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Letters From the Issue of Thursday, July 6, 2006

House Bloat

Don't hold your breath: ASU hereby demands that New Times timely correct its false statements as required under A.R.S. 512-653.03.

ASU is truly disappointed by [John] Dougherty's article ("Bleak House," June 8).

ASU responded in a timely and good faith manner to Mr. Dougherty's several public records requests relating to this issue; yet Mr. Dougherty authored — and New Times published — his false, misleading and deceptively incomplete article.

Had Mr. Dougherty conducted thorough, objective due diligence, or asked follow-up questions, to test the erroneous conclusions he apparently reached, he would have understood and then been in a position to accurately write about the true facts underlying the sale of the subject property.

Regrettably, Mr. Dougherty failed to do so. . . . We look forward to reviewing your corrective article.
Paul J. Ward, vice president for university administration and general counsel, ASU

Editor's note: For the full text of an earlier letter from ASU requesting extensive corrections to Dougherty's June 8 column — and his detailed rebuttal of each point — see the ASU attachment to this week's Dougherty column (also on the subject of the sale of the president's house at ASU). The excerpt above is from a subsequent letter again demanding extensive corrections, which New Times declines to make.

Real criminal matters: I agree with reader Tom Hamlyn ("The Once and Future President's House," Letters, June 22) that some law enforcement agency must investigate the shenanigans between ASU and Steve Tseffos.

But Andrew Thomas, our county attorney, is too busy messing with Mexicans to do any real law enforcement investigating. And that includes handing money to his old buddies to do his Mexican bashing for him in the form of trumped-up legal work ("Bully Pulpit," John Dougherty, June 29). I'm referring, of course, to Thomas' getting his old boss, lawyer Dennis Wilenchik, to handle alleged aggrieved victims of drunk drivers in Thomas' efforts to keep Spanish from being spoken in rehabilitative courts. What a crock of shit for the esteemed county attorney to be bothering with.

But I digress: A lot of us are getting tired of ASU's cavalier attitude that whatever it wants to do with taxpayer-owned property is its own damn business. I'll bet its high-and-mighty officials are screaming about John Dougherty's investigative reporting at the university's expense. First he nails them for their sorry handling of the Loren Wade/Dirk Koetter football team scandal ("Fire HIM!," May 4) and then he nails them by exposing the sleazy president's house deal.

If County Attorney Thomas doesn't step up on this smelly house deal, I'm for beginning a recall petition.
A.J. Morales, Phoenix

Connective issue: Yes indeed, insider connections once again overshadow any ethical, transparent or "good-for-the-constituents" decision-making in ASU/Tempe town. I'm among those who think that Mr. Well-Connected Realtor Steve Tseffos and the folks at ASU should be investigated for this deal.
Monica Wadsworth, Tempe

Pop! goes the politician: I expect there to be insider connections with a politician like County Attorney Andrew Thomas. It's no big surprise that he reprehensively hires his old boss' firm for hundreds of thousands of dollars in business at taxpayers' expense. "Politician" and "weasel" are synonymous. (Even if his pal is the best lawyer in America, this looks bad.) But I expect more out of ASU, because it is a bastion of higher learning that is operated with the utmost integrity. Or so ASU President Michael Crow always says.

Then, what went wrong with the ASU president's house deal?! How could insider connections be allowed to enter into this like they did? I've heard that ASU is trying to distance itself from this deal by claiming ignorance, among other things, but I hope that New Times doesn't let it get away with that. Like John Dougherty wrote in his column, there needs to be an investigation.
Paula Jones, Phoenix

Kudos Galore

Highest regards: I just wanted to write in and congratulate John Dougherty and New Times for finally getting a smattering of the recognition that he and it deserve for the eye-popping polygamy coverage the paper has published over the past three or four years ("Dougherty Honored" with the Casey Medal, June 22).

Without it, Warren Jeffs, the religion's criminal prophet, would not be on the FBI's Most Wanted List, and none of the rapists of little girls would be indicted and standing trial.

That it took law enforcement so long to do anything about this heinous problem — and still the surface has only been scratched — is almost unbelievable. The practice of turning the other way for so long by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard is criminal. I don't know how they can sleep at night.  

