Out of Bounds
Personal foul: I don't believe I have ever responded to a New Times article in the 11 years I have served in elected office in Tempe, but now I must. The story and cover ("Quarterback Sneak," John Dougherty, August 16) is so biased and over the line that it cannot be considered worthy as a news story, or deserving of a factual response. And the comments I heard editor Kristi Dempsey make on a Channel 15 newscast were quite revealing as to the true motive behind your decisions.
As one who has picked up New Times for as long as I can remember, I am familiar with the approach and slant of New Times on current events in our region. But it is disappointing, if not surprising, to see even New Times go this far.
Mayor of Tempe
Position statement: The cover showing Bill Bidwill and Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano in the "positions" they are in is so appropriate. To make the picture even more accurate would have been a caricature of the Arizona/Maricopa County taxpayer squatting in the same "position" in front of Bidwill and Giuliano.
George T. Cole
Tempe tantrum: John Dougherty does a good job of illustrating the (corrupt?) politics of the City of Tempe in regard to the farce/fiasco of the stadium site selection process.
We here in Tempe have unfortunately witnessed many more farces/fiascoes, both current and in the making. Examples would be: the light rail, building hotels and condos (and a stadium) in a flood plain underneath a major airport flight path, destruction of Old Town Tempe, etc.
For Mr. Dougherty and any other ambitious investigative reporters, Tempe represents "The Land of Opportunity." Tempe, I believe, is "boondoggle land." We may think it's funny, but we all pay for it. Let's stop the boondoggles and boondogglers, but first we gotta expose it/them.
Way to go, Dougherty; it's nice to know there's some investigative reporting going on. You did your job. Now it's up to the voters of Tempe. "Ahem, the next problem."
Valley of the deals: The more I read about this back-room deal, the more I hope it falls through. But I don't expect too much help from our "one who would be governor," the Attorney General, whose top political adviser also happens to lobby for the Cardinals. It just gets chummier and chummier, doesn't it?
Let's hope you can now assign the talented Mr. Dougherty to expose the situation going on in Glendale with the hockey stadium that our mayor foisted on us. Every time I pick up the paper, the City of Glendale is giving away still more to Steve Ellman. I seriously doubt if Mr. Ellman has put up a single cent so far toward this stadium. And why should he? We've handed him the Manistee Center to redevelop; we're buying the Hickman egg ranch for him; and we'll build the stadium now instead of the original agreement that had him building it. All that's left is to buy the land under the stadium, and it wouldn't surprise me at all for the city to announce that any day now. The mayor has mortgaged the city of Glendale for many years to come with absolutely no citizen input, and worse yet, no objections from her rubber-stamp city council, all in the name of future tax revenue. This is a steamroller that also needs to be stopped.
Cardinal sins: John Dougherty has done an impressive job of investigative reporting regarding the Cardinals stadium issue. It is a great public service for someone to provide the details as John Dougherty has done.
I, too, have been appalled by the constant stream of half-truths, distortions of the truth, and outright lies emanating from team owner Bill Bidwill, Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano, TSA chairman Ted Ferris, and his Tourism and Sports Authority. Their back-room deal reeks of falsehoods and foolhardiness that started in advance of the election and continues unabated even today.
Thank you, John Dougherty (and John F. Long), for your efforts on behalf of the public to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on a prudent project, if they are to be devoted to promoting Bill Bidwill's cellar-dweller-by-design Cardinals at all!
Bottom line: I have been publishing a small tabloid in the Sedona area for 12 years. I have always used outrageous headlines to get people to pick up the paper. I have read your paper at times, each time in appreciation of the seemingly unbiased reporting. While your article on the stadium controversy seems a little slanted for the developer, John F. Long, your obvious choice for a cover is demeaning and serves no purpose but to remind readers of the Tempe mayor's sexual orientation. You've lost your objectivity and with it your credibility by blatantly pandering to an audience you might otherwise not have reached for the love of the dollar. Shame on you!
Ewers truly: The world is full of crooks and crooked government officials who all work together to try to steal from honest, hardworking people, and it sounds like CIGNA might just be some of them ("Contract Killers," Robert Nelson, August 23). The Ewerses' case seems very strong, and I will pray to God that the Ewerses as well as CIGNA both get what they deserve. God bless the Ewers family!
