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Fast and Furious Regarding Tony Perez-Giese's "Pulling a Fast One," in the September 3 issue: George Orwell, here we come! It's not enough that local and state governments in many cities around the country feel the need to put cameras in public areas to "protect" us. Now they want to...
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Fast and Furious
Regarding Tony Perez-Giese's "Pulling a Fast One," in the September 3 issue:
George Orwell, here we come! It's not enough that local and state governments in many cities around the country feel the need to put cameras in public areas to "protect" us. Now they want to put them on the roadside as well, with a private contractor--who has a definite motive of profit--operating the entire system. How long before they place them on all street corners, places of work and schools?

Big brother is watching you, and he is money-hungry!
Keith Privette
via the Internet

I'm still waiting for the last straw.
People have become so complacent about the sub-threshold, incremental steps toward a total police state that I am no longer surprised when yet another enforcement boondoggle is foisted upon us. Perhaps Westword's article on photo radar will make people a little more aware of the oncological growth of police power and its effect on our daily lives.

My personal feeling is that any enforcement procedure such as this ought to be crushed by a mass of citizens pleading "not guilty" anytime they get cited and thereby clogging the court system by sheer weight of numbers.

Well, next week or next month, after we become duly pacified about photo radar, yet another outrage will be perpetrated against us. And, of course, we will soon become accustomed to that one, and I won't be surprised. Maybe the one after that will finally be the last straw.

Dick Valentine

In Multnomah County Circuit Court on August 26, 1998, I challenged the constitutional basis of Oregon's photo radar law and won. At trial I presented the judge with a memo laying out my two reasons to dismiss the case. The first was that the private contractor running the photo radar had failed to register with the state. I argued that this made their equipment illegal and the contract with the City of Portland null and void. Thus photo radar from May 23, 1997, until they registered hours after trial, was illegal in Oregon.

The second, more serious challenge was on the basis of equal protection as stated in the 14th Amendment. Oregon's law gives citations to people who drive their own vehicles but takes no action against drivers of government or business autos and trucks. I argued that it was discrimination.

When the police officer introduced the photo-radar evidence, I objected and proved that the contractor was not registered. The judge said he couldn't decide the case in the time allowed and dismissed my case out of hand; he also dismissed the man in line behind me without even hearing his case.

The judge said photo radar is here to stay and didn't want a challenge, so he let me go. I won, but the state can still ticket thousands of innocent Oregonians.

Dan Dolan
via the Internet

A House Divided
Thank you to Westword and Alan Prendergast for "Dismal House," in the September 3 issue. All of us have been haunted by these truths for years, and now everything is out in the open and we can move forward to create the program we thought Dismas was going to be when we began nine years ago. Alan brought the truth out of the shadows, finally, and we are grateful.

Anne Catto
and many others

Crime and Punishment
Hello. My name is Christopher Saleh, and I am an inmate in the Denver County Jail. I am writing you in regard to Alan Prendergast's August 20 "Hard Cell" article, concerning Colorado supermax prison's forced cell entries.

I myself am an ex-convict, and I myself have done time in CSP and have experienced a forced cell extraction on two separate occasions. I must say that they are not nothing nice!

Christopher Saleh
Denver County Jail
Keeping Up With the Jones

Keeping Up With the Jones
I thoroughly enjoy the Marty Jones articles. Outstanding writer.
Mark Woolsey
via the Internet

Lies! Dam Lies!
In the August 20 Off Limits column, you once again chose to publish information about the Animas-La Plata water project without talking to both sides. By doing so, you established the precise reason the proponents of the Animas-La Plata project and the Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act embarked on a public-relations campaign in 1997 when they agreed to reduce the size of the project, cutting total costs by $400 million.

Proponents, not their former public-relations firm, should be credited with "reviving the dam thing," in your malicious words. They gave up a lot to respond to concerns raised by project critics.

But let me set the record straight on the proponents' hiring of Hill & Knowlton. The team, including former Colorado congressional staffers familiar with the issue and its history, began work in May of 1997. Their work concluded in January of 1998, so Westword's statement about the company "flacking for the project" is more than a little outdated: The firm ended its work eight months ago. Hill & Knowlton was not paid $40,000 a month for its services. In only one month of its performance did the firm's bill even approach $40,000. Several other months' bills were less than $5,000.

I find it interesting that you criticized the "tactics" of the public-relations firm, including "using the media to influence people." Exactly what do you think project opponents are doing when they provide Westword with the kind of misleading information you printed? Unfortunately for readers, you've fallen for their trap, and coverage of both positions on Animas-La Plata has escaped you yet again.

Judy Knight-Frank, chairwoman
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

Tori, Tori, Hallelujah
Thank you so much for Amy Kiser's wonderful article about Tori Amos ("Are You There, God? It's Me, Tori," August 27). So often in the popular media, she is portrayed as a Christian-hating bitch who doesn't care about the world around her. She is by far one of my favorite singers, and it is nice to read something that seems to present her as she really is.

I am a Christian woman who loves the emotional catharsis that is catalyzed by Tori's music. Listen to me! I write as if I actually know her. But in some ways, after five years of being an adoring fan and memorizing all of her music, I probably do know her.

Again, thank you for such a balanced view of Tori.
Amy Schmidt
via the Internet

I am profoundly sorry for Tori Amos. Sorry that she recently lost her unborn child due to a miscarriage. Sorry, if what she says is true, that her Christian mother was unable to provide satisfactory answers to her theological questions.

