native American). I was born and originally raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the melting pot is certainly more pronounced.

Arizona has a long way to go before it will reach that level of integration. I don't even feel bad about saying Arizona is fairly rife with racism, whether at stores, on the street, or at one of the largest universities in the world. But I can say that Millennium was a place where I generally didn't experience that.

I met some of the greatest people I have ever met in my life at Millennium, staff and students. People -- not white people, black people, brown people -- just people. I learned that at Millennium.

Racism has changed in our country. It isn't nearly as blatant as it used to be. It wouldn't allow our society to function. Rather, it has migrated to our thoughts, feelings and acts. We do little things that we don't notice, and when others do, we don't understand how they do, and get angry. Racism has become so institutionalized that some of us have grown complacent, and don't wish to fight anymore. Even if there is not a real problem, the fact that people feel that way proves that there is work to be done. Instead of ignoring it and calling it sensationalism, why can't there be a summit, where feelings can be expressed? Use it as an opportunity to grow. Apathy and perpetuating the myth of racism being extinct are as harmful as racism itself.

Robert Srinivasiah
Tempe

Reverse racism: I had to laugh at this black man who is yelling "racism" because his own kid didn't make the basketball team "because he's black." I laughed out loud at that one!

Then this idiot claims the school doesn't have a "black student union," which would, of course, exclude all other races from joining! Talk about racist, this guy is a walking definition of it, just with a different skin coloration.

Then finally, he yells racism because the school doesn't devote every minute of the month of February to "black history." Why not spend time on "Hispanic history" and "Anglo history" and "Asian history"? Why is this guy so racist that he demands only one version of history be taught?

Sometimes I wonder if the old racist plantation owners died and came back as some of these super-racist black people who base everything on the color of skin they were born into.

Lawrence Pearse
Black Canyon City

Tempe Town Wake
Election follies: I'd like to thank New Times for running John Dougherty's recent exposé on Tempe mayoral candidate Hugh Hallman ("The Mouth That Should've Roared," February 26). Even though I lived in Tempe a few years ago, the extent of Hallman's inconsistencies was unknown. Jeez, for a while there, I thought I was reading about Scottsdale's city council follies!

Seriously, the people of Tempe ought to do themselves a favor and vote for Dennis Cahill. "At least we know what to expect" from a "popular and easygoing retired owner of a masonry company." Good thing, too. Maybe there needs to be some rebuilding of Hallman's governance abilities.

Scott Hume
Phoenix

A facilitative leader: John Dougherty, when you're done bashing downtown Phoenix, why don't you come spend some time with Tempeans to get our views on Valley leadership? Do you really think that DPP and PCA are the only sources of problems in how our metro region is being developed? Do you think the influence of the Phoenix 40 stops at the municipal borders? Do you really think one junior, "outsider" councilman is going to go up against that machine on his own in his first years of office?

Please! Dennis Cahill is a wonderful man who is intelligent in many ways, yet his good-natured attempts to please everyone are not what we need for leadership right now -- collaborative or otherwise. Hugh Hallman may not be the warm and fuzzy type (especially when he feels marginalized), but he can be a facilitative leader when it's called for. Please don't write sarcastically -- vote for the person who we at least know will be a developer's puppet -- just because you can't come out and support the other candidate. Many people don't get the nuances.

Like I said, John, come talk to some Tempeans for a change!

Margaret Stout
Tempe

Face the Music
It's people who make it happen: I read with great interest the recent article regarding the state of the Phoenix live music scene ("Phoenix Falling," Brendan Joel Kelley, February 19). Although the article was slanted more toward the venues that cater to a younger generation, I think it mirrors what I see, as a 50-year-old live music fan. I have always preferred the intensity of a good live performance. During the last 10 months, I have become a regular at the Sunday night jam sessions at the VFW Hall at 16th Street and Jackson in Phoenix. I have seen many first-rate pro musicians and singers there. The hall seats about 125 comfortably. Some Sundays it is near capacity, but it's sad to sometimes see musicians playing to a half-full (or less than half-full) room. It's even worse to hear that the promoters (Carolyn Clark and Tony Collins) have to sometimes pay the musicians out of their own pocket on the lean nights. They promote these shows out of their love for live music and not to gain a huge profit (as I'm sure is the case for Kimber Lanning). I don't understand how the music fans in a city the size of Phoenix cannot support the existing music scene no matter what type of music, let alone not support a once-a-week jam session that has a $5 admission. The folks at the VFW are not alone in their pursuit to provide the best jazz, blues and R&B in town. One would think that all the other jam sessions around the Valley could easily be supported by the music fans here in the Valley.

Kimber Lanning's words are so true: "People think that a music scene is something that's given to you." It's the musicians, fans and promoters who really make it happen.

Tom Valenzuela
Mesa

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