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Letters

Good Riddance
If only there were a Rep in the restaurant where I ate today--maybe I wouldn't be so outraged at poor little fat boy Lance Hawthorne, who died in Madison Street Jail ("109 Degrees of Incarceration," Tony Ortega, May 6). As usual, New Times blames everything on Joe Arpaio. If I read your trash-a-zine, I would probably find that there hasn't been one single issue since Joe took office that hasn't blamed him for something.

What's my take on it? Good--we got one more slimeball off the streets. Guy living in a garage, a "loner" who played with gadgets and stockpiled nudey pictures of prepubescent boys, is a crime waiting to happen. The more these wackos are allowed to remain on the streets, the more truly innocent people will be harmed.

Sheriff Joe should be applauded for his getting tough on prisoners. One thing New Times, its readers and anti-Arpaioists need to realize is that he's not driving around scooping people off the streets. There's a reason people end up in his system. The reason is that these lawbreakers violated someone to deserve their punishment. You are quick to forget the innocent victims, the real victims that are scarred for life for what these maniacs do out there. Think of the poor little boys that had to stand there naked as the day they were born--standing in front of a camera being operated by either this joker or some other idiot. Think of the landlord who is emotionally scarred for life because he had to dodge bullets that came out of Hawthorne's gun. Think of the poor mother who was, obviously, misled by her son--a good boy, my ass!

This guy deserved what he got, and his mother should be glad that this part of her life is over. If I were her, I would be ashamed that I gave birth to that.

Jennifer Alcock
Mesa

Editor's note: About two-thirds of the people in Maricopa County jails are pretrial detainees, presumed innocent until proved guilty.

So, America's Toughest Sheriff needs a bulletproof car. Perhaps being the victim of a vicious, drive-by lawn ornamenting has made him a little paranoid. With his increasing obsession for personal security, heavier and heavier armaments and the ongoing vendettas against perceived internal enemies, Joke Arpaio is beginning to look a lot like some self-appointed banana-republic dictator.

Brooke Cabaniss
Chandler

Dudes, get off of it already. I am sick and tired of you guys blasting the sheriff and his department.

If you hate the man so much, why don't one of you try to do the job? Do you have any idea what it is like, running after some jerk who just beat the living shit out of his girlfriend? And then pointing your gun at him, thinking that at any minute the asshole might try to kill you with his gun? Or that you might have to shoot him in defense of yourself?

Get a fucking grip! Sheriff Joe may do some things that piss off some people, but you know what? I happen to like the job he is doing, although I work for another law-enforcement agency. I know what it is like to be hated by just about everyone you deal with. We are out there 24-7, on holidays like Christmas and the Fourth of July. You get to spend time with your families. We spend time with accident victims and raped 4-year-old girls.

Who are the first people you call when some fuckhead tries to steal your car or breaks into your house? Us--that's who. Why don't you get with the program and support law enforcement here? People like Scott Norberg do not deserve to die, that I agree with. But in the defense of the sheriff and other law enforcement who have had prisoners die, I will say this: I deal with people high on drugs all the time; sometimes there is no stopping them. They will do anything to avoid being brought under control. Sometimes they have no idea what's going on until later, but for the most part, they have at least some clue. When it takes six officers to put down some guy who weighs a buck 50, you know something's up. So what if he gets hog-tied, shackled or cuffed? Most don't die from it.

Next time some drug-crazed loser tries to grab your car or wife or daughter, think about the situation. If you call the police or sheriff, remember this: We are the ones who put our lives on the line. We are willing to take a bullet to save your asses! So what if we piss off some family once in a while? We may just pull that two-time loser from drinking and driving and killing your entire family while he gets to walk because of a bullshit technicality, or we may stop some dope addict who does the same thing. Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it. Print something decent about law enforcement in your rag for a change.

