Letters From the Issue of Thursday, October 13, 2005

Dead Man Talking

Questions aplenty: I've got a theory as to why city of Phoenix CFO Kevin Keogh killed himself by jumping off the top of his moving Mercedes: He wanted to check out, sure, but he also wanted to make sure his death would draw the attention of a guy like John Dougherty ("The Mystery Deepens," September 29). That way, somebody would look into the big development deals that the likes of Assistant City Manager Sheryl Sculley are spearheading.

Or, in Sculley's case, I should say werespearheading. I find it very interesting that Sculley is leaving Phoenix city government to go to San Antonio's, not only on the heels of Keogh's untimely end, but after she has been in charge of all the big downtown development Phoenix is planning. (For the uninitiated around here, Sculley's been the real power behind the city manager's office, not City Manager Frank Fairbanks.)

I don't know what is going on behind the scenes, but it's curious that Keogh would kill himself in the manner he did. That's why, at first -- until I thought about it -- I was prepared to believe the Mexican parasite idea (though I have never heard of anybody getting such a brain parasite from eating Mexican food).

So Dougherty's theory that it's got to have something to do with his work rings true.

It's possibly telling that Keogh wrote in his work calendar that he had a meeting with the city's outside auditor to discuss "fraud inquiries." Also, why did the convention hotel deal go from $300 million to $350 million? That's a big difference for the City Council to just approve without explanation! This could have been to cover cost overruns, but why wasn't the feasibility study that the city says was conducted ever turned over to Dougherty? That is, why wasn't it made public? Does it even exist?

The hotel deal has smelled from the get-go.

First, downtown hardly needs another hotel to stand vacant, one that is built using taxpayer funds. Second, the city apparently violated Proposition 200 in approving the deal without taking it to voters. Dougherty has mentioned this in two columns now (also "Stick It To 'Em," July 8, 2004), and I've yet to see Mayor Phil Gordon offer up an explanation for how this possibly could've been legal. Why the hell is it that Phil -- first among a list of city officials who wouldn't talk to New Times about Keogh -- always seems to be burying his head in the sand?
Anton Carpenter, Phoenix

If it quacks like a fish: What an incredible mystery story on Kevin Keogh! What a way to go, if you just wanted to commit suicide because of job stress! Better to put a bullet in your brain, or swallow too many sleeping pills, than jump off a car heading down Camelback in Scottsdale.

That's why I don't entirely buy the job-stress angle, without more explanation. There must have been something else going on with him. You'd have to be crazy to do what he did; I'm surprised that he didn't wind up a quadriplegic instead of dead.

Please keep digging on this, because, if Keogh's death did have something to do with his job, there must have been some fraud going on somewhere. That convention hotel deal has always seemed fishy.
J.R. Sanchez, Phoenix

No Place Like Homo

You figured us out: Is your publication's sole existence to promote homosexuality? I find it very depressing that your magazine couldn't recommend a shoe store for ladies in "Best of Phoenix 2005" without proclaiming, "it's so hip to be gay" ("Best Place to Buy Clogs," The Shwagg: Goods and Services, September 29).

Also, two weeks after promoting Jen Sincero's book The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping With Chicks ("The Vagina Dialogues," Sarah Fenske, September 15), you give your two cents on the "Best Way For Straight Women To Hook Up With Lesbians" item in the Best Of issue (Sin City: Megalopolitan Life).

I have one question for your staff, as well as for Jen Sincero: Did the definition of "straight" change, or are you just trying to make females think homosexual behavior is normal and reassure them that they're straight?
Name withheld by request

"Sprawling" was the first word that came to our mind, too:Thanks from the bottom of my heart for finally recognizing in New Times that gays are a big part of this metropolitan area!

It seemed in the years since writer Dewey Webb disappeared from your pages that gays simply didn't exist in the Phoenix area that your publication covered. This year has been an exception.

We in the gay community were gratified to see a plethora of "Best of Phoenix 2005" items about our sprawling culture.
Sonya Milner, Phoenix

Next time we'll spell it out: I recently read with some disappointment your Best Of listings for 2005. I noticed a "Best Gay Bar" and "Best Lesbian Bar" entry, but instead of a "Best Trans Bar" entry, I saw instead a "Best Place To Meet a Tranny" entry.

The term "tranny" is somewhat derogatory. Plus, I found myself wondering why a publication that I'd come to respect held so closely to the commonly destructive stereotypes that make life for the average trans person that much more difficult.

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