hey kevin so your moms trying to convert you to beleive in the supernatural :)
now me if i was going to be superstitious i would be a muslim. they get bunches of babes when they die. the babes are all well babes, they like to screw and best of all they can't have babies. i dont mean to be sexist in this letter but hey the muslim god is sexist.
depending on the source you get 72 babes, 720 babes, 7,200 or maybe even 72,000 babes. at best thats one babe every day for the next 10,000 years.
but i might have one problem with being a muslim. what if the muslim god likes FAT BABES. oooooghhhh!!! the though of being forced by the muslim god to have daily sex with a fat 500 pound babe makes me sick!!!! maybe i dont want to be a muslim any more.
i dont know what deal muslim women get when they did. maybe they get 72 studs to live with when they die. but since the muslim god is a sexist pig i doubt it.
i used to want to be a hindu. i heard they get to have a whole bunch of lives. you live, you die, then you get re-incarnated and get to live another life. i thought that was a smoking deal. until i found out that your re-incarnated for sins you committed in your past life and your next life is punishment for your sins in the last life. that sucks and i dont want to be a hindu any more and have 50 lives which i am punished for my sins i committed in past lifes. man hinduism sucks (well execpt the part about the babes and i dont know enough about that story to repeat it here)
on god part to hindusim is that in your last life you get to live in a place like beverly hills or north scottsdale where you have the good life. live in a manison and drive a corvette, get to smoke expensive cigars and drink fine wine. hell i wouldnt mind living on sunset blvd in the hollywood hills in my last life. but i dont think i want to live their bad enough to convert to hinduism.
also you can be re-incarnated as an animal. thats why hindus dont eat cows. you never know when you eat a hambuger or steak you could be eating your uncle ganesh who died and got re-incarnated as a cow. but in america indians here from india dont look at it that way. because they are in america they think that cows are re-incarnated white guys. and because of that they often eat hamburger and steak. after all they are in america and the steak is not uncle ganesh but but some some white guys uncle tom they are eating.
now the christian religions gives you one of the worst deals when it comes to after lifes. you die and then for eternity you get to live on a stinking cloud and play harp music to worship the jesus god. that sounds pretty boring to me. i would rather be a muslim and screw and my virgin babe wifes for eternity.
you must hand it to the people who invented the christian after life they did make up a story where you get a much better deal then the jewish faith where they stole most of their stuff from. according to the orginial jewish stuff you live and then you die and thats it. no after life. no living forever. even if the christian heaven is pretty boring it is much better then the jewish heaven which doesnt exist.
i talked to atheist star trek writer susan sackett who is also a jew and she told me that if you go to any traditional rabbi he will tell you there is no after life. you live, you die and thats it. but she did say that many jews jelious of the better deal that the christians get in the after life have swiped the christian deal of an after life and merged it with the jewish superstition. but she says they are a minority. susan lives up in north scottsdale, and even if she is part of the paul putz, linda chapman gang i get a long with her. im sure she thinks im weird, but i dont think she thinks i am any weirder then paul putz or linda chapman.
you mentioned that one of the dudes your in jail with wants to convert to the viking religion so he can go to vahalla. do you have any more details about vahalla. what do they worship? do they get to drink beer in their heaven? hell i have not found a religion yet that allows you to drink beer and smoke weed in their after life and maybe if these viking gods allow that i would convert in a few seconds.
and i like their idea that their thor god is dude who causes lighting. how silly thinking some god throws all those lighting bolts at us earthlings. although the christians for many years though the same thing and said that evil devils were the source of lighting bolts and threw them at churches. they even had men go to the church towers and ring the bells to scare the devils off. of course that didnt scare any devils off but resulted in a lot of christian bell ringers being killed by lightening. they beleived stuff that until ben franklin invented the lighting rod and proved that lighting was caused by static electricty.
hell for a while i even tried being a hari krishna, well maybe two hours before until after i found out none of the stuff they told me worked. when i was a little hippy bum in san franciso many years ago i met some hari krishna nuts. back then they didnt dress funny. one of them told me if i chanted "nam yo ho reindo" i would get anything in the world i wanted.
