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Good Cops, Bad Cops?

Man Down

Children should be seen and not heard: I have a hard time believing that something like this can go on in America ("Lost Hope," Amy Silverman, August 22)! This is disgraceful. Paul Hewitson's daughter should be put in jail, but not before she pays him all the money she spent of his. She certainly didn't do what she did to him out of love and she should not get away with it. Surely there is a lawyer out there who could help him get his money and his dignity back.

Christine Tighe
Via e-mail

Rotten deal: The poor soul has been railroaded. Money must be at the bottom of it. I wonder how much the daughter got from the sale of Paul Hewitson's assets. Methinks she's crooked scum and so are the rest of the cabal keeping him locked up.

Marc V. Ridenour
Show Low

Race Card

Police complaint: I was very disappointed in the content of your "Walking While Black" column (Robert Nelson, August 8). Our media relations unit provided you with the documentation you asked for, yet you made only scant reference to it. In e-mail exchanged with one of our public information officers, he offered to discuss the case with you when you came to pick up the reports, or allow you time to read them before discussing issues. You opted not to interview him, saying, "How about I read them first," which clearly implies you would interview him afterward. Yet he never received any further communication from you, verbal or otherwise. Although you quoted David James and Ginger Mattox, you afforded us no opportunity to present the police department's side.

David James was stopped because he was using an alley as a thoroughfare, violating a city code. Secondly, two houses on that block were known drug houses, whose customers used the alley to come and go when buying drugs. The officers had reasonable suspicion to stop and question Mr. James and determine if he was involved in criminal activity. Investigative detentions are a lawful tool that police officers use every day, throughout the nation. Citizens are not allowed to use force against officers to avoid such a stop, whether they agree with the basis for the officer's suspicions. If they do, officers are allowed to use a reasonable amount of force to detain them. Mr. James' injuries are unfortunate, but occurred during his commission of a crime, as he was trying to escape the lawful detention of two police officers.

You mentioned that county prosecutors turned down charges against James, as if the officer's allegations were baseless. In truth, county prosecutors only turned down the felony charge of aggravated assault on a police officer, finding that James' actions more accurately constituted the crime of resisting arrest. The city attorney did file a criminal complaint on that charge, but you neglected to inform your readers of that.

I don't expect you to give credibility to only the police version of an incident. I understand that as a journalist, your code of ethics requires you to give the same validity to Mr. James' version of events as you do to the police version. Yet that same code of ethics states that deliberate distortion is never permissible and requires you to provide an opportunity to those accused of wrongdoing to respond.

Your bias in the coverage of this story is blatantly apparent. You present as fact and give credibility to only the statements of Mr. James and his advocates, but provide shallow details of the officers' accounts, and then dismiss them, without cause, as untrue. If you questioned these accounts, why not give the police department the opportunity to respond, as you said you would?

Quite simply, your reporting of this incident was unfair, biased, and fell short of living up to your own profession's code of ethics. You failed to seek the entire truth and to provide your readers a comprehensive account of this event. Certainly, there are varying descriptions of what took place. That is a common situation for a journalist to face, but most do so while maintaining their credibility -- their integrity -- with thoroughness, objectivity and balance. They adhere to a professional code of conduct which is the standard throughout the industry. Except, it would appear, at New Times.

Commander Andy Anderson
Public Affairs Bureau
Phoenix Police Department

Campaign Crisis

Wrong direction: Robert Nelson's assessment of the Democratic gubernatorial race ("Goober-natorial," August 29) was well-written and pretty much on target. It does appear that the Dems are intent on pinning their hopes on Janet Napolitano. I agree with Nelson that Napolitano is a lame candidate at best.

I disagree that Alfredo Gutierrez deserves to be the Democratic nominee going into the November general election. I consider myself one of the undecided Democrats entering the September 10 primary. I do know I won't vote for Napolitano. However, as much as Nelson would like me to see Gutierrez as the best choice, I see too many question marks about the former lawmaker.  

Although he has been out of the Legislature for more than a decade, Alfredo Gutierrez is hardly an outsider. He continues to serve as a lobbyist and a strong union supporter in a state clearly devoted to remaining a "right to work" state. Gutierrez brags about his past record and his successes as a lobbyist, but seems unable to garner the support from unions such as AFSCME, which has endorsed Napolitano.

Nelson ignores other Democratic candidates, including Tucson's Mark Osterloh. In fairness to Osterloh and Mike Newcomb, Nelson should have at least mentioned them in his column instead of pinning his hopes solely on the shoulders of Gutierrez. He and Gutierrez are likely to be very disappointed on the morning after the primary.