If not for John, this would still be a terrible little secret that mainstream Mormons could keep hidden. There would be no national publicity, no book on the subject, not even the HBO show Big Love. (For the life of me, I don't know why Dougherty doesn't sue the creators of that show who have taken their plot lines right out of the pages of his New Times articles.)

Again, congratulations, John! Without your work, Arizona would be much worse off than it is. My hat is off to you and to New Times for employing you to fight unpopular battles.
John Tomkins, via the Internet

Three cheers and a huzzah: High praise and appreciation for John Dougherty's inability to walk away from a story — no matter how unpopular he, or it, may become.

Dougherty has consistently been at the forefront of investigative journalism at its finest in Arizona. With his exposés on Joe Arpaio & Company and his coverage of the polygamy issue in Colorado City, he has shown his grasp of what is wrong in our state and his ability to go after it in such a way that readers cannot hope to escape uneducated.

Three cheers for John and his reporting style! He comes up with accurate, current, hard-hitting real issues behind the big story. He lets all who read him know what needs to be known in this county and state — even when those in a position and under mandates to do so refuse. Huge congrats on an award that was too slow in coming.
Name withheld by request

Overdue acknowledgment: Congrats to John Dougherty for winning a long-overdue award! I've been reading his reports for years. I now live in Alaska, but thank goodness for the computer. Please keep him doing what he does best.
Dodge Schwarz, via the Internet

Deserving recognition: Just wanted to say, Great job, John! It's good to see you get the recognition you deserve. Your dedication to uncover the truth in any story you write is something any journalist could learn from.

Kudos to New Times for hiring award-winning writers and letting them do their job no matter whose feathers get ruffled. Keep digging and uncovering the truth!
Jim Davolt, Phoenix

Props-worthy: Congratulations to John Dougherty for his prestigious Casey Medal. Keep investigating the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Your work has helped expose the cruelty and the absolute idiocy of polygamy.
Tom Dyche, Coos Bay, Oregon

Health Foodie

Veggie tales: Thank you for making me aware of Udupi Cafe, and kudos to your good taste in vegetarian food by intelligent design, versus the uninspiring tofu/cheese-substitution norm ("Iddly Ain't Piddly," Cafe, Stephen Lemons, June 22).

A friend once told me a vegan diet just isn't natural. He had some good evidence, too. Our hundreds of millions of years of omnivorous activity left us with full sets of teeth, including those pointy little ones called incisors. Usually not quite as pronounced as the average cat or canine predator, but they're all the same.

It's also true that we don't live a million, or even a thousand, years ago. We live today, in America, with a unique set of dietary challenges, namely a long-term blessing of overabundance. At any given time, most of us have enough paper or plastic in our pocket to buy more than we can eat, with a variety that would make our ancestors think we somehow joined the upper crust of royalty.

Gone is our need to gorge when there is plenty, to shield against real times of starvation. The result is, today, we're overweight. By and large, vegetarian food is less dense, and vegan food is far less dense. It fills you up, without filling you out.
Lyle Stevick, Phoenix

Rib Tip

Sympathy for the devil: Never thought I'd come to the defense of restaurant critic Stephen Lemons, who probably can defend himself just fine against the culinary hair-splitters. But I felt I had to respond to Karen Blodgett's recent letter lambasting Lemons over what he referred to as a rib-eye steak in his review of Circa 1900 ("Stephen's Rib," Letters, June 15).

She goes on to talk of the generally defunct term "Delmonico," which Lemons never uses in his article. She then tells him, "Of course, most people mistakenly refer to the Delmonico steak as a rib eye, but you're not most people, Stephen."

Pardon me, but go into AJ's and ask for a rib eye, and you will receive just the steak to which Lemons is referring. According to my copy of the book Steaks, Chops, Roasts and Ribs by the editor of Cook's Illustrated magazine:  

"A rib eye is a rib steak with the rib bone removed. The steak has an oval shape with a narrow strip of meat that curves around one end. Rib-eye steaks . . . contain large pockets of fat and have a rich smooth texture."

Lemons was bemoaning the fact that the chef at Circa 1900 removed much of the fat, and so, the flavor. Seems a perfect criticism to me.

FYI: Several sources point out that up to eight different cuts of meat have been referred to as Delmonico steaks at one point or another. So introducing this rather arcane term to bolster an argument seems laughable and confusing on purpose. I may disagree with Lemons occasionally, but generally, he gets his facts straight.
D. Thomas, Glendale


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