But I also sense that plain old rebellion has as much, if not more, to do with Ms. Amos's rejection of Christianity as her inability to reconcile its theology with the reality of human suffering.

The first clue comes from her characterization of Christian exclusivity as "arrogant." Really? More arrogant than saying that all religions are true, and then criticizing anyone who would challenge that illogical notion?

Secondly, her observations about the conundrum posed by the assertion of God's omnipotence and the reality of human suffering present us with nothing novel. It's a very common criticism. If, however, Amos is the deep religious seeker Kiser portrays, why is she so seemingly unaware of the many Christian thinkers who have likewise struggled both intellectually and existentially with this question but who nevertheless went on to persevere in their faith? Sorry, but if Ms. Amos really believes she has exhibited better thinking than, say, C.S. Lewis on this matter, then she again has proven herself to be the truly arrogant one.

Finally, Ms. Amos betrays the superficiality of her religious search by her apparent espousal of pop-Celticism. Neo-paganism, with its absurd historical claims and politically correct metaphysical innovations, has become a "cool" religion, to be sure. No wonder it attracts cool artists such as Amos. Its explanatory value as to the question of suffering, however, is quite lacking. For if, as Wiccan author Starhawk writes, "the nature of the Goddess is never single...She is light and darkness, the patroness of love and death...She brings both comfort and pain," then suffering and happiness are just two complementary halves of one divine whole. Neo-pagans call this "balance." We Christians call it by its real name: nihilism.

Keep searching, Tori. And don't count Mom out too soon.
Christopher C. Little
via the Internet

Amy Kiser's Tori article was great. She actually seems to have captured her--which must have been as difficult as capturing the ocean.

June Schulze
via the Internet

It doesn't appear that Tori Amos ever knew God (the God of the Bible), for the "Christianity" she so proudly denounces is skewed and distorted and is not Christianity at all.

Amos, sadly, is adrift on a sea of self-delusion, bouncing from goddess worship to earth reverence to the veneration of pagan myths--all the while denying that she's a new-ager. She promotes the power of religious tolerance but tolerates only that which is not Christianity. She talks of "faith systems"--her own and those of others--as if inventing one's own rules guarantees reaching a god who answers prayers on demand. Astonishing!

In order for God to hear prayers (and possibly answer them), one has to pray to Him--the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who came to earth as man in the form of Jesus Christ--not to a pantheon of ancient spirits. But maybe God did hear Amos's prayers to the false deity she entertains. And maybe He decided to keep her child out of the clutches of corrupt mankind and its doctrines of devils.

In light of Amos's miscarriage, it might be revealing to also know her view of abortion. I don't pretend to know Amos's stance on the subject, but I have reason to suspect that she's probably an aggressive "pro-choicer"--one who boldly labors to perpetuate so-called "reproductive rights," yet lashes out at the Lord when the abused female body malfunctions. More astonishing still!

While Amos assuredly states that Christians are "quite arrogant" for their worship of the One True God, the Apostle Paul, in his remarkable statement from Romans, had something a bit more profound to say about arrogance: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools... Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator" (1:22-25).

Tori Amos might place confidence in "weekly margarita sessions" with her deity (demon?) of choice, but until she submits to the One True God--the God of the Bible--she'll continue to deny herself His many blessings.

Ron Baxendale II

Bauhaus Party
Regarding Michael Roberts's August 27 Feedback review of Bauhaus:
I can't believe you guys actually pay Michael Roberts. That wasn't a concert review; that was just an attack on everything involved, from Bauhaus to the goth movement. Roberts hadn't even heard the music before he saw the concert, and he's had since 1983 to do so. Do you send rap fans to review Mozart? Do you send classical-guitar aficionados to listen to heavy metal? You might as well. Your concert reviews would be equally bigoted.

Roberts, it's okay for you not to like me. I don't care if you dislike my friends, the music we enjoy, or anything else about us. I find your attempts at stereotyping us rather amusing, though. Maybe you're just repressing your own feelings?

You were right about one thing: I didn't play football in high school. Instead, I had two school swimming records. Football players can't swim 5,000 yards and go out dancing afterwards. I never did wear rouge, but then again, I don't slap my buddies on the butt, either.

Fred Pullen
via the Internet

How hard is it to group any band that comes back together to do a tour as renegade capitalists? How dare they try to make money off of us? Look at them! They're fat, haven't played live in years and are only looking to do a quick tour to pay off that villa in Florida!

But, wait! That's Bauhaus, not the Rolling Stones. They split up prematurely but never stopped producing. They're not fat. They sound better now than ever before. Sure, some of their solo efforts haven't been the greatest...that's why this is so special. Bauhaus is better than the sum of its parts.

To go to the show "ready to bash" is no way to review. If the sound sucked where Mr. Roberts was, why didn't he move? The sound up front was fine. Why would he stay where he couldn't hear unless he was predisposed to giving it a bad review?

As someone who "grew up a fan of punk and alternative," I've never lost sight or touch with my "roots." Oh, my--I even have black clothing in my wardrobe! Perhaps if Mr. Roberts had had his ears up instead of his "radar," he would have had a better time and given the show a fair review.

P.S. There are lots of us who really miss hearing Caroline from KTCL. Thanks to Michael Roberts for his articles and notes on her.

Steven Dzilvelis
via the Internet

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