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Letters

Diary of a Mad House
How did you guys get a hold of my real "secret diary" of the impeachment proceedings (Flashes, January 28)?

Questioningly,
Jon Kyl
United States Senator

Thanks for your recent satire of Jon Kyl's "impeachment diary." I wish you would expose it for what it is, though--a first step in his reelection campaign. What better way to escape from the shadow of John McCain and show how responsible and conscientious [Kyl] is than by keeping a diary (which is useless unless it's private, and one written for public consumption never is) of his "deep" deliberations during the constitutional crisis his party has foisted on us. Basically it's nothing more than a series of ads that the junior senator is getting free of charge. Will his opponent get such a generous offer when the election comes? I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Mark Klobas
via Internet

Haus Warming
It seems a shame that local talent such as Big Pete Pearson ("Goin' Fishin'," Dale Baich, January 22, 1998) or Rena Haus must leave town before getting the recognition they deserve ("Haus Work," Salvatore Caputo, January 28, 1999). Rena was a unique performer in this Valley who fit in comfortably with musicians of many styles, and was always willing to learn something new. Her gift for melody and self-reflective lyrics was matched by her ever-widening musical genres; and her strong local following will attest to her galvanizing stage performances. Her humor, style and grace will be missed in Phoenix.

Few know of Rena's many trips to the far northeastern part of the state, where she worked with children on the Navajo reservation, singing and storytelling. She often displayed the children's drawings of their sacred mountains in her home, and spoke of her spiritual experiences there.

As a graphic artist, Rena designed the spectacular Earth Day '90 posters, featuring native cacti and hummingbirds, and sold more than 10,000 tee shirts of this beautiful painting. She also designed many of her own CD, tape and album covers, and worked professionally as an airbrush artist.

Rena worked too hard for too little in this town where the finest musicians often receive little financial compensation or public recognition. She was a strong supporter of live music, and would help any musician in need, often opening her home and her heart without reservation.

Look for a brief return of Rena and the Reptiles sometime in early May. They are well worth waiting for.

Mike Shellans, lecturer
School of Music, Arizona State University

Trash Trailer
I should like this to find the nicotine-stained, Hunter S. Thompson-esque hands of Mr. Bill Blake. This is a fan letter. I am not in the habit of writing them--and I never thought I'd write one to a record critic, but life's rich pageantry forbids one never to say never. Ahem.

Well, sir--your treatment of the latest Rush and Black Sabbath releases brings honor to your trade ("Bad Medicine," Trashman, January 21). It's a rare old boy who can treat music as both an aesthetic and a cultural phenomenon--especially in that format. And yes, while it doesn't take a genius to point out those bands are bankrupt in both areas--it takes balls to write it in a 'zine designed to sell "subculture" to the curd-chewing, mall-lemming masses. You get full power-rock points.

As to your preamble, it may (or may not) interest you to know that it is a very common dream (minus the "colonic irrigation"). Referred to as the "hag dream" or "old hag figure," some Jungian schools contend that as much as one-third of the world's male population has that dream in its archetypal form. I recommend the works of Charles Fort.

Anyway, I am not showing off erudition--I just figured I'd like to give something back for the feeling, for just a moment, I was completely alone in the high-school pep rally that is our culture.

As for your ailments, try NyQuil and dating a girl who works at a pharmacy next time.

Brion Emery
Luke Air Force Base

Moving Mountains
I previously called to thank Mr. Michael Kiefer for the wonderful expose he did concerning the Phoenix Mountains Preserve ("Deconstructing the Phoenix Mountains Preserve," November 26, 1998), and the dangers it faces. I am following up on that now because a few people have told me that when they inquired about our organization, Phoenix Mountains Preservation Council, Inc., they had a difficult time locating us, and some even believed we were no longer active. Well, we are very active, and now we are easier to locate. We now have a Web site at www.phoenixmountains.org which is active, but still under construction. We appreciate your permission to link to the wonderful story Mr. Kiefer wrote.

 

Of course you may write to us at PMPC, P.O. Box 26121, Phoenix, AZ 85062-6121, or you may call me at 266-4501. We encourage anyone who enjoys the Mountains Preserve to become active in protecting it. We have meetings the first Monday of every month, but you should call for location information. We have many events planned for 1999, all geared toward general public information and protecting the preserve we already have. Thank you again for your help in alerting the public.

Maxine Lakin
president, PMPC
Phoenix

Neurosympathy
Thank you for Terry Greene Sterling's recent article regarding Mr. Cooley's unfortunate experiences with neurosurgery ("Drawing From the Wrong Side of the Brain," January 14). My first question upon reading the article was, "Why didn't he go to Barrow?"

