Raising -- Arizona Style
"VisionQuest and Boys Ranch claim lower recidivism rates for kids.
. . . Studies . . . seem to bear them out."

This one paragraph in your article ("Business AZ Usual," Chris Farnsworth, August 6) says it all.

These are children who will be murdering, raping, assaulting and thieving from us. Then we will support them in prison at $20,000-plus per year.

If those studies are correct, a lot of innocent people will live unmolested lives because of the operation of Arizona Boys Ranch. We should do everything we can to help it survive and prosper.

John Huppenthal
Arizona State Senator

Mom vs. Mom
Until recently I respected New Times for its investigative reports and educational articles, especially the ones praising people who do good for others. Now I burn it as trash.

Your story "Working Mom" (Brian Smith, July 30) about the porn starlet is mainstream trash. I am disgusted by Nikki Lynn, and hope that her children and their friends figure out what she does. How can this airbrushed makeup queen with implants call herself a mother? Women have enough crap to overcome to gain respect, and this makes me sick. If the people of Kingman have any sense at all, they will run Nikki Lynn and her husband out of town. They've made a mockery out of the value of marriage.

Every copy I see of this trash I've picked up and had a bonfire with. Women have such low esteem levels today because we feel less than desirable to our men because they put these nasty women on pedestals. How dare New Times sink to this level. I'm a 22-year-old, stay-at-home, full-time mother who can't believe you would allow your publication to advertise her movies and magazines and call her a mom! I've supported my kids and my man before without laying on my back, as millions of other moms do daily. You probably won't print this because you don't have the guts to give the real mothers a pat on the back and say, "You're the ones who deserve our thanks and praise."

An Angry True "Mom"

Thank you so much for Brian Smith's splendid article. It is so refreshing to see a mainstream publication approaching what is truly a mainstream industry with fairness and without making silly judgments. It is a shame that porn and feminism are still assumed to be mortal enemies, especially with brilliant sex-positive feminists like Susie Bright in the world, but with more articles like this one, that may have a chance to change. I mean, if making a few grand for having sex is exploitation of women, surely cleaning toilets for a living must be. All hail the three-minute pop song, and the inalienable right to do whatever makes you happy, pays well and hurts nobody for living.

Shireen Liane
London, England

Mom vs. Gilbert
I have just finished reading Gilbert Garcia's column regarding Zia Enterprises Inc. (Soundcheck, July 30), and again I was offended. His column was full of misinformation. He obviously does not take the time to investigate, but writes whatever hearsay as gospel.

Most loyal employees refuse to speak to Mr. Garcia as he constantly misquotes or quotes out of context.

He has never met either of my two sons--Brad or Wayne--yet he considers himself an authority on their behavior.

There are many facets and situations involved at the present time, and making Wayne his scapegoat only again proves his lack of interest in investigating the true facts.

Ordinarily, I would have ignored the column as a Right of Journalism, but his continued negativism regarding my family cannot be ignored.

Lynn Singer

Gilbert Garcia responds: It seems that Lynn Singer is the one who has not taken the time to investigate the facts. She assumes that I never met her son Brad, when in fact I knew him quite well.

She also assumes that most "loyal" Zia employees refused to speak to me. In fact, almost everyone I contacted willingly told me about their deep concerns, but because they were understandably afraid for their own futures, they didn't want their names used. Steve Wiley wanted to discuss his situation, but was advised not to by his lawyer. Ultimately, the only person who was uncooperative was Wayne Singer, the person in the best position to explain all the "facets and situations" at Zia.

I understand the pain that Brad's death has brought to his entire family, and I would never want to be callous about it. But I also know that it is Brad's friends who are most upset and worried by the current shakeups at Zia, and if a company he worked so long and hard to build is being ripped apart, that's a story that must be addressed.

Gun Effect
After citing, "in 1996, two people in New Zealand were killed by handguns. . . . And, in America, 9,390," Barry Graham's "Pistol Whipped" (July 23) adopts the reasoning that the U.S. can't get rid of guns like the other industrial democracies (after the Tasmania killings, even Australia, with its Wild West attitude, has gotten rid of many guns), so let's all get locked and loaded. Even the NRA itself doesn't permit the packing of heat at its own convention. Yet, facing a slumping market in the U.S., the NRA and gun manufacturers are trying to drum up interest in guns among women and among children as young as 10. The NRA president declares in an ad: "My major priority is to reach out to America's youth." Does the NRA really believe that fifth graders should be armed, though their parents can't be armed at the NRA convention? And, if not the kids, how about the teachers? Would that stop school shootings? Or increase them?