 

Byron James
Gilbert

Keep up your fine work on the sheriff and his underlings. As a former member reserve officer, I applaud your work. My opinion is that David Hendershott is the key to most everything. The sheriff keeps yes people around him, and Hendershott was the most talented of the group. I have known most of the players in this story, and I feel it is a shame that until they get on the wrong side, they do not have the resolve to come forward. The credibility factor is a little in question because of this. Of all the players, Mark Wetherell was the most honest I was involved with. I find it amazing that the people of Maricopa County do not see what an embarrassment the high staff at the sheriff's office is. Keep up the good work, for it is not all in vain!

John Balph
via Internet

Spine Tinkering
Thank you for Chris Farnsworth's careful description of how 14-year-old Shawndra Lee was yet another victim of HMO abuse here in the Valley--this time by PacifiCare ("Twisted System," May 6). Your readers will not be surprised to learn that the Chamber of Commerce's big money campaign of direct mail to legislators (on top of its usual campaign contributions) did finally kill the badly needed regulation of HMOs by the Legislature, which Farnsworth discussed in his article. The good news is that a broad-based coalition of a dozen organizations came together to fight the chamber--"Arizonans for Patients' Rights." Besides consumer organizations like Arizona Citizen Action, Children's Action Alliance and the Arizona Consumers Council, others represented labor and medical professionals. We bused our supporters to the Capitol for a citizens' HMO Reform Lobby Day, activated our extensive fax, telephone and e-mail networks and went toe-to-toe with the HMO lobbyists. Our diverse coalition agreed that the top priority is holding HMOs responsible when their drive to cut costs (and pay their executives huge salaries) results in bad medical decisions and the injury or death of their patients (what your writer appropriately called "the HMO industry's worst nightmare"). Until we win the right to sue HMOs, Arizonans will continue to face awful headlines about medical tragedies. In the end, our coalition opposed the bill, which the chamber had succeeded in watering down. However, we will be back next year--after the HMOs raise their premiums even higher--to fight for real HMO reform. If the current Legislature--financed by and friendly to corporate lobbyists--can't deliver real reform, then the voters need to elect candidates in the 2000 elections who will stop HMO abuses.

Jim Driscoll, executive director
Arizona Citizen Action

Chris Farnsworth's article was excellently written, and I am moved to say that I would like to help Shawndra and the Lee family in any way that I can. I applaud Farnsworth's sensitivity in sharing the Lees' challenges, and I enjoyed his thorough reporting.

All too often, the health care delivery system is based upon facts, figures and profits, as opposed to serving and enabling all to achieve a greater level of health and well-being.

Dr. Jason M. Kolber
certified spinal and neurological specialist

As someone who has scoliosis and who has, on occasion, advocated for those with the HMO blues, I read with great interest your story on Shawndra. In fact, I was screaming at PacifiCare.

I, too, have had surgery (twice), so this is a bit old hat for me. At the very least, please let Shawndra and her family know they are not alone--with scoliosis or the fight. I hope they prevail with PacifiCare.

Nancy Biagini
Santa Clara, California

The article regarding the activities of Shawndra Lee's parents attempting to get HMO coverage for surgical treatment of their daughter's scoliosis is heart-rending. I must say, I do get exposed to similar stories quite often. In my practice, I see many people with spinal problems. Their stories of insurance-company abuse run the gamut. You covered the subject very well in regard to HMOs. Let me say that regular major medical insurers have similar modi operandi. Please keep up the good work in your investigative reporting. The presentation should always be factual, and indeed your article appeared to be factual, letting the chips fall as they may.

Robert L. Gear Jr., NMD
via Internet

Music Man
As former owner and booking agent of the pre-fire Rockin' Horse Saloon and co-promoter of hundreds of shows with Evening Star Productions over those years, I have to strongly disagree with Linda Hale's erroneous comments (Soundcheck, May 6) regarding our lack of commitment to the use of local openers at my former venue. Her tenure as manager lasted less than a year, but even in that short time span, she must have recognized the fact that it was a favorite of local musicians, mainly because we recognized their talents and showcased them often.