Originally endowed by the head of Barrow's Furniture in the 1960s in gratitude for medical help his wife received at St. Joseph's Hospital, Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) has grown to be one of the most respected neurological facilities in the world.

Almost three years ago, after months of various complaints to my internist, she ordered a CAT scan at St. Joseph's Hospital. She telephoned me upon completion and advised that I had a large tumor on the left side of my brain and would be immediately admitted to BNI. An MRI taken later that evening revealed a meningioma tumor (the same type as Mr. Cooley's and Liz Taylor's) the size of a lemon in my left lateral ventricle. After 13 hours of surgery over the course of two days, performed by Dr. Curtis Dickman (and assisted by resident Dr. Paul Detwiler), the tumor was successfully resected. I resumed my career with no ill effects and, to date, the tumor has not reappeared.

There are no words to describe the experience of neurosurgery, but I am so grateful to be alive today and it is due to the efforts of skilled surgeons like doctors Dickman and Detwiler and their support at BNI.

Mr. Cooley and his family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Genny B. Coulson
Phoenix

The recent article "Drawing From the Wrong Side of the Brain" was an illuminating look at medical care and legal representation in the 1990s. As a meningioma patient who has had two surgeries and one gamma-knife radiation treatment here in the Valley, I can attest to the struggle and pain that Mike Cooley has suffered.

There are no easy answers when it comes to benign brain tumors or other neuromas--the doctors themselves often disagree about whether "aggressive" treatment is necessary and, if so, what kind. Continuing to seek out medical providers who are caring and yet technically proficient is the only answer. The gamma-knife unit at St. Joseph's Hospital is a godsend for many patients, as this less invasive treatment can leave the DNA of the growth in disarray--hence stopping further advancement of the tumor. Kudos to New Times for printing this thought-provoking article on a subject that is little understood.

Name withheld by request

Year of the Rats
I'm no fan of U S Worst, er, West, so it doesn't surprise me that Messrs. McCormick, Glinsky and Russ got the mother of all golden parachutes when they collectively retired ("For Whom Your Bell Tolls," Terry Greene Sterling, January 21). But to play devil's advocate for a moment, when one reaches such lofty heights of the corporate ladder, one can write one's own ticket. What do the stockholders care? The stock values are increasing and they are being paid their quarterly dividends. If the head honchos want to pay themselves a big retirement bonus, stick it to the customers to recoup it.

I hope the Corporation Commission will see through the thinly veiled whining of U S West and deny such an exorbitant rate hike next year. They soak us, the residential consumer, enough. Let them sock it to their corporate customers; after all, it's just a cost of doing business. But they won't.

Once again, the little guy gets it in the shorts. Maybe to save a little money, U S West can stop spending so much on useless TV advertising (I don't care what they say; they're still a monopoly) or quit having telemarketers call me four or five times a week and try to get me to spend even more on their useless services. They can cut costs; they're just a monster that's gotten out of control, and we and the Corporation Commission need to bring it back into the control of the customer. They are here to serve us, not the other way around. And it seems to me from the service I've gotten from U S West in the past few years, that's what it has evolved to, the tail wagging the dog.

 

Bill Gracey
Phoenix

I cheered when Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which would bring local telephone service competition to Arizona, because we all benefit from the stable rates and better service that come with competition.

But nearly three years later, 99.5 percent of us here still have no choice of a local service provider. And U S West is now seeking an 18 percent increase from $13.45 to $15.95 on our basic local service rate. That's $71 million a year!

U S West has been found to be earning more profit than it's allowed as a regulated monopoly in other states. In New Mexico, U S West was found to be overearning by $22 million a year, and ordered to reduce rates. In Oregon and Washington, U S West's overearnings reached approximately $100 million a year in each state. It's reasonable to suspect that U S West may be overearning in Arizona as well.

Unfortunately, we'll never know, since our Arizona Corporation Commissioners unofficially declared U S West a competitive company and sealed its financial records from public view. The financial records for APS, TEP, Southwest Gas, down to the smallest water company in the state, are open to the public, as they should be. This is special treatment for U S West that is absurd, and we should demand this ruling be reversed.

That's not all. U S West also filed a depreciation case saying it needs $42 million a year over each of the next three years to repair phone lines. Haven't we ratepayers been paying for this kind of maintenance for years? If not, where's our money been going?

Before U S West gets a penny more, much less the total $113 million a year it is asking for, Arizona consumers should demand its financial records be opened and examined for overearnings. Likewise, the ACC should do more to foster local service competition so we are no longer at the mercy of the U S West monopoly.

