Enough with the text-messaging: I always appreciate Robrt L. Pela's honest reviews. I've been a theater director and teacher since 1962 in the Valley and I become especially enraged when audience members disrupt. Your depiction of the young girl [in the audience] is so true today — text-messaging has become an addiction and is destroying conversation, listening and effective communication among all ages, but mostly with students ("Gone South," July 17).
A psychiatrist friend of mine told me about a husband and wife who text-message each other in bed at night. Come on now, there must be something better to do?
I thank you for your South Pacific experience. I've directed the show twice, and it is not a favorite — although I did enjoy the script changes made in the Glenn Close TV version.
Oh, yes, a few years ago I was fortunate to see Dame Judith Dench in London, and when a boob talked on his cell phone, Dench stopped the show by saying directly to him: "You finish up, and then we'll continue!"
Jim Newcomer, Phoenix
Might be time to dump the loser already: Text-messaging has become a cancer on our existence! I don't get it. Why can't people (mostly young people) just talk on their phones, or e-mail on their computers/laptops? I guess "texting" is quieter in, say, a movie theater than actually gabbing on the phone (I've heard people, and not just teenagers, do this routinely), but it's still annoying.
People who discover texting suddenly become obsessed with it. They fall in love with their phones! My boyfriend used to be a great conversationalist, but now, whenever I try to have a heart-to-heart with him, all he does is read and send text messages, while saying to me: "What was that that you just said? Or, "Unh, huh."
I want to grab his fucking phone and throw it in the pool.
As for your experience at South Pacific, however, the young girl may have done you a favor by giving you something to do. Getting annoyed at a hot honey was probably much better than watching another rendition of this horrible chestnut.
T.A. Grabowski, Scottsdale
Bravo to Robrt: I wanted to compliment you on your South Pacific, um, review. I'm guessing the entertainment from the audience member was more entertaining than the show — unfortunately for the show. The way you interspersed tidbits about the show into the front-row twit's drama was hysterical. Bravo!
Jeff Riddle, via the Internet
Public education is at stake: Lawyer Don Peters was right in Sarah Fenske's column ("The Kids Are All Right," July 7): If voucher proponents want to be angry with anyone, they should be angry at the Legislature for setting up this unconstitutional program to begin with.
The Arizona Constitution holds: "No tax shall be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any church, or private or sectarian school, or any public service corporation."
It's pretty clear that the Legislature can't fund vouchers for private schools. This is the proverbial camel's nose under the tent, and the fate of public education is at stake.
Gern Blinstin, Phoenix
It's the GOP that's wasting money: So Sarah Fenske thinks the Republicans are the stalwart champions of disabled children's rights?! Forgive me; I threw up in my mouth at that sad howler!
My nephew's profoundly disabled, and because of the Republicans' dismal lack of interest in his welfare (and all disabled children), my sister had to move to liberal, Democratic Massachusetts for him to get the schooling and rehabilitation he required. At least until Mitt Romney gutted the funding!
Don't attack hard-working Democrats like Janet Napolitano because they won't support right-wing efforts to force school vouchers down the voters' throats on the backs of these unfortunate children. It's Republican legislators like Jim Weiers and Karen Johnson who are shameless in using these children to further their own agendas.
What's Sarah Fenske smoking [to make her think] that the Republicans have the right idea? They're the ones wasting voters' money on a corrosive and unnecessary anti-gay amendment that was already defeated by the majority of Arizona voters. Think of what purposes all that money could [achieve] for disadvantaged children.
After the Hugh Hallman love-fest she wrote ("Revenge of the Nerd," July 3), I thought Fenske was sadly misinformed, but now I think she's some kind of mole who's infiltrated New Times from the GOP National Committee (or at least the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth)!
N.V. Cohen, Tempe
It's no one's fault!: Thank you for recognizing that not every child is going to be able to thrive in a public school. Sure. it would be easier if they did, but we're glad there are options!
Well, there were options. Now, we parents are scrambling like crazy to try to find money in this economy. All the parents I know are breaking their backs working overtime and trying to find ways to support their kids who happen to need specialized education.
It's not their fault if the public schools can't give them what they need. It's no one's fault, but it sure would be nice to have some help.
Thank you for bringing awareness regarding the state tax credit. You're right; many people don't know about it. At least no one has taken that away!
No love here for prosecutors: Sarah Fenske's story about Jacob Ritter-Clark unveils a sad outrage ("Deaf Justice," July 10). How can this be allowed to go on in this county? I mean, don't the Mesa cops and Maricopa County prosecutors have real criminals to arrest and prosecute? This is infuriating!
