Jerry's Skids
Deborah Laake's "Our Hero" piece (March 26) on Jerry Colangelo was a masterful piece of writing. It's the only truly objective piece I've ever seen on the subject. Very fair, very interesting.

T. Arthur Meyers

I enjoyed your article on Jerry Colangelo. I think it was as fair as anyone could do. I think we should quit bugging a guy just because he has a lot of money. (I don't, by the way, so don't get the wrong idea.) I think some people are just good at what they do. His talent is making things happen in an otherwise pretty boring place. I am not a baseball fan and won't be attending any games because I can't afford it. But other people like baseball, and it takes a guy like Mr. Colangelo to make that happen.

Every major city has its Colangelo. I think we could do a lot worse. It's nice to know there are wealthy businessmen with a sense of morality and family values, albeit self-serving at times. But show me one person on this planet, from the pope down to the homeless guy on the street, who isn't self-serving. That includes the media. I say live and let live. If he hasn't done anything wrong, then leave the guy alone. Great article!

Gary Crook
via Internet

Thank you, Deborah Laake, for your article on Jerry Colangelo. I picked up a copy of New Times with "Jer's" picture on it and promptly wrote "greed" across his forehead. He is truly a man with greed written all over him. I speak from personal experience. In 1992, we could purchase Suns tickets for $7 a seat from my son's soccer club. It was fun and affordable to take him to the games considering there were more expenses than just the tickets. We all know now that in America West Arena $7 may buy a hot dog and a Coke.

I've followed the Suns and no longer do. The reason? Pay-per-view, a.k.a. pay Colangelo. Look back to the inception of pay-per-view. Count the games the first year and to date. Has the number doubled or tripled, or more? I can count on the good games always being pay-per-view. "Gee, let's watch Dallas again" on Channel 45.

Now with the Diamondbacks, the Suns seem nothing more than the stepchildren of Phoenix sports. Jer is off on a new greedmongering adventure. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against wealth, but the Colangelo style of political manipulation with total disregard for the people of Phoenix is only another definition of greed. If he is really serious about helping people, then help rebuild inner-city schools and give a computer to every two children complete with Internet hookup. Maybe people would begin to feel better about him and he would come off as a man with "Christian values" and not a man for himself.

Your article was excellent. I guess that Jer should whine and call Benson and Montini and others and ream them. Why? Because they speak the truth and Jer hates to hear the truth. New Times has once again impressed me. Thank you for honest journalism in this town that Colangelo built.

Name withheld by request

Excellent article on Colangelo. What the article didn't go far enough in saying about Colangelo, however, was that his greatest fear is this: Somewhere, at any given time, out there in the great void, someone may actually have a bad thought about him!

How terrifying. How wasteful . . .
Saw the Republic's fluff on the ballpark today and mused that, yes, Arizona now is world-class in sports--fielding a buncha world-class losers.

Wonder how the public really feels about the deal which begets megabucks for a few, minimum wage for most.

Chris Long
via Internet

Fen-phen Mess
In reference to "The Internet Internist" (Paul Rubin, March 19), I want to say that what stood out most in this horrific story was the level of wonderful consideration that Paul Coppinger of APPS Software gave the young man in his employ. I wish I could say this to his face and encourage him to continue being this way despite the outcome for this particular employee.

But I can't say it loud enough--speed kills. It's an old '70s expression that had been forgotten, but is still appropriate in a cocaine/crack/fen-phen era. It makes you crazy.

Mr. Coppinger deserves a big gold star. I feel grateful that he's capable of this kindliness. Well-written article, as they usually are.

G. Nash

Cattle Drive
We have just finished reading Barry Graham's article about ranching ("Blood, Sweat and Steers," March 19) and feel compelled to make a few comments. First and foremost, we very much enjoyed his and Doug Hoeschler's visit out here to the Double Check Ranch. While at first we were surprised by Barry's showing up in shorts and sandals to a place I'd already described fondly as a "cactus-infested rock pile," his Scottish accent and willingness to ask basic questions such as "What's a feedlot?" quickly won us over.

I must correct one false impression. We do not claim, yet, that this ground is twice as rich as when we arrived. That part of our conversation was about time control, a key element to managing livestock to ensure that their effects are beneficial rather than damaging. So far, we have actually done very little in this regard, but already, with the better part of several months' hard work to put back an old crossfence, it's twice as good as it was.

An important point: I was struck by the proverbial power of the press reading about the "subsidies" that ranchers receive. I myself have heard it so often that I let it go relatively unchallenged. I regret that. While we remind ourselves frequently that the vast majority of people who pass through our ranch do so responsibly, the minority who do not create a lot of work. It's hard to feel even slightly subsidized when you're going up the wash to haul off, and pay for, taking somebody else's old tires or water heater to the dump. Or keeping vigil on a full-moon night to keep your windmill from being shot to doll rags, or fixing the fence a hunter cut to avoid the rough road at the gate. This doesn't include the time it takes to get your cows back from the neighbor's ranch, or the money you may lose if you don't. These are the things, along with the rough living conditions that we accept rather than like, as the price we pay to live with, rather than just on the land.

It's hard to place a dollar value on stewardship, but I feel that in many ways, it is we, the state and public land lessees, who are subsidizing the open spaces, caring for the watersheds that are so vital to us all. Someday perhaps this will be recognized. Who knows, someday perhaps we'll be paid, rather than charged for our "Blood, Sweat and Steers."

Jean Schwennesen

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