i though the guy was full of shit but because he insisted so much i chanted for him to see if he would work. as market street leaves the downtown area there is a large mountain. i make big wishes and i asked the hari krishna god to yank this mountain out of the ground and flip it up into the air and have it float in the sky for a while. i must of changed "nam yo ho reindo" for at least an hour and the mountain never left the ground. because of that i decided that the hari krishna god was a phoney. i should say that while i was in san francisco i did see the golden gate bridge get flipped up into the sky just like i wanted to see that mountain. but i was on acid at the time and thats probably why i say the golden gate bridge raise up into the sky. the next day i checked the golden gate bridge and it was still anchored to the bed rock in the san francisco bay.
but unless god comes down and punches me in the face and tells me that i am wrong about god not existing and that i should worship him i am staying an atheist. i guess i like the regilion that says you have to prove it before you can beleive it religion. nope not until some dude turns water into wine in front of me and gives me a few gallons to drink i aint going to believe that krap.
on the other hand you guys in jail may have something to gain by pertending to beleive in the jesus god. maybe if you say you beleive in jesus they will let you visit the doctor before your ingrown toenail gets so bad they have to amputate it. and laro maybe if you cut your masters a deal that you beleive in the jesus dude if they let you out a year early i think that may be a good reason for beleiving in those silly superstitions.
when i meet christians who want me to convert to their religion i often tell them i am poor and it would be nice if they could get their god to give mr $500 or $1,000 buck to show me that he has better magic then the other religions. i dont ask them for a cent of their own money i just ask them to ask their god to get me some money. not once have these christians come thru with their part of the deal and give me the stinking $500. they usually leave and act like i am acting like a crack pot because i think their great god who they claim created the entire world in 3 days can magicly come up with a measley $500 bucks on a street corner and give it to me.
hey anything is good enough for the emporer!
Capital is a fortress of security for event
Dallas Morning News
Jan. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The nation's capital was nearly a fortress bristling with guns, barricades and extraordinary security measures Thursday as President Bush kicked off his second term against a backdrop of war and terrorism.
The first presidential inaugural address since Sept. 11, 2001, was punctuated by the sounds of helicopters making tight circles above the Capitol grounds as sharpshooters with binoculars eyed the crowd from the Capitol dome.
Hundreds of thousands of people swarmed the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, going through heavy security. Just a few blocks away, the downtown area was a virtual ghost town, with traffic barred in a 100-block area.
The D.C. police, reinforced by more than 2,000 officers from departments across the country, lined the parade route, particularly the protesters' section.
As Bush's armored limousine approached, police in riot gear supplemented the lines of officers separating the protesters from the street.
At nearly two dozen checkpoints, pedestrians were required to show identification and pass through metal detectors.
At the Capitol, security was as tight as it gets. Congressional aides and journalists needed special one-day-only photo ID cards to enter the building.
The grand Rotunda was off-limits to most. But one floor down in the "Crypt," where tourists can view models of the complex, a handful of pass-holders staked out spots.
A few minutes before Vice President Dick Cheney emerged, an officer rousted everyone besides military and security. Aides scurried up a spiral staircase to watch as Cheney and, moments later, the president, emerged for the march through the Crypt and down a long staircase to the West Front to be sworn in.
more than 80 people nationwide have died after being shocked with Tasers!
maybe kevin can say a thing or two about how tasers dont work!
Taser says newest stun gun fails to subdue some suspects
New York Times
Jan. 21, 2005 08:57 AM
Scottsdale-based Taser International has warned police departments that its newest electric stun gun, the X26, has recently failed to subdue some suspects.
As a result, the company has decided to increase the power of the weapon by about 14 percent. The change is intended to make the gun more effective, according to a bulletin the company has sent to police departments.
A spokesman, Steve Tuttle, said the change to the X26 did not mean that the weapon was unsafe or did not work. Taser says its guns are successful about 95 percent of the time, although an independent study by the Defense Department found a much lower rate of effectiveness.
"We are constantly striving to optimize our technology," Tuttle said in a statement.
