Is it balancing or an act?
Mike Maas


Range War

No-good crooks: I just got done reading Sarah Fenske's excellent article on the old cowboy who beat the liar environmentalists ("The Rancher's Revenge," May 26). Bravo to that guy, and bravo to New Times for stepping out of its liberal mold and telling the truth for a change about a full-of-shit environmental group!

What this group has done is shot itself -- and every other environmental organization -- in the foot by lying about evidence. Now, people like me who don't much like such groups anyway are going to think they're all no-good crooks.



How dare they be holier than thou about their beliefs and then cheat to try to win a case. I guess they fucked with the wrong cowboy this time! One who had the wherewithal to fight back with his own fuck-you money.

It's high time that somebody like him refused to let liberal know-it-alls get away with killing his business for no good reason.

I'm wondering why some people at the Center for Biological Diversity aren't being charged with perjury for what they did. I know rancher Jim Chilton got a lot of money, but somebody at CBD should be taught a bigger lesson in all this. How can people be allowed to waste the court's time and get away with it?
Bettina Tyson, Phoenix

It's all in how you look at it: The article says that the Center for Biological Diversity's lawyers "continue to insist the photos are substantially true, even if a few details were off." It sounds more like the photos were substantially false, even if a few details were correct. Once again, a liberal group seems to believe that the end justifies the means.
Jacqueline Davis, via the Internet

Don't confuse us with the facts: Jeez, am I supposed to feel bad for the folks down there in Tucson at the CBD after losing a court battle and being told to cough up a wad of cash all because they were a little creative with the "facts"?

I say, tough cow shit, [CBD co-founder] Kieran Suckling & Co.! Did you think you were untouchable?

Somebody has come along who can match the CBD dollar for dollar, does the research, and kicks their rump roast a little. The CBD is used to going after the little guy with no financial backing to defend himself. According to my sources, the CBD has assets in the area of $2.4 million, with a projected budget of $2.9 million, so it isn't exactly dealing with an empty wallet.

So rancher Jim Chilton has money? Big deal! It's kind of hard to pick on someone your own size, eh, Suckling? Kieran calls Chilton "a bitter little man with a lot of money." What? Who sounds bitter now?

As far as California Gulch, all the topographical maps I can find show the gulch as an intermittent stream, which means it does not have water running year-round. (Fish living in a dry wash?) It starts in the Santa Rita Mountains at about 5,400 feet and travels east about two miles before it intersects with Empire Gulch. Fence off about two miles' worth? That's pretty much the whole gulch. Sounds like the CBD wants to prevent Chilton from having access to the limited water supply for his cattle.

Eliminating ranching on public lands is a stated goal of the CBD, but what it's really doing is driving people who raise beef out of business.

Chilton wants to live a cowboy lifestyle? Damn him! Yeah, he should be out there spiking trees to prevent logging, causing massive damage to personal property at rallies, releasing farm-raised minks to die in the wild and bringing lawsuits against anyone and everyone at the drop of a hat to save a frog! Instead, he's minding his own business and not trying to force his agenda on anyone else. He's got a lot of nerve! Well, more power to him and the other ranchers, farmers and loggers who need to face down the folks at the CBD.
Larry Gowey, Mesa

Upon further review . . . : What a great article! Thank you for telling this rancher's story. Fortunately for all of us, this gentleman had enough money to fight back. Makes one wonder about the outcome of 90 percent of the cases these "environmentalists" have won. I'm thinking they all need to be reviewed. I hope the judge sees to it that the rancher gets every last cent awarded to him. I love cowboys!
Jan Gardner, via the Internet

We're pleased that you're pleased: It's been years since I last read a news report and had to write and tell you that I am quite pleased. Your reporter actually did the research and wrote "The Rancher's Revenge" in an unbiased, very readable manner. Well done!
Tome Bell, Roanoke, Virginia

Environmental hazard: Somebody should give Sarah Fenske a raise! She has done what I've never seen New Times do before -- criticize a meat-headed (sorry, veggie-headed) environmental group. Can you believe what the CBD did?! I've often thought environmental groups were full of shit, but I never thought they were lying scum before reading "The Rancher's Revenge."

These dumbbells have set the environmental movement in Arizona back half a century. And I, for one, am happy to see that. The kind of dumb shit these tree-huggers have done over the years to destroy business is mind-boggling, and I applaud Jim Chilton for having the balls to fight back.

I used to be on the side of the CBD until I saw it ruin the lives of so many people I know and love. And now to find out that it may have lied to do it. I hope those who have lost court battles to the CBD rise up and demand re-hearings on their cases, because I'd bet this isn't the only time the CBD has fudged the facts to get its way.
Antonio Rodriguez, Surprise

Do the right thing: Finally, finally, someone had the guts and tenacity to show that environmental groups with an agenda care nothing for the truth and will go to any lengths to advance their own publicity.

It's how they make their living, and thank God Mr. Chilton had the chutzpah to do the right thing. And thank you, Phoenix New Times, for allowing the article's author to provide such a well-written and entertaining read.