 

From our opening-night show (Jerry Jeff Walker, with local support provided by The Cowbillies) in November 1991, 'til the club's untimely demise in June 1996 (Dale Watson, with local support scheduled to be supplied by Flathead), we promoted 60 to 80 national acts a year. Most of those acts toured with their own national support. Whenever they did not, and whenever we were not restricted contractually, we always used local talent as openers. Perhaps she should speak to the members of One, The Grievous Angels, Flathead, Hans Olson, Steven Ashbrook, Liars, Gods & Beggars, Ronnie Dye, Chico Chism, The Cowbillies, Kings of Pleasure, Colleen Callahan, The Zubia Brothers, The Pistoleros, Sistah Blue, The Hoo Doo Kings, Chris Taylor, Joe Myers, Mark Berry, Rena Haus, Frank Mackey, Just Cuz--and all the others who did outstanding jobs as openers for national touring acts at the Rockin' Horse.

I admire Hale's spirit and commitment to the promotion of local talent. She should, however, be careful about questioning others' long-standing commitments to this same admirable cause.

Tucker Woodbury
Phoenix

Street Scene
Edward Lebow wrote an excellent yet disturbing article regarding homeless addicts in Phoenix ("Street Without Hope," May 6). I believe we will see substantive progress in the drug crisis only when we begin to examine the issue in terms of treatment, in addition to interdiction. Any first-year college text on economics demonstrates that both supply and demand are factors in defining any market.

Even more disturbing is reading about the hundreds of millions of dollars legislators are willing to spend to build arenas for professional sports franchises. Disturbing. Damn disturbing.

Hans Church
via Internet

Edward Lebow has again written an accurate and fair report on life in the central city. Having worked on projects in the downtown for several years now, I can attest that he is right on the mark: Drugs are what drags everything else down in our blighted neighborhoods. As it stands now, the police are the first-line human service providers, and the county jail is the biggest homeless shelter of all, which is the most expensive way we could possibly manage the situation.

When you consider that alcohol abuse is 10 times more costly to society than drug abuse, and tobacco is 10 times again more costly than alcohol, there is a compelling argument for decriminalizing drug use and for treating it as the medical problem that it is, just as we do alcohol and tobacco addiction. Otherwise, I see no way to stop the revolving door that Lebow so graphically describes.

Long ago, the United States criminalized alcohol, which defined the Roaring '20s. Ending Prohibition did not end the legal consequences of alcohol abuse, but it did end the criminal activity supporting its distribution. Not that I advocate selling crack cocaine alongside beer and cigarettes in every grocery store, but I do advocate the wholesale undercutting of the street-drug economy with a legal distribution system that is combined with clinical supportive housing.

Keep publishing these stories about city life!
John McIntosh
via Internet

Food Fight II
Someone needs to give Howard Seftel a reality check following his pissy (and prolonged) response to Karen Kolbe's criticism of his Buca di Beppo restaurant review (Letters, May 6). I'll try not to be snoozy.

Seftel says that he's willing to let his reviews stand on their merits, yet his disrespectful, aggressively stupid response to Ms. Kolbe demonstrates just the opposite. For example: She concludes her dismantling of his review with the charge that Phoenix will never be a real restaurant town until it has a real restaurant critic, and for this she earns the ad hominem--and nonsensical--response that Phoenix will never be a real restaurant town as long as it has diners like Ms. Kolbe.

She mistakenly writes "straw dog" to describe Seftel's "straw man" fallacy, and for this Seftel makes fun of her.

She exposes as erroneous his assumption that the restaurant's Minneapolis-based founder is Scandinavian and, calling Seftel to account for assuming that real Italian food can't come from Minnesota, wonders if he'd make the same assumption were Buca based in predominantly African-American Washington, D.C.; and for that Seftel accuses her of suggesting that he's "anti-black, at least potentially." (For that, I accuse him of not knowing the difference between an analogy and an accusation, actually.)

