Puppet Tears
This is the very first time I have ever felt compelled to contact a writer or publication in response to an article. David Holthouse's very sad story on Cris Kirkwood ("Shooting Star," November 12) is an excellent piece of journalism, in my opinion, and unfortunately seems to be a common example of how a larger and larger portion of our society is now living.

Everyone mentioned in your story is a victim, and I feel for all of them. As a Meat Puppets fan, I was very depressed after reading the article. It's very sad to think that, after so many years of respectability and great music, this band will fall prey to the drug demon that has killed off so many other bands.

I really feel bad for Curt Kirkwood, but I'm happy he seems still to be involved with his passions for music and art, as he's very talented in both areas. I hope his life becomes happier for him. As for Cris, it now seems his life is in God's hands, and we can only hope that God takes care of him in whatever way He decides to.

Thank you for a great piece of work. It really opened my eyes.
Ben Quinton

I hope David Holthouse is getting a lot of responses to his article. It is a powerful and sobering and depressing story. If I still believed in prayer, I'd be on my knees for Cris Kirkwood. As a former journalist, I know how much it can affect you to do a story like that. Thanks for walking into that valley. I hope some good can come of all this.

Gary Whitehouse
via Internet

I read the piece on the brothers Kirkwood today, and it almost made me cry. I've known about Cris' troubles for a long time (I'm the Puppets' publicist, and have been for the past seven years), but your story still floored me.

I know this is probably naive, but I'm hoping that "outing" Cris may finally jolt him into seeking some help. I'm no Pollyanna, but I am hopeful.

Regina Joskow Dunton
via Internet

My compliments on Edward Lebow's balanced and insightful article ("A Capitol Idea," November 5) on plans for Capitol Mall and the homeless in Phoenix!

Sally Woodbridge
via Internet

Opposite of what Martin Schultz of Phoenix Community Alliance said in "A Capitol Idea," Phoenix does have the "political will" to remove homeless from the Capitol Mall. Phoenix did it first with Ordinance 36-131-01, outlawing the homeless's Grapevine newspaper sales. Of this Judge Katz said, ". . . the reason may in fact be motivated by a desire to keep homeless people and undesirables out of the public view rather than to make our streets safer."

Second, by using City Code 41 646-D-4, which outlaws certain visible food service in the mall area. Cited for violating this code with a $3,500-a-day fine, six months in jail, probation, and/or any combination thereof was a church in the mall area. The church was serving in its courtyard coffee, toast and occasionally a doughnut to the homeless while they were waiting for counseling, employment, travel and I.D., all church-provided services. This violation could be corrected with the erection of a solid block wall around the church courtyard to screen from public view serving the homeless.

The purpose for this is explained in Code Section 646 A, as the violation ". . . restricts (Mall) business from functioning normally. . . ." What businesses so protected is covered in Code Section 646? "Bars and cocktail lounges." There is a trade-off, one or the other, either businesses serving alcohol in public view to the affluent as their normal function or the church serving coffee and toast in public view, on church property, which is their historical ministry and normal religious function. The code comes down on the side of bars and cocktail lounges.

How much more "political will" does the PCA expect from Phoenix? The city has trashed the First Amendment protection for a free press and the protection for the free exercise of religion. The question of "political will" now is shifted to all churches, in and out of the mall. Will they protest or accept Phoenix restrictions on the free exercise of religion?

Herb. Knauss

Just Desert
John Dougherty's article in the October 22 issue ("Why Growing Smarter Will Grow Old Fast") really hit the nail on the head. Many of us in the New River area fought hard to stop the destruction of the Sonoran Desert, which we knew as imminent if the Del Webb Corporation got its way. Now it has all come true--giant hundred-year-old saguaros crushed beneath monster wheels. The worst of it is, at the meetings held here in New River, then-county supervisor Betsey Bayless was shown videos of the same thing happening at Foothills and Terravita . . . but this was glossed over because Del Webb contributed heavily to her campaign for supervisor.

All we asked was that the original land-use plan be adhered to; Ms. Bayless herself voted for this plan, and she informed us that the other supervisors went along with what the supervisor of their district was in favor of. The original land-use plan was one house per acre--now it is six per acre, and there is another hearing where it is my understanding they want to do away with the horse properties so they can build even more houses. There was other land available for a large development that did not have the desert flora and fauna--but no one cared, and now the whole state is the loser. How sad, and how sad that Ms. Bayless has so much power. No one cares about the little guy.

Another irony is that Del Webb supports Nature Conservancy and then turns around and destroys the very thing it pledges money to save.

Nancy Gnepper
New River

Biting Commentary
Imagine my shock reading M. V. Moorhead's review of Cannibal! The Musical when he refers to the Colorado cannibal as Alfred [sic] Packer ("Soul Picnic," November 5).

Ask any collector of cannibal trivia or odd esoterica. The only American convicted of cannibalism was an Alferd--Alferd Packer. Still, Mr. Moorhead has my respect as a reviewer--always interesting, knowledgeable and fair.

Roger Larson


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