Guilt Trip
I really was impressed with Michael Lacey's editorial on Fife Symington ("Long May He Serve," September 11). He laid it out the way my friends and co-workers have been discussing it on a day-to-day basis. The saddest part is Eddie Basha and our new governor's remarks that Symington should not serve any time. Symington, as governor and a public servant, was supposed to show a good example to our children and the citizens who live in Arizona. He did not do that. He broke the law, and he deserves to be punished the same as anyone else. If these people feel he deserves to be treated differently from the rest of us, then I, as a voter, was tricked, because I voted for Basha. I thought he was a better person than that. Now, who can I put my faith in?

Donna Guida

Reporter's Notebook
I salute John Dougherty (nice hair, Dougherty) of Terry Greene Sterling's September 11 column "The Indomitable Dougherty."

In any society, middle-class values have always been sound (or there's no civilization), values such as a belief in decency and in the perfectibility of people over a lifetime according to what each soul is learning, and a belief in fair play which is more often possible than the well-positioned or cheaters would admit. Like it or not, that's civilization. The former governor of Arizona and his regime apparently forgot, yet, thanks to the free press at New Times and Dougherty, today they stand corrected. My values inform me probably the former governor is also better for that.

Philip Zurich

Mary, Mary
I enjoyed Terry Greene Sterling's article about Our Lady of Guadalupe ("Marian Theology--Phoenix Style," September 4), who is, by the way, mother of the Americas, not just Mexico. Greene Sterling should read more about the story of Guadalupe, as it is most interesting.

Many modern-day miracles are attributed to Our Lady. I have excellent reason to believe that my best friend's daughter was cured of cancer through her intercession. And, although I may have been a naysayer at one time regarding miracles and cures, I stand firmly on the side of the believers.

I would say, don't knock it; miracles may happen to you.
Rosemary Holusha

Terry Greene Sterling's column about Marian theology was interesting, but it failed to explain how Greene Sterling and others believe that the pictures, figurines, statues and visions of Mary actually depict the Biblical Mary. The gospel writers did not deem her important enough to describe. The early Christian and medieval artists, consequently, tended to model her after the Egyptian goddess Isis, both alone and with her infant son, the god Horus. Isis, also, along with several other ancient goddesses, was called the Mother of God and the Queen of Heaven.

Could it be that those individuals praying to or worshiping an image of Mary are, in fact, venerating Isis? In the Gospel of Thomas (the last verse), Jesus said, "I myself shall lead her [Mary] to make her male, so that she may become a living spirit resembling you males [the disciples]. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Therefore, had this gospel been incorporated into the Bible, the icons of Mary would be depicting a male figure.

One may also ask why Mary, an adulteress, should be revered. She was a married woman (married to Joseph) but had an extramarital affair with the Holy Ghost, leading to the birth of Jesus, in violation of the Lord's commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery. Perhaps one may claim that she did not commit adultery because, having had no say in the matter, she was raped. The above is predicated on the assumption that the Biblical account may not be a myth.

Name withheld

Ill at Ease
I wish to thank Chris Farnsworth for his article "AHCCCS to Grind" (August 28). The article was a good example of investigative journalism. However, I have an ax to grind. Perhaps Farnsworth could investigate the other end of AHCCCS, the end where the citizen is provided with minimum health care.

Patients are randomly assigned doctors without consideration of the patient's condition. I've seen AHCCCS doctors who will not deal with certain ailments and/or only have a three-year-old Physicians' Desk Reference. Or, investigate how one "health plan" closes shop, leaving patients without. Or Farnsworth could examine the delay in receiving medications. You go from the doctor's office to the pharmacy only to hear it needs a "prior authorization form" from the doctor's office. The office sends in said form, and sometimes you still have to wait a week for the "plan" to approve the medicine. A one-week delay on receiving medicine while suffering infections is inhumane.  

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System has taken the "cost containment" concept to a new low. AHCCCS' by-example health-care policy is: "It's cheaper to let them die!"

Name withheld

Rental Wrap
I am writing regarding the letter to the editor (August 28) in response to the article "Code Blues" (Howard Stansfield, August 14). I am a Phoenix attorney who has specialized in landlord/tenant law since 1977. I have worked for Community Legal Services representing tenants, and I have specialized in representing landlords and property-management companies.

Let me stress that there is no "judgment/blacklist law" as alleged by the unnamed author of the letter to New Times. What the author is probably referring to is the option a landlord now has to list his tenant's social security number as part of the eviction judgment he obtains in court. The main reason for this change, and its biggest benefit to both landlords and tenants, is that it eliminates confusion regarding judgments against people with common names.

Landlords are in the business of renting apartments or homes, not keeping them vacant. A judgment entered against a tenant is no different from any other bad debt. Most apartment complexes or management companies use rental history and credit history as criteria to rent their apartment. However, to allege that simply because you have an eviction judgment against you prohibits you from renting an apartment is untrue.

The Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act provides more than adequate protection to both landlords and tenants. The act is available free from the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. Landlords are now required to inform their tenants at the beginning of their tenancy that they can obtain a copy of this free from the Secretary of State's Office. If more tenants would take the time to review the Landlord/Tenant Act, fewer tenants would end up in court with disputes with their landlords.