Please join me in writing to the members of the Arizona Corporation Commission to let them know you want an end to the secrecy surrounding U S West financial reports, so we can all take a look before the ACC even thinks about considering higher rates. The three members are: Jim Irvin, Carl Kunasek and Tony West. They can be reached at: Arizona Corporation Commission, 1200 West Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

Jon Poston, consumer coordinator
Arizonans for Competition in Telephone Service

Busts or Bust
Another casualty of the so-called "war on drugs" ("Death of a Shopkeeper," Paul Rubin, January 28). This is sheer lunacy!

David Brandt
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Another victim of the "war on drugs." This un-American effort, like Vietnam, will not cease until the last of our freedoms (or worse) is dead. I say let the druggies have all they want and OD themselves. It's better than the AmeriKa I now live in.

Name withheld by request

Fall of Saigon
Your review of Miss Saigon is right on ("Attention, Choppers!" Robrt L. Pela, January 28). And they said The Music Man would never make it. It ran for five years, then they made the movie. Shows like that are apparently gone.

Dan Depert
via Internet

Your review of Miss Saigon contained the following: "The state of the American musical deserves our concern." In that Miss Saigon is a West End (London) production, it would be less than accurate to classify the play as an American musical, or to invoke concern over the art form based on this play which was written by a couple of French guys and produced by a British guy.

Name withheld by request

It is apparent that you dislike the musical Miss Saigon, and I do agree with you. As a musical, there is nothing to Miss Saigon that makes me want to see it again. (I saw it on Broadway, and was happy that I only paid $12 for SRO tickets three years ago.) I have no desire to see this version. But I want to know how this production fares. How are the actors? The dancers? Are they truthful to the story line? Please, in the future, when you review a touring company, do them and the reading public a favor by letting them know your opinion of how they are presenting this show. (I know that this is helpful to them, having had the pleasure of coming to Phoenix with the touring company of Kiss of the Spider Woman two years ago.) Almost three-fourths of the reviews we received were a rehashing of the show and not our production.

Matthew Schlofner
via Internet

 

Youngtown Disgraces
This letter is in response to the column titled "Scourge of Youngtown" (Terry Greene Sterling) dated December 31, 1998.

Please excuse the tardiness of this, but as the saying goes . . . better late than never!

When my husband and I read the article about Al Lindsey and his "run-in" with the Youngtown "Gestapo," our first reaction was one of total disbelief, then outrage, then ultimately dismay that such a thing could happen.

The Lindseys were victims of bureaucratic "boobs"--the very people we are supposed to put our faith and trust in. Instead, these very people choose to intimidate by sitting in front of someone's house to watch the grass grow to "unlawful limits," then prosecute to the full extent of the law! Shouldn't that be reserved for the "perpetrators" of real crimes?

Terry Greene Sterling did an outstanding job reporting this whole incident and bringing it to the public's attention. Thank you!

Sadly, because of our proximity to Youngtown, my husband and I do not want to reveal our true identities, fearing potential "Storm Trooper" repercussions.

Names withheld by request

Mill Stones
Tempe's sidewalk-sitting ban (Flashes, January 21) is the first good, progressive action against the enormous problem of the homeless running Mill Avenue in Tempe. When I saw your "Flashes" about the demonstration, I became outraged.

The students and protesters called this ban unconstitutional. This is total bull. A business front is not the place to sit on the ground. By definition, that area is not a "sidesit" but a "sidewalk." These homeless people basically get in the way, and, quite frankly, scare me. They may be nice in asking for change, but who's to say that one won't take a dislike to me and follow me to my car? I feel my safety is threatened on Mill Avenue.

Being a hard-working, taxpaying citizen of Arizona, I think these homeless kids should get off their butts, get jobs and pay taxes like the rest of us. Don't I basically pay for their convenience to stay homeless, to get free meals and decrease the value of the community?

I don't think the homeless are being mistreated by the Tempe sidewalk-sitting ban. It hurts to know that the change they do get doesn't go for things like food and shelter. It allows a homeless person to sit in front of a store, on the ground (like an animal) and use a cell phone that we in one way or another pay for. I'd like to see the homeless pack themselves up and skip town. They hinder profits, hassle the Tempe customers and cost us our tax dollars. I, for one, am taking my business elsewhere until the homeless are gone. Sorry, Tempe.

Name withheld by request

Religious Experience
How fascinating to see Scientology's Mesa director of special affairs, Leslie Durhman, in yet another role, now as a priest in clerical garb ("Picket Fencing," Tony Ortega, January 21)! I've previously seen her on the witness stand in a court hearing, sobbing about her fear for her life from deranged picketers, and then at actual pickets, coming right up to picketers to take their photographs and shouting at them not to stop in the driveway.

