The Candidate

Dog eat dog: After reading your article regarding Jessica Flores (excuse me, Florez, since the letter Z is Spanish, unlike the rest of the letters in the Castilian alphabet) and her campaign for the Phoenix City Council, I am very disappointed /("Vote For Me Or I'll Shoot This Dog," Susy Buchanan, August 28). I am discouraged by her ideas, her opinions and the manner in which she is conducting herself during this process. Why does she need to wear pale foundation to hide her skin color? Does she think her constituents are more concerned about her race than her intelligence and capability?

There are many problems in Phoenix, and I do not believe cars parked on grass lawns to be one of our major problems. Our children are receiving the poorest education in the country, neighborhoods are not safe, parts of Phoenix look absolutely awful, and that tops her issue list? In addition, I believe her "Dogs and Lights" program to be the incorrect way to deal with property crime. Has she thought about the additional costs homeowners would have to incur? She is willing to pay for some of the costs for the first 20 dogs -- are there only 20 homes without dogs in Phoenix? What about food and veterinarian costs? I know a large portion of the community she wants to represent cannot afford these additional costs. How is she going to ensure the dogs are safe and well cared for? If she loves dogs so much, you would think this issue to be one of her main concerns.

I am tired of the incessant bickering and jealousy that I see among our political leaders. The entire Phoenix community needs leaders who are willing to be blind to color, religion, race and lifestyle. We need to learn to vote based on who will do the most good for our community, not based on whether the candidate is gay or truly Hispanic.

Ambar Renova

No, they're Mexicanz: Jezzica, you gotta have some Mexicans in New Mexico. Who does the landscaping there, who works at the car washes and restaurants? You all can't be wanna-be Europeans.

David Sanchez

Rooney Ruckus

Backing the boycott: Joe Russomanno's objection to an award to Andy Rooney isn't censorship ("Shut Up, Andy!" Joe Watson, September 4). He's not trying to stifle Rooney's hateful views. He just doesn't think they deserve a prestigious award. Bully for the good professor. Look at it this way: It's censorship to bar publication of Ann Coulter's Treason; to deny her the Pulitzer Prize is just good taste. Get the distinction?

Harris Collingwood
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Freedom of speech: Who among us has not been stung by the sarcastic editorial of Andy Rooney? Is it offensive? Sometimes. But it is intended to make people think and -- more often than not -- chuckle. Like Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney brings a deep historical perspective to our society. Rooney chooses to do it with his own brand of wit and cranky sarcasm. And while it might not be enjoyed by all, certainly it can be appreciated by those who do not necessarily share his politics.

As a communications professional and educator, I make it a point to teach the importance of freedom of speech without wrapping it in my personal American flag. Joe Russomanno might want to consider this option. What positive goal will be achieved by a boycott? From the outside looking in, it seems to me that a boycott will do little more than tear at the fabric of one of the great emerging institutions of your community during its 20th-anniversary celebration. The invitations are out and the event is a done deal. Does Russomanno believe he will change Rooney? It's a little late to be trying to effect change on the event or Rooney.

Why not take that same energy and join people together to nurture and support women in journalism? Celebrating freedom of speech by building something valuable is so much more powerful and enriching than diminishing the importance of another institution.

Robert Taglairino
Miami, Florida

Dissent stage: Walter Cronkite considers Joe Russomanno's boycott of his awards luncheon to be "censorship"? Last I heard (at ASU, in Communications Law), the First Amendment also protects the right of adults to peacefully protest, and Professor Russomanno is exercising that right. If Russomanno is guilty of censorship, then ol' Uncle Walt is guilty of quashing dissent and opposing views (how typical of today's media).

Stacy Holmstedt
Via e-mail

Stuck in the '60s: I would like to thank Joe Watson for his article on the Andy Rooney award. It does my heart good to see the selective "Free Speech" purported by the academic community by the likes of Joe Russomanno. These actions are rampant on university campuses today. They use "speech codes" under the guise of offensive speech to squelch anything that does not adhere to their old '60s ideas. The protesters of 35 years ago are now in the tenured faculty at most universities and need to be rooted out. It won't be done, but luckily this whole generation of selfish boomers is now being retired to Taos with gray ponytails.