A recent Arizona Republic story, "Fighting fire with fire: Guns in education," extolled the benefits of target shooting for JROTC cadets. However, that story left out some context: The Phoenix temple mass murder was committed by JROTC cadets; where there aren't restrictions, guns and small arms are flooding civilian societies, killing more people than all the world's tanks, missiles, bombs and fighter planes. Of course, that probably doesn't raise any concern in the increasingly violent and materialistic U.S., which also happens to be the only democracy to oppose both the land-mine and children-in-combat treaties.

If Monty Roberts, author of The Man Who Listens to Horses, can "learn to be gentle" with people, as well as with horses, then I believe that, together with proper restrictions, there is a better hope for humankind than Graham's solution. I have managed apartments and house rentals close to 19th Avenue and Camelback since 1972. Though I have been in a few threatening situations, I have "learned to be gentle" and have not succumbed to the temptation to get a gun.

Roland James

I'm rarely impressed with New Times, but Barry Graham's article debating the "gun issue" was fabulous. My only contention with the information regards the Brady Bill, which at first glance does seem to be, as you write, "a good thing." However, criminals do not purchase weapons from vendors that administer the required background check. They most likely steal or obtain from an illegal source, hence the term "criminal."

M. Flesher
via Internet

Thanks for a realistic piece on guns. When I moved to Arizona 22 years ago, I sold all of my guns. Three years ago I obtained a concealed permit and now own two handguns. I feel I need to protect myself from idiots who have no respect for life.

The fact is that I hate owning a gun or even handling one. The reality is that I need one for my own security.

Steve Cohan
via Internet

Garbage In, Garbage Out
I just wanted to take a moment to say how much I enjoy the writing of Bill Blake. His columns are, for my money, easily the best thing New Times publishes. I always look forward to hearing the sordid tales of the "Trashman." He has the kind of flair for the gonzo that you don't often see here in Phoenix. You should consider yourselves lucky to have such a talent.

C.D. Connelly

Joe Star Sheriff
I read with interest your article regarding our illustrious sheriff ("High Goon," Barry Graham, July 16). While I am for locking up all of the "bad guys," I am appalled at what seems to be an abnormally high number (77 percent) of people locked up who have not been convicted of any crime but who are awaiting trial.

This does not seem to be a problem created by the sheriff, unless catching too many "bad guys" is a problem. It does speak to the efficiency of our judicial system, and how quickly it is able to give these people their day in court, regardless of whether they are able to produce bail. I would like to think the American way still allows for the "innocent until proven guilty," and treatment in the jails should be provided accordingly.

Name withheld by request

I appreciated Barry Graham's latest tirade on Joe Arpaio, which was for all intents and purposes identical to the ones I make on a daily basis. However, I think it should be pointed out that Arpaio is not the corruption that is destroying Arizona, he is only the stench rising from the putrescent corpse of what calls itself the justice system.

For example, as Graham points out, most of the inmates of the county jail are not incarcerated for any crime; they are merely being held because they could not make bail. I want to say for balance's sake that the constitutional guarantee of reasonable bail was not excised from the Bill of Rights by Arpaio's hand. It was the work of "tough" judges all the way up the system to William Rehnquist.

And Arpaio had nothing to do with perverting the right to counsel, such that it now means that every accused, poverty-stricken person has two prosecutors. There's the official one from the prosecutor's office and the other one from the so-called public defender's office. The job of the public defender is not to defend the "client," but to negotiate plea-bargains on the state's behalf. The two publicly paid lawyers play good cop/bad cop to extort guilty pleas out of nearly everyone who is arrested. And thus, the system trashes two more rights that we treasure: the right against self-incrimination and the right to a trial.

When the government violates the rights of those with enough money to hire real counsel, it must often pay substantial penalties and restitution to its victims. The amount of these payouts is often sealed from the public, leaving reporters like Graham to guess how much Arpaio and similar malfeasants have wasted. The public, after all, is being punished for the vice of voting for corruption, but it is systematically denied the knowledge of the cost of its folly. Arpaio did not originate this custom.

The shame of Arpaio is not so much his own corruption and sleaze; it is the fact that he is thriving in an environment that emulates and rewards his style of "justice."

Terry F. Tryon

"High Goon" points out the human-rights violations in and the exorbitant hidden costs of running the Maricopa County jails under our present sheriff.

