The Beaten Path
I was amazed at the ugliness of the people who run The Open Door Shelter for battered women, but mostly I was shocked to discover that someone has the nerve to call a battered woman "scum" ("Shelter Skelter," Amy Silverman, October 26). That statement was a clear indication of pure stupidity. I am a former abused wife, and I, for one, can tell you that getting out of that kind of relationship is close to impossible. Ittakes a lot for a woman to ask for help, and even more to stay away from her abuser. If Audrey Rounding had taken my child home, I would have had her arrested for kidnaping.

There are many good and kind people out there who understand what it is like to be abused. These people realize that the woman is not at fault. They realize that circumstances sometimes dictate that a woman, mother and wife will take abuse just to stay alive.

I would like to see Rounding one month after living with my ex-husband; maybe then she would sing a different tune regarding the abused women who pass through the shelter. I thank God that I had a good shelter to go to when I decided to leave. It saved my life.

Cynthia Richards

The management of The Open Door Shelter, replete with back stabbings, ego trips and financial shenanigans, has created a sad situation indeed. It is tragic that this potentially invaluable organization was (is?) being run without supervision, good leadership, proper financial regulation or basic common sense. Perhaps the courts can step in and settle their hash, because adult women who still use phrases such as "cooties" and "yucky-poo" are obviously incapable of settling things on their own.

Among this group of people who seem to have forgotten the goal of The Open Door Shelter is to help battered women, not further individual power plays or bank accounts, it was Audrey Rounding who compelled me to write. How could a woman like that be allowed to run a battered-women's shelter? I'm sure she's home right now, wearing one of her "gorgeous, gorgeous sweaters," crying into her fancy gold coffee cup because no one appreciated all she did for those women she calls "scum."

To quote Rounding: "The good ones are helped by their families." Let's see if I have this right ... any woman who is lucky enough to find help somewhere else is good, but any woman who actually needs the services of the shelter is scum? God help the battered women who have no families to help them and find themselves at the shelter's doorstep.

Rounding goes on to say, "I'm sitting there killing myself, for what? For five bucks an hour?" I have a suggestion: Ask the thousands of people who volunteer their time, money, labor and hearts free, and perhaps Rounding will figure it out.

Funny, when I pictured Rounding helping herself to bags of donated items from the shelter's thrift store, the word "scum" came to my mind, too.

Susan Talmadge

Ballroom Blitz
I am disappointed that New Times would run an attack on Electric Ballroom weeks after the October 6 column regarding our club (Letters, November 2). Allowing the accusation of a drunken staff is irresponsible. Drinking on the job is cause for immediate dismissal at the Ballroom. It is also illegal under Arizona liquor laws.

Terry Garvin's band, Zen Lunatics, is a good band with almost no draw. The Ballroom hosts 1,000 people. Zen Lunatics headlined the night in question (April 18), drew only 42 guests (had no paid admissions) and was still paid largely because of our embarrassment over birthday cake that ended up on the stage floor. Apologies abounded, as did a bonus for the inconvenience. A suspension was awarded to the one off-duty staff member present.

I am happy to hear that my "parking-lot gestapo" is doing its job. The Tempe Police Department has made a no-loitering policy part of our security agreement. That includes drinking in a parked car. Sorry, Mr.Garvin, raises will be going out to the parking-lot staff.

As for our "delightful" bouncers keeping Garvin from leaving through a door marked "Exit," the doors he is not supposed to leave through are marked "Fire Exit." Fire Exit doors are just that ... "fire exits." Mr. Garvin is more than welcome to use an "exit" anytime.

I would like to thank Ray Anthony of Gibson's for his letter. Ray is a class act, as are all the people at Gibson's. It is refreshing to see someone with a cosmopolitan attitude who doesn't feel he has to put down his "competition."

