Oh, and I think it was admirable that Mayor Gordon was more concerned with his mother's comfort than with answering the questions of a hostile New Times reporter.
Ann Fernandez, Phoenix
Right perspective: Congratulations on another fine article on Arizona State University's Michael Crow ("ASU Inc.," Megan Irwin, April 26). I have no personal knowledge of the topics addressed in the article, but I would like to comment on the letters to the editor that appeared in the May 10 issue ("ASU Inc.-Lings").
Two of the letter writers criticized Irwin for bringing up her personal experiences with President Crow. I disagree strongly with their reasoning.
A fault that I found with Irwin's article on the Cancer Research Institute ("A Cancer on ASU," January 18) was that it didn't really convey the vindictiveness and mean-spiritedness of the administration in that dispute. This is, of course, hard to describe unless you have experienced it directly, and for that reason, I think inclusion of Irwin's personal experience with Dr. Crow was not only justified but extremely useful to the reader.
Thomas H. Smith, Tempe
Injustice to vegans: Your headline does grave injustice to tens of thousands of vegan couples who raise perfectly healthy babies ("Diet From Hell," Ray Stern, May 10).
The Parker couple's infant died not because they were vegan, but because he was fed a diet of soy milk and apple juice not recommended by any authority on vegan nutrition. Prosecutor Mike Carlson summed up the case accurately, if somewhat harshly: "They're not vegans. They're baby killers!"
The diet of vegan babies begins with breast milk or fortified vegan formula and continues with fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes. This is why they are less likely to become obese and to suffer from common childhood diseases and food allergies. Sound advice on raising vegan children is available from www.vegetarianbaby.com.
Alex Hershaft, National Chair, the Great American Meatout, Bethesda, Maryland
Misguided, but not bad: I feel so sorry for Blair and Kimu Parker. I lived in the same apartment complex as them and saw them often. They did not intentionally harm those children.
When the weather was nice, they would have their door open, and the kids would go in and out and be playing outside. Their apartment was always clean.
My apartment was right in front of the mailbox, and often I would see their older boy come and get the mail. He was so cute and would say, "Hi, how are you?" I noticed that the kids appeared short but not extremely skinny or unhealthy. They just seemed small.
I often saw Blair carrying laundry home from the Laundromat nearby, and his kids would be helping him, and they would be laughing and talking. I would also see him giving the kids shoulder rides all the time. They were a very happy family.
The Parkers were misguided when it came to nutrition and, unfortunately, it came down to this. I feel so sorry for them because anyone who knew them could see that they loved their kids dearly.
Kelley Najarian, Tempe
Monster parents: Kimu Parker deserves all the jail time she can handle. Her husband did more than just give them vegan meals. He made them do extreme calisthenics, too. These were monsters. Kimu knew better.
Cindy Schwartz, Phoenix
Ignorance is negligence: I understand parents wanting to make sure their children are healthy I have three boys who are ages 11, 4, and 3. I am all in favor of that.
But when your children are demonstrating physical signs of illness, there has to be a point where common sense kicks in and you realize that something isn't right. For a child to be small is one thing, but skin-and-bones and having unexplained seizures is something else.
I absolutely believe that blatant ignorance is negligence. Especially after the family had already lost a child to seizures. I feel that they knew that they were somehow in the wrong, or they would not have hesitated to call 911.
Those poor children. With all their parents' good intentions, the Parkers didn't realize their children were starving to death.
I blame part of this on the media's constant portrayals of what is considered acceptable in our society. Whatever happened to focusing solely on health and well-being?
Nicole Niesz, Fountain Hills
Wrong diet for seizures: As an adjunct professor of nutrition for Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, I find Ray Stern's report on the Parker family's unfortunate vegan experience ironic because medical research has determined that many cases of seizure disorders both in children and adults respond very favorably to a ketogenic diet.