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Letters From the Issue of Thursday, December 15, 2005

Judge Not

Jurist prudence: In reading about Judge Warren Granville's attitude on the bench and the issues with the County Attorney's Office, I say one thing: "Bravo! You go, Judge" ("Judicial Blacklash," Paul Rubin, December 1)!

It isn't often that one gets to see a truly competent jurist like Granville in Arizona, much less one who really gets to the true facts of a case. Given that most of the commissioners (who later become judges) are drawn from a pool of attorneys who regularly work the court systems, occasionally some dregs slip through and occupy the bench. Some scary docket, eh?

In sum, there are some really dysfunctional commissioners and judges out there to nitpick upon, so why doesn't the County Attorney's people try to rid the judicial system of some of those real "bozos"?

Granville is my kind of guy. He truly stands for what is good and just about the Arizona courts system.
James Barbee, Mesa

Facing the Music

An alternative-scene player: When I read Michele Laudig's Stiletto column ("Cayenne Shame," November 24) about the last-minute cancellation of the Grand Cayenne Music Festival, I was likewise befuddled about how the word gets out about music events. I read New Times regularly, and it slipped by me. I've been to the Mesa Amphitheatre, and it's an awesome venue. We have thousands of people here in Phoenix and many nightclubs playing live music. We have a college scene and a post-college scene. This town should be like Seattle, but it's not.

My own band, Tin Weasel, is producing originals, and we play covers, too. Getting paid is completely optional for us, as we have day jobs. I'd hate to try to make a living trying to play/tour, especially in the Valley.

I remain optimistic that Phoenix will begin to develop a true identity in the alternative rock scene. The key, in my opinion, is to truly get the partnerships working: merchandising, advertising, bands promoting themselves and having monetary or other incentives to bring their "following" to a venue, regardless of the size. It is only through this type of hard work and promotion that a city like Phoenix will get on the map of places to play.

I have never met Charlie Levy, but he is obviously a dedicated promoter, and I applaud his efforts, past, present and future, because Phoenix needs people like Charlie in order to make Phoenix the new Seattle -- the potential is definitely there.
Barry Hegrenes, Mesa

Public indifference: I was so excited to see that a journalist had taken interest in the Cayenne travesty. When I first saw the show advertised, I made it a point to tell all those I know who love great music to be sure to run out and purchase tickets. These people obviously did not pay attention, because when I explained to them what happened, disappointment rushed over them. I only hope your column will start the change in the underground scene. I thought the idea of the festival was brilliant and set at the best possible venue. I just wanted to say there are people out there who care about our music scene.
Lindsey Hope, Phoenix

The War on Drugs

Identity crisis: The law enforcement community and prosecutors in the state of Arizona aren't taking identity theft as it relates to meth use as seriously as they should ("Ice, Ice, Baby," Robert Nelson and Joe Watson, November 24).

If identity theft were aggressively investigated and prosecuted, the meth problem would be reduced. Law enforcement officers in Maricopa County state that there is a direct connection between meth use and identity theft, but only the Maricopa County Attorney's Office is taking identity theft as seriously as it should.
Bob and JoAnn Hartle, Phoenix

Clean and sober: I was happy to see that Joe Watson's article got to the bottom of why methamphetamine is so addictive. It makes people insane and increases sexual urges to the extent that that's all anybody can think about -- besides, of course, getting high in the first place.

I know, because I was a meth addict, and I had sex with so many men that I lost count. I never even attempted to make a count. As long as the meth was coming, I would just lie around in group situations and let everybody in the house have sex with me.

That is, as long as I was desirable enough for anybody to want to have sex with me; it didn't take long for the meth to take a toll on my looks.

I now am HIV positive and wound up having a child who's been taken by the state. I have no idea where she has gone, but she's better off out of my life. Fortunately, she was taken away so young that she won't remember her tweaker-whore mother. During those years, I was in no shape to take care of myself, much less my baby.

Now, like the lady you mentioned in your other article by Robert Nelson, I've cleaned up my act. After several short stints in jail for crimes to support my habit, I've gone through intense therapy and have gotten off meth. I'm taking it one day at a time, but it has been six months since I've had any drugs in my life.

As for my HIV, with clean living and modern medical care, I'm told that I may never get full-blown AIDS and that I can lead a nearly normal life. I'm hoping for the best.

I came from a good family, got a good education, and simply got involved with the wrong crowd at my first job after college. What you said is true: This isn't just a drug for trailer trash and bikers; it affects young people of all races from all levels of society.

I just wanted to write in and thank you for devoting your publication to the meth issue. I think many in the sober world will read your articles and understand for the first time that some other approach than jail must be employed to cure the meth epidemic. I'm not saying that I didn't deserve jail; it just didn't get me clean. I was able to score meth in jail, and as soon as I got out, I went back to the life full-time.
Name withheld by request

The "good" meth users: Your stories have made it seem that everybody who does meth will wind up in prison, or worse. That just isn't true! There are minor recreational methamphetamine users, just like there are minor recreational marijuana users.

Would anybody out there seriously contend that pot will make every user go to a life of crime to support his habit? Well, the uninitiated would, but nobody knowledgeable about drugs would.

I'll grant that there are more sad stories when meth is involved -- more people with fucked-up lives -- but by no means does everybody who uses meth turn out badly. Everybody doesn't have an addictive personality.

I, for one, have been able to use meth occasionally and not become addicted. I am a college graduate with a good job, who just happens to enjoy meth once in a while.

You can't paint everybody with the same broad stroke.

All that said, I still think your meth stories have been good at explaining what users go through in society.
Name withheld by request

Pat Us on the Back

Slathering praise: Stephen Lemons is a natural comic. I love the masterful way he weaves relatively esoteric pop culture references with dashes of French phrases and then follows through with the news event of the day. Trust me when I say I'll dutifully continue to slather praise about his cafe pieces all over town to my sycophantic best.

Also, the "Critical Fatwa" music column in New Times is a complete riot. The Ayatollah of Rock has drawn the attention of all [who're] juvenile, puerile and base! It is written . . .
Benjamin Golshahr, Phoenix


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