The Hull Shebang
Hooray! I'd like to celebrate New Times and Amy Silverman for the expose on Granny Hull and her evil child, Mike Hull.
In "Silent Running" (Wonk, September 24), Silverman squarely hits an issue that has been bothering me for some time--Mrs. Hull's refusal or inability to speak for herself. To informed observers (defined as those who don't rely entirely upon the Arizona Republic as their source of misinformation), this has been a glaring deficiency with the current governor for many years. Why is she not able to campaign? Is she too old or weak? Is she too busy? Perhaps there is a third, unknown problem that the public needs to know about.
In any event, her singular platform of "efficient government" doesn't seem to be working because she isn't finding time to make any public appearances, particularly if Paul Johnson is going to be in attendance. Maybe this expedient government model is working just fine. Mike Hull is a wonderful example. With nepotism, you don't need to review credentials or conduct interviews, and our alleged leaders can just hide behind the unconditional support of their children.
I think Arizonans deserve better. We deserve to know from where Granny Hull comes. We deserve better than to be spoon-fed the spontaneous and inaccurate mumblings of her surrogate-child. We deserve to know about Gambling Granny Hull's close ties to the Las Vegas gaming interests, why she opposed the Martin Luther King holiday three times, why she first passed a school finance plan knowing it would not pass constitutional muster, and why she has flip-flopped on the abortion issue.
Perhaps the governor cannot answer these questions without getting a healthy serving of the obligatory political egg on the face. Maybe she avoids speaking in public because she just isn't at all articulate, lacks charisma, and sounds more like a weathered barmaid than a governor.
I guess if I were Granny Hull and had her history and credentials, I, too, would hide behind children and keep my mouth shut. Her handlers know her best. They will undoubtedly keep with the voice-over commercials and silent, surrogate appearances. This way, the rest of Arizona can't and won't get to know the real Jane Hull. And her child, Mike, may get himself a job on the Ninth Floor. This would be unfortunate for Arizona.
I am a 79-year-old lifelong Republican who lives in Yavapai County, and I am wondering about Mrs. Jane Hull's use of Eddie Basha as a spokesperson. Why would she use a big-spending, liberal Democrat who supports same-sex marriage as a reason to vote for her in November? As the public record shows, Mrs. Hull and Mr. Basha have many things in common, and I am sure he applauded her in the late 1980s and early 1990s when she presided over the largest series of tax increases in the state's history. The Basha ad has convinced me, and I hope other Republicans and Independents, not to vote for her in November and to support the person who actually lowered taxes and cut the government payroll when he served as a pro-business mayor of Phoenix--Paul Johnson.
For several months, I and others in my west Prescott neighborhood have wondered about the Arizona Republic's policy of failing to report critically about Mrs. Hull. Her questionable fund-raising practices, her relationship with lobbyists and special interests in Maricopa County, and her efforts at avoiding public appearances and sending her son or someone else demands some type of rational explanation. Why didn't the state's leading newspaper cover her taking money from Las Vegas gaming interests? At least the Prescott Daily Courier picked up that story. Even Republican loyalists see that the Republic will not press her to discuss tough public policy issues facing the state.
It is obvious from the primary elections and the attempts of numerous organizations statewide that Mrs. Hull refuses to participate in any form of open debate in our democracy. In the primary season, at least, it became standard practice that she would cancel scheduled appearances at the last minute or else send her son or some "adviser" to represent her.
As a Republican, I would like to feel comfortable voting for the party nominee. Does Mrs. Hull care about rural Arizona or its concerns? Certainly, upon close examination, Paul Johnson is suitably moderate-to-conservative enough for the state's electorate and he is young enough and energetic enough to attend debates and public functions. In fact, in the past year, I have seen him in Prescott at least 10 times.
And, you know what? He has some great ideas about public school funding, tax cuts for the middle class and elderly, and HMO reform. I know where this young man stands on issues affecting my life and pocketbook. I want to hear from Mrs. Hull where she stands on these issues.
I attended the Yavapai County Republican barbecue last week, and guess what? The sitting governor did not attend this traditional Republican function. We see her son quoted in the paper rather than her. Will we have her son, unpopular even among party regulars, running the state and issuing public statements if she is elected? If she refuses to meet the people in rural Arizona, and she continues to hide behind her advisers and a lack of critical reporting by the state's leading newspaper, she will end up losing Republican votes as she already has in Mohave and other rural counties.
Yes, I am leaning toward splitting my voting ticket on election day, and whether or not I disagree with Mrs. Hull is not what is important here. It is important for Mrs. Hull to leave Maricopa County and speak to us. If she does not, and has Eddie Basha speaking for her in television ads, she and her advisers may be in for a surprise in November.
Harold "Ted" Alward
From Prescott, I want to congratulate you on finally providing a glimpse of this person who acts like a governor but carries water for the special interests and the plutocrats in Maricopa County. I can only hope that other journalists possess the cojones to expose this farce. Maybe, just maybe, there will be time for the public to realize that the far better alternative is running in the minority party, and his election would make us a much prouder and hopeful state.
Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike realize that Mrs. Hull does not need rural Arizona, and she has acted like that for the short time she has served as governor.
