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Letters

Really Down on the Farm
I am a 1997 graduate of Alhambra High School, which is located in the Phoenix Union High School District, and I would like to offer my view of a magnet school ("Hayden High School Had a Farm, e-i-e-i-o," Michael Kiefer, June 26).

Alhambra's magnet program is the Center for Sports Medicine. When I attended orientation, I was shown the wonderful equipment in the fitness center and the famous "million-dollar, all-weather track." However, I was not shown the library, a computer center or even a science lab. During my years at Alhambra, I never was able to find a book that I needed in the school library, never attended an educational field trip, never had the opportunity to talk to a counselor about my college and scholarship opportunities, and never was offered an SAT/ACT prep class. I feel totally unprepared for college.

I had excellent teachers at Alhambra, and my father has taught at Alhambra for 28 years. These teachers taught me all they could, but could have taught me much more if they worked in a district that stressed giving every student a good, basic education. Instead they work for a district that channels money into special-interest programs that only benefit a small percentage of students. All PUHSD is concerned about is if it has the correct number of whites, blacks or Mexicans at every school. Obviously, it's overlooked the 50 percent graduation rate and the many students who can't read on an adult level or write a complete sentence.

I admire the students at Carl Hayden High School and all the wonderful things that they're doing with their million-dollar facilities at the Center for Agribusiness and Equine Science. I'm just sorry that my education, and the education of many nonmagnet students, has been sacrificed.

Allyson Snow
Glendale

The happenings at Carl Hayden High School so superbly covered by Michael Kiefer have nothing to do with education, and it is not about minorities versus nonminorities. What it is about is power! The negative power of one man who, most apparently, along his life's journey obtained some deep soul spurs that were never resolved, and now he is inflicting his pain on others.

"Children" are children in the public-school model whether in kindergarten or 12th grade. They are lumped into minimalistic categories for the sake of ease of documentation. I want to know, where do Jewish students fit in, or Italian-American, or Spanish Anglo, or African-American-Anglo or any other of the wonderful arena of diversity?

We must stop the insane thinking and attitudes that separate! Neither side talks about unity. Additionally, any creative architect would show the creation of the proposed school up and out, its emergence created from the "Farm," the Farm being the nucleus from which a center of unity is born. Nothing of the Farm itself need change! Let the children lead--they will show the unlimited potential and unlimited possibilities!

Reverend Dr. G. Sky Guadagno
Phoenix

Sick Transit
Howard Stansfield's article about the transit initiative covered part of the territory persuasively and convincingly ("Trainplotting," July 3). Another part is occupied by the Valley residents who use public transportation. We may ride buses because physical limitations impede or prevent driving, because we can't afford to own a car, because we prefer not to add to existing car-caused problems, or to stay out of Stansfield's way.

The benefit of functional mass transit would have unfortunate side effects, as Stansfield's article points out. So now we know the back story according to the drivers and the financial planners, those who find it better to maintain the existing situation than to risk losing ground to the rest of us.

Meg Umans
Phoenix

Since moving here in 1989, I have had ample opportunity to experience Phoenix and would like to comment on Howard Stansfield's article "Trainplotting." The island of Manhattan is extremely small in comparison to the city of Phoenix, yet it manages to commute millions of people in and out every day. This scenario is repeated in cities worldwide, utilizing buses, subway and commuter rail.

Yes, Phoenix roads are on the way to paralysis, but to add more of them is simply to put a bandage on what will surely evolve into a festering wound. Construction will never catch up to the rate of growth and this route would, of course, do nothing to eliminate the growing air-quality problems. The increased transportation flexibility would greatly affect the job market, not only by creating new jobs, but also by providing cheap, reliable transportation to job sites for those who cannot afford autos.

As taxpayers, we might as well pay the piper now and adopt a high-volume commuter system. Otherwise, get comfortable with the idea that Phoenix is, and always will remain, a second-rate city.

 

David J. Hayden
Tempe

I was pleased to see questioning of the motives of the Phoenix City Council regarding the "transit" tax. This is the same council that just went to the Legislature begging for exemptions and money, claiming it couldn't find the money to convert mostly empty city buses, which spew noxious, choking clouds of hydrocarbons, to cleaner-burning compressed natural gas from diesel.

This is the same council that moved the Greyhound station away from the city's bus terminal, uncoupling that nice transit arrangement to make way for a parking garage for Jerry Colangelo's welfare stadium. Now the council will build him a "fun train" to further lure spectators. This idea is offensive, but being able to move thousands of people into and out of the stadium without their cars would be a good thing, if not for the huge taxpayer subsidies.

While increased transit opportunities won't significantly increase ridership, there is a far better solution: using tax dollars to convert autos to compressed natural gas, and banning the sale of new cars that do not use alternative fuels. It costs about $5,000 to convert a single car to compressed natural gas that minimize its tailpipe emissions. For the $250 million annual operating expense of a public transit system, 50,000 cars per year could be converted. This reduction in tailpipe emissions would be the equivalent of removing hundreds of thousands of cars from our roads, clearing up our air far more than buses or rail ever would.

This superior plan won't fly, however, because our politicians and city staff will not be able to control and divert public monies into the hands of those who specialize in making a fortune off senseless pork projects that never solve any real public problems.

Stephen M. Brittle
Don't Waste Arizona, Inc.
Phoenix

K's in Point
When I read David Holthouse's article about the newfound Special K, I became enraged ("Ket Nip," July 3). I work in the medical field and all too often see the effects of drug abuse. I wonder if Holthouse is even concerned that people/children across the nation are slowly driving themselves to the grave by using/abusing drugs.

