When the tough get going: Fantastic article ("Murderball," Susy Buchanan, February 28)! These guys are great! Anyone with half as much body function and twice as much ambition is 10 times the man I will ever be. I had no idea that this sport was growing so fast!
Stephen T. Hutchison
Questionable tactics: I find it necessary to respond to the column written by Kristi H. Dempsey titled "On Thin Ice" (February 28).
New Times is known to be a very credible newspaper that ensures its facts are correct. Ms. Dempsey writes: "Keen observers may have noticed that [Alan] Kaufman actually made hand signals to [Ned] O'Hearn and [Tom] Silverman, who in turn questioned the motion."
This could not be further from the truth. I questioned the motion because I felt it was too one-sided -- not because of supposed hand signals from the audience. The motion needed to be fair to both proposals so they could be judged on their own merits by our consultants.
Ms. Dempsey also states: "O'Hearn and Silverman were not immediately available for comment." Ms. Dempsey called me on Tuesday, February 26, at 12:02 p.m. I called her back within one hour. She said it was probably too late for my comments to be printed but would try to include them. I believe she called me knowing it was too late for my comments to be included in her column.
New Times should be above this kind of reporting.
Scottsdale City Councilman
Unfair play: Your "hit piece" on George Zraket shows that you retain your characteristic flair for the unreal and dramatic. That part about the "hand signals" from Alan Kaufman was precious. That inspiration must have come from a football movie. The way it works, however, is the guy getting the signals is supposed to know they're coming, look toward the person sending the hand signals, and pay attention to them. Unfortunately for your "story" -- that's just what it is -- O'Hearn and Silverman weren't watching Mr. Kaufman, and wouldn't have cared.
Of course, you were under "a tight deadline" and couldn't wait for me to return your call and spoil the story. You also couldn't wait for Tom Silverman to return your call and spoil your story. I suspect you knew that the strategy to discredit us wouldn't hold up under scrutiny.
"Fierce competitors" -- as you characterize yourself -- should play by the rules.
Scottsdale City Councilman
Squaw Peak Squawk
Support your local public art: I enjoyed your update on the status of the Squaw Peak Freeway pots ("Squaw Peak Potfalls," Spiked, February 21) and share your hope that they can be preserved. But I have to object to your lament that "worse, the money went to an out-of-state artist." The fact that this project was opened to artists across the nation is a great thing, a sign that whoever conducted this was looking for the best art possible, not just the best local art. If every state limited such projects to locals, it would mean that Arizona artists would no longer be able to compete for public works projects in other states, that each state would remain limited, provincial art fiefdoms, and, given human nature, that local in-group politics would inevitably decide who gets which arts job. There was much outcry about the cost of this project, but given that it includes more than 30 separate installations, in terms of public art, the freeway pots gave incredible "bang for the buck."
As you mentioned, the Smithsonian Institution has recognized the significance of this art. If the Squaw Peak pots are preserved, it's possible the Valley's citizens will eventually "get it" as the city grows in sophistication and taste and learn to appreciate them, too. What's the alternative to such challenging art? Another bronze statue of a cowboy or Native American for pigeons to perch on?
Give us more pots: Sure, the Squaw Peak pots were ridiculed. Phoenicians weren't used to such whimsy. But, if I recall correctly, much of the money spent on the artwork turned out to be from some type of federal art endowment rather than Arizonans, and people settled down and began to cozy up to the pots. Now, the current problem: The only thing people hate more than spending a lot of money on something they were not asked about is letting the initial investment go to waste by tossing the subject items. No wonder. The Phoenix Art Museum doesn't spend tens of thousands of dollars on a canvas, then decide it no longer fits the newly remodeled wall it's on, and throw it away! I have a solution: Bring the pots down where motorists can appreciate them (and be less distracted by rubbernecking) by mounting them on attractive shelf supports along the walls, just above the foliage (what's left of it). Simple. Where there's a will, there 's a way.
Name withheld by request
Legal action: We all know that this is a prosecutor's cow town with a rodeo clown Joe to boot ("The Advocate," Paul Rubin, February 21). If the prosecutors think they're more sophisticated, they're wrong. "Public pretenders" cozy up and collude with judges and prosecutors all the time.
Thank God for a good man like Mr. Ulises Ferragut. The thing is they expected him to bow his head like a "good Latino." It's not enough to disenfranchise millions of Latinos. The mindset in this town is: How dare one Latino stand up, whether it be an old woman or a young man? It takes a lot of "Ferra Gut" -- a hell of a lot of courage.
Smoke screen: Have you ever looked at aging private ambulance paramedics? They are in a lot worse shape than the Rural/Metro firefighters ("Burned," Amy Silverman, February 14). I work for the Gila River Indian Community and even here our fire department and our police department both have a nice retirement. But the emergency medics have nothing. At least Rural/Metro firefighters have some sort of a retirement, and they are paid a lot better than us. I just wonder why people are always fixated on firefighters and not the whole picture.
Waste of space: Boy, did you get sucked in by the Phoenix boys on this one ("Public Waste," John W. Allman, February 14). The Buckeye site is all they ever wanted. They played us in Anthem like a fiddle, and it worked. Now we're the bad guys and the cool Phoenix dudes look like victims, plus they got exactly what they wanted. So it goes in love and politics.
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Disposable income: As a new owner of an old Phoenix home, I resent the fact that a single person who requires trash and recycling pickups only a quarter as often as family households still must pay the same monthly fee. This involuntary subsidy is all the more insulting because I work to reduce my volume of disposables by having my name removed from junk mail lists; composting yard and kitchen waste; and reusing packaging, plastic bags, paper towels, etc., until they fall apart.
Now that the Skunk Creek landfill is reaching capacity and Phoenix residents are facing sharp increases in waste disposal costs, perhaps the city will take this opportunity to put in place a rational fee structure. Charging residents by the volume of trash and recycling collected, as measured by the number of monthly pickups, would create an incentive to reduce waste. It would also be fair.
To Linda Pollick, who moved here from Seattle to Anthem "to get away from that kind of environmental crap," I would point out that we all bring our crap with us wherever we go. To paraphrase her neighbors' concerns about the thwarted landfill site, their own presence in Anthem contributes to increased traffic on I-17, noise, pollution and the adverse effect that runaway development has on the quality of life in the Valley. How rude!