Letters From the Issue of Thursday, August 16, 2007


A real "no-brainer": Regarding buses . . . Let's see, who were those other contractors bidding on the contracts ("Taken for a (Bus) Ride," Sarah Fenske, August 9)? Where were the quotes from those contractors who felt "cheated" that they did not get the contract?

The mayor did this because he got a $3,200 contribution from the company?

Question: Why doesn't New Times donate $3,200 to the mayor if you think his vote is for sale? I'm sure you can come up with a way to study something for the city that would entitle NT to at least a $1 million contract.

And I suppose you know from personal experience how bad the bus system is? How many of your friends, acquaintances, and/or work associates use the bus as their main source of commuting?

How long did it take to write this "no-brainer" article?? Was this one of your slow-news-week file stories? How come I always have to wash my hands after reading NT? Must be the ink.
Robby Katz, Phoenix


Please give us a real park: Good call on downtown ("The Big Cheesy," Sarah Fenske, August 2). What kind of qualifications do you need to be a city planner in Phoenix? I'm guessing if you hosted a couple of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey parties, you'd meet the minimum requirements.

I can't tell you how many times I've had friends or family visit and they ask, "What's there to do downtown?"

Ahh, nothing. Oh wait, I did take my dad to the Heard Museum one time. I made sure to point out the CVS across the street before hopping back on the highway and heading home. We were short on time, so Dad didn't get to watch the pharmacist fill a prescription. Maybe next time, Pops.

And for this being a conservative state, somebody in Phoenix found a very liberal definition of "park" when they threw all those bricks into Patriots Square. Other cities have real parks. San Diego has Balboa Park. New York has Central Park. Boston has The Commons. Couldn't the powers that be just hire a golf course developer and just leave out the holes?

Other cities have reinvented their downtowns (e.g., San Diego, Providence, Rhode Island). Why can't Phoenix? Maybe someday, huh?
Mark Snyders, Avondale

Lory is a qualified dude: Get a grip, Sarah, before touting that the only qualification Bozo's opponent [Steve Lory] has is that he's a nightclub owner. It's an insult to the only qualified candidate. He's also an attorney who was born and raised in Phoenix. He has correctly articulated the problems with the corruption in City Hall.

He's brought up the fact that Phil Gordon gave two developers $222 million dollars for our so called "downtown development." And the fact that crime has increased during the Gordon's reign.
Glenn Haney, Phoenix

Everybody into Phils pocket: The mayor is horrible. I never voted for him, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why people still vote for him and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Our dear, loving mayor kicked mom-and-pop store owners out of their places of business so he could watch young girls walk to his new pride and joy, ASU downtown.

Then he has a ginormous campaign fund. Look, if any politician can raise 500 percent over their normal campaign funding, then that means he has made some pretty big promises to pretty big businesses. In my opinion, that makes him a closet crook.

Another reason why he sucks: Maryvale (Phoenix's worst neighborhood, according to some) has no streetlights. Yup, you wonder why people are getting shot, raped, and why the elderly get lost. During the serial shootings, still there were no streetlights.

When was the last time the mayor asked the residents of Phoenix for your opinion on a development project? His brilliant idea: ASU was gonna save downtown. Are you flippin' serious?!
Name withheld by request


Not all of us are rednecks: Let me just say up front that ignorant, racist, bigoted rednecks do not represent the majority of Phoenix voters who have been supporting the propositions the radio team on El Break has been trying to encourage listeners to fight ("!Viva Radio!" Megan Irwin, August 2).

I am a weekly reader of your paper and I really don't appreciate the shallow, hollow argument that illegals and New Times, including columnist Stephen Lemons, have represented over the past months: That on one side are brown people and, on the other, are ignorant white people who hate brown people. That is total crap!

The facts are really simple: We have laws that govern immigration. For far too long, employers and big businesses have been getting away with murder when it comes to wages, benefits, and employment practices. That is the real issue. It's about exploitation of illegal aliens in the name of a bigger bang for employers' bucks.

Add the well-known fact that we're a right-to-work state, and now you've got the whole picture. This is not about Hispanic people, or hatred of them. This is about violators of laws already on the books. It's about employers (both commercial and private) and illegal aliens.

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Mike Meyer
Mike Meyer

Before you print another 911 "conspriacy" hit piece, perhaps you should talk to this former NIST employee about what he thinks of the WTC NIST Report. Is he also some looney?

Or talk to this list of over 180 other engineers and architects who question the official investigation into the events of 9/11, please visit http://PatriotsQuestion911.com

Full link here, text below


James Quintiere, Ph.D., former Chief of the Fire Science Division of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has called for an independent review of NIST�s investigation into the collapses of the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11.

