Singer's Voice
I feel the need to fill in your readership on the rest of the "facts" on the life of Brad Singer ("End of a Record Run," Gilbert Garcia, May 21).
Contrary to your article, Zia was not on autopilot by the time Brad was 30 years old. He had a strong work ethic and was hands-on in all major business decisions. Brad was the Zia Czar, as he called himself.

He was also a loving father who cherished his time with his family. His greatest moment was the birth of his son, Bryan, in 1984. As crazy as his life got at times, he wanted stability and a "normal life" for his kids. On kid days, every Thursday and Friday night, his greatest indulgences were large amounts of soda, not cocktails, as related by a friend. Not being able to be a soccer dad, he decided to instill in them his artistic touch. Their education began with G-rated music of his choice and escalated to music lessons. Occasionally an all-ages show or Zia benefit party were deemed appropriate. Language and drinking were kept at kid levels by most.

Brad was my fiance and husband of 16 years. We had more happiness than most couples. We were together from 1974 to 1990, before the start of Zia. Fortunately and unfortunately, I felt the need to be with contemporaries and be the straight for the kids.

As a son and brother in his family, he had to be the guiding force at a young age--perhaps leading to younger behavior at an older age. He definitely felt the need to take care of his family.

As to Brad's health, he might have been in the 20 percent to 30 percent range of severity from lupus, but when the 90 percent level means hospitalization with near-death situations, it cannot be understated. The pain can be disabling. The changes in one's body can lead to mental distress. Also being blessed with an immune disorder, I know that if your attitude isn't superior, everyday stress, even changes in the weather, can lead to severe depression.

The use of alcohol was an escape for Brad. He could feel good and be one of the guys. If people were less advantageous of his generosity, he may have had a better sense of himself.

Brad's life was one of fame, fortune and fun. Also self-inflicted.
Cheers, Brad!
Sandra Singer

I want to thank Gilbert Garcia for the wonderful story and tribute he wrote about Brad Singer. Brad and I went to high school together, and we maintained close contact over the years until he and Sandra divorced. He was one of the kindest, most generous and humorous people I have known. He was a great influence in my life, particularly when it came to the kind of music I listened to (although I never did become a Mothers of Invention fan like Brad). I spoke with Sandra last week, and with her info and what was written in your article, his death comes as a complete mystery. (I am a physician, and this sounded like nothing I have ever heard of. I would love to see his hospital record.)

And so, it all comes down to Brad's remains winding up in a rectangular brass box in a square marble niche in some mausoleum. I suspect that Brad could find some humor in that, but I cannot. Alas, I miss my friend.

Larry Shore

Thank you for your moving and insightful article about Brad Singer's life and death. Brad and I went to grade school together. And though we went to different high schools--he to Camelback, I to Central--I didn't lose touch with him. His first job was at a grocery store near the grade school that was owned by my father, Stan Felix.

I crashed Camelback's 20th reunion because so many of my childhood friends went there. I saw Brad there, and we had a wonderful visit. We spoke on the phone a few times over the years, but I never knew of his feelings of isolation or loneliness. I feel a deep sense of loss and regret that I didn't do more to help him.

Thank you again for such a loving, respectful article about Brad. It was truly a tribute to his life and the way he lived it.

Anita Felix

Gilbert Garcia's article about Brad Singer is full of negativity about a man who built an incredible empire--a man whose used-record store has played a part in the lives of everyone who collects vinyl, tapes or CDs. Was it necessary to mention one of the speakers at the funeral was corpulent? I was at the funeral; I never heard him say he was fat. That is what you meant, isn't it? What was your point?

Why not mention the awesome eulogy given by Mary McCann "The Bone Mama" from KZON? Could that be because you didn't know who she was? Her eulogy took us on a trek from Brad's beginnings in 1980 to where he wound up before his tragic death.

Yet in addition to his accomplishments, you spent a lot of time talking about his shortcomings. Why? It was a standing-room-only funeral. Brad will be missed by those of us who knew and loved him. But after reading this not real complimentary article, I doubt I will miss reading anything else in your publication. And, Mr. Garcia, you really spoke to the wrong person when you spoke to a "close friend," as I don't think a real friend would ever air his dirty laundry for the world to see.

J. Riffle

Jeweler's Rejoinder
The column about E.D. Marshall Jewelers ("Overdressed," Barry Graham, May 21) is incomplete and misleading. Accusing or even inferring that someone is a racist is very serious. Racists enjoy letting people know their feelings. I am not a racist, and I am quite upset with this portrayal of me.

What wasn't reflected in Graham's column was that my store had received a call from another area jeweler who had been visited by the man in question. This jeweler had been robbed at gunpoint recently by two well-dressed black men--one of five Valley jewelry stores that has been so victimized recently. The man in question matched the description of those robbers, so the jeweler took down the man's license number and called the police. Somehow, the wrong license number was given to the police, and when the license number did not come back as matching the man's car, the police and the jeweler had reason to believe the man was driving a stolen car.

When E.D. Marshall Jewelers got this call from the other jeweler, we also were told that the man in question had been to at least four other jewelry stores in the area.

Bottom line: When this man entered my store, we had reason to believe he was a suspect in jewelry-store robberies and that he was driving a stolen car. That's why we alerted the police, not because of his skin color.

