Let Us Prey
Two lives devastated: I just finished reading Robert Nelson's article regarding Dale Fushek ("Cross to Bare," February 24). Nelson did a wonderful job. I have to say that when I began reading and I saw my and Jim Partsch's names, my heart started racing.
I don't know if in my conversation with New Times I fully revealed to you the pain and sadness that we experienced during that time. For years, I wondered why it all happened. Most important, I questioned my faith and was angry at God for it all. I had never in my life thought that I would experience the love I found when I met Jim, and then to lose it all was devastating. Not only did I lose him and the life we had hoped for, I lost my faith in the church -- the only faith that I had known and believed in since childhood.
Time and a wonderful counselor have offered healing. I do know that it is God's grace that has gotten me to a place where I can separate the church from God. I have returned to the church, and I have found peace. I am sure this peace has come with knowing that Jim and I can talk about it all, and knowing that he is doing well.
I will pray for all those who have been hurt by Dale Fushek, and I can also say that I will pray for him as well.
Thank you again for the accuracy of your article. After nine years, I can finally see clearly that my love for Jim was exactly what it was supposed to be.
Rini Montano, via the Internet
The pervs are running the church: Unbelievable article on Father Dale Fushek! How does the Catholic Church tolerate these guys? Possibly because pervs run the church?
Whether Fushek's actions turn out to be illegal or not, they were incredibly improper. How can the church let a man with a lifelong pattern of bad behavior be second in command of a big-city diocese, much less be head of youth activities for the Roman Catholic Church in America? Truly astonishing!
Classic was the line from one would-be victim that Fushek would ask the young guy to hot-tub with him in the middle of a Phoenix summer. And there was the one about the underwear with F.D. on the crotch, so the kid would remember he was committing a "sin" when he got an erection and saw the priest's initials. What a crock of shit Fushek was slinging to these impressionable boys.
Lawrence Ridley, via the Internet
Pretty Is As Pretty Does
Don't hate her because she's beautiful: I just read "Drop Dead, Gorgeous" in New Times (Sarah Fenske, February 17), and I wanted to quickly say it was very interesting and very entertaining.
I hope these women get the support they need to overthrow Monica and Steve Rich as directors of the Miss Arizona pageant.
I don't attend any pageant events, nor am I affiliated with the pageant. But I'm an attractive woman. I relate to how it feels when a crazy woman like Mrs. Rich has authority, then tries to be manipulative and a bully. Just because she's devoted to the pageant doesn't give her the right.
Grace Ramos, Phoenix
Those who can't: I can totally relate to what Sarah Fenske wrote about the Miss Arizona Pageant, having gone through an ordeal similar to that of the women in the story when I was involved.
It's amazing what happens behind the scenes at one of these events. Also, isn't it typical of a painfully ugly woman like Monica Rich to be at the center of such controversy? It's as if she's taking out her misfortune on all these beauty queens.
It makes you wonder, doesn't it, why such a cow would want to get waist-deep into a pageant based on beauty and style -- something she knows nothing about? I hope the women you profiled manage to get the upper hand on this dragon lady, because I couldn't.
By the way, I loved the cover of your newspaper for this story. When I would return home after dealing with pageant stuff, I would look backward toward the mirror myself to see if a knife was in my back.
Name withheld by request
Sore winners: Yet another scorned pageant mother whose ugly-duckling daughter goes on to win a major pageant, thanks to the thousands of dollars spent on breast implants, cosmetic dentistry, personal trainers, dance and voice coaches, choreographers and tanning salons.
Let's not leave out the precious Mormon whose godliness was challenged by a possible imperfection or unimaginable indiscretion. Or, heaven help us, a poor pageant queen who has to endure a painful personality conflict with someone of authority.
Let's not lose sight of the fact that, in both cases, these pageant winners were honored with a crown, a title, thousands of dollars in scholarship money, a full-ride scholarship to Grand Canyon University and, more important, given the opportunity to represent the state of Arizona at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City.
The Miss America organization, with which the Miss Arizona Pageant is affiliated, is a nonprofit organization that (through local pageants -- Miss Gilbert, Miss Tempe, Miss Scottsdale, Miss Ocotillo) presents young women (ages 18-24) with scholarship money to further their education.
Local pageant directors and state staff are unpaid volunteers who dedicate their time to raising money to produce these pageants, put scholarship money in the hands of young women, and offer direction, companionship and mentoring to them as they proceed to the Miss Arizona Pageant and to the Miss America Pageant.
