Former Schwartz Patient, Letter-Writer Has This to Say

I was told to go to this section of the paper to voice my side regarding my correspondence with Dr. Bradley Schwartz--so here goes ("I Want My Court TV," Legal Briefs, June 21).

I was a patient of Dr. Schwartz for two years. He also performed surgery on my eyes. The only other "contact" I've had with him was during the few months in which we exchanged letters.

When I first heard of the murder and subsequent arrest, like many, I was shocked by the unfolding story. How could the guy I knew and remembered be involved in such a heinous act? I felt a need to find out for myself if all the incriminating articles I was reading about him were a true portrait of the man.

So, with mixed emotions, I sent off a letter to the jail. I actually did like the guy and looked forward to my visits (as a patient). He was also a very talented surgeon and doctor. I had to give him credit for that. But I was also kind of nervous, because I didn't know where his mind was at, at this stage. He eventually answered back.

By that time, I had learned more about him and was becoming more curious about who he is and why he ended up going over to the "dark side." I had 100 questions I wanted to ask, but I knew that I either couldn't (legal matters) or that it would probably just piss him off, and he wouldn't reply.

Along the way, I was getting insight into where he's coming from, and a lot of the questions I had were inadvertently being answered. The trouble was that to keep him engaged, I had to keep showing adulation and be a "cheerleader" for his cause. Any admiration I had for him had long faded away. At the same time, he was giving me information, not yet in the press, about other suspects and other legal stuff. That's what was keeping my interest. But when he tried to lure me into one of his failed schemes, that was it for me. I gave my reply, and not long after that, the correspondence stopped.

What did I learn from this experience? I found that it can be true that when someone you know is "seemingly out of nowhere" accused of a brutal crime, a part of you does want to go into denial. It gave me a first-hand look into the criminal mind. It helped to convince me that the thoughts and opinions I had formed about him and the case, were true. A part of me wished I hadn't sent off that first letter, but what's done is done.

So am I a "fan" of Dr. Schwartz? As a doctor/surgeon--I can't deny his talents. Him, personally--no. Not anymore. In my final letter to him, I said that his convoluted mess of a case is a matter for the courts to resolve, and that, thankfully, it's not up to me to try to sort through it all and attempt to make sense of the senseless.

Linda Bescript

That Farley Sure Is Hard-Working!

Regarding Ward 6 candidate Steve Farley's efforts to face Fred Ronstadt in the September primary ("Dollar Signs," Currents, July 7), I have to give the man credit for making an admirable effort to reach his constituents in person.

Farley visited my home over the Fourth of July weekend and took a fair amount of time to speak to me about his campaign. After he left, it hit me: It was more than 100 degrees outside, and the man was walking door to door to gain voter support! The following weekend, I saw Farley out there again.

I don't know if Nina Trasoff is also going door to door in the oppressive heat for her campaign, but Farley is demonstrating an amazing level of commitment to reach the people despite the summer heat. I think it speaks a lot about his character and his serious approach to the campaign.

Peter Brockington

An Artist's Open Letter to the City

I am writing to request further clarification on the ideas I read about in the "Arena Arithmetic" article in the Tucson Weekly (Currents, July 7).

It sounds as if you think building a new arena and effectively closing the existing arena will be beneficial to downtown Tucson. I am curious how you believe this fits with the current Rio Nuevo project concept.

My background is in architecture and art, and I am passionate about livable downtown areas. The idea behind Rio Nuevo as I understand it involves careful infill and rehabilitation of the existing downtown core, or shell, as the case may be. Looking at downtown, you see many abandoned buildings, and empty lots and parking facilities. The plan is to work within the existing confines to infill, create a livable downtown and hopefully bring greater life and opportunity into the heart of the city.

I understand that a shiny, new arena is a great draw for crowds, and downtown needs something, but I'd like you to consider whether that is a reasonable decision without having a major sports team to anchor the building. Consider that a new arena would be doing a two-fold whammy on Rio Nuevo developments: depleting funds while at the same time creating a brand new abandoned building downtown. What would become of the existing "arena," which is the Tucson Convention Center? Have options been considered that involve a major renovation or expansion of this facility? It is not just a building but a complex, a park, a destination and, for some, their backyard. My dog and I enjoy walking around the TCC grounds and the '70s-esque fountains and plazas.

Let's do some high-tech rehab on the building. Let's put a green roof on it like Ford did with one of their production plants in Detroit. Let's use the latest and greatest materials and design to inject some 2005 into the TCC. Let's get some public art funding going into the area so that there is a feeling of new and now. Please, please, consider the consequences of a shiny new building before closing the Tucson Convention Center. As a resident of downtown Tucson the entire time I've lived here, please listen: By closing an existing and functional building instead of renovating it, you are in effect doing the same as the big box stores throughout the general sprawl of Tucson and saying it's OK. That is not OK, and it's not how a healthy downtown works.

Hilary Meehan

ASU Needs to do More to Help Ex-Con Students

Alexis Blue's "On the Outside" (July 14) discussed some critical barriers that individuals face re-entering society after being incarcerated, including the federal ban on financial aid to anyone convicted of a drug offense. But, unfortunately the feds aren't the only ones in Arizona denying educational opportunities to ex-offenders trying to turn their lives around.

