Financial planning: Far as I can tell, John Dougherty has done it again; provided clear information regarding the situation in Colorado City/Hildale ("Double Exposure," December 25). As a resident of Lake Havasu City/Mohave County, we have strong feelings regarding the lawless activities of the fundamentalists. Most of us are busy conserving our finances and those folk are busy raking in our tax dollars for their enrichment.
Lake Havasu City
Church of the poisoned mind: Wow! What a series ("Polygamy in Arizona," John Dougherty). I've read every article about the FLDS that you've written in the past year, and it truly has been enlightening for me. I've even forwarded them to friends. Reading your articles helped me to see that I was in the wrong church. I wasn't a Mormon, but a member of the RLDS (Reorganized Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints), or Community of Christ church, which split with the Mormon religion in 1830. Ours was a much smaller church and much less well-known, and we didn't practice things that Mormons do (everyone could go into our temples with no "admission card" required, we openly drank coffee, we even had women in the priesthood). After reading Dougherty's series, though, I felt that I wanted my family to be a part of a church that believes in and teaches Christ and the Bible, so we've found a new nondenominational church. Thank you! Keep up the stunning work. Dougherty is an amazing writer and should be given the Pulitzer for this series.
Support Your Local Venue
And the band played somewhere else: It's sad to see another venue bite the dust, but let's face it: Local bands don't support local venues ("Ash Canned," Christopher O'Connor, December 25)!
If bands took their futures seriously, they would promote themselves and draw crowds. No venue is filling up at $8 a head just by opening its doors.
Bands need to push and push to pursue their dreams, just like actors (or even doctors). If a band draws 10 people, they need to head back to mom's garage and start using their cell phones rather than whine that clubs aren't drawing.
The local music scene is drying up because no one is pushing bands to do their part of promoting. No band will sell 500 tickets out of the gate, but some will get there by telling the world that they need to hear and see them at clubs like Nita's Hideaway.
You could have the Beatles (with Lennon and Harrison!), but if no one hears about it . . . empty room.
A venue is just that; the rest of the job is up to the band/promoter/manager, who, at the level in question, are all the same person.
I should know, as the former owner of the now-defunct Electric Ballroom.
Zeig heil: Jeez, I find it hard to believe that anyone in Arizona is still even surprised at the antics of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, The Loser ("The Trial," December 25). His blatant disregard for human decency is not new or even interesting. It is sad. He acts like the New Hitler with his own private Gestapo built right into the sheriff's office, and those in power refuse to acknowledge it.
I have heard many times over the last few years that it is rare to meet a person who is truly from Arizona. It is because we despair of the way things are run, the lack of thoughtful decisions by the citizens and by the lawmakers.
I moved away from Arizona recently. Me, fourth generation, so much sand in my blood I have instant clotting from it. I have no desire to return. I fear that my inability to turn a blind eye will eventually cost me my freedom or something else. Look what The Loser does to his powerful opponents.
All I can say is what I have said for years. WAKE UP, ARIZONA! And good luck.
Form follows function: Wonderful to read about an artist who can articulate his work, which sounds not only like fun but functional as well ("Off to See the Wizardry," Robrt L. Pela, January 1). Good luck, Wizardry man! The world needs creative people like you.
IHOP is cool: I am writing this letter in response to Richard Carr's "Coolness Factor" about IHOP and how chain restaurants are not cool (Letters, December 18). First of all, I am the manager of that said labeled "IHOP, uncool restaurant," and I would like to mention that the name of a restaurant has no bearing on how cool it is; it's the staff and quality of atmosphere.
I do, however, agree with individuality and great original ideas, but this is a franchise and is owned by a very artistic fellow from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. So, before you criticize a place, make sure you've been there before you knock it because doing so makes you as uncool as any "chain" restaurant that I know of.
Sad excuse: Your story was one of the most depressing I've read in a long time ("Unfriendly Skies," Robert Nelson, December 11). It seems, just like the woman who uses her pregnancy as an excuse to overeat, September 11 gave some Americans an excuse to become bigots. I hope that Frank Nickman gets all his money back plus the chance to realize his dream of being a pilot.
True grit: Thank you for a well-written human-interest story. Frank Nickman's is a classic American story of immigration, grit and accomplishment.
I am one of those Americans whose ancestors were unwilling immigrants to this great country. (They came by slave ship.) I have always thrilled to the theme of American opportunity as embodied in the accomplishments of striving immigrants.
Time for a Change
Helping hand, part 1: I enjoyed reading Amy Silverman's article about the real people who are trying to make Phoenix a better place to live for us normal people and not the rich socialites who are just trying to make their wallets fat like Jerry Colangelo and his cronies ("The Cool Index," December 4).
I agree that art, music, good places to eat and/or a combination of these examples as one are important for the development of downtown Phoenix. As for me personally, I would like to see a coffee house that sells pastries with art from local artists on the walls and an open acoustic jam stage or a nice restaurant with a stage that has a piano, drums, acoustic guitars, and even a saxophone playing some flowing jams while I eat a nice steak and shrimp. And both would be open until like 3 a.m. or 4 a.m.
As for Colangelo and his cronies -- as I said, their only concern is to do what it takes to make their wallets fat. They claim to care, but why, then, won't Colangelo show us his "master plan" without anyone having to buy in? Because, bottom line, the truth is as I have said it.
Now I have a question: How can I get involved, even in a limited way if necessary, to help the local artists and business owners listed and unlisted in Ms. Silverman's article to stop Colangelo and his cronies from ruining downtown Phoenix?
Helping hand, part 2: You guys are doing a kick-ass job on this series ("Exploding Downtown"). Getting downtown to be what it should be is a particular passion of mine. Is there any way to get involved in the process? I am looking to start a design firm and I want it to be located downtown. Thanks for the insightful articles, and I truly hope people wake up and see how much potential is in the downtown area, and take advantage.
Hands off, yuppie scum: It would seem that a new generation of yuppies has its eyes on downtown Phoenix. Following in the tradition of yuppie scum in San Francisco and elsewhere around the country, they continue on their quixotic quest for coolness, in the process displacing and criminalizing the poor and homeless left in their wake.
In the November 20 issue of New Times, letter writer Steven Capes bemoans the panhandlers and lack of high-priced grocery stores that preclude him from relocating to downtown from his home in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, where he undoubtedly feels guilt (and maybe a bit of arson-inspired fear) over his contribution to sprawl and the destruction of open space.
In the November 27 issue, John Rattray compares the challenges of downtown Phoenix to that of Mill Avenue, which the Tempe City Council has successfully gentrified. According to Mr. Rattray, Mill was "filled with crap" back in the day when it was deprived of yuppie institutions like the Gap and populated by the homeless. But now, thankfully for the yuppie parasites in the Valley, the homeless have been successfully criminalized in Tempe with the sidewalk-sitting ban and the urban camping ordinance.
Fortunately for those of us at the losing end of rising rent and displacement, not all hope is lost. San Francisco provides an example of the destructive nature of gentrification, but it also offers examples of resistance.
Yuppie Eradication doesn't belong solely to the residents of the Mission District, and a campaign of hostility aimed at these yuppie pieces of shit might just be enough to convince them to stay locked away in the gated communities from which they came.
The first shots in the class war have already been fired, and collective self-defense is not only justified, but long overdue.
Critical darling: Oh, how dare you, I have never laughed so much at a movie review (referring specifically to George Bush reference: from your lips to God's ears) ("Upper Middle Earth," Gregory Weinkauf, December 18).
I thought the omission of the Scouring and Saruman a fatal flaw.
Sometimes a spider is just a spider.
New York, New York