How dry I am: Susy Buchanan wrote an excellent story on the present and future condition of Van Buren Street, I must say, since I find myself extensively quoted in her article ("Tough Row to Ho," January 8).
Her description of the sex trade on the street carried over into the urban design segments of the story in an exuberant style we never encounter in the academic literature; to wit, "an urban planner's wet dream." I will certainly quote Susy in my next dry conference paper.
Arizona State University
Sex and the city: Very good article and shows exactly why I do not support street prostitution unless in special zones like in Europe, but only between consenting adults.
Sadly, however, the public only hears about street hookers, not the majority of sex workers who offer private services who are very happy, well-balanced, no drugs or pimps, who have wonderful clients. These private sex workers are probably 80 percent of the sex-work world, which no one hears about since they are "normal" people -- not worth a story. They would not cooperate anyway because of the legal situation which is so unique in the U.S. as opposed to most of the rest of the world where private consenting adult sex work is not a crime, and benefits a culture. There are no victims in the private world of sex work, but everyone lumps them together with the abused, often underaged street hookers. That is a totally different and a legitimate public nuisance and abuse concern. We only need to look north to Canada where private outcall sex work is totally legal like in most of the world.
Name withheld by request
We never do anything halfway: If the customers of the ho's described in this article find themselves inconvenienced by the police presence in the neighborhood, they should simply turn to page 87 of this same edition and any number of your advertisers will be delighted to deliver someone right to their door to fulfill any need or fantasy. You are certainly a "full service" publication! In those same ads, I noted that term used (full service). What exactly do your advertisers mean to convey when the ads they purchase in your publication state "full service"?
Consensus taker: Certainly Michael Lacey should be applauded for the considerable research that went into his article exposing the convention center con job ("Big Scam Theory," December 18). However, I found myself wondering why the article was written after the expansion was a done deal.
Also, I felt the article was unnecessarily marred by a couple of things. Firstly, I was offended by the treatment of both Claire Sargent and Jo Marie MacDonald. Comments about these two women felt like a desire to publicly embarrass them, detracting from the informational aspect of the article.
Secondly, I found Mr. Lacey's comments about the downtown art community disturbing. Instead of gleefully quoting and concurring with mayor-elect Phil Gordon about the arts community being "too busy eating their young," perhaps Mr. Lacey should be concerned that these dismissive comments are coming so soon from a man who pledged to be inclusive in his administration. Why should everyone in the arts community be expected to reach a consensus on downtown development? No one else has. Arts groups downtown work together all the time, logically aligning themselves with other groups that have complementary goals. I certainly don't see everyone in the publishing community coming to a consensus (i.e., the "weekly newspaper" and the "morning newspaper").
I'm also a little tired of the revisionist history about the Cardinals' stadium protests, primarily by people who made little or no effort to get involved. Mr. Lacey applauds the arts community in Oaxaca, Mexico, for protesting McDonald's (which I'm sure was done without any noise!) yet admonishes the local arts community for passionately protesting the football stadium. If you'll recall, the Stadium Advisory Committee, appointed by mayor and council, voted against approving the stadium plan after the artists' protests, several of them citing the protests as influential in doing so. Perhaps the humor of Jesus carrying a goalpost on his shoulders escaped some (certainly it was not as highbrow an image as a pierced tongue in need of scraping).
Beyond the more visible protests, a core group of people faithfully attended numerous meetings to speak out against the stadium, taking precious time away from preparing for Art Detour, which was a mere weeks away. Wayne Rainey made the big mistake of self-assuming his role as a negotiator with the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, not only without the consent of many others in the neighborhood, but without their knowledge. In business as usual, the DPP creates a fractious situation, then "identifies" a couple of key people they claim speak for the majority of the neighborhood, saving themselves the time and trouble of having a real dialogue with people they are displacing. Their goal is to appease the Indians with a few shiny beads and move on.
Certainly Rainey had a right to represent his business interests, but not in the guise of inclusive representation of the multifaceted and varied business and cultural interests in the neighborhood. And, if New Times is so concerned about unsubstantiated rumors against Rainey and others, consider not printing and promoting them via your own anonymous reporters.
At this point, as far as I'm concerned, the joke is on the city. No, all us hayseed artists aren't pawing the ground to rush downtown and create an exciting cultural periphery to Jerry's world and the Jerde reservation. Downtown (the Copper Square area) is DEAD. Where do small eclectic businesses fit into concrete mega-blocks and real estate that's priced for Starbucks and Hard Rock Cafe? The city and DPP have made their bed and now they can lie in it -- with all the other squares who want to hang out at Copper Square. Unfortunately, all that concrete deadness has cost and is continuing to cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
Claim jumpers: Regarding "Hypocritic Oath" (Paul Rubin, December 18): Companies are forced to pass on huge premium increases to their employees because they can no longer afford to absorb the increases in insurance premiums. What the hell is going on with the insurance industry? All the rules and regulations and nothing that enforces loss prevention?
The problem is that current regulations enforcing patient privacy require more automated claims processing, which means that nobody is reviewing the claims any longer. Today's claims processors have become glorified data entry clerks who usually don't have access to reference material needed to understand what they are authorizing payment for. Processor training is limited to understanding which codes go into which fields in order for the system to take it from there. Entry level processors don't know what they're paying for, yet are meeting production goals of 150 to 200 claims a day. Huge insurance companies are paying millions of dollars in fraudulent medical expenses because of inadequate review policies, and now all premium ratings are increased based on overinflated statistics.
I've been in the claims industry for 15 years, and medical necessity, precertification, reasonable and customary, unbundled services and assignment of benefits are just a few simple checks and balances that should have flagged this type of abuse right away. Un-F-ing believable!
Name withheld by request