Finally, this crap about Nita's Hideaway and Long Wong's has to stop. This whole issue is a result of the criticism we had of the Best of Phoenix Readers' Poll not having enough categories for music. There should have been places in the Readers' Poll for other clubs and venues. I am sure that Gibson's, Minder Binder's, Nita's and Long Wong's were all wringing their hands in anticipatory glee over that coveted Best Metal Club title. Our problem is with New Times, not Nita's or Long Wong's.

Small venues like Nita's and Long Wong's serve their purpose, as we do ours. And they seem to be doing a great job. As far as we are concerned, the more clubs in Tempe and Phoenix, the better for the whole scene.

Jim Torgeson, co-owner
Electric Ballroom

Ink Bomb
"Do you know any major city with a dominant newspaper worse than the Arizona Republic ("Fear and Loafing," John Mecklin, October 26)?"
Ted M. Hopes

Editor's note: Wrong. I grew up in Chicago. I know Chicago. And, Mr. Hopes, the Arizona Republic is no Chicago Tribune.

That John Mecklin's "Mr. Intel" and the average citizen get their information from the daily press is just part of the problem. Mr. Intel and many citizens are new to Arizona. It may be that their lack of involvement and the attitudes they bring are the problems. They are here because Arizona offers a better way of life than where they left.

They have to take some responsibility for the decline of their previous home area. It happened on their watch. They didn't stay to prevent the decline or correct it. They moved to another area with fewer problems. As the Arizona way of life declines, where do people run next?

It would be better to stay here, get involved to preserve the better life. The experience those citizens from declining areas have is a great asset in knowing what went wrong, and they could work here to prevent the same mistakes.

We who have been here a while are not fooled by the daily press, and newcomers shouldn't be fooled, either. It takes more effort to get balanced information important to the well-being of the area, but it's worth it.

Herb. Knauss

Besides being alert, informed and brilliant, John Mecklin is a true blessing to the reading population of Arizona. "Fear and Loafing" laid it factually on the printed line. The Arizona Republic and the Phoenix Gazette are advertising cash cows for the major ownership back in Indianapolis, with shameful editors and no-news policies to assure no change to their lame brains.

Edward Kranch

Fang Mail
Peter Gilstrap made me howl (Screed, October 26). This Doug Clark character is just trying too hard--too hard to be weird, that is. "In public I ... cut my arm and drank from it." Why? "I was thirsty." Get real, dude, that's definitely trying too hard. He should save such antics for the privacy of his own home. When he and his serial-killer-obsessed roomie are kicking back watching Jeopardy!, then he can start sucking on his arm. The roomie probably won't even notice, let alone care.

Marcie White

Jack of All Tirades
Being a photographer and an ex-deejay from the city (that's New York City, the only one that matters), here's my two cents worth: Stop the cheap imitation of the Village Voice. New Times does have some fine writers on its staff, and, for once, I would like to see a positive review from Serene Dominic. And to think he collaborated with another writer on the piece about David Bowie/Nine Inch Nails (Coda, October 26).

Maybe New Times should have Dominic review one of the many bands he's in. How nouveau ... talk about being schizo and not being able to decide what career path to take. I guess I'll have to see him perform to decide if he's a hat trick: hack writer, frustrated comedian and a musician.

Matt Nuskind

Fife and Bugle Corps
I am a member of the Arizona State University Sun Devil marching band and a regular reader of New Times. I read with great interest the column where New Times bought Governor Fife Symington's season tickets to ASU football games and gave them to one of the union workers who was ripped off by the failed Mercado project (Screed, October 19).

I have one correction to make: Peter Gilstrap mentions that the marching band played "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." This is incorrect. Our music was a Latin-style show that consisted of the tunes "Stiletto," "Children of Sanchez," "Land of Make Believe" and "La Suerte de los Tontos."

In any case, I enjoyed the story just as much as all the rest of New Times' informative (and usually exclusive) coverage of J.Fife. Keep it up! I'll be reading.

Kristi Thompson

Peter Gilstrap responds: You mean "La Suerte delos Tontos" doesn't mean "Hit Me With Your Best Shot


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