Oddly, no picketer had ever seen her in clerical garb until the New Times photo opportunity, but her adoption of this role is consistent with her Superior Court testimony. At the hearing in Bruce Pettycrew's case, she misled the judge into thinking that the Church of Scientology has regular "worship services," which were being disturbed by alleged shouting. Oddly enough, no other picketers have ever witnessed any such behavior by Pettycrew, and Scientology--an "applied religious philosophy"--has courses and auditing sessions, not worship services. The front door of the "church" is a lobby/business office area; auditing sessions are performed one-on-one in other rooms behind closed doors.

On several occasions during protests, the Scientologists have left the front door open.

If the considerable traffic noise on University is not sufficient to disturb courses or auditing, then the sound of protesters speaking to each other, or to Scientologists who come out to talk to them, certainly wouldn't be, either.

Name withheld by request

Thank you for an excellent article on Jeff Jacobsen's brave stand against Scientology. As an Internet "netizen," I, too, have been following the exploits of this "church" since the early Nineties. I applaud Jeff for his efforts, and commend him on his commitment to nonviolent protest in the face of reprehensible harassment from Scientologists.

Scientology has regularly abused the legal system to protect its own interests, and gained a well-deserved drubbing in the legal arena (both here and overseas) for its trouble. Using for-profit corporate shells with names like Sterling Management, Narconon, Criminon and Applied Scholastics, it clandestinely spreads its influence throughout society, hoping that its ties to these organizations go unnoticed. Even its tax-exempt status was obtained under highly questionable circumstances.

 

Scientologists continue to practice doctrine, composed by founder L. Ron Hubbard, which is morally repugnant by any standard. That our tax dollars are used to assist this cause--and silence any citizen who dares expose these questionable activities--adds insult to injury.

Mr. Jacobsen has shown us that an episode like the death of Lisa McPherson (while in the care of Scientology practitioners) is merely a sad chapter in the long, troubling history of the Church of Scientology. How many more will die before authorities take action?

Michael Kellar
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Here's a quote from the article:
"Jacobsen's 'religious bigotry' is never spelled out in leaflets or picket signs; nowhere do Scientologists identify themselves on their protest materials. On a church member's Web site, meanwhile, Jacobsen's character and family business are maligned: 'Like a housewife who constantly harps about her neighbors, when you open Jeff's closet, all the dirty diapers and dishpans fall out.'"

Here's a quote from L. Ron Hubbard, inventor of Scientology: "An attacker is like a housewife who tells City Hall how terribly her neighbours keep house. But when you open her door, the dishpans and dirty diapers fall out on the porch."

It sounds like the Scientologists have tape recordings of L. Ron Hubbard in their heads, and they are just mindlessly acting out these prerecorded tapes.

Joe Cisar
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

All religions have former adherents who drop out of agreement with their scriptures, organizations or people. Such people are fodder for those who wish to create conflict and strife for their own hidden purposes. What is going on with these "PR assaults" on the Church of Scientology could be fabricated against any religion, and, to some degree, it has been done with other religions. It's a simple procedure. You simply lie, distort, misrepresent or alter certain practices or beliefs, incite or bribe the disaffected to "man the picket lines," file a few unfounded lawsuits and you're "in business." The reason it is sustained with such persistence against Scientology is a simple one: Scientology works.

There are powerful, well-connected and very rich people in this world who profit mightily from the chaos of war, crime, drug abuse, illiteracy and general moral decay. Does anyone think that such people would welcome a workable technology for handling these things? On the contrary, they do everything they can to stir up trouble and keep the environment threatening, and attack anyone who proffers real solutions. People like Jeff Jacobsen who delight in attacking people of good will are either useful dupes or they harbor the same ill will for their fellow man as their masters.

In skilled hands, Scientology does exactly what it says it can do, and no one knows this better than its fiercest critics. It is a broad subject that can be used to address and better any condition in life. From the most dramatic and frightening social maladies that scream at us from headlines and broadcast to the most intimate, dark, personal fears and transgressions; relief, bettered conditions and greater ability can be attained and sustained with the application of Scientology. It is being done every day and documented. Any and all who wish to find out for themselves are welcome.

Jim Reeves
Glendale

Again, you attack my religion! How dare you. The newspapers are the first ones to scream about freedom of speech; how about freedom of religion? I am not going to stop being a Scientologist just because some religious bigot named Jeff Jacobsen, who has never had any services but one course in Scientology, speaks out against it.