According to Arizona State University's Web site, the school rejects students with drug convictions who apply for not only federal aid, but for state and institutional aid as well. Though there is no state or federal law requiring the university to do this; they're denying opportunities to students in the state. The University of Arizona, on the other hand, seems to take a different approach. According to financial aid administrators at that school, they have correctly interpreted the federal law as applying only to federal aid, not state and institutional grants. ASU should consider giving students convicted of drug offenses the same opportunities as students at the UA.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, ex-offenders who receive at least two years of post-secondary education have a recidivism rate of 10 percent, compared to the national average of 60 percent. This session, a bipartisan group of Arizona state legislators lead by Rep. David Bradley introduced a resolution calling on Congress to repeal the federal aid ban. Next year, the state Legislature should consider passing legislation that would ensure state aid is available to students who have made mistakes in the past.

Christopher Mulligan
Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform

A 'Concerned Parent' Responds to Cholla Hoops Controversy

In response to an overrated issue of Cholla High Magnet School's new basketball coach, I would like to add a few words. Regardless of the embellished and melodramatic verbiage, not to mention skewed information given in your publication on June 16 (Danehy), what is the message we are really sending to our Cholla students? I'm sorry, but I thought teaching children integrity, honesty and good sportsmanship meant displaying those same virtues in one's character. Matt Poirier, who is an English teacher by day, should know the definition of interim, so the shock of Barry Wilson coming in to rightfully coach a disenfranchised basketball program should not come as a "miscarriage of justice disguised as jurisprudence laced with compromise (which) is about to cause serious damage."

The only damage being caused by this entire upheaval of hot air is the lack of truth you and others have failed to report. You forgot to mention that Matt Poirier did not coach the entire season last year due to medical reasons. You forgot to mention that (at least one of the) victories Cholla had was under the coaching of the junior varsity basketball coach. You forgot to mention a lot of things about Coach Barry Wilson and the potential he brings. You were right when you said, "I have no idea what Barry Wilson will do for the kids." It is obvious you do not know.

Jacinda Rodriguez

Great--Another 'Apostate' Writer's Going to Hell

Once again, one of your writers (Catherine O'Sullivan) has dumped on the Catholic religion and/or its head, the pope. The cavalier comment about Pope Benedict XVI being worse than the Spanish Inquisition defies comprehension (Guest Commentary, July 14).

The Spanish Inquisition required capital punishment for treason, not some church offense, to some 2,000 out of 100,000 tried. This makes it a far cry worse than the current pope, who is leading efforts against abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty--all modern-world versions of murder without a trial, except in the case of the death penalty, with its endless appeals.

My history source, Christ the King-Lord of History, by Anne W. Carroll, points out that it was the pope who stepped in and appointed the chief inquisitor who stopped the excesses and lack of justice set up by the Spanish crown, not church authorities. Theirs was a civil court to rout out Moors and Jews who had falsely converted to Catholicism to avoid scrutiny and were feared to be, as we just saw in London, sleeper cells for the enemy.

In her bizarre effort to impugn Christians, O'Sullivan shows her true colors with her extreme portrayal of distorted history and hatred for the pope who is only doing the job assigned him by Jesus Christ Himself on behalf of Catholics, not pagans like O'Sullivan, God forbid and pray for her, an apostate of Irish heritage.

Jeffrey J. Hill

O'Sullivan Writes With the Same Abrasiveness She Criticizes

I'm sure there are a lot of Christians who were appalled at Catherine O'Sullivan's article. I wasn't. I'm a born-again evangelical Christian, and I'm not appalled. I understand completely where she's coming from (not that I agree; I just understand). She is simply giving detail to a worldly view about Christianity--that it's judgmental and highly mistaken in its role toward humanity. However, I think some clarity is in order.

Tact is important. But tact is saying the right thing at the right time; tact is not about avoiding conflict. Herein lies the challenge. How do I as a Christian function in this highly destructive world while, at the same time, I walk in faith without compromise, which includes sharing the Gospel, even when someone isn't in the mood to hear it? It's tough. I work in the entertainment industry, and believe me, it is tough. The fact that I read the Tucson Weekly makes me sort of an anomaly among Christians. Let's face it, TW is no godly publication and to its credit has never claimed to be. TW articles can carry the consistency of 100-grit sandpaper, much like some of those fundie Christians that Catherine would love to see stoned--hyperbole or not. See the catch? The purported Christian abrasiveness that Catherine abhors is the same abrasiveness she writes with in refute, if not worse. Quite the vicious cycle, isn't it?

Eric Simon

Grupo Mexico Is Just Doing What a Business in America Must Do

Aubin Tyler stained the July 14 issue with an elegant snivel about Grupo Mexico's style of managing mines in the United States and elsewhere ("Mine Shaft," Currents). Tyler seems to live in a world where labor unions still possess the sociopolitical leverage they wielded 20 to 30 years ago, when American companies trembled at their slightest utterance. That world is long gone. American companies have largely given up trying to conduct business in a country whose people are addicted to limitless extravagances and entitlements. Business must comply with the law of supply and demand, and must operate at the lowest possible cost in order to remain competitive.

The United States is now classified as post-industrial, having reached that advanced state of socioeconomic decay known as "service-sector," a condition not unlike that of serfdom, ultimately of slavery. Grupo has begun, quite correctly, to regard what was once thought of as a country as a colony, where capital earned or extracted accrues no value to the exploited land or to its people. However noisily the laughable remnant of the once-powerful American labor movement may continue its blustering, the only result will be the continuing exportation of America's industrial base to cheaper offshore providers.

Grupo Mexico has tipped both their and other foreign companies' hand, revealing just the tip of the iceberg of the cold, cynical way they plan to manage the American workforce of the future and plunder its still-abundant natural resources.

Eric V. Gonnason


In "Sweet, Smoky Success" (Yum! July 28), the contact information for Rod's K.C. Barbecue was accidentally omitted. It's located at 601 N. Fourth Ave., 623-0182. We apologize for the omission.
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