Legal Ease
What has John Dougherty been smoking ("Paradise Lost," July 1)?
For 210 years it has taken a unanimous vote of 12 jurors to convict a man and take his liberty. With Mary Jane Cotey, you had at least a hung jury on all counts. Schindler failed to carry his burden. Fife is innocent.

Get a life and a new recorder.
John Dowd
Washington, D.C.

Bundgaard on Guard
I am working to remove a polluter from a single-family neighborhood. I am committed to seeing this event happen from beginning to end. The neighbors deserve a normal neighborhood free from polluters, buried solid waste and heavy truck traffic generated by a rogue sand and gravel pit operation.

In spite of my complete disclosure to your reporter, Ms. Terry Greene Sterling, the truth does not matter to her. She prints monstrous lies and innuendos because she is working for her friend and a political opponent of mine ("Keep On Truckin'," July 8).

I invited Sterling to my office to examine all of my files on the case, subjecting myself to her ridiculous insinuations. While at my office, she saw photos of the children's basketball teams that I have coached, photos of the church high school youth group I worked with, awards for legislative achievement, and plaques from charities for which I had raised money. She knew the whole truth and chose to print none of it. She believes that her assumptions about me are stronger than the truth. Invent a story first. Sell a scandal now. Avoid the facts. What's wrong with the truth, Ms. Sterling?

The truth is there is a polluter in our neighborhood that wants special treatment. I want him out. In her previous column ("Scott Free," March 11), she accused me of helping the polluter. This time she accused me of hurting this polluter. Because Ms. Sterling is working for my political opponent, the truth doesn't matter. I will get the job done regardless of what Ms. Sterling or my political opponents say.

That's my job as a state senator.
I am doing the right thing for the neighbors who are being wrongfully harmed by Walter Lorimor, owner of the 80-acre sand and gravel pit, who is illegally dumping solid waste. He generates heavy truck traffic in a neighborhood with children who ride bicycles and play together in front yards. Dust clouds course through the air when he cranks up his crushers in the dark hours of the morning. The homeowners have a right to be upset at Lorimor, who is negatively affecting their property values and endangering the lives of children in the neighborhood.

Since 1997, I have worked with the mine owner/polluter and numerous government agencies fighting him. I brought both entities together to resolve the environmental issues so that Lorimor could sell his property and move on. I have worked to find buyers for the property and to see a DEQ-approved cleanup plan for the property be implemented by the new buyer. I will not stop until this mess is cleaned up. I want the problem resolved quickly, not tied up in court for years.

My efforts are nothing more than anyone else would do to protect my neighbors within the letter of the law. Heck, my political opponent could have worked to resolve this issue, but chose not to involve herself. In politics, no matter what action one takes, someone will always be upset. Therefore, it makes it easier for me to do the right thing. It would be refreshing if Ms. Sterling cared more about the facts than about her friends and their dirty political agendas. Thankfully, I am accountable to my neighbors who elected me, not Terry Greene Sterling and New Times.

Scott Bundgaard
State senator

Terry Greene Sterling responds: Senator Bundgaard is mistaken--I am neither "working for" nor am I "a friend" of any of his political foes. He writes as though his participation in community activities somehow absolves him or renders him incapable of the outrageous behavior he exhibited in the case I wrote about, which dealt with an illegal dump in his district. He fails to address the troubling facts detailed in my column--facts that Bundgaard admitted to in a tape-recorded interview. The Arizona Attorney General's Office should determine whether Bundgaard abused his power as a state senator to intervene with the state Department of Environmental Quality--an intervention that prevented DEQ and City of Peoria officials from prosecuting the owner of the dump. Ultimately, Bundgaard's actions enabled a friend, David Crantz, to purchase the property in question at a discounted rate. Further, once Crantz assumed ownership of the property, Bundgaard ordered truckloads of fill delivered to Crantz's land and asked an appraiser to appraise equipment Crantz had confiscated from the previous owner. The AG should determine whether Bundgaard has any financial interest related to Crantz or the deal that came to pass because Bundgaard intervened with DEQ.

Pulling Up Steaks
It saddens me to see Tempe driving small businesses out to make room for big names! Long live Restaurant Mexico ("Adios . . . Again," John Dougherty, July 8)!

Good luck to them--and thank you for exploring this particular ugliness of urban sprawl and downtown development. My heart is with all small-business owners trying to compete with big-name chains.

Kathy Fecske

Regarding Restaurant Mexico: What's next, chasing out Monti's?
I lived in Tempe from 1967 to 1988. It always appears that while Tempe officials mean to do well, and could even claim to be "visionary," they seem to eventually become full of themselves and end up alienating the very people whose "heritage" they meant to preserve, in this case an old-time restaurant.

Will people really go to downtown Tempe to a chain restaurant that has other Valley locations closer to the prospective customer's home? The uniqueness should be maintained, not driven out.

Name withheld by request

Teacher's Pet Peeve
While I certainly respect Angela Kirkendall's courage to teach in a school like Rose Linda, I'm disgusted with the militaristic, Skinnerian teaching mentality she represents ("Mentor's Lament," Tony Ortega, July 8).

