You Can't Fight the INS
Thanks for publishing the column on Oscar Fuchslocher ("Red Hot Chile Paperwork," Amy Silverman, December 17), which was no doubt an eye-opener for many of your readers. Few native-born Americans have any idea of the monster lurking at the heart of the federal government--an unaccountable bureaucracy full of faceless, apathetic and incompetent drones that destroys lives every day.
Mr. Fuchslocher and his wife got shafted because they failed to navigate through the Kafkaesque maze of INS paperwork. But it is important to point out that even if you correctly fill out all the forms, pay the often extortionist fees and jump through all the hoops that the INS puts in your path, there is still no guarantee that you will even be treated according to the procedures laid down by the INS, let alone with any semblance of fairness.
In my own case, the INS has "lost" my complete file at least twice, and on each occasion I was told that it was my fault; I didn't submit the files, I shouldn't have moved to Phoenix to accept a job, etc. As a matter of policy, the INS never issues receipts for any forms submitted, since it simply does not want to be held accountable for its incompetence. Several times I have gone through the routine of waiting outside the INS office from 4 a.m. until midmorning for the privilege of an audience with an INS flunky, only to be told: "No, can't help you. Next!"
In the meantime, my mother has had a stroke, but I can't go back to visit her as I will be deemed to have abandoned my permanent resident status and will not be allowed back in. In theory, there is a mechanism for emergency travel: I have to buy a return air ticket for a definite date and petition the INS for "advanced parole." (They never miss a chance to make you feel like a criminal.) In practice, they simply wait for the ticket to expire, then wait another six months for good measure, then arbitrarily reject the petition without a word of explanation.
As far as I am concerned, the U.S. should tear down the Statue of Liberty, as it has long since abandoned the principles for which it stands.
Please do not release my name under any circumstances, as the INS's incompetence is matched only by its vindictiveness!
Name withheld by request
I deeply appreciated Amy Silverman's revealing column on tragic Ruby, the elephant ("Trunk Murder?" December 10). As a veteran animal defender, I am painfully aware of the grim realities ruthlessly inflicted on captive animals, especially exotic animals and other wildlife cruelly imprisoned in brutal circuses, and equally deplorable zoos--both of which I continue to demand be universally abolished immediately, and the long-suffering animal inmates deservedly retired to suitable sanctuaries. These innocent, concentration-camp slaves have unjustly served their time in hell.
In that same New Times edition, there appeared a brilliant letter by Tim Poirier defending Sheriff Arpaio, whose Pet Posse I continue to vigorously commend and support. Mr. Poirier's highly intelligent letter echoed many of my own opinions on the legal system, and crime, facts that Sheriff Joe bashers seem to be totally oblivious to.
I am also grateful to you and to John Dougherty for his extensive and exposive "Sacrificial Wolves" article (December 17). I found it to be excellently written, and a thorough, unbiased investigation into the tragic issue of the reintroduction of the unjustly maligned Mexican gray wolf, whose reintroduction I am against because the same harsh conditions that caused the original, near extinction of this unique species clearly still exist, and to an even greater degree today. The wolves' welfare should be of paramount concern to both sides in this dispute. Sadly, the intelligent and highly social wolves are once again caught in the middle and are paying the ultimately deadly price. I have come to the conclusion that extinction is the kindest thing humans can do for these wolves. It is the only way this sentient misery will end. As long as the human predator is determined to destroy these wild creatures, we do not deserve to have them among us.
I have been following your reporting of Scott Norberg and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in New Times ("Tweaking the Truth," Tony Ortega, December 17). Thank you. I first read about Scott's passing in a tiny caption in the August or September 1996 New York Times Magazine talking about Sheriff Arpaio and inmates in pink uniforms. I called my Mom; she was rather casual, like, "Oh, well, he was a drug addict." Since then, I have been searching for information, understanding.
I went to McKemy Junior High and Tempe High School with Scott. I had several classes, including math and physics, with Scott. He was intelligent, and a sincerely nice guy.
By now, this story is about the sheriff, the cover-up, etc.; Scott seems like a minor character. Scott's story is important. I hope his family and friends feel the support of the community. My deepest sympathies to his parents, brothers, children, ex-wife, friends. I don't know what to do; maybe I can learn something from Scott's life. I guess I will say a prayer, wish him peace.
Name withheld by request
Movin' On Up
I just wanted to let you know that I am a Sunnyslope resident, and proud of it. In fact, on my window is a decal stating: "Sunnyslope pride, I've got it" ("Night in the City," Brian Smith, December 3).
Eleven years ago, my husband and I bought a house in the Sunnyslope area (15th and Northern avenues) and have watched our home value increase. We totally support this area, by shopping in local stores, sending our children to public schools, by picking our doctors and dentist and hospital (John C. Lincoln) in this vicinity. We have a very active block watch in our neighborhood, bordering 19th to Seventh Avenue, Dunlap down to Northern.
When I tell people where I live, they always comment what a great area that is. True, there are parts that are not so great, but in Phoenix generally, this is true; some parts are good and some parts not so good.
But in the 11 years I have lived here, I have seen big improvements in a lot of properties that are north of Dunlap, between Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street. Sunnyslope has a very active community center, and the Sunnyslope Village Alliance. This part of the Valley has a great history, and if you look around, the houses are all unique and individual. No cookie-cutter, all-look-the-same houses. In our square mile, we are very proud of being part of Sunnyslope.
I lived 18 years in the Hayden/Winkelman area, and in the early Eighties I also worked in the mines ("Unpleasantville," Chris Farnsworth, December 3). My mother still lives in Winkelman, and I visit her often, and there are many times at night when there is a foglike smoke in town that you can taste and smell. I went to school with some of the people mentioned in this article, and I do believe what they say is true.
I have a brother-in-law who at this moment is dying of a kidney ailment, and he worked for ASARCO for 40 years. I also have a sister who is currently working at ASARCO, and she suffers from migraine headaches and nausea which she developed in the past eight years.
I would like to say as a longtime reader of New Times that I'm pleased that this paper has the guts to print what the Arizona Republic and Tribune refuse to. Others, like state Senator Peter Rios from Hayden, refuse to acknowledge this matter but who know very well what is going on. Some of his own relatives who were longtime residents have died of cancer. Thank you for this article.
I never thought I'd be writing to you again so soon, but I just have to tip my hat and give thanks to all those involved in telling the "Remembering Doug Hopkins, five years late" article ("Life After Death," Bob Mehr, December 3).
I am very involved in the Tempe music scene--and Mehr did a topnotch job of piecing together the information gathered, and putting it out in a relevant way for so many of us. Once again, thank you.
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Now, I would like to give you my opinion on the most famous of the fab, I mean the ex-Gin Blossoms. Yes, Doug, the abuser and loser, Hopkins. Just another one of many being immortalized for taking his or her own life by means of bullet, drugs, alcohol abuse or all three. The story gets longer and worse every year. And all those heartfelt stories told by the onetime bandmates and friends just make me want to cry. Sounds to me more like, hey, good opportunity to jump on the old beaten-horse bandwagon and get some free press; after all, some press is better than no press!
Doug Hopkins was a "Miserable Experience" alcoholic who had an opportunity of a lifetime knock on his door and he fucked it up, couldn't cope with the real world, so he ended up with a BANG! Sorry, no sympathy here.
Now that poor bastard Brian Blush needs to get a life. Doug is dead, he blew his cool head off! If your life is so meaningless without Doug, just go downtown Mill and find yourself another alcoholic guitar player so that your world can become cool again! I'll pray for you that your next idol lives longer than the last.