Taser's weapons look like pistols and fire electrified barbs that are connected to the gun by insulated copper wires up to 25 feet long, hitting suspects with a powerful electric shock that lasts at least five seconds. More than 100,000 police officers nationwide carry the weapons, and the company began selling a version of the X26 to civilians last fall.
In its bulletin, Taser said it had received reports that suspects "were able to gain partial mobility" while being shocked. "In some of these cases, the suspects were able to break the wires," which would break the electric circuit and end the shock, it said.
The company did not disclose how many reports it had received or whether anyone had escaped after breaking the wires. Taser sent the bulletin in September but had never announced any changes in the design of the X26.
Tuttle said he did not know how many reports of problems Taser had received. "It's very infrequent," he said, adding that a suspect's breaking the wires does not mean that the gun has failed.
Taser's acknowledgment of potential problems with the X26 comes at an awkward time for the company, which already faces questions about the safety of its weapons from the Arizona attorney general's office as well as an informal inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission about a $1.5 million sale it made in December.
According to news reports, more than 80 people nationwide have died after being shocked with Tasers, as the guns are commonly known. The company says the deaths mostly resulted from drug overdoses and would have occurred anyway, but some heart specialists and biomedical engineers say the guns may interfere with the heart's rhythm.
Taser's share price, after quadrupling in 2004, has fallen more than 40 percent so far in 2005. The stock closed Thursday at $17.57, up 10 cents, after dropping $2.29, or 11.6 percent, on Wednesday.
Independent data on the effectiveness of Taser's weapons is difficult to find. The question of effectiveness is further complicated because the X26 delivers an electric shock only about 25 percent as large as that delivered by Taser's other electric gun, the M26. The X26 has about the same amount of power as the company's original weapon, the Air Taser, which Taser stopped selling after finding that it often failed to work.
In marketing material, Taser says the X26 works as well as the M26 despite its lower power output because it delivers its electric shock in a special wave form that enters the body more efficiently. Both guns put out multiple pulses of electricity each second, causing muscles to tighten and loosen uncontrollably.
But James Jauchem, an Air Force scientist, reported at a conference on Tasers and similar weapons in November that tests on pigs showed that the X26 electric pulse was no more effective than other pulses of the same size. Jauchem has not responded to repeated requests for comment about his study.
In its redesign of the X26, Taser is reprogramming the gun's software so that the gun delivers 19 electric pulses each second, instead of 19 pulses for the first two seconds and 15 pulses for each of the next three. As a result, the new version will hit targets with 95 pulses over five seconds, compared with 83 for the gun's older model, a 14 percent increase in power. Still, the individual pulses from the X26 will be much weaker than those from the M26.
emporor bush ... declaring it is our mission to install democracy worldwide. im sure most of the world will love it when american troops come on their homeland and point guns at their heads and tell them they are now free.
Bush's anti-tyranny drive to be tested quickly
WASHINGTON (AFP) - President George W. Bush (news - web sites)'s sweeping pledge to battle tyranny worldwide has raised a host of questions whether he will go after US friends as well as foes, and will soon be tested in the Iraqi elections.
"There are reasons to be impressed by Bush's new doctrine. There are also reasons to be very afraid," The Los Angeles Times said a day after the Republican launched his second term with a global campaign to expand democracy.
The address left world leaders and analysts pondering the realpolitik implications of Bush's vow to promote democratic movements across the globe as a means to isolate and eradicate terrorism.
Allan Lichtman, a professor at the American University here, likened Bush to presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in their quest to boost the United States's world influence in the early 20th century.
"It marked a remarkable transformation from the candidate who in 2000 talked about having a humble foreign policy and not telling the world what to think, to the newly inaugurated president ... declaring it is our mission to install democracy worldwide."
Michael O'Hanlon, an analysts with the Brookings Institution, saw the inaugural address as Bush's reaffirmation that values such as freedom and democracy do constitute an important element in his world view.
"I think Mr. Bush is simply saying, 'Don't look for any apologies from me about what I tried to do in the first term and don't look for me to start becoming some old-fashioned realist,'" O'Hanlon said.
But Iraq (news - web sites), which went conspicuously unmentioned in Bush's remarks, could provide a rude awakening for his lofty ambitions with chronic violence and communal rivalries clouding his hopes for democratic development.