The descriptions on how to "cook" Ketaset and how to cut it blew me away! How could anyone in his right mind write an article so descriptive and have a clear conscience though hundreds of people, even kids, are going to read his article and try the "recipe"? Is Holthouse so concerned with meeting his deadlines that he doesn't consider the consequences? What is he going to tell the mother or father who calls New Times claiming that a son or daughter has died of an overdose, and that son or daughter got the recipe for the drug from Holthouse's article? I don't understand how a paper could get away with publishing a story about Ketaset and still have a good conscience.

Aimee Potter
Glendale

Referring to David Holthouse's article, "Ket Nip," why doesn't the writer just hand out pamphlets to Arizona's youth that details how to find the right blood vessel to stab or the correct length of straw to use when snorting? Or, better yet, why not give Sammy the drug dealer the whole back page on which to advertise? Also, if Sammy's business doubles in the next few weeks, how much of a cut does David Holthouse get?

William J. Lanese Jr.
Scottsdale

New Times has sunk to a new low. Why is it so hard for New Times to print a decent article? Specifically, I refer to David Holthouse's "Ket Nip." How many more lost adolescents does New Times wish to entice into a new recreational habit? My familiarity with Special K comes from Battle Creek, Michigan, not the shelves of my local veterinarian. New Times is advertising (for free!) underground drug dealers, as well as putting animal hospitals at risk for thefts and raids. Please, try to exercise more judgment in future issues.

Inger Anderson
Scottsdale

David Holthouse responds: Which part of my article was such a naked endorsement of Special K--the one where I wrote that people in a "K Hole" look like corpses, the accounts of bad trips, or the line about how chronic use can permanently damage the nervous system? Sure, I also wrote that Ketamine isn't physically addictive, has a high overdose threshold, and some people enjoy it; but, like it or not, that's true. So's this: When a new street drug takes root in our culture, young people are usually the first to know. I doubt if my article was a revelation to many teenagers.

As for the complaint that I described how liquid Ketamine is converted to powder form, misinformation about Special K is rampant, and people should know precisely what it is: a crystallized veterinary anesthetic that drug dealers cook up in their kitchens. Besides, most street Ketamine is already sold as powder. I didn't see any reason for obscuring how it got that way.

 

Finally, to answer one of Potter's questions, I am "concerned that people/children across the nation are slowly driving themselves to the grave by using/abusing drugs." But the vast majority of them aren't doing it with Ketamine, Ms. Potter. Cigarettes and alcohol are by far the most prolific killers.

Reset That Watch
In response to Chris Farnsworth's "The Shrill Whistle-blower" (June 26), if he is trying to cause dissension within AHCCCSWatch membership, maybe he should try again. I did not say Greg Kahlstorf's AHCCCSWatch was a one-man show. AHCCCSWatch has quite a membership, of which I am one, and we all do consult with Kahlstorf when the occasion arises. However, I did say AHCCCS (personnel) is rotten. As far as Frank Lopez blaming us for AHCCCS spending six-figure amounts in court, maybe he and AHCCCS should look within themselves and their private law firm for their unlawful conduct for those massive expenses.

AHCCCSWatch is a publication to inform the public what is happening within AHCCCS management and the wasted tax dollars; one example is paying providers for more than six years for hundreds of recipients who are dead, and not being reimbursed for it as it "would bankrupt the providers," contrary to what Lopez says. Farnsworth should dig deeper.

Farrell Janssen
Black Canyon City

Editor's note: Farnsworth did not report that Janssen said that AHCCCSWatch was a one-man show. He did report that Janssen's explanations of his involvement in AHCCCSWatch lent credence to those who believe that to be the case. If there is "quite a membership," it is not very active. What follows is taken from a transcript of Farnsworth's interview with Janssen.

Farnsworth: "Well, how much does Greg [Kahlstorf] tell you about AHCCCSWatch and the workings of it?"

Janssen: "Oh, we don't get involved in that. In fact, I rarely talk to Greg anymore. . . . What he does every day, is that it?"

Farnsworth: "Yeah, does he consult you about press releases or what he does with AHCCCS?"

Janssen: "Well, he used to. You know, he used to."
Chris Farnsworth's article "The Shrill Whistle-blower" accurately describes my conflict with the Department of Transportation. Farnsworth's well-balanced presentation of AHCCCSWatch and the law firm that represents AHCCCS has opened my eyes: It is time to begin ADOTWatch.

The State of Arizona has implemented a discriminatory and retaliatory hiring practice called RESUMIX. This Big Brother computer selects all Arizona state government employees. RESUMIX's computer-generated list does not provide names of the best-qualified candidates. ADOT employees (supervisors and line personnel) are fighting mad that RESUMIX is still being actively supported by ADOT's personnel director. The cacophony raised by ADOT employees has forced the personnel office to defend the RESUMIX system repeatedly since it was plugged in. ADOT is in an uproar that RESUMIX is leaving the "best and brightest" off the hiring lists.

The second commentary is on the Performance Incentive Based Pay program. This program reduces the number of state government employees by offering up to $50 per employee per paycheck if we can eliminate one of our fellow employees. The Legislature then cuts the funding for the vacant position the following year. We then must work harder to eliminate another fellow employee so we can get the $50 each per paycheck the next year. This voluntary reduction in force, this Judas Iscariot syndrome, when combined with the RESUMIX system, is eroding the professionalism, morale and camaraderie in ADOT's work force. Having made these commentaries, I now thrust myself into the ranks of ADOTWatch and AHCCCSWatch.

Jay Montoya
Phoenix


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