Dr. Quintiere made his plea during his presentation, �Questions on the WTC Investigations� at the 2007 World Fire Safety Conference. �I wish that there would be a peer review of this,� he said, referring to the NIST investigation. �I think all the records that NIST has assembled should be archived. I would really like to see someone else take a look at what they�ve done; both structurally and from a fire point of view.�

�I think the official conclusion that NIST arrived at is questionable,� explained Dr. Quintiere. �Let's look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of the collapse of the World Trade Towers and how that relates to the official cause and what's the significance of one cause versus another.�

Dr. Quintiere, one of the world�s leading fire science researchers and safety engineers, also encouraged his audience of fellow researchers and engineers to scientifically re-examine the WTC collapses. �I hope to convince you to perhaps become 'Conspiracy Theorists', but in a proper way,� he said.

In his hour-long presentation, Dr. Quintiere discussed many elements of NIST�s investigation that he found problematic. He emphasized, �In every investigation I�ve taken part in, the key has been to establish a timeline. And the timeline is established by witness accounts, by information from alarm systems, by any video that you might have of the event, and then by calculations. And you try to put all of this together. And if your calculations are consistent with some of these hard facts, then perhaps you can have some comfort in the results of your calculations. I have not seen a timeline placed in the NIST report.�

Dr. Quintiere also expressed his frustration at NIST�s failure to provide a report on the third skyscraper that collapsed on 9/11, World Trade Center Building 7. �And that building was not hit by anything,� noted Dr. Quintiere. �It�s more important to take a look at that. Maybe there was damage by the debris falling down that played a significant role. But other than that you had fires burning a long time without fire department intervention. And firefighters were in that building. I have yet to see any kind of story about what they saw. What was burning? Were photographs taken? Nothing!�

World Trade Center Building 7 was 610 feet tall, 47 stories, and would have been the tallest building in 33 states. Although it was not hit by an airplane on 9/11, it completely collapsed into a pile of rubble in less than 8 seconds at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11. In the 6 years since 9/11, NIST has failed to provide any explanation for the collapse. In addition to NIST�s failure to provide an explanation, absolutely no mention of Building 7�s collapse appears in the 9/11 Commission's "full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks." [To watch a video of the collapse, click here http://www.whatreallyhappened.... ]

Dr. Quintiere said he originally �had high hopes� that NIST would do a good job with the investigation. �They�re the central government lab for fire. There are good people there and they can do a good job. But what I also thought they would do is to enlist the service of the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives], which has an investigation force and a laboratory of their own for fire. And I thought they would put people out on the street and get gumshoe-type information. What prevented all of this? I think it�s the legal structure that cloaks the Commerce Department and therefore NIST. And so, instead of lawyers as if they were acting on a civil case trying to get depositions and information subpoenaed, those lawyers did the opposite and blocked everything.�

In his presentation, Dr. Quintiere also criticized NIST�s repeated failures to formally respond to serious questions raised about its conclusions regarding the WTC building collapses and the process it employed to arrive at those conclusions. �I sat through all of the NIST hearings. I went to all of their advisory board meetings, as an observer. I made comments at all.�

Responding to a comment from a NIST representative in the audience, Dr. Quintiere said, �I found that throughout your whole investigation it was very difficult to get a clear answer. And when anyone went to your advisory panel meetings or hearings, where they were given five minutes to make a statement; they could never ask any questions. And with all the commentary that I put in, and I spent many hours writing things, and it would bore people if I regurgitated all of that here, I never received one formal reply.�

Although Dr. Quintiere was strongly critical of NIST�s conclusions and its investigatory process, he made it clear he was not a supporter of theories that the Twin Towers were brought down by pre-planted explosives. �If you go to World Trade Center One, nine minutes before its collapse, there was a line of smoke that puffed out. This is one of the basis of the �conspiracy theories� that says the smoke puffing out all around the building is due to somebody setting off an explosive charge. Well, I think, more likely, it�s one of the floors falling down.�

Dr. Quintiere summarized the NIST conclusion about the cause of the collapses of the Twin Towers. �It says that the core columns, uninsulated due to the fact that the aircraft stripped off that insulation; they softened in the heat of the fire and shortened and that led to the collapse. They pulled in the external columns and it caused it to buckle. They went on further to say that there would be no collapse if the insulation remained in place.�

Dr. Quintiere then presented his and his students� research that contradicts the NIST report and points to a different cause for the collapses; the application of insufficient fire-proofing insulation on the truss rods in the Twin Towers. �I suggest that there�s an equally justifiable theory and that�s the trusses fail as they are heated by the fire with the insulation intact. These are two different conclusions and the accountability for each is dramatically different,� he said.