Andrew M. Hull

Life With Father
I want to offer Tony Ortega a different look at Father Dennis Riccitelli ("St. Peter Principle," August 21). I was surprised to see such a nihilistic article about Riccitelli in the secular press.

Riccitelli's managerial style needed improvement. This was amply laid out in the article, and Riccitelli admitted this by undergoing counseling to become more sensitive. Those on church committees resented Riccitelli the most and are still his critics. I was not privy to their arguments and confrontations.

However, in Ortega's article, they have attacked his liturgical ministry, and here I am knowledgeable. It was said he distributed communion like he would pass out potato chips. This is absurd. I attended many of his Masses, and he was never irreverent at the altar.

They said he brought in weekend clergy so he would have less work on Sunday. But St. Jerome's always had weekend clergy help. They said because of the extra clergy on Sunday, Riccitelli was absent much of the time. But he had regular Sunday Mass assignments, and I saw him meet people before and after Sunday Masses even when he was in a wheelchair.

Riccitelli's critics said he drove people away. I joined St. Jerome's in 1987, and the church was filled on Sundays. Church attendance gradually declined. A parishioner told me that a good number of snowbirds who attended St. Jerome's had moved out of the area. So church membership started to decline long before Riccitelli arrived. On the contrary, church attendance began to increase a little during his tenure, and it is still increasing.

The critics intended Ortega's article to be one more attempt to bury Riccitelli. But when they resort to mixing truth and patent falsehood, their manipulative days are over.

Jim Hill

Rite Turn
The Tensegrity workshop is certainly a performance that has brought the teachings of Don Juan the Yaqui shaman into the New Age mainstream of the '90s ("Shaman U.," M. V. Moorhead, August 21). And this is probably a disappointment to many of those who attend these workshops seeking the true meaning and essence in the collections of writings recorded in the '60s by Carlos Castaneda. Being Yaqui Indian, I hold dear what I have learned about the teachings of my people--teachings which are centuries old, unchangeable, which reflect a respect of life and truth. These are experienced by achieving a personal spiritual connection to one's self, and not by a performance. These are the same teachings that still bring meaning and guide my life as a physician.

Juan Molina, M.D.
Las Fuentes Health Clinic of Guadalupe

Di Job
Barry Graham's column about Princess Diana's meteoric life was entirely off-key and completely lacking in good taste ("Absence of Palace," September 4). Shame on him! To refer to her as a "media whore" is unforgivable and will certainly not enhance his image as an up-and-coming writer on the local scene.  

Because Graham is from Great Britian, we can understand his lack of admiration for the present generation of the British monarchy; they have mucked up from time to time. However, this is hardly a time to vilify a woman who did so very much good in our imperfect world. And, considering that at least one million of Graham's countrymen (ordinary blokes like him and me) showed up to pay their respects and show their love at her funeral (including the new labor PM!), it would seem to suggest that Graham is "way out of it, Jack!"

Huntley Chapin

Diana, Princess of Wales, did more in a year for the people of the world than Barry Graham will do in a lifetime. Graham did, however, get one thing right: He is white trash. However, he forgot to mention that he is also heartless.

Timothy James Foxworth
Palm Desert, California

Thanks to Barry Graham for his column about Princess Diana. I was beginning to think every journalist in the USA had lost perspective on the death of the Princess of Wales. I am glad to see one person with a word processor thinks the hoopla is misdirected.

Mike McKinley

I agree with Barry Graham. Too much fuss is being made over Diana. I know lots of people more saintly, including around 16 animal-rights activists who will be languishing in British prisons for years. I mourn and grieve for them. They never hurt anyone. They just tried to rescue animals from laboratories and things like that. These young people are my heroes. Not the popular, famous, generally idle, animal-exploiting icons. I will always love and appreciate Diana for speaking out against wearing fur and against hunting animals. But she could have done a lot more for animals.

Shaynie Aero

Brilliant column. Barry Graham hit the nail right on the head.
His analysis of who Princess Diana really was is not understood outside Great Britain. The British royal family is nothing short of a soap opera, and Diana was the star the audience loved most. She led a fictitious life and was basically a fictitious person.

He is absolutely correct that Diana knew exactly how to handle the press.
The hype being created over the paparazzi causing the accident is a lame attempt to find someone to blame for a very silly and embarrassing way for the famous Princess Diana to die. Even more pathetic are the unconvincing attempts of the queen and her entourage to show grief. Diana was a thorn in the side to her. What the queen may have failed to realize, though, is that Diana actually made the royal family look good. Because she was so incredibly normal alongside the hopelessly dysfunctional Windsor family, ordinary people could relate to her. With Diana gone, the royals are heading for the pits, and, this time, they may never emerge.

Paul Grill
Cave Creek

Well done, Barry Graham! At last, a voice of common sense during this whole sorry affair. The only thing I could possibly add is the insidious use of the royal family during the Tory era in the UK. Graham will recall the announcement of the royal wedding being withheld to coincide with the worst-ever unemployment figures, the sight of Prince Andrew leaving for active service during the Falklands conflict . . . I could go on at length, but Graham has made his point with eloquence. Suffice to say I would consider it an honor to buy this man a drink.

Eddie Connelly
via Internet

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