Friend or UFO?
Great article ("The Hack and the Quack," Tony Ortega, March 5). As an amateur astronomer (no, I didn't have my telescope out that night, unfortunately) and an electrical engineer, I appreciate a journalist who consults experts in the field of science and engineering. When I first started reading the article, and Jim Dilettoso said he was doing spectral analysis on a recorded videotape, I almost fell over from laughter! Keep up the good work--maybe one of the local TV stations will have the guts to present Ortega's findings to the public even if it is not as exciting as little green men.
Thanks for the detailed and entertaining run-down. I especially enjoyed the insights to the personalities. It is no small piece of work. Tony Ortega's subjectivity is evident, which is not to say that nearly all of his observations are not valid. Whatever the underlying truths, the societal madness is unmistakable. In my opinion, some of the madness might be best cured with a dose of real truth.
Las Vegas, Nevada
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"The Hack and the Quack" was absolutely great stuff. I only wish there were more people like Tony Ortega in the news "industry." The only problem is that reports like Ortega's take just too long to prepare--in the meantime, people keep getting bombarded by media about the same thing. As Goebbels said, "Repeat it enough and it becomes the truth." Too bad it isn't as easy to debunk the more serious stuff--I mean things that decide war and peace. Keep up the good work.
I appreciate Tony Ortega's fine article regarding the Arizona happenings. I am a UFO researcher from Ohio, and investigated the Arizona event as it corresponded to identical happenings in Ohio, which never achieved the publicity that Arizona had despite being witnessed by thousands. I learned a great deal through this investigation, and concluded early on that the "flare" explanation was the answer, and felt from the beginning that it also applied to Arizona. My conclusions were, for the most part, rejected by the UFO community.
The state of UFO research is, indeed, at an all-time low. I, for one, appreciate Ortega's wake-up call.
While it is true that the "UFO field" is rife with ridiculous quackery that is accepted uncritically, it is equally true that official denials and dismissals are accepted just as uncritically by those biased against an extraterrestrial explanation for UFOs. I think it is unfortunate that the spokespersons on both sides of this issue are unreliable demagogues who profit by their stand. Both sides should be treated with equal skepticism.
Best article I've read on the "Phoenix Lights." I'm also glad Tony Ortega showed what clowns some are in the UFO community. We need to weed them out! Only then will ufology advance.
John C. Thompson, past state director
I just read Tony Ortega's impressive article on Jim Dilettoso, Frances Emma Barwood, Phoenix Lights, et al. Thank you for a superb job of investigative reporting in a field rarely graced with such necessary fact-finding.
Vicki Ecker, editor
Los Angeles, California
To Ave. and to Ave. Not
I put off reading David Holthouse's article on Mill Avenue street kids ("Meet the Crusties," February 26) as long as I could. I work on Mill and love it. It is truly the only place in the Phoenix area that has any kind of urban street life which makes for a vital sense of community. But I also know that the reality is much different from my overly romanticized view. So, I finally sat down to learn what the life of those street kids is really all about.
What Holthouse wrote has stayed with me--in fact, I've even awakened at 3 a.m., totally anxious, thinking about the pain and fear he captured. On the surface it would seem to be wonderful to live a free, unencumbered life, to live as "real" as possible. That is only the case, though, if the choice is made from consideration, not desperation. How horrible to grow up with the idea that you have no value, to seek a sense of place on the streets and to have to dull the pain of living with drugs.
The tragic part is that there is no answer, no solution--it sure isn't in a Bible or a sandwich or in becoming a "productive member of society" (what the hell is that?)--it's so deep that I have no hope that we will ever get there. Thanks for Holthouse's work, a heart-wrenching and yet necessary story.
I have been meaning to send a note thanking David Holthouse for the enjoyment received from reading his article about the homeless kids in Tempe. I was surprised when I picked up a subsequent copy of New Times and saw the response he received from his article (Letters, March 5). I really enjoyed Holthouse's article and found it to be informative in the sense that I now have a better understanding of the inner workings of the homeless society. I don't share the opinion that he in some way glamorized this lifestyle.
A correction to Chris Farnsworth's "Jailhouse Blues" (March 5): Dale Copeland can't be the warden of the Aspen Special Programs Unit (SPU), because that facility has no warden. Nor does the Arizona Center for Women (ACW). What they do both have are deputy wardens, both of whom work for Mr. Copeland, who has been the warden for the entire Phoenix Region complex throughout the period mentioned in "Blues." That complex also includes the Flamenco Mental Health Center (FMHC) and the Alhambra Reception and Treatment Center (ARTC), both on the Arizona State Hospital grounds along with SPU (ACW is located at 32nd Street and Van Buren), and the Arizona State Prison at Globe. By writing that Mr. Copeland was "formerly the warden" of ACW when an earlier lawsuit was filed, and that he is "now Aspen's warden," Mr. Farnsworth seemed (to me, at least) to be implying that sexual-misconduct allegations against staff members are following in Mr. Copeland's professional wake.
Of course, having been an officer in the Department of Corrections for nearly 16 years (more than 11 of them in the Phoenix Region), I wouldn't expect any journalist to be either as knowledgeable about or as interested in such administrative details as I am. I wouldn't even expect one to be as knowledgeable or interested with regard to the difficulties inherent in investigating allegations made by members of a population which includes a high percentage of psychopaths and con artists. I might still hope on occasion, but most of us in the "priz biz" learn very early not to expect it.
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