Service Men Behaving Badly
I read the article "Casualty Sex" (Howard Stansfield, May 29) with great interest. During my 23 years of active duty with the Air Force, I have seen many abuses committed by members of the active forces who considered themselves above all others, as was possibly the norm for Major Randy Setzer.

I cannot believe that in this age of alcohol awareness, this individual had the audacity to drink in his office. Did he forget his office is public domain, and drinking alcohol in the office was promoting alcoholism, and might have been one of the weaknesses that allowed him to succumb to another weakness of character?

I felt contempt for the now-retired Major Setzer and others in the department, who denied him basic rights of federal military regulations and who had allowed professional jealousy to interfere with judgment.

There is a common term to describe military members seeking to destroy the careers of others, through manipulation of circumstances and, regrettably, personnel; they are known to have "hidden agendas," and will make every effort to destroy others. This new breed of military member was developed since the draft was ceased and the reliance of fulfilling the ranks came from the volunteers. These new individuals, also known as "careerists," have lost or did not even possess the traits of the previous generation of military personnel, who had put public service on a higher plateau above self-gratification.

I suggest that the entire National Guard unit at this location needs to be cleaned up.

Jeff Durbin Sr., retired master sergeant
United States Air Force

Paul is Dead
Many thanks to Robert Wilonsky for his on-the-money, albeit overdue, critique of Paul McCartney (Recordings, May 29). I dumped McCartney 20 years ago, when I made the mistake of buying the abysmal London Town before I listened to it.

McCartney should follow his wife's lead and find another career. She markets a successful line of frozen vegetarian entrees. Perhaps McCartney could write jingles for her commercials. That way, he would only have to be awful for 30 seconds.

Scott F. Burns

The review of Paul McCartney's new CD was the most negative putdown I've ever read. Obviously, Robert Wilonsky hates the Beatles and really hates McCartney. By the negativity of his review, I might assume that he is maybe 20 to 27 years old.

Wilonsky possibly should consider McCartney's audience. I don't believe that he crafted this music specifically for the hip-hop/grunge crowd of young music listeners. As a fan for many years, I find the content of the CD fun, enjoyable, creative and stimulating. I'm not looking for McCartney to reinvent the wheel with his new music, but to hopefully take us for a good ride again. With Flaming Pie, song by song, he's given us a consistently well-crafted selection of songs that can take us on that ride.

If Wilonsky is still feeling so negative, take on FM radio in Phoenix, which is really putting us all to sleep by repeatedly grinding down the same "classic" hits over and over and over. Unfortunately, it's possible that the mass populace demands the most obvious and sparks the fire creating this problem.

In any case, lighten up a bit and hear someone who's been at it for years and, at 54 going on 55 years old, is still able to approach his work with the same high level of enthusiasm he's always had and even more--to get over and around the obstacles that age has placed in front of him.

Steve DiBitetto
via Internet

Hopi Talk
The article titled "A People Betrayed" by John Dougherty in the May 1 issue pointed up conflicts of interest which may have harmed the Hopi Tribe in its land- and water-rights dealings with the Peabody Coal Company.

We take no position on Dougherty's characterization of an attorney who represented the Hopi Tribe. However, the reporter erroneously and unfairly suggested that Apache County Superior Court Judge Michael C. Nelson also could not remain impartial in working out a settlement among the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and other major parties in the Little Colorado River adjudication in northeastern Arizona.

Specifically, Dougherty wrote of Nelson, ". . . the proposed settlement was developed by a man with strong ties to the Navajo." He further wrote, "The Hopi believe Nelson's role in the case is dubious." And, quoting a former Hopi tribal chairman, "I just can't have trust in anyone who, in my opinion, is not neutral. I don't think Judge Nelson can be, regardless of what he says."

Initially, the Hopi Tribe voiced similar concerns. However, following a "good faith" meeting among parties in the Colorado River water-rights case, tribal representatives revised their opinion of Judge Nelson.

A hearing was conducted by Judge Allen Minker, presiding Superior Court judge in the Little Colorado River case, in response to Dougherty's inaccurate characterization of Judge Nelson.

In the transcript, Hopi Tribe attorney Harry Sachse notes, "The Hopi Tribe initially said . . . 'no' on Judge Nelson. . . . The Hopi Tribe then invited Judge Nelson out to Hopi, and the water team interviewed him. And after the interview, we thought, you know, this is a very good man, and the fact that he has entrees to the Navajo Tribe could be useful in making a settlement occur, because he can talk to them, he can have some understanding of what needs to be done."

Sachse goes on to say, "We then proceeded with negotiations with Judge Nelson as mediator. And I think it's the opinion of all of us, he's as fine a mediator as any of us have run into . . . We think Judge Nelson has done a good job . . . He's done a lot of subtle diplomacy back and forth. He's helped frame the issues . . . I've worked with mediators in other places, too, and I think he's the best I've worked with." We do not question the fact that Dougherty picked up and used some isolated and unfounded anti-Nelson sentiment, but it is truly unfortunate that he could not have sought out the prevailing view of the Hopi legal and negotiating team. His lack of diligence has done a disservice to Judge Nelson, the Hopi negotiating team and the other parties who have labored three years seeking a mutually satisfactory solution to these difficult water-rights issues.

Bill Norman, public information manager
Administrative Office of the Courts
Arizona Supreme Court

Editor's note: New Times stands by its story. The letter writer is in no position to make an informed critique of John Dougherty's work. Dougherty spent a month researching his stories about the Hopi; half of that time was spent conducting interviews on the Hopi reservation. He found a significant faction within the Hopi community that remains wary of Judge Nelson's involvement. The letter writer's characterization of the anti-Nelson sentiment as "unfounded" is itself unfounded. Furthermore, if the letter writer had checked, he would have discovered that, contrary to his assertion, Dougherty asked tribal officials and their attorneys to comment, but they declined.


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