Dr. Quintiere�s presentation at the World Fire Safety Conference echoed his earlier statement to the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Science, on October 26, 2005, during a hearing on �The Investigation of the World Trade Center Collapse: Findings, Recommendations, and Next Steps�, at which he stated:

�In my opinion, the WTC investigation by NIST falls short of expectations by not definitively finding cause, by not sufficiently linking recommendations of specificity to cause, by not fully invoking all of their authority to seek facts in the investigation, and by the guidance of government lawyers to deter rather than develop fact finding.

"I have over 35 years of fire research in my experience. I worked in the fire program at NIST for 19 years, leaving as a division chief. I have been at the University of Maryland since. I am a founding member and past-Chair of the International Association for Fire Safety Science�the principal world forum for fire research. ...

"All of these have been submitted to NIST, but never acknowledged or answered. I will list some of these.

1. Why is not the design process of assigning fire protection to the WTC towers fully called out for fault? ...

2. Why were not alternative collapse hypotheses investigated and discussed as NIST had stated repeatedly that they would do? ...

3. Spoliation of a fire scene is a basis for destroying a legal case in an investigation. Most of the steel was discarded, although the key elements of the core steel were demographically labeled. A careful reading of the NIST report shows that they have no evidence that the temperatures they predict as necessary for failure are corroborated by findings of the little steel debris they have. Why hasn't NIST declared that this spoliation of the steel was a gross error?

4. NIST used computer models that they said have never been used in such an application before and are the state of the art. For this they should be commended for their skill. But the validation of these modeling results is in question. Others have computed aspects with different conclusions on the cause mechanism of the collapse. Moreover, it is common in fire investigation to compute a time-line and compare it to known events. NIST has not done that.

5. Testing by NIST has been inconclusive. Although they have done fire tests of the scale of several work stations, a replicate test of at least & [sic] of a WTC floor would have been of considerable value. Why was this not done? ...

6. The critical collapse of WTC 7 is relegated to a secondary role, as its findings will not be complete for yet another year. It was clear at the last NIST Advisory Panel meeting in September [2005] that this date may not be realistic, as NIST has not demonstrated progress here. Why has NIST dragged on this important investigation?"

[The full text of Dr. Quintiere�s statement to the Science Committee can be found at http://commdocs.house.gov/comm... ]

Dr. Quintiere is one of the world�s leading fire science researchers and safety engineers. He served in the Fire Science and Engineering Division of NIST for 19 years and rose to the position of Chief of the Division. He left NIST in 1990 to join the faculty of the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland, where he still serves.

Quintiere is a founding member and Past Chair of the International Association for Fire Safety Science (IAFSS). He is also a Fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineering and a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to fire science research and engineering, including:

� The Department of Commerce Bronze Medal (1976) and Silver Medal (1982)

� The Howard W. Emmons Lecture Award from the IAFSS in 1986

� The Sj� Award in 2002 for outstanding contribution to the science of fire safety by the International Forum of Fire Research Directors, NIST

� The 2006 Guise Medal by the National Fire Protection Association

His presentation �Questions on the WTC Investigations� was given twice at the 2007 World Fire Safety Conference; Education Session M21 on June 4 (69 minutes) and Spotlight Session T54 on June 5 (102 minutes). Recordings of the presentations can be purchased from the National Fire Protection Association at http://www.fleetwoodonsite.com...

For a list of over 180 other engineers and architects who question the official investigation into the events of 9/11, please visit http://PatriotsQuestion911.com

Chris Long
Chris Long

Left PHX some time back but can see things are the same.

You don't need "professional planners" to make a park,just a competent Civil Engineer.

Most still don't get it: once a park is built, they can'tfigure out how to make money off it, so it will evolveinto a megaplex with all sorts of paid attractions.

You do not need a developer, either, just a contractor anda C.E.

The developer-mentality in PHX is like a cancer...