Here this kid stops to call for emergency assistance, and what does he get for his trouble? Charges that could very well get him sent to prison for 7½ years.
What's wrong with County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office? Where's the decency? Are prosecutors so consumed with winning at all costs that they will ruin the life of a young man who not only didn't do anything wrong but who did the exemplary thing?
I'll answer this one for you: Many county prosecutors would sell their mothers into slavery to get a conviction. It's not in their nature to consider facts that don't help them win, win, win! That wouldn't further their little careers. Human compassion and devotion to the truth be damned in their stinking world!
Zack Johnson, Phoenix
The wicked and the piss-poor: This is truly an outrage. I've personally known Jacob Ritter-Clark since he was 5 years old. You would never meet a more well-rounded, down-to-earth, family-oriented young man. The County Attorney's Office has some extremely odd agenda in trying to make an example out of Jacob, as if he were some gun-totin' speed racer.
This poor kid is a hard-working husband, with a toddler on the way, who did the right thing. If the same situation were to arise while I drive home, I wouldn't stop to save the life of a drunken gang-banger.
I applaud New Times and Ms. Fenske for giving Jacob a voice. With a wicked County Attorney's Office and a piss-poor Public Defender's Office, Jacob didn't stand a chance! With the right people to help, we may be able to save Jacob from a life of misery.
Jim McCartney, Mesa
It is just like the Wild West: Oh, my God, this is an outrageous catastrophe! It sounds like something from Wild West days.
I believe human and civil rights have been compromised here. The American judicial system is broken, but it is really broken in Maricopa County.
If America doesn't start sounding off against all the injustices in this country, we'll have no excuse for letting public officials act like terrorists. Next, they'll be taking names and sending us to gas chambers.
Irene Rickett, Ward, Colorado
Fact-challenged?! Look in the mirror, "Tyler": So let me see if I read this right: Ms. Fenske seems to feel that Mr. Ritter-Clark is being railroaded by the judicial system.
She ignores the fact that the police usually don't waste time assigning blame to the not guilty, that Ritter-Clark had a tricked-out Toyota Corolla that could probably do 150 miles per hour. He very likely was guilty of drag racing, and another person suffered very real, very serious injuries.
And then the defendant has the audacity to blame the Public Defender's Office because attorney Matthew Smiley (who had just been assigned the case very recently) didn't call him back. I'm sure that this 20-something has been mollycoddled all his life by his very liberal parents and is now being given a very hard lesson in the realities of personal responsibility.
This article made my blood boil. First, it's apparent that Sarah Fenske was sold a major bill of goods about Ritter-Clark. I cannot believe the editors of New Times let this article make it to print, let alone the Internet.
Meanwhile, a very decent attorney is not given any recourse, and I am sure when all the facts are finally put out, this rag will print a very small apology on the same page where they run the advertisements for adult entertainment. (Editor's note: Actually, we put a tiny correction on the Feedback page in the July 24 edition.)
Tyler Durden, Tucson
"Susan," consider moving to North Korea: Well, speaking as a totally neutral person with no vested interest in this case. I think the reporter didn't do a very good job in her research. I think the reporter is totally biased toward this kind of pathetic-looking 20-year-old, and she just decided to make the facts fit her story.
Meanwhile, Ritter-Clark had better get used to spending some time in jail. Too bad we live in a country where they say you're innocent 'til proven guilty. And not vice versa.
Susan Smith, Phoenix
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Sarah's on the spot: For the past eight months, I've followed the intricacies of this case, and I find Ms. Fenske's report truthful and compelling.
If anyone with any integrity reviews the police report, interviews, and other findings, he or she would understand that Jacob Ritter-Clark did not cause the accident. He was merely a driving bystander who graciously stopped to call for emergency rescue. He saved a life!
Jason Coffield, Surprise
Chase some real criminals for a change: I read the article, and I think Ritter-Clark is being railroaded. I think authorities should go after real criminals. Jacob is no threat to society, but if he is convicted of a felony, his life will be ruined.
Dolly Weller, Shelbyville
Perhaps there is such a thing as a stupid question: This is an extremely sad example of the criminal justice system in Arizona. However, it is not unusual in Mesa. Officers investigate with preconceived ideas and ask trick questions, such as to Ritter-Clark: "Have you been to the racetrack?" As if the answer to that proves anything.
John Stewart, Phoenix