 

And on the subject of the Buca di Beppo founder's ethnicity, note how Seftel never owns up to his sloppy assumption; in fact, by writing that "Ms. Kolbe is annoyed that I referred to Buca's founder's Scandinavian roots," he repeats the misrepresentation since the fact remains, the guy is not Scandinavian. Of course, the real issue here has nothing to do with who's a Swede; it's all about Seftel's irresponsibility, refusal to accept criticism and reprehensible misuse of his forum by trying to embarrass those who take issue with his writing.

Does Seftel realize that in charging that Phoenix will never be a real restaurant town as long as it has diners like Kolbe (slobs who would defend Buca di Beppo, apparently), he's disparaging all his readers, pronouncing his taste (which is, after all, just his taste) superior to everyone else's?

Moreover, in Seftel's response to Kolbe, he acknowledges that Buca di Beppo is a "kitschy hoot," yet he implied no such thing in the original review, which I join Kolbe in characterizing as careless and mean-spirited. Indeed, I thought it was an irrationally harsh piece. Almost as irrational--and nearly as nasty--as Seftel's response to his accuser.

Jeff Clonts
Phoenix

Editor's note: The restaurant's founder, Phil Roberts, is out of the country and could not be reached. However, contrary to the writer's assertion, company officials do confirm that Roberts has Scandinavian lineage.

I'm writing in response to Karen Kolbe's tirade against Howard Seftel's review of the Buca di Beppo restaurant. Let's go down the list here: mean-spirited, obtuse, snoozy, banal and racist. Are you sure we're reading the same New Times? One of the main reasons I pick up New Times every week is because of Mr. Seftel's reviews. I find him to be extremely entertaining, fair and--with one exception in nearly five years--right on the money in his reviews. Considering that Mr. Seftel has pointed me to dozens of wonderful restaurants that I would never have found otherwise, I certainly am not going to hold one bad experience against him. I can't imagine why Ms. Kolbe would take this review so seriously unless she's an investor. This isn't law here, it's a review--one person's opinion. Isn't it a little silly to get so worked up over a simple restaurant review? In one gigantic leap, it's gone from "huge, tasteless portions" to accusations of racism! Astounding!

In any case, the solution is very simple: If you don't agree with the reviews, ignore them. How hard is that?

Shannon Earl
Phoenix

I've never been to the restaurant in question, but Ms. Kolbe sounds like she has a vested interest in the place, and without a retraction the oregano will crumble.

Actually, restaurants like Buca di Beppo can be very impressive and beneficial when you have your brother-in-law from Dubuque visiting, and he can be treated to the Little Italy family-style--what leftovers!--and it doesn't shake your wallet.

I've dined at many Scottsdale restaurants and feel if they can score about 85 percent overall, they've done a good job, considering the cost. Howard Seftel does excellent reviews 85 percent of the time. I like his humor also.

Name withheld by request

Cris Cross
I just finished reading David Holthouse's column on Cris Kirkwood of the Meat Puppets ("Lake of Fire," April 29), and I just wanted to say how very powerful I thought it was. I only hope that Cris found it as powerful as I did. I had heard that Cris was a hard-core junkie and that his wife had overdosed, but I didn't know that his friend had also died in his house.

I, too, have been a Meat Puppets fan for years, and I hate checking newspapers or the Meat Puppets' Web site, waiting for a report of Cris Kirkwood's death. Unfortunately, it seems inevitable after reading your article. Not that I'm slamming you for presenting it that way, because that's just how it is with junkies sometimes--hopeless.

Chris Frascella
via Internet

I have known Pete Sievert (a little) and Cris Kirkwood (forever), and your column on them was venomous and vindictive.

Cito (yes, you spelled it wrong) was also a talented musician. It was an honor getting to know him. Cris, his most tender friend, punishes only Cris, for reasons he alone knows.