The Bush administration has billed national elections scheduled for January 30 as a milestone in Iraq's reconstruction and a key to US hopes of extracting itself from the country it invaded in March 2003.
But with insurgents using bombings and intimidation to discourage voter turnout, US officials have acknowledged the election wont' be perfect and were scrambling to achieve at least a minimal threshhold of credibility.
Veteran Washington insiders such as former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, a Republican like Bush, have raised the possibility that an expected large victory by the majority Shiite Muslims could touch off a civil war.
The United States also faced some difficult choices regarding Iran, which Washington has blasted for its suspected nuclear weapons program, support for terrorism and human rights abuses.
Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites) signaled Thursday the administration was moving closer to a showdown with the Islamic Republic by putting it "right at the top of the list" of world trouble spots. Bush has refused to rule out military action.
Bush used broad brush strokes in his democratic call to arms Thursday and gave little sign whether Washington would tackle the case of authoritarian regimes that are considered US allies. Some commentators saw a double-standard.
"When opposition to tyranny has been at odds with security or economic policy -- in Pakistan, in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Russia, in China -- the Bush administration of the past four years consistently chose to ignore and excuse oppression," The Washington Post said.
But Bush's new chief diplomat, Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites), denied any contradiction in US policy as she testified this week before a Senate panel considering her nomination as secretary of state.
"Countries are going to move at different speeds on this democracy test. I don't think there's any doubt about that," Rice said. "But what we have to do is we have to keep this item on the agenda, we have to continue to press countries about it."
Administration officials insisted the inaugural address was designed as a general outline of principles, and that more policy details would be forthcoming when Bush delivers his annual State of the Union speech on February 2.
A few weeks after that, the president was to head to Europe to try to repair relations with major allies who fell out with Washington over the Iraq war.
Bush promised to seek their advice and help in his second term. But he will likely face questions on whether his vow Thursday to "defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary" heralds new military campaigns.
Section: Tucson Region
Fired cop had porn images on computer
By Eric Swedlund
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
A Tucson police investigation of fired Lt. Wendell Hunt's work computer found about 1,100 pornographic images and evidence of pornographic Web sites, according to police reports released Friday.
An Internal Affairs sergeant requested the forensic examination on Jan. 4, based on indications that Hunt had been removing files from the laptop computer Dec. 17, the date he was served with notice of the department's intention to fire him, according to the reports.
The internal investigation is not complete and a police spokeswoman would not answer any specific questions relating to the investigation, saying there have been no findings and Hunt still has a due-process right to respond. It is not a criminal investigation, said Sgt. Kerry Fuller.
In addition to being fired for withholding and leaking information in a high-profile murder case, Hunt was suspended for 30 days in 2003 for having sex on duty in his patrol car with a woman he'd invited on a civilian tour and videotaping her naked. Investigation into sexual harassment claims against Hunt by a police dispatcher also led to his termination.
"First off, they don't have a leg to stand on on the initial firing cases and they know it," said Hunt's attorney, Jeff Rogers.
Rogers denied that his client downloaded pornographic images or visited adult Web sites and said the investigation is an attempt by police to smear Hunt to bolster other charges.
"The only thing that happened is once he went on a dating Web site, and from that day forward he started getting popups (ads)," Rogers said. "Wendell was not in a habit of doing that but he did have a particular time when he constantly got popups and they were for adult sites. He did not go hunting around to those kind of Web sites, and their experts should be able to figure that out."
Images would have appeared on the hard drive the moment a popup ad appeared, he said.
According to the most recent report, about 1,100 pornographic images were recovered from the department-issued laptop, many of which had been recently deleted from the recycle bin on the "WHunt" account on the computer.
Most of the images contained references to Web sites such as "voyeurweb.com," the report says. Also in the "WHunt" account were "cookies" - information from a Web site stored on a computer - for sites such as "momspornvideo.com."
With regard to computer use, the Police Department's regulations state:
"The city of Tucson's information systems are to be used in conjunction with the performance of a member's authorized duties. c While using the city's information systems, members shall conduct themselves in a professional manner."
