This Is Your Fife
Regarding that Fife Symington fellow ("Paying the Piper," John Dougherty, October 5). . . . Tro da bum out!

Robert H. Stone

Hey! Just think if the governor ended up in Joe Arpaio's jail! He would have to eat all that baloney he's been feeding the people of Arizona!

J. Oliver

Power Shortage
Now that I've had to burn my leather vest, there are a couple of points I'd like to address (Coda, October 5). My brother Jim and I are not paranoid about a "Mill Avenue Mafia" (cool phrase, though). It gets frustrating when the rest of the country is aware that there's a 1,000-seat concert venue in Tempe catering to local talent, and certain local writers and musicians don't support it.

Electric Ballroom started with 49 bands last September, and now we're up to 217. When we opened last year, we decided to let bands hand out free passes and pay them for each person who came in. There is no way that a 1,000-seat venue can survive supporting local talent unless it actively promotes it.

Ninety percent of the Phoenix/Tempe bands jumped on it; however, some of the so-called "established" local acts balked at even the idea of promoting. In fact, one "established" local act told us that it gets paid even if it draws no one!

The first time I heard that Electric Ballroom "sucked," it came from an "established" Tempe act that told us it easily could draw 300 people, then pulled in 32. So what does this band tell its friends, family and lovers when it is not invited back? I'll give you one guess . . .

David Seven, owner
Electric Ballroom

Watching local-music coverage in New Times go from simply inane to completely ridiculous has been an amusing sideline of many Valley musicians over the past few years. What possesses reasonable minds, for instance, to publish the kind of propaganda found in the October 5 issue regarding David Seven, Jim Torgeson and their money pit of a club, the Electric Ballroom? Is David Holthouse really so new to the Valley and naive about bands and clubs?

Seven, Torgeson and their counterparts at other larger Valley venues need look no further than their own self-serving attitudes to discover why they are not universally adored among local bands. Everything that is political and destructive about the local music scene can be traced to those attitudes. There is no conspiracy against the Ballroom or any other club. The fact is that it hasn't been a good experience for most bands to play the Ballroom. Why should a band's local following bother to go see it at the Ballroom, even for free, when the majority of the "show" consists of four or five other bands, usually mismatched, rolling their gear on and off the stage? I believe Seven when he says ". . . we're about the future." But I don't agree with him that it's a future worth hanging around for.

The best thing about the Tempe music scene is its rawness, its honesty, that there really are some great bands, great songwriters and singers in this town who are not posing, who are simply trying to play their music for the people who want to listen. I won't deny that the local scene has a pretty annoying political framework, or that the insiders really can make a club or band or individual feel a little defensive, but the Ballroom has not been unfairly sabotaged by these politics.

James Beach

Blown Away
Thanks to Peter Gilstrap for taking us on such a wonderful outing (Screed, October 5). I, too, collect and shoot at a variety of targets: watermelons, milk jugs full of water, action figures, etc. I thought I was strange for doing so. Not all of us gun-totin', target-shootin' radicals go after live targets (plants included). Anything inanimate; but always remember to pick up the pieces afterward. And isn't that .44 sweet!

John Ptuyac

Leaves One Flat
Peter Gilstrap's trip to Hooters (Screed, September 28): How funny. How insightful. How original. Get real! I couldn't tell, was Gilstrap trying to be cleverly sarcastic about his Hooters experience? If he were a good writer, possibly that would have been clear.I want to be inspired when I read New Times. This kind of dreck leaves me cold.

Mary J. Mandracchia

Peter Gilstrap sounds like a horny 14-year-old boy. Like one of those freshmen in high school who none of the girls wants to date and so he's sunk so low as to look down the blouse of his fortysomething-year-old teacher when she bends down to pick up some papers.

As for the Hooters waitresses: To each girl her own. Please don't use my name. I wouldn't want anyone to think I actually wasted my time reading that column.

Name withheld

Show of HansHurrah!
The first New Times I have seen in months--and there is an article about my absolute favorite bluesman ("Hard-Knock Man," Matt Golosinski, October 5). When Hans Olson was playing at Patriots Square, I sure wished I had a whole hour for lunch. I always enjoyed his performances.

Name withheld

The Blackboard Juggle
Lisa Davis' interesting article on the Phoenix Union High School District lacked the very same thing that the movers and shakers of today's educational policies lack--no teacher input ("Does Not Work to Capacity," September 28). Davis' story was based on statistics instead of on kids. Could that be the base of the whole problem?

It's true that the district gets 200 of us teachers together in a room, tells us that we have the future of the nation in our hands and asks us all to write down our hot ideas on the problems and solutions concerning education. It then takes the hotly debated results of our discussions and blends them together to come out with: 1) all children are capable of learning; 2) the learning style of each child must be taken into consideration when presenting a new concept; and 3) not all children learn at the same speed. We could have told the district that in the beginning, saving everyone a lot of time and expense.

What the people holding the purse strings of education need to do is spend a few weeks in the classroom watching the progress of the students and talking with the teachers (the only problem being that most teachers do not have much time to spend with visitors). "It" may not be about education, as attorney Albert Flores says, but we are.

Judith A. Moler

Thanks, New Times, for the poignant coverage of our dismal education system. New Times is doing a great community service in bringing to light concerns raised in its recent cover story. I have taught in various districts throughout the Phoenix area for the past 13 years. Through observation and experience, I am confident in my assessment of the "cancer" destroying the Phoenix Union High School District, among others.

Parental permissiveness and dysfunctional family structure have a severe impact on many teenagers today, of all color and ethnicity; instead of participating in sports, band and glee club, and dance and drama club, many are busy having unprotected sex and becoming parents.

What I find appalling is how our education system, in efforts to educate, almost promotes illegitimacy and teen motherhood by providing high school on-campus infant care in many schools. Phoenix Union has at least four high schools with these child-care centers.Teen pregnancy is contributive to the Third World subculture developing in American society, as most of these teens cannot support themselves, let alone a child. Yet civic responsibility and the detrimental effect of out-of-wedlock teen parenting on the socioeconomic health of our society are not required to be addressed in junior and senior high schools.

Name withheld