Glen Chern
Phoenix

Waste Paper

All the news that's not fit to print: We were out of town and just returned to your very insightful Arizona Republic spiking ("Republic goes to paper hell," August 15). How true! Since Gannett took over, the Republic has become one of the most useless rags we have ever read. We have been subscribers for years and can't believe how far downhill the paper has gone. New Times carries much more in-depth reporting, and it's free.

In addition, Channel 12 has become so redundant with the same news (and owner) that we only watch it at 10:18 p.m. for the weather.

The USA Weekend insert is without merit. The former Parade insert was full of goodies; now we are relegated to reading only the Frame Game once a week (for 10 seconds) at the back of the Weekend.

To add insult to injury, Clay Thompson was moved to page two of the Local section from the back page, vertical column. Often overlooked, hard to find, hard to read.

Ever try to subscribe? Rates are all over the place, so we annually need to switch to the "weekender" deal for a month, then resubscribe through a "grocery store agent" to get the best savings -- plus a grocery certificate.

Keep up the good work, New Times, and The Spike. The Republic may not change, but there is a good chance we will -- to the East Valley Tribune.

Name withheld by request

Republic reviled: I have lived in 18 different states and have been exposed to many big-city newspapers. Now, after 16 years in Arizona, I can say without reservation that the Arizona Republic is the worst of the lot and an embarrassment for a great state newspaper. Since Gannett purchased and started gutting it last year to improve its bottom line, it has reached the bottom of the birdcage where it belongs. Consequently, we did something we always wanted to do: We stopped subscribing to it last February. If more people did, their advertising base would shrink and Gannett would have to sell it or change it.

They could start by getting rid of all the people in the executive offices along with the entire editorial staff. What I remember most about the Republic is its front pages. Mostly, a third of the space was taken up with a picture of some poor homeless soul needing help of some kind. What a way to start the news every day. After the firings, they could begin bringing back all the columns they eliminated and, yes, even comics taken out since last summer, all to help the bottom line of an out-of-state owner. Arizona deserves a better newspaper, dammit!

I hope New Times continues to get on the Republic's ass, because we need a good large state local. We subscribed to the Scottsdale Tribune, which is an East Valley compromise, but better than the Repugnant.

Bill Bliss
Carefree

Delivery problem: Re: The Republic (Letters, August 22). Ann Adams made a lot of sense. "Inside edition," by name withheld, was relatively intelligent for a Republic employee. "Big stink" by name withheld made sense, too. "No, you guys suck," from David Jones, reminded me why I call it SNOTSdale! David should just stay in SNOTSdale with his head so far up his ass that the only person he has to worry about besides himself is Mayor Stinkwater.

"Funny pages" by name withheld hit home also.

"A not-so-fine mess" by name withheld was a very accurate summation of quite a few of my thoughts and feelings also.  

In summary, I must say that I found the entire issue very entertaining and enlightening. I thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to reading more of your great reporting in the future. I must admit, however, that even though I did cancel my subscription to the Republic about six weeks ago, I do still go down to the corner Food City and buy the Republic on Sundays in order to get grocery coupons. I usually throw away at least three-quarters of it before I even look at any of the remainder. I always read New Times every week, from front to back page.

Print my name or withhold it, I really don't care.
Dean A. Wimer
Glendale

Presidential Debate

Organ grinder: Robrt L. Pela, in his interview with Arizona State University president Michael Crow ("The Head Devil," Speakeasy, August 22), expressed some amazement that ASU offered a music program in organ performance. Many universities in the United States offer instructional programs in organ; the National Association of Schools of Music has accredited 134 undergraduate programs, 54 master's programs and 33 doctoral programs.

Our program -- which is one of the best -- offers all three levels and began in the 1950s, so it predates the organ installed in Gammage Auditorium in 1965. The new Fritts Organ on campus -- it is a pipe organ --was installed in 1991.

There are some 40 pipe organs in the Valley, and many more electronic organs. Our former students preside over these instruments at several churches, and all of our current American organ students are employed locally. And our annual series of organ performances plays to overflow audiences. This academic year, that series ends on March 23 with a performance by ASU professor of organ Dr. Kimberly Marshall. I'll invite Mr. Pela to attend with me.

J. Robert Wills
Arizona State University
Tempe

Fish Story

Much ado about activists: Once again we hear the cry of activist groups on an issue they apparently know very little about. As you stated in your Cafe review ("For Beta or Worse," Carey Sweet, August 22), betas in captivity live their lives in small bowls, plastic cups or, at the very most, quart jars. These fish breathe pure air and do not receive oxygen from the water. The small bowls Cabo used for these fish were very likely much larger than any other container they had been kept in.

