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Community Relations

Cult fiction: I would like to thank Susy Buchanan for her probing and factual article "A Path Divided" (January 10). It is about time that someone told the truth about the American Sikhs, 3HO and Yogi Bhajan. I am an ex-member of that organization and I can say that she pretty well hit the nail on the head. They have flown under the radar for many years, and it is articles like this that expose them for what they are: a cult of personality that has deviated from mainstream Sikhism.

Chardi Kalaa
Via e-mail

You're welcome: Thank you for taking time to write an article on these minority issues. It was well-written and impartial. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Yuktanand Singh
Saline, Michigan

Politically Incorrect

Getting back to normal: First and foremost, I would like to say that I love your paper. I have been an avid reader for at least four years. You always have unique and thought-provoking articles. I love your (often brutal) honesty.

Second, I want you to know how funny the cover of the January 3 issue was ("Last Year Really Blew!"). I'm sure you'll get a lot of negative mail on it from sentimental saps with no sense of humor, but I think it is hysterical! Way to go, New Times! Thank you for reminding people that there was life before September 11 and that other things happened last year.

Also, thanks for putting the spotlight on the "doofuses" at KZON-FM ("Valley of the Drolls"). I loved Smiley and Simms and was extremely irritated to find out they were not only being fired, but they were being replaced by the bonehead Howard Stern. Smiley and Simms will be greatly missed. Stern will be greatly avoided -- like the plague on intelligence that he is. Until radio stations figure out that we actually tune in for music, not idiotic chatter, my CD collection will continue to grow and my patience will continue to shrink.

Thank goodness you aren't like The Zone. You guys became great in your field and haven't flaked out a bit. Thanks again for the great work you do.

Sarah Steinberg
Apache Junction

Family History

That's my baby: Bruce Davidson showed me the article you wrote about him ("You've Come a Long Way, Baby," Michele Laudig, December 27). I saw the baby book a few weeks ago. We got to know each other in 1951 when we entered the Air Force. Over the years we've kept in touch, but in the last few years I travel up from Carlsbad to see him every two weeks. We go on extended drives, stopping by one of my daughters' and her family. I want to compliment you on the fine article. Please thank Amy Knox for the time and care she put into locating Bruce and returning the baby book. I wish I could have gotten into the picture earlier and prevented the loss of the family memorabilia.

William Billings
Carlsbad, California

Researching the Truth

Seeds of destruction: Congratulations on Robert Nelson's informative investigative report ("Lab Rats," December 20). As a University of Arizona plant ecologist (and not plant pathologist, as I was referred to in the report), I should add to and amplify what Nelson has attributed to me.

In 1975, all the plants in my North Campbell Avenue experimental plot at UA were wiped out without a trace. After 14 years of denial by UA, this was officially established and acknowledged in a 1989 CAFT report, even though the UA administration continued to deny culpability and refused to offer an apology.

In 1994, my two research plots located at UA's Bioresources Research Facility were "bulldozed" (as stated in the Nelson report). The destruction was approved by the university attorneys and Vice President for Research Michael Cusanovich. It was carried out without my knowledge six days before the scheduled CAFT hearing initiated by me expressly to challenge Cusanovich and his subordinates for (1) the breach of my 1991 contract, (2) the interference of my faculty responsibilities and the disruption of my research activities, and (3) the repeated violation of my academic freedom.

By destroying my plots and the more than 100 research plants, Cusanovich and his friends successfully removed a substantial part of my material evidence at the impending hearing. Despite the admission of culpability by UA for the destruction, the chair of the CAFT panel, Mare Tischler, a personal friend and colleague of Cusanovich in Biochemistry, ignored the implications of this deliberate felony act as well as all the other acts in violation of my rights presented during the hearing. For his role in the complete exoneration of Cusanovich, Tischler was later promoted to be the interim head of the Department of Biochemistry for three years.

My plants, destroyed in both 1975 and 1994, were large creosote bushes started mostly from seeds collected throughout North and South American warm deserts. They represented a broad spectrum of genetic (DNA) variability and diversity in the genus Larrea and were essential in my long-term investigation of the evolutionary relationships within Larrea and were irreplaceable. These plants could not be found assembled under one uniform experimental situation anywhere else. When Cusanovich and subordinates destroyed these plants, they knowingly undermined nearly a lifetime of my research effort beginning at UA in 1949.

What has happened to my research has happened to Marguerite Kay and others who have challenged the administrative abuse at UA over the years. This abuse continues today.

Tien Wei Yang


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