Alfie Kohn and other scholars have shown the long-term ineffectiveness of the reward/punishment theory which still holds our schools, particularly ones with large amounts of minority students, hostage. Keeping kids quiet and raising test scores, two common solutions to the problems in so many schools with an at-risk population, are all too easy to force on a group of low-income students. But this is not teaching these children to think. It is merely forcing them to be obsequious. I've met too many educators who thrive not on developing the skills so needed by minority students in a "democratic" society--namely, the ability to think independently--but on getting their overpopulated class to "sit down and shut up."

Furthermore, Kirkendall was wrong when she said, "I'm not paid to be nice. I'm paid to teach." All the children in such a class deserve and need love and kindness, not just the ones who make good grades. As "Hector's" diary shows, many of these children require more than a good disciplinarian. They need a teacher, a counselor, a motivator, a moral guide and a loving friend. This isn't fair to Kirkendall--after all, most teacher's colleges just teach how to plan lessons. But educators ignore the real needs of at-risk children to "pull up test scores" at the children's peril. And citizens ignore the real financial needs of such schools at our society's peril.

Working with at-risk children is no easy task. Having done a good deal of it, I appreciate Kirkendall's efforts. Anyone who has spent time in a crowded, underfunded classroom knows how heroic teachers like this must be just to show up for work every day. Teachers are the first to get unfairly blamed for all of society's ills and the last to get financially rewarded for facing them. But the solution to all of this isn't to turn at-risk students into mindless automatons. They deserve a chance to think as much as anyone. And they deserve a grown-up who is nice no matter what.

John Scudder

Page 20 of the July 8 New Times is going in the scrapbook. It's funny that you'd print half a page of an article ("Mentor's Lament") on the "struggle to shield inner-city kids from the lure of the streets" with a half-page ad on where to buy, sell or repair your semiautomatic pistols. Oh, the controversy. Are we being tested here?

Ian Gillies

The last two issues have been incredible! The report about the foster-care problems ("Fostering Sexual Abuse," Terry Greene Sterling, July 1) with the class-action lawsuits, and Tony Ortega's piece about the true tests of mentors. Thank you for looking at real problems in a realistic fashion. I'm glad you've taken the time to research and tell the story well. Keep it up. Our children need the advocacy.

Name withheld by request

Gross Assumption
We would like to applaud Dewey Webb on his article about the Dion Ybarra/Christopher Gross tragedy ("The Cook, the Pastry Chef, the Gossip Columnist and the Fax," July 8). Unlike Dolores Tropiano of the Arizona Republic, Dewey Webb has presented the facts in a very unbiased way which is consistent with most New Times reporting.

We would also like to share some additional feelings in regard to this matter. Christopher Gross was accurate in his assumption that the fax was the work of a disgruntled employee--all of Christopher's employees are disgruntled. It's a revolving door around here, as people quit so fast that you don't even get a chance to learn their names. Especially in the kitchen.

Everything in the original fax was accurate and true and could not have been the work of one individual. There was too much information for one person to be aware of. It was a collaboration from everyone. For one waiter to be fired over it is very unfair, but it is consistent with the way Christopher does things.

So, because of Christopher's suspicions and assumptions, he has fired one of his best waiters while all of us had a hand in the fax.

Is it any wonder that after 10 years in this business, Christopher is still not successful and has to work as a cook in his own restaurant?

Name withheld by request

Fighting City Hall
The attempt by New Times to destroy government inequities appears to be like spitting into the wind. The daily newspapers, the TV and radio, and the political moguls roll over the citizens.

Having successfully spent millions on infrastructure and a host of other perks for the ballpark, our parasites had no qualms about raping us with another hefty act of corporate welfare and guarantee of tens of millions if private industry cannot make a profit to suit its agenda ("The Hotel Emergency," Flashes, July 1). The insolence in overriding the clear wishes of the citizens indicates they believe they have the money to continue to win elections.

As the burdens of education, police, fire protection, infrastructure, transportation, utilities, courts, prisons, ecology, water, trash, etc., continue to increase and overwhelm, more and more corporate structures with political muscle get exemptions from taxes. The program of city, county and state is simple; show the need and raise sales taxes, entirely unmindful of the "simple" fact that sales taxes are a cut in income, particularly for those who can least afford the cut.

It doesn't look as though the voters will take action in view of the barrage of propaganda on one side and the absence of money to disprove the spin.

Name withheld by request

Amy Silverman was right on the money when she said there was a "crisis of confidence" for the Phoenix City Council ("Four Bore Years," June 24). When the council members invoked an "emergency" clause to put the Marriott deal through, it cheated the public out of its right to vote on what happens to their downtown (not the council's). Phoenix voters will not forget that. And they shouldn't, either.

The money used to pay for Marriott could've been used on homelessness, education and any number of other things. Is it more than just coincidence that this Marriott deal came down at the same time that a state agency decided to cut back on programs that provide services for mentally ill children?

The Arizona Republic said this vote was a vote for progress and the future. If so, what kind of dark future are we progressing to?

Jon Krieger

Molest We Forget
As the founder and director of the National Foundation to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (www.childsexualabuse.org), I cannot thank you enough for your article exposing the darkest side of the foster-care system in Arizona ("Fostering Sexual Abuse," Terry Greene Sterling, July 1). Unfortunately, I suspect that the situation is not much different in other parts of the country.

Terry Greene Sterling's writing style grabs the reader by the throat and does not let go. She does great work.

Jody Gorran
via Internet


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