One major point you did not mention is that these fish are solitary fish that will fight to the death with any other fish of their species in the same container. Even when these fish breed, the male only tolerates the female long enough to squeeze the eggs from her and place them in his bubble nest. Once that has been completed, the male will kill the female if she is left in the container with him. Betas are lethargic and do not fare well in community fish tanks with any amount of water movement and are usually victimized by the other fish. The common trade name for these fish is Siamese Fighting Fish because of their aggressive nature against each other. I would have enjoyed seeing one of these beautiful fish in a bowl at my table at Cabo.

Lynn Cain
Phoenix

Music Man

Good marks for Marc: I want to thank you for your wonderful article on Marc Anthony and his most devoted fans ("Americano Idol," Jimmy Magahern, August 8). Since I happen to be one of those fans, I was so very proud and honored on how wonderful you spoke about our "salsa-singing god." Which he is. Once again, thanks.

Elizabeth Videla
Via e-mail

Critic Crunch

Misreading the signs: I recently saw the movie Signs, which your reviewer, along with many others, gave a thumbs up ,a href="/issues/2002-08-01/film.html/1/index.html">("Signs of Faith," Robert Wilonsky, August 1). Far from striking me as "wondrous," I came away with the realization that I had again misspent my movie money on an overhyped, formula-scripted Hollywood razzle-dazzler. Perhaps I wasn't paying enough attention (those brain-banging special effects do tend to distract me), but I failed to grasp anything beyond the aliens-are-here-and-they're-the-nasty-kind theme. Despite the real footage of indeed wondrous UFO formations over Mexico City and philosophical ruminations about the possibly benign intent of some ETs, the film is just one more "thrills, spills and chills" piece of schlock (à la Independence Day) in what is sure to be an ongoing series of such.

Many serious and credentialed researchers, such as Linda Moulton Howe, Michael Glick and Colin Andrews, point out the sublime artistry and essentially uplifting nature of crop formations, as well as the amazing phenomenon associated with their creation which was not touched upon in the spooky sensationalism of Signs.  

As pure metaphysical suspense, The Mothman Prophecies is a far superior film.

A. Wayne Senzee
Phoenix

All God's Creatures

Catholic comfort: I recently read your column on the Mark Kennedy story ("The Pain of Publicity," Robert Nelson, August 22) and I was truly moved. I was molested by my grandfather when I was 6 years old. While the molestation was brought into the open, he was never really reprimanded for what he did to me. My family, for the most part, denied that it happened. He died a year and a half later, and I think that not being able to confront him on this is something that's kept me from healing from it.

In June I made the decision to get baptized Catholic. I have been asked by many how I can consider doing this with all of the controversy around the Catholic church right now, and most of these people don't even know my story. What I've found to be true is that the church, my faith and God are perfect -- it's some of the representatives that are not. My personal point of view is that it is not just the Catholic priests who are child molesters. They come in all shapes and sizes.

When it happened to me, there were two other children in the room, and for nearly 20 years I was so angry with God that He let it happen to me. Through my faith I have come to be thankful that it happened to me because it spared the other children the pain and shame that I have had to live with. I know that God gave me the strength to be able to deal with this and it has made me a stronger person.

I hope that Mark Kennedy realizes the strength that it takes to live with something horrible like this and I wish him all the best of luck. I will be praying for his healing and for continued strength to deal with this.

Name withheld by request

Touching tale: I just finished reading your column about Mark Kennedy, and have only now begun to dry my eyes. I don't know how to get ahold of Mark, or if he would even care to hear from a stranger, but if you do talk to him, please let him know how courageous I believe he is for making his past public.

While it is painful to recall, it brings things forward for many people, including myself, and thus further healing can take place. I thank you, also, for your reporting that is bringing this to light.

Joanne Littlefield
Phoenix

Drug Talk

Getting a grip on steroids: Thank you so much for what seems to me a model of good reporting ("'Roid Warrior," Robert Nelson, August 15). It is so refreshing to see someone write honestly about something they don't approve of, or at least didn't when the story started.

For what it's worth, I really believe the only issue with respect to athletic use of steroids is full disclosure if competition is involved. It doesn't seem fair for someone to compete against a steroid user, unless the non-user goes in knowing the situation. Maybe if someone cares, there could start to be separate arenas for natural and chemically enhanced competition.

I'm one of the nuts who is outraged by the idea of people going to jail for sticking chemicals in their bodies. It is irrelevant if the chemicals hurt the people taking them. It is only a legal matter when someone hurts or endangers someone else -- whether the perpetrator is high.

Finally, having gotten some idea of the hysteria surrounding steroid use, don't you wonder about where the facts are on the whole "War on Drugs"?

Peter Cole
Healdsburg, California


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