Congratulations on the investigation of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona ("Poring a Foundation," Terry Greene Sterling, December 10). It's detailed, thorough, helpful and timely.
New Times was added to my "must see every week" list as the result of your "first with the story" reporting of the Fife Symington house of cards and his fraudulent activities. You were dead right on that topic and were years ahead of everyone else in figuring it out.
I am a CPA, and I spotted Terry Greene Sterling's articles about the Baptist Foundation of Arizona and started reading with interest. Also, I brought the articles to the attention of dozens of individuals I know who have strong connections with various Baptist "causes" (Conservative as well as Southern Baptist). At first, their reaction was, "Ah, it is just New Times . . ."; they discounted the accuracy of the reporting.
Now, however, dozens of these doubting Thomases have a newfound respect for your magazine, respect for its details and accuracy (many decided to check out a few of the facts for themselves and have found them to be true). They, like me, now view New Times as free of the good-old-boys club that seems to dominate the local daily newspapers.
Few magazines have cutting-edge research going on. The public needs such research; please keep it up!
I know at least 50 individuals are new weekly readers of New Times as the direct result of your "first with the news" investigative reporting. They now trust you. Thanks for the great work!
Name withheld by request
I read the first expose on the Baptist Foundation with awe and chagrin, then waited for the legal explosion.
Well, now we have it, and rest assured that if New Times were prosecuting, those suckers would be gone.
New Times also perspicaciously highlighted an Arizona trend the local media outlets often ignore: the huge number of people and organizations tempted by the real estate jackpot in Arizona who got burned and who burned others. That is a story that continues even now.
The Baptist investigation is on a par with any Pulitzer stuff I have read.
Name withheld by request
Dewey Webb failed to mention in his article "Tell the Teacher We're Cruisin'" (December 17) that Psychology of Human Sexuality is a required course for anyone who is trying to become a counselor. Where do you think that people who need to find themselves sexually should learn about it? Many people in that class face the same problems with sexual problems. You also failed to mention that not only did we talk with probation officers about sexual criminals, but we learned ways to prevent rape. I went to Sociables, even though I thought it was the worst thing, and I learned that people will pay to get in, so there is a need. I will also tell you that I learned more about myself in that class than in the 21 years of talking with my parents. I think that basically your article needed to be more in-depth on what we learn in the classroom, not the optional events.
Ruben It In
Your piece about Ruben Navarrette is absolutely on the mark (Flashes, December 10). Navarrette, former teacher's pet and scholarship student to Harvard, feels guilty about those he refers to as "poor Mexican kids" in our big cities. He blames bilingual education because not every child from his old neighborhood did as well as he did. And, if you listen to him long enough, he also gets around to attacking public education, academia and affirmative action--the three institutional scourges that provided him with opportunities to develop into the man he is today. One must question, and question loudly and often, his motives for aligning himself with Ron Unz. And question, as well, why the editorial staff of the Arizona Republic continues to allow him to use it as the foundation under his soapbox.
Editor's note: Navarrette's December 13 column in the Republic again touched on bilingual education; this time, "in the interest of disclosure," he reported that he once worked for Unz and the California "English for the Children" campaign.
For those interested, more information and images about Hayden ("Unpleasantville," Chris Farnsworth, December 3) are at the Don't Waste Arizona Inc. Web site at http://www.primenet.com./dwaz/
It is interesting that ADEQ presented information to New Times that had been withheld from our researchers, despite our threatening litigation to access public records related to the ASARCO smelter.
It is interesting also that there are people in Hayden who actually believe that a lawsuit against ASARCO to compensate for the arsenic and lead poisoning would close down the smelter, when the multibillion-dollar ASARCO would have to pay for the damages either way. These same folks probably refuse to examine why the smelter has to smoke so much at night, or why people who just live in the town, like the children, are somehow required to be exposed to these toxins and carcinogens. Years ago, the federal and state governments cooperated to move the town of Ray to make way for ASARCO's enormous copper strip mine now of the same name. This was all done to secure profits for an extractive industry. Let's see if these same government entities can cooperate to save hundreds of citizens' lives by moving Hayden away from the very foot of the smelter activities.
Perhaps other smelters in other states are not in the midst of populated areas. Perhaps they operate differently; perhaps because those states actually enforce the environmental laws.
The Hayden story has implications for us all. In the Phoenix metro area, we've seen plenty of businesses for years that pour out smoke at night and not during the day, obviously taking advantage of the wink-wink agreement between ADEQ, Maricopa County Environmental Services and the "regulated community." The agencies will not even look for violations at night when they are reported. Ever wonder why it's so smoky first thing in the morning in the west Valley?
There are other communities in Arizona--particularly Green Valley--that have complained to ADEQ's deaf ears about smelter emissions and chemical clouds causing illness. Fortunately, EPA listened to the Green Valley folks and is enforcing against that facility, Cyprus Sierrita. Some things just never change: ADHS and ADEQ will stand by and make excuses while people sicken and die because theirs is an agenda fueled primarily by politics, not science, medicine, ethics or legal requirements.
Steve Brittle, president
Don't Waste Arizona Inc.
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