A Body of Work
Creature of habit: Now I know why I keep picking up a copy of New Times every week. Super writing job on "Remains of the Day" by David Holthouse (June 29). Paul Rubin's piece was also excellent, as was Flashes. No, I didn't buy any CNI stock, either. Keep up the good work.
Robert C. Sullivan
No accountability: Just finished Paul Rubin's excellent article on Nancy Elliston ("Checks & Imbalances," June 15). To put it mildly, a couple of the quotes cited in the story absolutely blew me away, and raised my blood pressure to unhealthful levels. The first, from Elliston's attorney, Craig Mehrens, stated, "We're hoping to resolve this with as little loss of dignity to Nancy as possible." Dignity? Dignity? Who gives a crap about her dignity? She forfeited any claim to that when she started cleaning out these helpless people. A news flash, Craig: Nobody talks about the "dignity" of some kid who just held up a Circle K. Guess what? She's worse, coming at her victims from a position of trust. Mehrens obviously got an "A" in Delusion 101, which I'm certain is now a required course in law schools.
The second quote was also a beaut. Former court commissioner Ken Reeves states, "But the idea that you just rob Peter to pay Paul, or pay yourself, is just shocking." Shocking that a human being, given almost unlimited and loosely monitored access to another person's money, would abuse that trust? Reeves would probably be "shocked" that a kid in a candy store would try to scarf some jelly beans out of one of the jars when no adult is within miles of the store. Unfortunately, his shit-for-brains mentality is probably only too typical of the bureaucrats who run this county operation.
A small suggestion from a humble citizen: Create a court-appointed ombudsman service that must co-sign every check written from these fiduciary accounts. I'm certain they could stop by each company once a week or so to review and sign a bundle of checks. Then, rotate these ombudsmen among the different fiduciary companies every six months or so, just to keep everyone on the up and up. Finally, "lend" Nancy a jail cell for at least as long as the kid who sticks up a Circle K. Oh, no, wait a minute. I forgot. Some thieves are "more" equal than others.
The White Stuff
Extremism no virtue: After reading John Sheehan's racist letter of June 15, I knew the proverbial fur would fly on this page. What is rather humorous is how ignorant the extreme left and extreme right paint themselves in their own words.
For example, James Bailey's letter (July 6) asserts that all Republicans are white racists. From personal experience, Mr. Bailey, you are as wrong as wrong could be. I worked at the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C., from 1983 through 1985. I personally worked with blacks, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, gays, lesbians, Koreans, unwed mothers, and yes, even white men. One of my co-workers was a black unwed mother, whose day job was working on the staff of, horror of horrors, Senator Jesse Helms. When people picked themselves off the floor and asked her how she could be a Republican and work for Jesse Helms, she would look them straight in the eye and say, "Because they pay better than Democrats!" Mr. Bailey, open your mind, put away the puka shell necklace, and come in out of the 1970s.
As far as A. Gene Kelso's racist letter (July 6) goes, all I have to say is, Mr. Kelso, learn some American history, quick. He spouts off about "white supremacy," then brings up two British scientists as his argument for his narrow views. What he fails to mention is this country has had great black American scientists like Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. These men and others gave great knowledge to us as a country and the world even when they couldn't vote or eat in restaurants because of the ingrained racism of 19th-century and early 20th-century America. If these two men, and other minority American scientists, can give great gifts to a nation that has traditionally held them back, imagine what they could give society if we had supported them, like those British men you trot out to support your racism.
Left or right, an extremist is just that, an extremist, and should be given just enough pen and paper to let the rest of society see how ignorant he is.
Bitter medicine: As a Valley emergency-department clinician, I would like to comment on the article "Critical Connection" (Amanda Scioscia, June 29) and some of the points it makes outright and others it implies.
First, I must speak up for the benefit of your readers' understanding of the "workup" Miss Gricelda Zamora received, as quoted in your article by lawyer Ben Miranda. I can almost assure you that the test referred to is a "complete blood count," not a test for "blood clot levels." Also called a CBC, this is often used to screen for the presence and severity of many different infectious diseases, including appendicitis. Second, it is absolutely routine to perform a pregnancy test on any woman with any of a variety of complaints from depression, nausea, weight gain, abdominal pain and others if she is between the ages of 10 and 60, whether she is a schoolkid, prostitute or nun. Ask any woman who has been pregnant about the changes that happen when there's a bun in the oven. Pregnancy is often the simplest way to explain certain symptoms, and one of the most embarrassing and catastrophic things to miss. It's got nothing to do with being Hispanic -- everybody does the wild thing, and will deceive their parents, their doctors and even themselves about the possibility of being pregnant.
But the part of your article that really burns me is the assertion that surmounting the language barrier is entirely the responsibility of the health-care institution. Our hospital (not mentioned in your article) has a Spanish-interpreter program that works very well. We are very grateful to each of our interpreters for the very reasons you mention: They help ensure the best possible chance of an accurate diagnosis, an effective treatment and the patient's understanding of the whole situation. The interpreters help, but is it really the responsibility of the medical community to take it upon ourselves to be yet more "consumer-friendly"? In the ER, we stay open all day and night the whole year; take any patients for any reason (the list of ridiculous complaints is a topic for a whole other article), independent of their ability to pay, regardless of whether they've been in every week for three years for the same problem; run all sorts of tests; and usually do a pretty good job of making people better.