As for the Center for Biological Diversity? Shove it
Gray Senter, Rossville, Tennessee

Control your, um, prolixity, fool!: As a retired TV news anchor with newspaper and wire-service experience and currently a columnist, I found your eight-page story "The Rancher's Revenge" extremely verbose. You frequently used 25 words when five would have sufficed. Clarity suffered as a result.

You repeated phrases, words and irrelevant drivel, and it took five pages to begin to find out what really happened. Don't they have editors at New Times?

Just as irritating was the rhetorical structure. The lead elements were buried so deep in the story that you probably lost 75 percent of your readers before they ever got to the point. It would have been a much more understandable story if you could've just controlled your prolixity.

If I were your editor, I'd make you rewrite the story in a maximum of two to three pages just to teach you to be concise.
Rand E. Oertle, Springville, Utah

Too bad to be true: Was Sarah Fenske's article on Jim Chilton another New Times hoax? Seriously, I find it hard to believe that the Center for Biological Diversity would stoop so low. I know many of its members, and they are fine and upstanding people. I think they are hardly capable of such awful deception.

Does anybody check behind New Times writers to see if they make things up? Because I'd bet Fenske has told a tall tale at the expense of the CBD. She has maligned an organization that I have always found to be above reproach. She should be ashamed of herself, because the CBD has done more good for this frontier state than she even knows. It should be applauded, not castigated.
Ed Darlington, via the Internet

Playing Politics

Simply unbeatable: I couldn't agree more with John Dougherty's take on Janet Napolitano. The governor has truly played politics masterfully in the past six months. She has made it virtually impossible for any Republican to beat her ("Elephant Slayer," May 26) in the upcoming governor's race.

Now, this isn't to say that Janet is doing a great job. A better-than-average job, maybe. But it took her forever to get around to doing something regarding the child-raping pervs in Colorado City better known as fundamentalist Mormons. When she was attorney general, she kept her head firmly in the sand over not just that, but about countless other legal issues. For instance, why isn't Joe Arpaio in jail, instead of running one? (I've been inside one of his lockups, and conditions are appalling, especially for minority prisoners.) You know why, because she dropped her investigation of him to secure her political future.

But she definitely did keep the wing-nuts in the Legislature at bay this session, and I have to give her props for that. And, as Dougherty points out, when you look at those who preceded her in the governor's chair, she looks pretty damn good. At least she's not a criminal or a kook, and for that we can be thankful, I guess.

I just wish we didn't have to settle for mediocrity around here. We deserve better than even Napolitano.
Tomas E. Ortiz, Apache Junction

What have you done for us lately?: Governor Janet Napolitano is a self-interested career politician. She sits on her hands when it comes to anything controversial (Colorado City, immigration, Joe Arpaio), which just shows her only motivation is getting a second term unscathed.

The average person in Arizona hasn't seen her do one substantive thing during her time in office. I doubt there will be a quality alternative from the GOP (as John Dougherty says), but she still sucks.
Matt Heikes, Phoenix

Pucker up: In all my years, I never imagined that the likes of John Dougherty would wind up kissing Janet Napolitano's . . . well, you know.
Gary Tupper, via the Internet

Celebrity Gossip

Tasteless and lowbrow: I let Stephen Lemons/Kreme slide on the Snoop Dogg cover article/fluff piece ("Doggfather Daze," May 26). The reason this guy gets prime real estate in your publication is beyond me, and frankly I'm sick of the perverted/pointless/sexist/amateur work from an alternative weekly.

Seriously, bringing up Nicole Simpson's and Ron Goldman's deaths in a review for gelato is tasteless ("The Sweet Life," June 2). This isn't Maxim; spare us the celebrity worship, people spending beyond their means, and lowbrow "humor."
Ben Vorono, Tempe

We need a translator: Thank God you guys are doing some celebrity journalism once in a while (in the way of concert reviews, at least)! When you live in Phoenix and read local publications like the Arizona Republic, you think no celebrities ever descend on our hell-hole town. I was happy to see the Snoop Dogg cover and to read Stephen Lemons' take on the concert.

The only problem is, sometimes I can't understand what Lemons is getting at with all that hip-hop language, and I'm a big fan of the music. A lot of it I get, but sometimes he throws me. You guys should tell him to try not to be too insider-ish, because we're not all from L.A. like he is. Some of us have lived in white Phoenix our whole lives and don't pick up on all the black big-city references. Fo schizzle, my nizzle!

But I love Inferno; it keeps me up on the places I do and don't want to go. You guys were getting crusty until you started that column and began publishing Brendan Joel Kelley's "Revolver" in the music section.
Barry Gallo, Tempe

Star-struck Kreme: Stephen Lemons (a.k.a. Kreme) had me going on that Snoop Dogg column. I really thought that lucky SOB had partied with the Doggfather. In fact, I was telling a friend about the column, and he said: "Duh, it was a joke. It was Kreme fantasizing about what he'd like to do." Then he told me to take a look at the cover drawing, where Kreme is cowering in the corner. Guess I'm an idiot.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the Snoop column, and I was glad to find out what's going on at a show I couldn't afford to attend. I wish you guys did more concert reviews so we poor bastards could live vicariously once in a while. The babes at that concert must have been off the hook! Reporting on the club scene is cool, but reporting on big concerts would be cooler.
Andy Jackson, Phoenix


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