I adore Cris. I am willing to walk through the fire with him instead of keeping a cozy distance. In recent months, he has been winning his battles with his addiction. Cris is one of the most resilient people I know. He'll show you all and be back to astound and amaze and otherwise entertain the masses.

J. Rogerson
via Internet

I am one of the lucky people who was fortunate to play with the Puppets back when they were still on SST. I was a labelmate, and, although I only met the boys a few times, I have always felt close to the music they have produced. A few nights ago, I got an e-mail. Attached was the "Lake of Fire" column, or open letter to Cris, if you prefer. I was floored; I had no idea that one of my heroes had sunk that far. I try not to judge, because I have been there myself, but I always thought it was that I was the weak one. Man, I hope Curt Kirkwood is dealing with this better than I am. I've been talking to friends all day, trying to make sense of this crap. Why do we do this to ourselves?

 

Scott Ziegler
Los Alamos, California

It is painfully obvious from what perspective you write, concerning Cris Kirkwood. I must respond from another perspective. That of an addict. Having some experience in Cris' shoes, I'm compelled to express my concern about such opinions from the non-addicts who care about the addicts. Do you buy the disease concept at all? Do you believe that Cris made a conscious decision to become the diseased, walking dead? With nothing left in his world worth any joy? I know that when I was in the same place (several times for many years), it was not a place I wanted to be. But that is exactly where I put myself. Alienated from everyone who cared about me, at 5 feet, 2 inches tall, weighing under 90 pounds and seriously considering suicide.

I empathize greatly with those who love and care about Cris, having witnessed the pain and suffering my mother and sister have survived. But the point here is that Cris and all other addicts are not addicts out of any malicious intent. The last thing on my mind was hurting other people, but rather hurting myself as much as humanly possible. With many near-fatal attempts, it's simply a miracle that I am alive today. No consequence, no matter how great, was ever enough to jar me out of the "death dance" I performed so well. Not loss of jobs, not loss of all my material possessions, not the loss of bands that I had formed, not the loss of my health, not the pain on my mother's face, not the deaths of countless friends, including a boyfriend, not the near loss of even my own life from overdosing, injecting bacteria or contracting hepatitis C was ever enough to stop the insanity.

You know why? Because I was/am completely and utterly powerless over drugs, and I saw no other escape from the pain than to instantly numb myself with dope. Berating and condemning Cris may make you feel better. But I know from experience that it does nothing but deepen the feelings of self-loathing and despair that have been festering and are nurtured by our own sad hand. I'm not calling for sympathy for any drug addict, but how about a little compassion and empathy? How would you treat someone who was into self-mutilation? Like a sick freak?

Jesus Christ! The man is sick . . . a lot of us are! I know I respond much better to compassion and understanding than to hateful, get-your-shit-together-you-fucking-crackhead! There is no "just do it" in recovery from drug addiction, just "don't use today." That is the only thing I can do. Fighting the demons is a full-time job, and a lot of us don't win. Many cannot conjure up the will to live, much less fight it. Why on earth would you condemn such lost souls? Because the depression has eclipsed all that is good and positive in someone's life? And you can't understand how someone could throw away all that potential and love for one more hit? Well, I understand, and if one more person tells me how much potential I have, and how I deserve so much better than what I've had, I'm going to puke.

I'm about three weeks clean now. And I'm getting more comfortable with being alive and accepting that I'm okay without the dope. I would not be the person I am today without the often horrendous and turbulent past I have survived. I will survive! And if Cris makes the choice to live, he can survive and thrive as well. Love and support make recovery much more tolerable. If he chooses not to live, the only thing to do is to pray for him and wish him and his loved ones no harm.

Colleen Cude
via Internet

Just days after Pete Sievert's funeral, we read David Holthouse's column. The grayness of our loss settled over us once again as we had to read of his demise. Do not get me wrong; I am not upset that this open letter was printed. In fact, I hope maybe your column might bring something positive to this whole nightmare. Pete was so dear to our family, and upon going to his memorial service, we who loved him could only sit quietly with heartbroken tears, yet with a little smile from knowing that Pete, always the musician, was going out to a standing-room-only crowd. I like to think that he would have loved it.