Name withheld by request
Thank you so much for a clear column about our current governor. Politics in this state, being as annoying as possible, seem not to be receiving the kind of news coverage we should expect. I see Hull doing this "incumbent coast," wordless and effortless--like it should be so easy for her. I sure hope that New Times is able to get wider coverage on how absurd this is. Are the people of Arizona so deeply shallow that we will accept this aged woman riding into office without a finger lifted? No public debates, no controversy, just give her the reins based on the record of the few measly months she's spent coasting out Fife's term? I really think people should wake up and demand to see their governor really want this seat as our state's highest elected official.
What are her views on the prickly issues? I have never heard or seen Governor Hull really be a leader and take strong stands on any issues. I don't trust her leadership, and the people of Arizona had better wake up or we will be electing a fine puppet to act on behalf of her "handlers" and our not-so-wise state Legislature.
One last reflection: Why is it that we cannot get any substantive reporting from the Arizona Republic? I have heard that the paper is owned by the amazing Quayle family. This would be a scary reason as to why we get a surely slanted view of politics in our state and absolutely no real issue reporting.
Name withheld by request
Regarding your column "Silent Running," I doubt that Jane D. Hull is going to stand before the Arizona public and say, "I'm for special interests. Always have been, always will be. I'm a good ol' boy from way back."
However, if the public would just take the time to check out her past voting record, they will find out that Granny Hull has voted with the pack to give industry, agribusiness and mining everything they have desired.
Don't ever forget that Burton Barr was Gran Hull's hero.
The Odds Must Be Crazy
Excellent story on the lottery (Wonk, Amy Silverman, October 1). Can't help but wonder, given the governor's position on the matter, and Mr. Gonsher's expressed desire to continue in the governor's employ, if the Pick3 fiasco was allowed to continue even after the glitch was discovered.
I work for GTECH, the on-line lottery vendor. Under ASL supervision, our personnel tested our portion of Pick3 for more than a month. Surely the vendor of the random-number generator program had similar testing reqirements.
Why wasn't a 10 percent error discovered during testing? Why was no one, such as Mr. Gonsher, fired? Is this the way Mrs. Hull addresses all "screw-ups" that come to her attention, or only the "screw-ups" that go as scripted?
Name withheld by request
The Ugly American Food Critic
It has always been a dream of mine to pretend to be in the Third World, without having to actually go there. But I've continually been put off by things like the unanimous poverty, rampant and crippling disease, general overwhelming despair and the wretched lack of quality restaurants.
Thanks to your "Best of Phoenix" supplement this year (September 24), I now know of the infamous Cafe Lalibela!
I am certain that the food is fascinating and luscious, the decor warm and enriching. Particularly interesting is that empty space on the wall where the proud proprietors should hang your printed public apology, instead of your degrading, backhanded, pissant little award.
Thank you for pointing out the emperor's new clothes (Second Helpings, Howard Seftel, October 1). I also tried P.F. Chang's, and thought to myself "why, this is just expensive bad Chinese food." I was underwhelmed, and astonished at the line of people waiting for my table.
I didn't want to say anything. Hey, what do I know? People have never lined up at any place I was involved in, so it just sounds like sour grapes.
Thanks, from all the folks who believe that looking good is just not good enough. When you are a restaurant, it should ultimately be the food that you are judged by!
Name withheld by request
Hey, Howard, always enjoy your column, but must admit, I do get a little annoyed when you're "on assignment" and don't even tease us with a Second Helpings section. But have to agree, P.F. Chang's is definitely for the masses, but Paul Fleming is laughing all the way to the bank. Can't wait until more of the Asian restaurants open at the Chinese Cultural Center near 99 Ranch Market.
Thanks again for all your interesting and enjoyable reviews. Here's hoping the new openings this fall will continue where Restaurant Hapa has gone so far.
Name withheld by request
Excellent work. Not too many people around here follow, or even like, boxing ("Raw Shark," Barry Graham, October 1). It is to me the purest form of competition I have never known, and will exist forever. Hopefully, your interest will also give Carlos Tarin a boost, and perhaps Larry Pirtle, as well. I guess Michael Carbajal was probably the best boxer from Arizona, ever, but I liked Zora Folley and particularly Jimmie Martinez, who were probably both long before your time.
Anyhow, keep up the good work; you obviously understand the sport. Please pass on to Doug Hoeschler that his work is excellent as well. I am a professional photographer, and although, as director of a small state agency, I do not have much time to devote to the craft, I really appreciate good work.
That was a wonderful article in the September 17 New Times about ASU football ("The Selling of ASU Football," John Dougherty).
There wasn't much I could argue with. We had season tickets for years in a very good area up under cover, but the seats have so little leg room and the noise level was unbearable. I wore ear plugs for protection. And since then they have "improved" the sound system, which undoubtedly means it can crank out more decibels.
I get joy out of reading about ASU's financial problems. Sell more ads is the ultimate answer to the problem and "stick it" to the ticket-buying public.
My wife and I graduated from Ohio State University, so we are used to a different style of marching band. What traditions does the ASU marching band have to flaunt? But I shouldn't be nasty. Keep up the good work. Thank you.
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It's been years since I last read New Times, but while I was waiting at a restaurant tonight, the cover story about Sun Devil football caught my attention.
I read your very revealing article and thought that it was a very good piece. The research for comparison was excellent. You did a terrific job.
By the way, I am an ASU alum and I am glad that you were able to educate the public on that matter.