According to the article, "getting tough on crime" is not working, because recidivism is about the same as before Arpaio. However, it would appear that the taxpayer is being duped into believing otherwise. Politicians have been known to do that.

Do jails that abuse inmates "correct" them? If it's true that violence begets violence, is it any wonder that brutalized inmates have become violent ex-cons who, incidentally, have difficulty obtaining decent, lawful employment? Are they forced into a life of crime to expand the criminal injustice industry?

Is the system imposing a life of crime on a certain class of people? According to Graham's article, attorney Ted Jarvi "rightly claims that the present system is waging a war against the poor" (possibly because, without adequate legal representation, they're easy to prey upon). If that's true, will there be any problem quickly overcrowding our proposed $1 billion jail?

Rich Rosen

I would just like to say thank you to Barry Graham for his article on Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the July 16 issue. Every article I read anymore is praising this idiot for the wonderful things he does, and it's all bull. I hope Graham has opened the eyes of all the "Arpaio-ites" out there and made them realize that Joe is a Joke. I can't stand him, his rules, his ideas, his ego, his jails, or the fact that he wants all that money to build a new jail. What's he going to do with that one? Put up some more people who can't make bail? Keep them there wearing those ridiculous outfits he comes up with? He's not running a jail, he's running a circus! He's the ringmaster, and all the inmates are his personal side shows. I say we rebel--no more Arpaio.

Name withheld by request

Lennon Aid
If Bart Simpson were a writer, he could write a less ignorant article than "Mike Douglas Held Hostage," Serene Dominic's July 16 review of the 450-minute, five-day show originally aired in 1972.

Serene, you have no compassion for or understanding of the time period, which you so coldly criticized through the Asian singing group, through Yoko Ono, even through John Lennon's band, Elephant Memory.

I take offense as a Lennon/Ono fan and as an amateur historian of that era. You pretend to praise the 450-minute show almost as a fan, but come across as a heartless yuppie-up-'n'-comer just writing a critique on something you know very little about or did little research on. You would give better treatment to a Barney video.

All is not lost: Try finding a copy of "The Playboy interviews with John Lennon & Yoko Ono/The Final Testament" (1981), and redeem yourself. What is this sitting in a sports bar, keeping score mentality? And by the way, the "dream is over" was December 8, 1980.

"Archie Bunker in all of us"? What an insult to your readership. Give compassion a chance.

John P. Cassano

Poison Barry
Regarding Gary Kahland's letter to the editor concerning Barry Graham (July 2): It's about time someone put that Graham character in his place! Replacing Mr. Screed with Graham is one of the unwisest personnel moves you have made in some time!

Yes, we're all sick and tired of Graham's sniveling, leftist "let's help the young before they become criminals" bit and the like! Enough! Now he has nothing to write about but his joy rides and carouses of drunken dissipation, with all the disgusting details. Yes, Mr. Kahland used harsh words, but they were only the kind that like-minded citizens like myself were afraid to use (the "silent majority").

Kahland brings up other relevant points as well, points often ignored by the whining "politically correct," like that Graham isn't even a genuine American! He is a "Scotsman," with all the implications that such a label might imply! With all the focus on Mexican illegals in the Southwest, let's not forget illegals from less obvious places. Where's your green card, Mr. Graham? No, he certainly wouldn't be much of a man in a kilt, would he! Why don't you go back to "Scotsman people land" where you belong, Graham, you lousy "plaid ass," you "bagpipe brain!" That'll learn ya! America, love it or leave it! And why don't you New Times guys go find and bring back a real writer, Mr. Screed, if he hasn't already found something better!

Nathan Latta

Editor's note: Barry Graham's green card is in his wallet. Peter Gilstrap, author of Screed, now writes for our sister publication New Times Los Angeles. His weekly column can be found at www.newtimesla.com

Diner Whiner
Once again some uptight lesbian (Letters, July 2) is "taking issue" with a perfectly fine New Times article ("Boy Meets Grill," Barry Graham, June 25). Last year they rallied en masse to blast Graham's Mercury fans article (which I thought was hilarious), and now they think you're attacking Denny's. Hello! Get over yourselves, step out of your preconceived notions that everyone is out to rag on us or prohibit our ability to express affection for our significant others (whatever their gender or affinity). I'm sure they don't care where you have dinner with your wife. There are enough real culprits out there trying to squash our rights to live and love, and New Times isn't one of them.

Pam Stone


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