 

We all do stupid things that we regret or that we feel somehow diminish us in the eyes of those that we love. That is because we are human. But in those times of despair when we feel that we have no one, please think of Pete Sievert. This is a man who died almost all alone, but whose memorial was attended by hundreds of people, family and friends who loved and adored him, and would have forgiven him of anything as he always forgave us. My family and I will always feel that we let Pete down somehow; why else could he not have come to us in his troubled times?

For all the people who read this and feel that they have no one to go to, no one who cares, please remember Sito. How much all of those hundreds of people wish that they could have been standing, cramped, shoulder to shoulder, to watch Pete onstage during a drum solo instead of staring at that casket and watching the soul-wrenching weeping from every corner of the Brophy Chapel.

My family will never forget Pete and the lesson that he ultimately taught us. Life is not measured on your triumphs or your failures, but on the people who you love, and who love you unconditionally. We will miss him.

Eileen Akutagawa
Glendale

A friend of mine sent me your column on Cris Kirkwood, and I was pretty shocked by the piece. It was written with care and concern, but will probably do little to encourage a healing of this man.

Do you think that the publicity will bring him back from the living dead? A terrible shame spiral already exists within the poor bastard, and I wonder if printing his home address and detailed innuendo will help him or anyone else out of the situation they are in.

I, too, have had people close to me derail their music careers and lives into puddles of blood and drug residue. I have been angry, bitter, sad, heartbroken and aghast while the sickness and tormenting chemical dependencies rage on.

I salute your ability to realize it is a terrible waste, yet question your ultimate motives. Calling someone's dead wife a groupie in the paper isn't conducive to a rational dialogue. You proclaim the females who hang with Kirkwood to be "a harem of leeches." You sound angry and sexist, which is understandable, but unlikely to elicit positive results.

Cris Kirkwood is committing an act of self-abuse on a grand scale, and you appear to sit in judgment and seem jealous of the "success" he threw away. I am not defending his choices or his methods, but you are obviously no expert on humanity or drug addiction. You barely know this guy, but prattle on every lurid secondhand factoid you've ever gleaned from others.

Thanks for the detailed commentary, but I doubt it will make a difference, other than creating a bit more sensationalist media frenzy waiting for when he dies. You will write the obituary. Hell, maybe a book deal will arise out of it. The truth is, there are thousands of Cris Kirkwoods in this country. I've known several. They live in trailers and condos, motels and mansions. Talented or not, they can't control their addictions or impulses anymore. Whether they've toured with the hopelessly lame Stone Temple Pilots or never leave the garage is immaterial. They made their choices to surf the edge, and got sucked into the undertow.

And you, a media professional, have made your choice to publicly condemn the weak.

Name withheld by request

I just got done reading the letter you wrote regarding Cris Kirkwood. I'd like to echo your frustration and sadness about his, and many other talented (and not talented) people's, problem.

I used to manage the group Sublime, and as you may or may not know, we dealt with the same thing; only ours was the ultimate fate. My brother Bud was the drummer, and has since moved on to form a new group with the bass player, Eric. Anyway, they at least have had a chance to move on with their lives.

 

My sincerest regards and condolences go out to you, Curt, and to the rest of the people who I am sure care so much about Cris, and feel so absolutely helpless and angry. I don't know if I have anything to offer but empathy. However, I did feel compelled to write you, and at least offer some small bit of support.

After Brad, the singer of Sublime, died, I put on a benefit called "Enough Already," trying to stop shit like this from happening. It sucks really bad, and there is so little that can be done by anyone other than the drug addict.