Name withheld by request
What About Bob?
Like a holy roller: While I myself feel reticent to accept "Bible-thumping" as a form of entertainment, your story on Bob Dylan's return to his former commercial and critical glory ("Desolation Row," Gilbert Garcia, August 16) was tainted by your obvious distaste regarding his finding Christianity in the first place. We all have the right to our opinions and value systems, provided they don't infringe on those of others, but it seems as though you were on a thinly veiled crusade to remind the reader or fan how poorly things went for Bob in '79 at ASU, as if to say, "Yeah, I know you all like him now, but here's a few reasons to change your mind. . . . After all, remember he's a Christian!" I'm aware that Christians are fair game for public ridicule, along with fat folks and men who are not of color, but at least consider your journalistic integrity before writing again.
Mr. Tambourine fan: Perhaps this is an effort in vain, but the article is so misleading and careless that I felt a response was necessary. Gilbert Garcia states that Bob Dylan spent "two solid decades in pop-culture purgatory," and he claims this period lasted from the late '70s into the '80s and much of the '90s. During this so-called purgatory period, Dylan won a Grammy for best male performance, was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was inducted into the American Society of Composers, was awarded the Commander of Arts and Letters in France, received a Grammy for lifetime achievement, won a Grammy for best traditional folk album, received several other Grammy nominations, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature. Mr. Garcia also makes the absurd claim that attention returned to Dylan because of health problems. This is so far-fetched that it is shocking to read. Personally, I have not yet purchased anything because someone was dying, and I do not know anyone who has. Of course, Mr. Garcia overlooks the fact that since the so-called soul-crushing Tempe '79 experience, Dylan has been on the road constantly and picking up the pace as well as recording (nearly 20 albums during the two solid decades). I do hope that the editors at the Phoenix New Times will exhibit more tact and taste in future articles.
New York, New York
Dylan pickle: Fascinating article. Thanks so much. The scars of Dylan's public rejection in 1979-'80 are still evident. From that point on, Dylan seemed to withdraw from the modern world. I first saw Bob Dylan live in Florida on the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Review in the late '70s. It was an unbelievable show and a transcendent experience. However, one of the feelings I came away with was how withdrawn Dylan seemed. Desire was his current album -- well before his Christian conversion Slow Train Coming period.
Rather than being withdrawn, Dylan appears much more comfortable with his audiences nowadays than he ever did in the past. I think experiences like the ones in Tempe may have contributed to his public silence, but I don't think ultimately they hurt Dylan's connection with his audience at all.
In retrospect, this story is another example of Dylan's fearless refusal to conform to his audience's expectations, and maybe it is also one of his most honest and open public moments.
Maybe Bob Dylan isn't giving us more of what we want these days; maybe our wants and needs are finally starting to come together a little.
Name withheld by request
Shot to Hell
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Point blank: Joel B. Robbins tells people in a letter to the editor (Letters, August 16, about "A Life That Almost Happened," Amanda Scioscia, July 26), "If you don't know the 'facts,' please don't make them up to fit your view of the world." Yet he conveniently does just that to get his view across. He states that "the vast majority of the witnesses stated he (Alfonso Celaya) was pointing the gun at the ground and not at anyone." This does not make it a fact. These are opinions from witnesses. Most of them were friends of the victim. Do you really think they would tell the police if Celaya was pointing it at someone?
Mr. Robbins also claims that "Alfonso was shot from the side. He never saw or heard the police who shot him." The only person who knows for a fact what he saw or heard is Mr. Celaya, and unfortunately he was killed. So, Mr. Robbins, you do not know for a "fact" what Mr. Celaya heard or saw. Take your own advice concerning making up facts.
I just love how lawyers spend months, sometimes years, dissecting a decision that a police officer must make in an instant. Had it turned out differently, say Mr. Celaya had pointed the gun and shot the person fighting with his friend, Mr. Robbins would then be claiming that the police didn't do enough to stop it.
Name withheld by request