I generally agree with Frank Valencia regarding Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, but I do take issue with his questionable "brain fart" comment (Letters, September 5). Basically, it has nothing to do with the thrust of Terry Greene Sterling's fine profile on our former governor's background and how it has shaped his contemporary environmental ethic.
I have recently performed extensive archival research about Babbitt, Phelps Dodge and the copper-mining strike, and no concrete evidence whatsoever exists that Babbitt openly and willfully "sided" with Phelps Dodge. As a matter of fact, then-governor Babbitt repeatedly (and publicly) chastised Phelps Dodge for its uncompromising attitudes toward the unions at the bargaining table, as well as its draconian repeal of crucial health insurance and housing benefits for the strikers and their families.
Unfortunately, it was a classic case of "a rock and a hard place," and Babbitt was caught dead center. Nevertheless, it all boiled down to this: As Arizona is a right-to-work state, Bruce Babbitt was performing his sworn duty as governor in protecting the replacement workers from physical harm by violence-oriented, union-sympathetic hotheads.
Granted, Babbitt may have overreacted when he activated the Army National Guard to protect replacements, but to state he "sided with the copper companies in 1982" (sorry, Frank, but there was but one copper company--Phelps Dodge--and the strike was in 1983-84) only awakens an irrational, shallow myth started by vehement anticapitalist, pro-union strike rhetoric.
I was pleased to see Howard Seftel's negative review of Copper Creek Bar & Grill at Wyndham Metrocenter ("Vacant, Lettuce and Tomato," September 5). I ate there once and still fume every time I think of it. It wasn't the food, particularly--I only tried the buffet, and that was mediocre. It was the service.
That was last July when I stopped in for lunch. After waiting for a minute or two, a fellow, who I thought was a busboy, finally showed me to a table, explained the process and brought me coffee. I went to the salad bar, and when I came back, a woman came to the table and said, "I'm Cheryl, your waitress. Oh, I see you already have coffee. Is there anything I can get you?" There wasn't--until I wanted more coffee, but she wasn't around. I watched for her for four or five minutes, picking at the dessert I wanted the coffee with, then caught the eye of the fellow who had seated me, and he brought me a refill.
When I was finished, I looked around again for Cheryl, but she was nowhere to be seen. After giving her a reasonable time to put in an appearance, I got up and, on the way out, stopped at the bar to pay. The fellow at the bar interrupted his conversation long enough to tell me that I was supposed to pay the waitress. I said I hadn't seen her for quite a while. Someone went to get her, and I gave her a $20 bill. She pulled a huge wad of dirty paper money from her pocket and started to peel off my change. While she did, I was thinking, "And she handles food?"
She gave me change for a $10. I said, "But I gave you a $20," and she said, "Oh, that's right," and gave me another $10.
Since the only person who had given me any service was the fellow who showed me the table, I asked her, "Who is that fellow over there?" "Oh, he's our host, John." Then she added, as though bestowing a promotion, "He's our helper."
What really makes me angry is that I left a tip--automatically.
Ted M. Hopes
Alternative Fife Style
In reading John Dougherty's "Official Secrecy Acts" (September 5), I was startled to see that the defense costs for His Royal Arrogance, King Fife III, are mounting at the horrendous weekly rate of $10,000. I rummaged through my assets to see what I had that might be of help, and the only thing I could come up with was a Mexican centavo piece. However, I had second thoughts about sending it, because it occurred to me that in the event that I submitted a loan application, I could list this to-be rare coin at its anticipated future value, and I could borrow a bundle.
But I have an even better idea, and King Fife will not even have to beg. This worked for Nixon's White House buddies, such as G. Gordon Liddy, John Ehrlichman, Howard Hunt and John Dean, to name a few, to the extent that, in addition to paying off their legal costs, their pockets became pretty well-lined. These men became authors and lecturers.
For the books King Fife III might write, I suggest a few titles: Let George Do It; Bankruptcy Made Easy With Hide and Seek; Mommy, They're Picking on Me; My Loyal Lackey Leckie; and Capers With Annette.
Herbert O. Hardin
I have been a fan of Ernie Pook's Comeek since first noticing it years ago (good ol' Zippy the Pinhead days). Some I've enjoyed much more than others, but everybody is not like me, so who cares?
I remember reading more than one letter ranking on Lynda J. Barry's illustration style, story contents, or both. I am compelled to stick up for the strip after just reading Skreddy (September 5). First, the "ride down the slip 'n' slide bummer of life," which I could feel in my stomach, then I laughed out loud at the reckless abandon of Skreddy. Then, on the roof, "Rock is my life, a giant squid is my wife . . ." Maybe it is funnier to me because my wife is a giant squid, too.
Anyway, Ernie Pook's Comeek is unique and cool, and I am glad it has endured the years and not disappeared.
I read M. V. Moorhead's movie reviews and I agree with most of them. But I must say that Kansas City had to be one of the worst movies I have ever seen ("Riff Trade," August 15). I could not find one redeeming quality in the acting; the only part of the film that was enjoyable, apart from the closing credits, was the music. I think this is by far the worst movie Robert Altman has ever directed.
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One interesting case of a good guy butchering dogs is Sylvester Stallone in First Blood, where he put away two or three bloodhounds that were tracking him down ("Pet Reprieve," M. V. Moorhead, August 1).
Keep up the good work. It's so refreshing to pick up New Times after a morning with the Arizona Republic.