Jeff, get a life! You need to report back to the United Pentecostal Church and admit your transgressions immediately. Maybe then you would stop attacking religions and even be a happy human being. You must be jealous of the population as a whole who believe in a religion or you would not be doing this. That's sad.

Tony Ortega, you are just helping and encouraging Jeff Jacobsen to motivate on whatever his transgressions are. Both of you report back to your churches and quit attacking mine!!!

The church has wonderful educational-reform and social-reform activities that were obviously overlooked by Tony Ortega. I volunteer in these areas in the community, which you did not even mention.

I urge readers to think for yourselves and quit listening to the Jeff Jacobsens and Tony Ortegas of the world.

Name withheld by request

I have been a Scientologist for seven years. I consider that Scientology saved my life and has enhanced my business relationships, my communications with my family and my abilities in life. No one forces me to attend or participate. There is no "undue control" asserted over me as your article states to exist. My fellow parishioners are happy people who have found a codified body of information that helps us live a better life. Your article is a slanted piece of journalism which is attacking a source of help and people of goodwill in our community.

 

Scientology helps millions through its world literacy campaigns: Narconon, with its documented success rate of 80 percent in helping drug addicts, and Criminon, which shares common-sense, basic values with prison inmates internationally. A far more accurate story to tell would be of the millions of lives touched by Scientology, and the people who roll up their sleeves and make a difference and have been inspired to do so by the works of L. Ron Hubbard.

Don Herman
via Internet

I am completely appalled at the article on the Church of Scientology. Doesn't Tony Ortega have anything better to do than to attack my religion?

I and my family have been Scientologists for nine years and have never been happier. We know Scientologists all over the world who also are very glad to have found Scientology and apply the Scientology technology to their lives every day.

We do not like to be attacked any more than any other religion would. Freedom of speech is one thing, outright attacking is another. Tony Ortega and the owners and editors of New Times obviously have not attended any church services, or you would know that you and Jeff Jacobsen are outright attacking our religion. That does constitute religious bigotry, to say nothing of what seems could be libelous statements about Scientology.

What is wrong with writing about all of the community-service activities that the church does in food drives, anti-drug campaigns and disaster-relief work? I could bet that Jeff Jacobsen does not do anything for his community except attack religions. Take heed all religions: This man, Jeff Jacobsen, could eventually attack your church. He may look meek, but he is a danger to the religious community.

Name withheld by request

I am a native Arizonan, an intermittent New Times reader since the early Seventies, and a Scientologist since 1990.

I don't know much about Jacobsen or his personal vendetta against Scientology. In fact, I personally doubt whether Jacobsen is more than a minor irritation to most Scientologists (much ado about nothing).

However, I do know about Scientology--facts that your Mr. Ortega seems to be lacking (or perhaps his spin wouldn't allow). Of course it may not make for sensational or controversial press; but then I assume you're setting your sights higher than National Enquirer-style journalism. If this is indeed the case, here are some facts you (and your readership) should be aware of:

Scientology is a religious philosophy--a technology that addresses man's spiritual nature--and as such, is pan-religion. There are no worship services or dogma in Scientology. Additionally, it is not unusual for Scientologists to be members of other religions. In fact, the term "Scientology" means "the science of knowledge." Scientology's technology effectively addresses life's troubles from a unique point of view--your own. I know people who have used it to turn their lives around, handling personal problems ranging from drug addiction to financial success. I, personally, have experienced amazing results with it and have never witnessed anyone harmed by its application.

Mr. Ortega's article seemed to lack the in-depth investigation that should characterize credible journalism. Most of the "facts" seem to come from Jacobsen's sources or Jacobsen himself. They just don't make sense. For example: While I'm no entomologist, I have been exposed to cockroaches (as have most of us) all my life and I have never been bitten by one, nor have I ever heard of anyone ever being bitten. In fact, I didn't ever know that they bite! (Perhaps McPherson's corpse was a snack for the morgue's resident cockroaches; who knows?) I have spent more than a few days at the Fort Harrison Hotel and never saw any of the voracious little critters myself. (I could go on, but to what end? Look at your sources.)

There is a vast amount of reliable information available about Scientology and how it works. No article on the subject is complete without it. One good source is What Is Scientology, available in paperback at most book stores or libraries. As far as the technology itself, while it IS copyrighted, nearly ALL of it (several million words) is available to the public in books and on tapes, through any Scientology organization. My suggestion is that you find out about L. Ron Hubbard's technology for yourself. A good overview is A New Slant on Life by L. Ron Hubbard, again available in paperback at most book stores or libraries. The sign in front of the local Scientology organization says it fairly well, "THINK FOR YOURSELF."

 

Michael A. Scott
Chandler


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