Out of Bounds
I have been heavily involved in the issues regarding the Washington Elementary School District's proposed new school at Seventh Avenue and Peoria, which also proposes to use city park land by joint agreement between the school district and the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department. My involvement included the drafting and circulation of petitions in support of the proposed new school. These petitions are briefly referred to in Michael Kiefer's article ("Deconstructing the Phoenix Mountain Preserves," November 26).
His article draws into question whether the land proposed to be used by the school district is "mountain preserve land" or not. If there are issues with the mountain preserve, they should not involve park land that is proposed to be used jointly with the Washington Elementary School District. The land in question is park land, not "mountain preserve" land. This conclusion is easily drawn because the City of Phoenix acquired the land well before the mountain preserve ordinance and pursuant to Ordinances S-4365 and S-4405, which specifically designate the land in question as community park.
The mountain preserves are defined in Chapter XXVI, Section 1 of the Phoenix City Code as adopted in 1985. Since by ordinance the land is designated as community park, subsection (a) does not apply. Neither do subsections (b) or (c). Subsection (d) does not apply, either, as there is no ordinance that has designated this park land as mountain preserve. Retired Justice Corcoran came to this same conclusion after his detailed study of the problem, and any reasonable person would also.
As to other parcels of land, it is essential that each parcel be analyzed and determined if an issue exists. If an issue exists, then the procedure outlined by the Parks Department should suffice. I don't believe that the Kiefer article fairly represents either the issues with respect to the land to be used by the proposed WESD school or the issues with respect to other parcels. Suffice it to say that each parcel deserves a factual and legal review, and then public clarification as to its status. This is the only way to do justice to the Mountain Preserve Ordinance.
"Deconstructing the Phoenix Mountain Preserves" was an excellent article. As one of the people involved in the attempt to keep the desert land near Seventh Avenue and Peoria from being deleted from the preserve, I have been sickened by the arrogance of the Phoenix Parks, Recreation and Library Department. It has demonstrated a willingness to remove lands from the preserve even though the department itself has mapped, posted and protected these lands as preserves. It has mandated the enforcement of Chapter 26, which defines and protects the preserve, when dealing with private property encroachments, yet downplays the validity of Chapter 26 when it comes to its own planned encroachments.
As citizens of Phoenix, we need to reassert our claim to the Phoenix Mountain Preserves. Every square inch of them belong to us and cannot be taken away from us unless we vote to do so. This is the law.
Law and Disorder
Good job of keeping the heat on Sheriff Joe Arpaio ("Affidavit Versus Goliath," Tony Ortega, November 26). Those who think Sheriff Joe is unbeatable need to reflect back to the 1968 Maricopa County sheriff's election, when unknown John Mummert unseated the 30-year incumbent Cal Boise.
Give Joe a break. He's one of the few public figures in the country who has the stones enough to treat criminals the way they should be treated . . . like criminals. All the do-gooders in this country have had their way for long enough, and turned it into a place where only the criminals are guaranteed rights and the poor working slob has to defend his property against people who have rap sheets longer than your arms. These people need to serve their full sentences (without parole or any other legal trickery that their loophole-seeking lawyers try to pull).
I hope Joe pitches tents all the way to the border. People should forfeit their rights at the front door of the jail. The only ones who should be screaming about rights are the victims. It's a disgrace the way that convicted felons are coddled, and have their sentences reduced only to return back to the streets and start all over. It's ironic that the same people who complain about not having coffee in jail are the same ones who have no problem stealing, mugging, raping, etc., violating everyone else's right to a safe existence. What's even more sickening is that there's always a worthless, ambulance-chasing lawyer looking to tie up the courts with such nonsense.
You don't see the volume of crimes in countries where you get your hand(s) cut off for stealing, and you can probably bet that there are no Americans spreading graffiti overseas after the "caning" incident. Perhaps those individuals trying to save everyone from everything need to shut their mouths long enough to hear these types of messages from other countries. Criminals only understand punishment. But somehow that got lost in the translation. While the legal system was bogged down with such "important" matters as people suing because they didn't know they shouldn't use a blow dryer in the bathtub, true justice got shoveled under the rug. Somewhere along the line, common sense needs to take hold over legal precedent. Courts need to return to a place of fairness and justice, and cease being a forum for well-educated people in expensive suits trying to outmaneuver their opponent at any cost.
In conclusion, the hordes of people who are just waiting for a bandwagon to hop onto should direct their efforts toward those less fortunate, instead of trying to make political statements and further reduce our legal system to a minor inconvenience in between crime sprees.
I would like to applaud New Times for its tenacity. I believe it has been obvious for some time that there has been some underlying corruption in the Sheriff's Office. I have seen Sheriff Joe's type before (LAPD Chief Daryl Gates).
It is my opinion that Sheriff Joe is not interested in enforcing the law. This egomaniac is interested in being the law. It's time the Arizona "powers that be" put a leash on that dog before he really hurts the community.
Name withheld by request
Congratulations to New Times and Tony Ortega for reporting what happens to whistle-blowers. It appears that both former Sheriff's Office employees Battilana and Wetherell have enough courage to come forward and preserve ethics in government for all of us.