Believe it or not, ERs don't exist to make money; they exist because society needs them. Consider an analogy in a purely capitalist situation: If Bob went into Bashas' every day penniless and asked the manager for a Snickers and a pack of Marlboros, within a few days they would tell him to eat shit and they would call the cops. This kind of thing happens in the ER; however, we give Bob the goods. At this rate, we'll be giving pedicures and golf tips at bedside. So if you have trouble in the ER or any situation because you don't speak English, learn English, and do it soon. Until then, at least try to bring along a bilingual friend or family member. If the ER has an interpreter, great, but if not, at least you're not totally in the dark. Speaking English is the hip, cool thing to do -- most people in the U.S. do it. I look forward to meeting you sometime outside the hospital, but if you happen to need us in the ER, I'll do my best to help.
He's just joking: Okay, can I have the attention of the class? Will the very angry and obviously gay New Times writer please sit down ("'F' Wordsmith," Andrew Miller, June 15)? It is sad when you have to use the problems with Eminem's lyrics to explain that you are mad about the way society treats gay people. Could you not come up with something just a little more offensive than Eminem calling out the Insane Clown Posse boys to embarrass them? Or a joke about Versace? Have you not noticed that Eminem discriminates against everybody? Why waste space writing about crap or rehashing the same story that everybody in every music and entertainment magazine is writing? As soon as everyone realizes that Eminem is more comedy than hatred, then maybe you will chill! This man makes fun of everything and everyone, just like Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Don Rickles and every other dirty comic; he just raps when he is talking shit!
I am guessing that the writer is not a rap music fan and that he probably doesn't relate to any of the positive messages in the background of Eminem's music because he is too busy breaking it down phrase by phrase, word by word. Maybe you should listen to it again and laugh at the jokes. This way you won't feel like the joke is on you.
House broken: I found Laura Laughlin's article "What's a Mother to Do?" (June 15) very interesting. It made me think of the ironic story of the gardener who has the worst-looking yard in town. None of us ever wants to admit that what we work so hard at outside of our home is often the one thing that continues to plague our personal lives. After reading Laughlin's article, it seems that this may very well have been what happened in Sophia Lopez-Espindola's case. As hard as she worked to prevent tragedy caused by gang violence from affecting others, she wasn't able to keep it from repeating itself in her own life. It really is unfortunate that Lopez-Espindola felt she needed to resign from a cause that she obviously feels so passionate about. The only way for change to occur is if each of us is persistent despite what may look like failure to others.
Trojan horse: The push for driver's licenses is part of the Mexican conquest of the Southwest ("Illegal Turn," Gilbert Garcia, June 8). If they get licenses, they will get amnesty. If they get amnesty, 10 million Mexicans will become U.S. citizens. If they become U.S. citizens, they can bring in their immediate families. They, too, will become U.S. citizens. That means 20 million, at least. Unless we stop and deport all illegal aliens, in 10 years Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas will come under the jurisdiction of Mexico.
Insurgency: The driver's license is a breeder document used by the illegal alien to obtain other documents and even to vote. If one is in favor of illegal immigration, then one should favor driver's licenses for the "undocumented." The insurance argument is just plain lame.
Exemplary: As a resident of Los Angeles who is often overwhelmed by news stories of every sort, how refreshing (if such a phrase can be used here) it was to read Kathleen Vanesian's piece ("Grave Undertaking," June 15). Though chilling, it was nonetheless compelling from word to word -- a mini-investigative report more than a review of filmmaking. This piece is worthy of an award itself. It is an example of how journalism should be.
Market share: This comment is only incidental to the article that deals with the film made by local people about the civil war in El Salvador. At the end of the article, reference is made to Emmanuel Levy, film critic. Levy is quoted to the effect that though the Valley may well be the sixth most populous place in the nation, ". . . it's the only major metropolitan center that doesn't have an international film festival . . ."
Levy, or possibly the author of the article, or possibly both, perpetuates a common confusion with that reference to "the sixth most populous place in the nation." It is true that the city of Phoenix, within its city borders, counts as one of the largest cities in the U.S., but as a conglomerate area (a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area), the Phoenix area ranks somewhere around 19 or 20. It's the same concept as "major market" sizes for the media. Thus, even though neither Minneapolis nor St. Paul comes close to matching the population of Phoenix, the Twin Cities area numbers something like a million more people.
Monti's Hall of Fame
Sweet revenge: In reference to your critique of Monti's La Casa Vieja in Tempe ("Mill Rut," Carey Sweet, June 15): A group of 24 friends went there on June 17. We had read your article, but with some trepidation we went, armed with your article. Of course it was the source of a lot of bad jokes and twisted humor. Members of this group have literally worked around the contract situations. I'm not implying that we are culinary experts, but I expect we have more exposure to dining out than many folks.
Monti's is not Ruth's Chris, but on the other hand it did not have Ruth's Chris prices. We found the service to be somewhat slow, but with a big group that is to be expected. The general consensus was "the food is good." My wife and I had the seven-ounce filet and enjoyed it.
One thing that ticked me a little was the $1.10 charge for the Roquefort dressing. Small irritants such as that can influence your thinking.
In summary, good food, reasonable prices and good service. Not bad. You may find others who agree with your opinion, but I know 24 people who don't. We discussed your article later and thought your approach was heavy-handed and unreasonable.
James F. Bennett
Out of Synch
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Saying a mirthful: I think the article on Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears was hilarious, even though it's not real ("Pop Tarts," June 1). It was well worth the read, and I give major props to whoever wrote it!
Our pants ARE off: You are such stinking liars. Britney and Justin are the bomb, and they would never say stuff like that. I hope the two of them sue your pants off.