No Mere Mr. Nice Guy
The article on Travis Lee ("St. Travis at the Bat," Michael Kiefer, September 3) was awesome. I never knew how "nice" a guy Travis was. I had seen him play many games, but had only seen the baseball player side of Travis, not the man.

I am impressed with the content of the article and how the author seemed to really want to let Diamondbacks fans know how great a guy Travis is, on and off the field. I am really glad we have guys like Travis Lee for children and adults alike to look up to. Travis is setting an example and setting a great one at that.

Thanks for writing such an insightful story that has reinforced my belief that there are still some nice guys out there.


Buono Contention
I generally enjoy Howard Seftel's reviews very much, as I find his culinary judgment on a par with his superb writing talent. I was disappointed, however, with his review of Rustico in the September 3 issue ("Mangia Wars").

My wife and I dined there recently with two other couples, all of us Italian-born and educated. Between the six of us, we tried a number of entrees, antipasti and desserts. We found both the food and the service excellent. Ernesto the chef is another native Italian, and we all came away quite content with the experience.

Maybe Mr. Seftel should change his name to "Sefteli" and revisit Rustico passing himself off as another countryman. I'm sure he'd get better service (we Italians have been known to discriminate in our favor) and change his opinion.

Carlo Infante

Fleecing the Flock
Congratulations on another fascinating report of corruption ("Savings Bondage," Terry Greene Sterling, September 10)! Reminds me of your early work on the scams that Fife was pulling. Hopefully your in-depth work will attract some agency willing to try to stop these frauds. The faithful will continue to invest, I guess, because Christians are such sheep seeking a Christlike figure to herd into their pens at night. It appears from your report that they have a very nasty bunch of wolves bent on taking their money and perpetrating the old stealth theft of pious folks' limited resources. It sure reminds me of a recent trial we had in Phoenix. Please keep up the good work.

Ted Bundy

Oval Office Babylon
Barry Graham blatantly contradicts himself in his column about the president ("Modern Maturity," August 27) and in doing so, points up a truth that makes this whole Clinton-Lewinsky matter an easy call.

First, Graham says, the president's affair with Ms. Lewinsky is a personal matter. Later, he acknowledges, the trysts occurred in the president's office.

Which one is it, Graham? It certainly can't be both. I can't believe that more voices in the media aren't beating this drum, that this affair took place on company time in the company office with a company intern.

That makes it the company's business, Mr. President. Yeah, it's between your wife, your daughter and your God. But it's also justifiably between you and your employer.

And that would be me.
Look, I'm certainly not part of any right-wing conspiracy. I voted for this guy twice and I continue to support many of his policies. Nor am I a fan of Ken Starr and his highly questionable investigative tactics.

But this one's a no-brainer, regardless of how the facts have come to light. The man we chose for the top job has admitted to using his position of power to get his ya-yas off numerous times with a company intern on company time in the freakin' company office.

Despite his past accomplishments and future potential, he must be removed from office, as would be the appropriate measure in any corporate or bureaucratic culture on the planet.

To justify a different position, you must either be blindly loyal or selfishly concerned about the impact his resignation might have on your pocketbook. And given the way the polls read, there are a lot of self-centered, shallow-thinking, morally ambivalent Americans out there. How pathetic.

Jim Knapp

Regarding Barry Graham's "Modern Maturity" about President Clinton's affair with Miss Lewinsky, I think the American people have had enough of this crap. The president recently said, "I'm sorry" for the first time. What the hell do they want him to do? Drop on his knees crying, begging for forgiveness? He already apologized to the nation for something that is nobody's business but his. He has done a good job as a president and that's all that really matters.

Ken Starr must be pretty desperate to charge Clinton with something, but after $40 million to find out that Clinton cheated on his wife, he has some explanation to give to the country. What's next? Maybe we need to know if Clinton stays up all night watching porno movies instead of taking care of his job, or maybe he's into bondage. Please, Mr. Starr, spend another $40 million to find this out. This is really important to us.

Rafael Silva

I enjoyed the letters to the editor in your September 10 issue, including those regarding the Starr investigation and President Clinton. However, I was aggravated that you failed to take the opportunity to correct a not-uncommon misunderstanding, repeating without comment your reader's statement, "But he's our commander in chief, so, technically, he is part of the armed forces and should fall under the Uniform Code of Military Justice." The reader then goes on to observe that adultery is a violation of the code.

Under our system, the democratically elected chief officer of the executive branch, the president, also has ultimate control over the military. In other words, a significant feature of our democracy is that the commander in chief is a civilian. President Clinton is not subject to the code.

It has been argued that certain features of the code, including those regarding sexual actions, should be reviewed in light of changing mores and morals in general society. While specific conduct and consequences can be instructive in that discussion, the converse is not true. The code, which has as its purpose preservation of military order, has no application to President Clinton.

Stacy Augustine

Bow Out
As a local theater critic, and an ariZoni adjudicator, I'd like to point out that it's easy for people to knock a process, but another thing for them to get their hands dirty attempting to change the process. New Times is very good at stirring up dirt, especially when using pseudonyms, but I have yet to see this newest arts-editorial process, which seems bent only on the negative, to offer any useful suggestions.

Yes, it's true, the ariZoni award process ("Trophy Life," Robrt L. Pela, September 10) is flawed, but the basis of the process--theater professionals lauding and/or critiquing their peers--is the same system used by the Tonys and Oscars. It's true that the best Broadway shows and films are sometimes passed over, but more often than not, the system works, a few skewed opinions notwithstanding.

While I will do everything I can to change a process that has some room for improvement, such as separate recognition of local playwrights (another subject New Times had nothing nice to say about recently), I'd like to suggest that your paper, which has become a joke within the arts community because of your inconsistent and decidedly negative coverage, become more than the local naysayer, and try constructive criticism for a pleasant change of pace. After all, readers will only take so much unbalanced (and sometimes untrue) negativity before they'll find another outlet with some balance to their views and reporting.

Mark S.P. Turvin
Backstage Newspapers & Arizona Art Review Online

Reform School Confidential
Barry Graham's "Death Camp" column (September 3) upset me. The information he reported was accurate, but some of his opinions upset me. I worked at the Arizona Boys Ranch for two years, and I honestly never saw the kind of abuse that Nicholaus Contreraz endured. I worked at the main ranch, not the one where Nicholaus was kept. I worked directly with the kids and with the families.

Yes, I believe there should be harsh consequences for this death, but to close the ranch altogether, as Graham advocates, is not necessary. Because of this inhumane act, there were about 150 people who lost jobs. Probably 145 of them had no connection to this death or even knew the child. I am one of those people. I had no idea who this child was or who was involved.

There are also hundreds of families and children who were affected by this tragedy. Graham failed to mention what the ranch has done for juvenile delinquents. The ranch took the hardest of hard-core kids throughout the country. Most of these children came from gangs, which society is so afraid to deal with today. When dealing with these types of children, one has to use nontraditional methods, but abuse is not one of those.

If this place closes down and the kids go back home, a majority are going to fall on their faces. The ranch helps build confidence and self-esteem, something no kid has when he arrives.

I am upset for many reasons. I lost my job because the ranch had to make drastic cuts, but I lost it for no reason. The people responsible for this tragedy should have been held accountable not only by the ranch but by the authorities.

Name withheld by request

They should make a memorial out of that "Death Camp" as an example of what people in absolute power can do to other people regarded as less "respectable" humans. Either that or burn the place to the ground and bury it. Yeah, I'm pissed!

Don Lauchner
via Internet


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