E.D. Marshall and company are not prejudiced, and we have never called the police because someone was black. After it was determined that he was not driving a stolen car, I escorted this gentleman back into the jewelry store. I explained to the victim he was wearing a black three-piece suit in very warm weather and matched the description of a jewelry-store robber. Guns were carried under long coats in the armed robberies. This prompted jewelers to call the police with his license number.

The black male in this story was the victim of a bad set of circumstances--someone either gave or received an erroneous license plate number, and this made him appear to be a car thief.

I personally apologized for the ugly incident to the victim for all of the area jewelers. Please keep in mind the victim was welcomed into the store and treated with respect both before and after he spoke to the police.

The term "No Nigger Zone" is unfamiliar to me, and I do not wish to have this disgusting phrase associated with me, my company, and Scottsdale, where my business is located.

I have numerous friends and customers who are black. Now I am the victim of the same type of ugly incident that happened to the article's subject!

As we travel through life, we all encounter bad situations; some things just can't be avoided. What we can do is treat each other with respect and try to be decent human beings by being friendly and helping our fellow man when we see the need. I have strong personal convictions regarding prejudice. I judge a man by his qualities, such as intelligence and morals, not by his skin color.

The public is invited to my store, and every potential customer is given equal respect, no exceptions.

I hope this factual account of events will instill a little more faith in Scottsdale. I never want to be labeled as prejudiced; it is an ignorant way to go through life.

Ed Marshall
E.D. Marshall Jewelers

The article by Barry Graham, "Overdressed," in the May 21 issue, did more than raise my eyebrows to continued reports of subtle or blatant racism in Scottsdale. I find it interesting that the cops were called because the gentleman described in the column was wearing a suit and the store owner did not like the looks of the customer. It angers me that we are approaching the new millennium and that people of color are still having to put up with stupid behavior--and that the police, who are supposed to serve and protect all citizens, promote and support this behavior. Not liking the way a person looks and dresses is a poor excuse for continued racist behavior by some of the residents and policemen in Scottsdale and the rest of this country. When will we learn to get along and value each other for our differences?

V. Brown

As I turned to "Overdressed" and caught the illustration and heading sound bite, I was led to believe that this would be another critique of the Scottsdale Police Department. As I read through the article, however, it seemed to focus more on the jewelry store than the police department.

Given that there have been numerous jewelry-store armed robberies over the last year across the Valley, I think that if whoever called felt that there was a suspicious person in the store, then they should call the police. Citizens assist the police in cities all across the nation every day by calling in "suspicious" persons.

As I read about the police response, it seemed reasonable to me. The information given to the police showed that the car the person was driving was stolen. I would expect that the threat level when dealing with someone in a stolen car would be higher, as law-abiding citizens don't usually drive around in stolen cars.

As it turned out, everyone won in this situation. There was no armed robbery in the store. The investigation revealed that the car was not stolen. The person who was detained shortly was let go. No one went to jail. No one, including the police officers, were hurt. How can you knock that?

It is apparent that Mr. Graham has a deep-seated desire to portray Scottsdale and its police department as racist. Look at the facts and draw your own opinions. Don't let slanted writing form your opinions for you.

If an article is going to be about what happened at a jewelry store, use illustrations that support that. It is unfair to the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Police Department to use a sensationalistic illustration that has nothing to do with the content of the article.

Chet Anderson

Longing for John
Senator John McCain is the only Arizona elected leader who has taken a meaningful stand for campaign-finance reform. In the May 14 article ("Waiting for McCain," Amy Silverman), the senator was criticized for not leading the charge for our ballot initiative. The fact is, he wasn't even informed of our effort until very recently, which is our fault, not his.

I worried aloud with Ms. Silverman that he might not like our approach, but I certainly hope he does. He is the national leader on this issue, and his help would be a great asset to our work.

The issue of campaign reform has gained prominence and made progress because of his leadership. We want to meet with him soon and see what he thinks. If we had been wiser, we would have put him in the loop at the start. The only reason we didn't is because we wanted the McCain-Feingold bill to be resolved before we raised the subject of a different kind of reform with him.

Josh Silver
Campaign Manager
Arizonans for Clean Elections

Eminent Peril
Attorney Jay Dushoff is right on the money regarding condemnation to provide for private business ("Slummin' in Scottsdale," Tony Ortega, May 21). The Arizona Constitution spells out in explicit detail the exercise of eminent domain, including railroads and power lines. Conspicuously absent from the list are baseball stadiums (remember Beatrice Villareal and the 23 businesses displaced for BOB) and department stores. Furthermore, Article 9 section 7 expressly forbids special treatment or subsidizing of any private enterprise.

Unfortunately, Mr. Dushoff is apparently absent the financial wherewithal or the tenacity to pursue this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court. He obviously doesn't have a prayer here in Arizona.

It is ironic that all the pro-property-rights conservatives are dead silent when these issues arrive. Of course, they are usually the ones propagating the unproven and purely subjective economic benefits of subsidized business. At least your "slobbering, rug-chewing, liberal" counterparts are redistributing wealth to ostensibly needy people rather than institutions like Nordstrom, Dial Corporation and Jerry Colangelo. Shame on the whole bunch of you!

Dan Judge


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