Louis Roundtree
Louis Roundtree

Health Care is as an essential service as Police or Fire protection. A Single payer system would serve to take the for-profit motive out of the health care mix and keep the government at a distance for medical decisions, and administration. As long as you have a company invested in not spending the money collected on your behalf, or a high level of bureaucracy the system will not work.I read your plan and it certainly has merit and would be better than we have now. However, what if you could cut premiums to $100 a month, regardless of family size, and eliminate co-pays and deductibles? It is possible and could be done in a single fiscal cycle. The worst estimates I have read regarding creating a Federal Single Payer program state $900 Billion would be needed to cover 300 million Americans. $3000 per capita in health care costs, if you remove insurance company profit and non-administrative overhead, such as CEO salary and bonuses, from current per capita costs this is a generous amount. Now it becomes a question of how to fund for $900 Billion to cover 100% of the citizens and legal residents of the United states without asking for additional money from the people. If, instead of the health insurance some are paying for now, roughly $200-500 per month, everyone who works puts in 5% of their pre-tax income with a cap of $100 per month. This would result in a significant DECREASE in what people are spending as individuals on health care currently. With approximately 150 million workers, that comes to $15 billion a month and $180 billion a year to start with for funding. Employers are paying 5 to 8 times what individuals pay in premiums so their burden can be cut down to 4 times what their employees pay in at the new rate, saving them roughly half of what they are paying now. This investment adds another $60 billion a month and an additional $720 billion a year, so between workers and employers we have our $900 Billion, no co-pays, no deductibles, dental and vision included. Medicare is currently funded at just over $300 billion dollars, and should be included in this budget, so there would be over $1 TRILLION A YEAR available to cover every man, woman, and child for their medical needs. This does not include the VA medical budget, Prison medical budgets, nor any other medical program already funded by Federal and State dollars, all those programs could be phased out and/or their budgets absorbed by this program, so the true available funding would be much higher. Everyone pays less a month for health insurance, the health care industry knows it is going to get paid in a timely fashion with predictable fees, so costs can be negotiated down. This would be a single payer system, that every doctor and health care facility would be required to accept. No government run hospitals for civilians and VA patients can be seen at any facility that can handle their needs. We could use an established negotiated payment scale that large insurance companies use to set initial rates for the Doctors services, since those already appear to be acceptable to them for covered services. If an insurance company was going to cover any percentage of a procedure, it would be covered, no pre-authorization required. "experimental" procedures or extreme procedures for life saving measures could be reviewed on a case by case basis with the focus on the patients well-being and quality of life. Hospitals or health care workers found abusing or defrauding the system could be fined, lose their authorization to be paid by the system, lose their medical license, and be prosecuted at the federal level. Additional insurance coverage could still be offered by insurance companies for those that want it and wish to pay extra for it. Any health insurance adjuster will tell you 80% of the people covered will use less than $1000 in coverage a year, this is how insurance companies make their profit. Make sure that every medical facility and professional is required to take the insurance, and that vision and dental are included, and instead of trying to squeeze as many dollars into a profit margin as possible, you try to use as many dollars to provide care and then you have a National Single payer plan that can be successful. The key is eliminating an opportunity to increase profit by denying medical claims. In regard to undocumented residents. This plan would be for those living legally in this country. Those who are undocumented and come seeking medical treatment will be treated and stabilized but would also be detained and deported as soon as they are fit to travel. It is already nearly a standard practice to have a police officer present in most ERs, and signs could be posted regarding the policy. While it may seem harsh, the restriction must exist otherwise it would be another incentive for illegal entry into the country at the cost of the tax payer. Strict enforcement would be incentive to enter legally or attain legal status. So we have more money in the economy through a reduction of medical costs, more jobs (health care would need to expand), a free market to push for low wait times and quality of care, where was the downside again? A politician would be against this this why? It is not a European system, or even a socialized system as actual health care would still be provided by the private sector. This would be an American system. Do we want to keep paying into plans to companies whose best interest is served by not paying claims for what reason? A man killed his wife recently because there was nothing left to pay her medical costs after the insurance ran out: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20297388. Such a thing should not have been allowed to occur. It is unconscionable that when we are at our most vulnerable physically, we are also put in jeopardy financially. Offer a tax credit for seeing your Doctor twice a year. Small businesses can get tax credits for paying into the coverage. This can work. This is about saving lives. Increasing productivity through fewer sick days. Having a national database for health care issues to work from. A medical budget readily available for large scale disasters. Treatment for drug addiction and mental disorders. This is about saving lives and improving the state of health in this country. I cannot think of any better way to "promote the general welfare" I know what I have laid out here may not be perfect, but I believe it to be better than what is in place now. This is a single fiscal-year change-over. Administration would be minimal, a form with listed covered procedures, the doctors fill it out, submit it with a patient number so confidentiality is maintained. A check is issued. In some cases this could be done in a paperless manner. A database can be built and used to track trends and look for red flags o costs or health issues. If you ask Americans if they would like 60% of the dollars spent on health insurance to be directly used to provide medical care, or if they would prefer that 85% of those dollars used to provide medical care, I think the answer would be fairly obvious. If the insurance lobby is worried about losing profit, they can start opening hospitals with top notch service in an urban areas and promote good health; more patients- more $$!

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