By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
The Miss America organization, with which the Miss Arizona Pageant is affiliated, is a nonprofit organization that (through local pageants -- Miss Gilbert, Miss Tempe, Miss Scottsdale, Miss Ocotillo) presents young women (ages 18-24) with scholarship money to further their education.
Local pageant directors and state staff are unpaid volunteers who dedicate their time to raising money to produce these pageants, put scholarship money in the hands of young women, and offer direction, companionship and mentoring to them as they proceed to the Miss Arizona Pageant and to the Miss America Pageant.
As for Monica Rich, I challenge anyone to do as she did and volunteer as an unpaid staff member, who must use her evenings and weekends traveling endless miles, staying in cheap, often desolate hotel rooms and spending their own money to do it -- all in an effort to make an organization in financial decline still appear to be worthy.
For most of us, winning isn't everything. For some overzealous pageant parents and their spoiled offspring, not only is winning everything (Corrie Hill attempted five times to win the Miss Arizona Pageant), it is the only thing. Please, ladies, get over yourselves!
Doug Esteves, Tempe
Trivial pursuit: I can't believe you devoted an entire cover story to such poor little spoiled brats who got fucked over in a beauty pageant!
I remember when New Times wouldn't give a damn about such a trivial thing as a beauty contest. I'm talking about the good ol' days. I love it when you kick Outlaw Joe or Jerry Colangelo, or when that crazy man Michael Lacey goes on a rant! Give me more rants!
But a gossip story about beauty queens? Please! So you find out there's backbiting and other crap behind the scenes? Does anybody really care, except the people involved?
The Miss America Pageant has been a joke since before Bert Parks stopped emceeing. It ain't news, brothers and sisters, that any of this is going on! It's what we expect to happen. Bad movies starring actresses like Sandra Bullock have been made about it. Yeah, the deal is all fixed, but who the hell cares?
John Birdwell, via the Internet
Miss managed: I can't believe the Miss America organization refuses to investigate the Arizona organization's problems. It's making the Miss America program, as well as other pageant programs, look bad. This kind of publicity can't help the recruiting of new participants.
As a prior Miss America contestant, I would've been disappointed to have been treated in the manner described in your article. I never had a problem receiving my scholarship money. I was always treated like a queen by the directors of the program.
If the Arizona directors and staff refuse to be interviewed, I wonder what they are trying to hide. If they firmly believe they are in the right, why don't they want the public to hear their side of the story? Also, why were they unwilling to meet with directors and scholarship winners when problems did arise?
It is sad that the financial status of the Miss America program is so grim. Maybe it's because of severe mismanagement. If it were the corporate world, a change of leadership would be made by the company.
DeAnn Simonich, Roseville, California
Fife and Dumb Corps
The muck stops here: I just read "I Could Just Slap Him" (Michael Lacey, February 17), and I had to write to say a big thank you!
I moved here four years ago, so some of this is new to me; I really appreciate your giving so much detail.
New Times seems to be the only publication in Phoenix where we can find this type of information. I'm not only talking about this column, but about stories related to Sheriff Joe and Colorado City. Keep up the great work, and I'll keep reading.
Steve Sullivan, Mesa
Hit piece: Okay, call [him] an easy target, but the Fife piece was, well, sweet. No clutter, no kidney punches. All the blows scored points. Oh, and nice picture [of Symington in stripes with the column].
During the 24 years I held elective office in Arizona, I watched eight governors come and go. Fife was neither the smartest nor the dumbest, but he had the highest venality quotient, if measured by arrogance, contempt and ruthlessness.
Best of all, Michael Lacey's essence-capturing portrait of the pardoned colluder didn't improve Fife's poll numbers: 70 percent Napolitano to Fife's 14 percent. I enjoy some days more than others.
Renz Jennings, former Arizona Corporation Commission chairman, Phoenix
Remembering a legacy: I had forgotten how wonderful New Times is, that it's the National Public Radio of news here in the Valley. So thank you so much for your column on Fife Symington -- that is, for making sure we never forget what Symington did to this great state of Arizona.
Name withheld by request
The devil we know: Hooray for Michael Lacey's column "I Could Just Slap Him" on the misdeeds of Fife Symington! In all of my days, I've never enjoyed such honest, direct-to-the-point journalism. It would behoove us all to sit up and listen when it comes to crooks like Symington.
Ron Gilbert, via the Internet