Letters

Letters from the week of March 10, 2005

What does your article mean about the soul of the person who wrote it and of those who published it, if it turns out that Father Fushek is wholly exonerated? What if Father Fushek is a totally innocent man? We can only hope, for the soul of writer Robert Nelson, that he personally is absolutely convinced of Father Fushek's guilt. If he has any personal doubts, then he is guilty of a capital case of character assassination.
Daniel C. Wood, Tempe

Passing the hell-bound baton: Robert Nelson, who wrote the article, and Mark Poutenis, who inked the very clever cover illustration, are in for a hellish ride for daring to uncover the accusations against Monsignor Dale Fushek.

I know. As a political columnist (and make no mistake, much church activity is political), I questioned the actions of vicar-general Fushek back in June of 2003.

Lord of Mercy, I might as well have called Mother Teresa a wanton woman for all the vicious hate mail and threats to my safety that ensued! Good luck to you both. And thanks for the long-overdue expos.

The amazing thing is that some followers will defend their guilty clergy all the way to hell. The cover design was brilliantly shocking.
Becky Fenger, columnist, East Valley Tribune

She Said, She Said

Don't give them ideas: The cover of New Times certainly caught my attention recently, and not in a favorable way. The cover shows a beauty queen with a knife protruding in dramatic fashion from her back ("Drop Dead, Gorgeous," Sarah Fenske, February 17). Although I fully comprehend the intended message, I find it horrendous that you would contribute in any manner to a visualization depicting violence against women.

Your publication is prominently displayed on the streets of our cities and in or near business establishments. There are many who will fully digest the intended meaning of this particular graphic. There are also those who will not, those who will take the thought one step further.

One in five women is a victim of domestic violence; for that matter, one in three men is a victim, as well. Nowhere do we need in any manner to contribute to the notion that violence against anyone is acceptable.
Billie K. Fidlin, Glendale

Good news is no news: I am writing in response to the article "Drop Dead, Gorgeous." As a former Miss Arizona, I was disappointed to see that it takes a scandal -- if this can rightly be called that -- for our program to make front-page news.

I competed in the Miss America system for four years, culminating in my year as Miss Arizona in 2002. In that position, I had the unique privilege of working with our state pageant's executive director Monica Rich.

Sandwiched in time as I was between the two young ladies profiled in the feature, I was flabbergasted to read the unsupported allegations about Ms. Rich. Why is it that I held the same job in roughly the same time period, working with the same executive director, and yet have such a different experience?

I received all that was promised to me in my contract, as well as tangible and intangible benefits (generous scholarships, limitless leadership opportunities, media exposure and speaking engagements) too numerous to recount. In all of our personal and professional interactions, I found Ms. Rich to be fair, capable and generous to a fault. Monica shared with me her friendship and kindness without bounds.

Had New Times chosen to embrace the positive aspects of this program instead of the unfortunate (and still, to me, inexplicable) experiences of these two young women, it would discover physicians, attorneys, artists and entrepreneurs whose educations and careers were jump-started by their participation in this scholarship program.

Instead, we have two tragedies. One involves the two women who earned an enviable job and valuable scholarship dollars yet have bitter memories. The other is that this story may dissuade deserving contestants from seeking their share of the $40 million in scholarships that the Miss America program makes available each year.

I would encourage journalists to feature the selfless community service and achievements of Katherine Kennedy, Miss Arizona for 2004. As a tireless advocate for victims of domestic violence, I'm sure she can relate stories more compelling, more socially relevant and certainly more deserving of a cover story than the reflections of past pageant winners.
Laura Lawless, via the Internet

Regime change: Great article on the Miss Arizona system. Talk about a well-intentioned program in shambles under corrupt leadership! You guys are the best at exposing the corruption -- keep up the good work and get that woman [Monica Rich] fired!
Hannah Boucher, via the Internet

Role model needed: In this day and age, when society is so wanting for positive examples for our youth, I find it deplorable that Monica Rich hasn't yet been removed from her position with the Miss Arizona contest. After reading "Drop Dead, Gorgeous," I think this is yet another example of the unfortunate abdication of ethics and responsible supervision. Those girls deserve better!
Arlene Moord, Kalamazoo, Michigan

She's fired: I can't believe the insensitivity and hatred that this Monica character expressed toward Corrie Hill and the other contestants! Good grief!

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