As for Monica Rich, I challenge anyone to do as she did and volunteer as an unpaid staff member, who must use her evenings and weekends traveling endless miles, staying in cheap, often desolate hotel rooms and spending their own money to do it -- all in an effort to make an organization in financial decline still appear to be worthy.
For most of us, winning isn't everything. For some overzealous pageant parents and their spoiled offspring, not only is winning everything (Corrie Hill attempted five times to win the Miss Arizona Pageant), it is the only thing. Please, ladies, get over yourselves!
Doug Esteves, Tempe
Trivial pursuit: I can't believe you devoted an entire cover story to such poor little spoiled brats who got fucked over in a beauty pageant!
I remember when New Times wouldn't give a damn about such a trivial thing as a beauty contest. I'm talking about the good ol' days. I love it when you kick Outlaw Joe or Jerry Colangelo, or when that crazy man Michael Lacey goes on a rant! Give me more rants!
But a gossip story about beauty queens? Please! So you find out there's backbiting and other crap behind the scenes? Does anybody really care, except the people involved?
The Miss America Pageant has been a joke since before Bert Parks stopped emceeing. It ain't news, brothers and sisters, that any of this is going on! It's what we expect to happen. Bad movies starring actresses like Sandra Bullock have been made about it. Yeah, the deal is all fixed, but who the hell cares?
John Birdwell, via the Internet
Miss managed: I can't believe the Miss America organization refuses to investigate the Arizona organization's problems. It's making the Miss America program, as well as other pageant programs, look bad. This kind of publicity can't help the recruiting of new participants.
As a prior Miss America contestant, I would've been disappointed to have been treated in the manner described in your article. I never had a problem receiving my scholarship money. I was always treated like a queen by the directors of the program.
If the Arizona directors and staff refuse to be interviewed, I wonder what they are trying to hide. If they firmly believe they are in the right, why don't they want the public to hear their side of the story? Also, why were they unwilling to meet with directors and scholarship winners when problems did arise?
It is sad that the financial status of the Miss America program is so grim. Maybe it's because of severe mismanagement. If it were the corporate world, a change of leadership would be made by the company.
DeAnn Simonich, Roseville, California
Fife and Dumb Corps
The muck stops here: I just read "I Could Just Slap Him" (Michael Lacey, February 17), and I had to write to say a big thank you!
I moved here four years ago, so some of this is new to me; I really appreciate your giving so much detail.
New Times seems to be the only publication in Phoenix where we can find this type of information. I'm not only talking about this column, but about stories related to Sheriff Joe and Colorado City. Keep up the great work, and I'll keep reading.
Steve Sullivan, Mesa
Hit piece: Okay, call [him] an easy target, but the Fife piece was, well, sweet. No clutter, no kidney punches. All the blows scored points. Oh, and nice picture [of Symington in stripes with the column].
During the 24 years I held elective office in Arizona, I watched eight governors come and go. Fife was neither the smartest nor the dumbest, but he had the highest venality quotient, if measured by arrogance, contempt and ruthlessness.
Best of all, Michael Lacey's essence-capturing portrait of the pardoned colluder didn't improve Fife's poll numbers: 70 percent Napolitano to Fife's 14 percent. I enjoy some days more than others.
Renz Jennings, former Arizona Corporation Commission chairman, Phoenix
Remembering a legacy: I had forgotten how wonderful New Times is, that it's the National Public Radio of news here in the Valley. So thank you so much for your column on Fife Symington -- that is, for making sure we never forget what Symington did to this great state of Arizona.
Name withheld by request
The devil we know: Hooray for Michael Lacey's column "I Could Just Slap Him" on the misdeeds of Fife Symington! In all of my days, I've never enjoyed such honest, direct-to-the-point journalism. It would behoove us all to sit up and listen when it comes to crooks like Symington.
Ron Gilbert, via the Internet
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Is that a newspaper in your pocket?: Having scanned the lengthy paean to Fife Symington in the Arizona Republic and read in detail Michael Lacey's column in New Times, I am not sure whether:
There are two Fife Symingtons (much like the multiple Symington financial statements).
The Republic has a policy of forgive-and-forget unmatched in American journalism.
I know this is Arizona, the last frontier of the individual, but the Republic's promoting Symington for governor is repulsive. Any word of Fife resurrecting Charles Keating for state treasurer?
Paul Fleming, Phoenix