Jason West fall
via Internet

I was moved to tears by your letter, and agreed with every word of it. I'm a Puppets fan from way back, and when my friend forwarded me your letter with "Cris Kirkwood" in the subject line, I couldn't open it for an hour because I was positive that I was about to read his obit. I hope he finds AA, religion, yoga, music, the Alaskan tundra . . . whatever it takes to get him back on course. Again, your letter was very powerful. Thank you.

Aaron Schnore
New York, New York

Arms Race
I would like to respond to Lorenzo Gonzalez's letter (Letters, May 6). He whines and complains about the "devil's racist hand" oppressing him. Cry me a river! Have you not noticed how much of a jackass you made of yourself? You spit at the Second Amendment--that's the amendment that guarantees the others. Are you familiar with the First Amendment? I don't think so. You reap this country's benefits of citizenship, yet bitch about it. Ask the people fleeing from Yugoslavia what oppression is, 'cause you don't know. If you like living in this country, you must live by its rules; if you don't . . . there's the fucking door! You have it good, I have it good, we have it good. And it seems because I'm white, everyone who isn't expects me to apologize for what color I was born, as if I owe them something. You don't like the cops, either, well think this one out: Some people are alive simply because it is illegal to kill them.

Name withheld by request

Regarding the letter to the editor under the heading "Beware Capitalist Gun Nuts," it's not love of guns, money or the Second Amendment, but love of liberty. A gun is a tool, a mechanical force-equalizer. If Mr. Gonzalez wants to go out and stick one in my face, he'd better be prepared for the legal consequences, if he survives the encounter at all. It's not about Republicans or big business, either. Southern, agrarian society, mostly Democrats, was always armed. Most of the shooting in metro areas now is an unintended consequence of the government's phony war on drugs. If Mr. Gonzalez thinks that killing will stop when white-trash rednecks and pseudo-rich Republican racists are disarmed, he better watch the movie Braveheart. It's an excellent illustration of how savage the killing can be without guns and all the by-products of a modern capitalistic society. He also should read Death by Government by R.J. Rummel. Maybe then he will have a clue as to why we were intended to be an armed and free society.

Larry Rybka
Mesa

Creek-speak
We are disheartened by your article on Fossil Creek ("Tributary Bypass," Michael Kiefer, April 29). Our family camps, hikes and fishes in this beautiful area on a regular basis. The flow of the creek is small and invites those only willing to enjoy the pure beauty of the forest. The eager "river jumpers" and other Valley residents who flock to rivers such as the Verde or Salt do not attempt the Fossil Creek area for many reasons. First, the trip down is not for the faint of heart--the winding washboard road can only be taken by the most sober of drivers. Second, the area is secluded, and partyers are nonexistent.

This area is historical, and we hope that it can stay that way. We are Prescott natives and know how few ties to Arizona's past are left. I don't mean the "tourist" ones, either, but the stories of the miners, lawmen and cowboys who rode across this land, and the memories. We are the "woodland yahoos" who opened the flumes and rode the water slides into Steer Lake. Although, if you check now, they have put several grates along the flumes and welded them shut. This area would attract too many visitors with better roads and wider river flow.

We did like some of your article, but more opinions from the people of the state who use and respect our lands and the history they hold would have made it more accurate. The environmentalists have an agenda each and every day, but how many of them camp on the banks of this river and enjoy the beauty it holds in its present state?

 

Michelle and Shawn Passmore
Mesa

Miner Contributions
In response to the column about Arizona's mining industry ("Shafted Again," Amy Silverman, April 22), I'd just like to say that although it appears the industry has taken tax money from the state, there are other instances in which money has generously been given where it was not required. I am one of about 15 or so students (that I know of) at Arizona State University who currently receives a scholarship from Phelps Dodge. There are similar numbers of students receiving help at the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. In my case, this has been in the amount of $3,500 a year for three years. There are many other schools that I am aware of whose students also receive these scholarships, mostly throughout the Southwest. The money that PD hands out to students may not equal what has been taken back in reduced taxes, but it has helped me and other individuals tremendously, and for this I am very grateful.

William Lloyd Johnson
Mesa


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