Regarding the layoffs at Phoenix Newspapers, Inc., one will find that for the most part, the reporters who were terminated are those who have been writing articles sympathetic toward Valley citizens in their fight against dragons like Sumitomo-Sitix ("Scenes From a Slaughter," Amy Silverman, January 23). Those reporters who meekly followed the party line were rewarded with continuing jobs.
For example, Kim Sue Lia Perkes, who was becoming more and more aggressive toward Sumitomo as she began to see the truth, was terminated. Kerry Fehr Snyder, the "cooperative" reporter who went to Japan to write a patronizing article about how wonderful Sumitomo is, was kept.
Laurie Roberts, a columnist for the Community section, had been writing "in your face" articles about development. No more! Now she is anticitizen, pro-Scottsdale airport, pro-ice rink. She also took to task citizens for voicing their opposition. That's because, in my opinion, she was undoubtedly threatened with the loss of her job unless she joined the establishment.
Now, unfortunately, the Arizona Republic will be "reporting" only what its management wants the public to read. It's sad and a tragedy that the publishers think we are all too dumb to know what really happened.
Thanks, New Times, for the stories Tony Ortega and John Mecklin wrote about Sheriff Joe Arpaio. These stories are what really got me outraged about the injustice in Arpaio's jails. They led me to do more research and write my own column so that more students will be aware of what Arpaio is doing.
On February 4, the staff of the Roundup, my high school newspaper, went to a high school press conference with Sheriff Arpaio. He told us how much he respects the press and journalists like us. During the question period of the conference, I asked him many questions about the injustice I have read about. I questioned him about Scott Norberg, Richard Post and the Department of Justice's report about his jails. He told me that I shouldn't believe what I read, especially from New Times. I was appalled by his hypocrisy and disrespect for journalism. After the conference, many reporters questioned me, and Arpaio's responses to me were published.
Through the course of my research, I have become very concerned about the injustice that is happening in Arpaio's jails. I am glad that I could let others know about this through my writing; however, I'd also like to do something more about it. I am a member of Amnesty International at my high school and would like to get our organization involved in stopping these human-rights abuses. In John Mecklin's column "Barbarism As a Public Relations Strategy" (December 5, 1996), he interviewed William Schulz of Amnesty International and I would like to know what they have done about this abuse since, and what we can do to help.
Editor's note: A copy of your letter has been faxed to Amnesty International USA. We'll let you know if there is a response.
Thanks to Terry Greene Sterling for her positive and thoughtful article about my friend Dr. Joseph Parham ("Joe Parham Stands Up," February 6).
Like many of Parham's friends I am sure, I learned of his problems from this article. In seeking ways to always be of help to others, it is characteristic of Parham not to burden any of his friends with his troubles.
Parham has been an invaluable asset to our community; he has worked diligently for many years helping street kids and gang members in a city that is just beginning to recognize the scope of its own problem in that area. We are a city that places a strong emphasis on the family and I know Parham truly wants every child to have the security, self-confidence and chance for success that family support brings, even if he has had to step in and fill the role of parental figures himself.
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While none of us is perfect and the years tend to slow all of us, of one thing I am certain: Joe Parham's mind is as sharp as a tack, and of his heart I know of no one with one bigger. He is a fighter and will come out on top of this, and his friends will all be there to help him. Let me just say that his friends are a very large group, and I am privileged to be counted among them.
Councilwoman Joan Payne
I read Amy Silverman's article about June Thomson abandoning her cat ("Anchor's Away, Cat's a Stray," February 6). Slow news week, huh?
Dennis Noel Farmer