As for deputy county attorney Lebowitz, his affidavit reeks of cover-your-ass BS. Why is it that Romley cannot investigate Arpaio, but Lebowitz, who works as a deputy county attorney for Romley, can represent the sheriff? Lebowitz should have withdrawn from the case in May! I hope Romley sends him packing!
Name withheld by request
What Dreams May Come Apart
I appreciated Paul Rubin's excellent article "A Killer Sleep Disorder" (November 19), which describes a difficult psychological problem and a more difficult legal problem. As a psychologist, I have worked for many years with people and their troublesome dream experiences, some of them including sleepwalking. I am fortunate that none of my dreamers or sleepwalkers did anything destructive to themselves or others.
The jury in Scott Falater's trial will have the enormously difficult task of determining whether Mr. Falater is lying when he says he does not remember killing his wife, and is actually covering up a murder. There is as yet no completely reliable "lie detector" test.
What will call for almost impossible wisdom from the jury is the fact that in the dream experience it is possible for a person to feel, and sometimes even do, things that would be regarded as inconceivable by the dreamer (or by family and friends) when awake. The way this process works is that a person has thoughts and feelings, for example, anger, that cause him great discomfort; possibly, as in the case of Scott Falater, because he is a very active, devoted member of a church that may disapprove of the expression of such "bad" feelings. Typically, such shameful feelings are pushed "out of mind" so we can get on with the business of making a living and carrying on the family life.
However, what actually happens is that the "bad" feelings get locked away in a secret closet of the mind. It is when this closet gets overloaded that the contents begin pushing out through our dream apparatus. Neurologically speaking, the right hemisphere of the brain, which deals with feelings, brings to our attention through dreams what the left hemisphere (the intellectual part) censors during our waking hours. Ideally, our dreams can be utilized as rich sources of half of our intelligence, half of the functioning capacity of our brains. Sadly, most people do not seek help in learning how to use this 50 percent of their thinking power, and so the upsetting dreams continue to upset their lives (and, in only extreme cases, thank God, result in behavior destructive to self and others).
If anything at all good can be found in reading about an episode such as Scott Falater's killing of his wife, it may be that more people may be moved to learn how to use their dreams in a healthy, creative, beneficial way.
Arnold Thaw, Ph.D.,
I want to thank you for running Amy Silverman's column "Cracking the Code" (Wonk, November 26), addressing the state plumbing code and the entertaining way the process has been handled. The column contains a great deal of information that has not been common public knowledge. The comments and background are excellent. Many of us who attended the commission meetings found the process used by "PIPE's commission" unbelievable. It was, at the very least, a total insult to the people of Arizona and the public process of government.
Ben Stepleton, director
Santa Cruz County Health Department
I usually like the film reviews in New Times, but the reviewer really blew it with Celebrity, Woody Allen's latest ("Getting Along Famously," Bill Gallo, November 19). The movie lacked depth and structure. This might be Allen's last.
Rock & Toll
The "Shooting Star" article by David Holthouse (November 12) is awesome and worthy of a major journalism award. He captured the essence of a well-known truth: Money, fame and talent do not make us immune to our personal demons. Keep up the great work, New Times.
Congratulations on your superb pre-election coverage. Your articles helped me make more informed decisions at the ballot box. I was especially moved by David Holthouse's feature on cockfighting ("Out, Out, Damn Sport!" October 8).
I'm a little disappointed by the fact that the ban on cockfighting passed so easily in our state. Don't get me wrong. I'm no fan of the sport. I've never been to a cockfight, nor do I ever expect to attend such an event. Simply, it is not a part of my culture, but it is--or at least was--a part of someone else's.
It seems so easy in our society for members of the majority culture to outvote one less popular. As a gay man living in the principal culture of a predominantly white, (anti-gay) Christian, heterosexual society, I, perhaps more than most, see the inherent dangers of pitting one culture against another in a popular vote for some alleged societal superiority.
Cockfighting appears to be a brutal blood sport. As far as I can tell, however, the roosters are treated far more humanely than many people treat other human beings. And why stop at chicken fights? Fishing is a brutal blood sport--certainly from the fish's perspective--which often entails allowing another living creature to either suffocate to death and/or be skinned and filleted alive. But fishing represents a $28 billion American industry; therefore, it hardly seems in danger of being made a felony anytime soon.
What about rodeos? Chicken processing factories? Laboratory testing on bunnies? The list runs on of man's inhumanity to animals, so I see little positive impact of how this new law will benefit society. It only makes outlaws of predominantly poor, rural, farming, non-white people who were raised with cockfighting as an integral part of their culture.
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Of course, gay people in this state are subject to the same lunacy. Folks like state Representative Karen Johnson of Mesa have tried diligently to make being gay a felony. Why? To imprison all homosexuals? Take away their voting rights? To make them appear less than the automatically assumed morally superior heterosexuals?
Just as cockfighting is not a part of my culture, being gay is not a part of Karen Johnson's. Does that automatically make one culture better than the other? No, just different. And, lest we forget, this country was founded on the protections of personal freedoms.
Why is it that we have to compete culturally in the first place? If we would just embrace and value the aspects of our lives that make us all unique, instead of trying to destroy each other, the world would be a better place.
Except for all the Chicken Littles.