The city's policy specifically states that computers "shall not be used in any way that is offensive, harmful or insulting to any person," and includes a specific prohibition against material that is sexually explicit.
Most of the Police Department's command staff and others in investigative units are assigned laptop computers because of the increased need for paperwork, Fuller said.
An officer who is assigned a laptop assumes full responsibility for the equipment, she said.
Fuller said she couldn't speculate on the precise discipline the allegations could yield, but said it would most likely be "severe," anywhere from a suspension to termination.
Hunt's attorney said his client never tried to erase or hide anything. He was simply removing some personal things and getting the computer prepared to return to the department.
Also, during the time Hunt lived with his girlfriend, other people could have had access to the computer, Rogers said.
Hunt, a 17-year police veteran who was a Midtown patrol commander, was fired in December but has appealed to the city's Civil Service Commission.
According to hundreds of pages of internal investigation files, Hunt leaked information about a witness in the investigation of Dr. Bradley Schwartz and withheld from investigators further details he knew about the slaying of Dr. David Brian Stidham. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Fuller said the department has guidelines and procedures in place against misconduct, but "some people chose to break the rules."
This is the second high-profile incident in just over a year of a longtime police officer suspected of misusing department computers for sexual purposes.
Officer Charles Ken Walter, then a 48-year-old department veteran of 21 years, was arrested in December 2003 after showing up for a meeting he thought he'd arranged with a 16-year-old girl. He was charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation and computer tampering.
Walter pursued the sexual relationship over the Internet, identifying himself as an officer and writing of acts he would like to perform with her in nearly daily e-mails sent from his work computer.
Walter was in fact communicating with an undercover police officer. All of his contacts came from a city computer, police said.
Walter retired after his arrest. He later pleaded guilty to computer tampering with sexual motives and was sentenced to three years' probation. He must also undergo counseling and must register as a sex offender.
Nobody in the Police Department's command staff was available Friday to comment on how the department guards against officers misusing department computers, Fuller said.
Statistics on previous discipline for such violations were not available Friday.
Contact reporter Eric Swedlund at 629-9412 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No SSN? Use W-7 form to file taxes
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 21, 2005 12:00 AM
It's the one little-known form that keeps tax preparers like Elias Bermudez busy and has helped more than 7.5 million people without Social Security numbers file their taxes over the past several years.
Tax form W-7 allows undocumented immigrants or anyone without a Social Security number to file returns using a nine-digit number called an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. It's been around since 1996 and has provided an answer for undocumented workers who either never filed, left the Social Security box blank or simply made it up.
"We are thankful as a community that the IRS has come up with a solution for a major problem with income tax reporting," said Bermudez, who for 18 years has been preparing taxes for Latinos and immigrants and is executive director of Centro de Ayuda, a nonprofit agency that advocates on behalf of immigrants.
His office processes more than 500 new numbers each year, with about 60 percent of the filers owing taxes.
With every tax season, Bermudez finds that the main reason that some undocumented workers don't file taxes is because they fear being deported through the Internal Revenue Service, even though it's unlikely to happen.
Most people who file are protected under disclosure laws and privacy acts, said Bill Brunson, an Arizona spokesman for the IRS.
"But if this is a known individual that is some sort of money launderer or drug kingpin or somebody else who has a known criminal record, that will not be the case," he said.
Brunson said the form was created because of increasing demand to process returns without Social Security numbers and to make the process easier.
"I think people know about these (numbers), but they probably need to know the right procedure for applying for a number and the options they have," said Martha Mena, an IRS tax specialist
Mena warns that the biggest holdup in processing a W-7 with returns is that people don't have the right type of identification.
"I see that this is very frustrating for some people who come into the office and don't have the proper information, and they wait hours," she said.
There are 13 documents accepted as identification for each person filing a W-7 depending on the person's age and if he or she has a passport, she added.
The form, and publication 1915 that explains the form, can be picked up for free at a local IRS office, requested through mail or phone, or downloaded from the IRS Web site. Both documents are available in Spanish.
Irma Covarrubias, a west Phoenix resident, has been using the number for seven years after hearing about it from the IRS, but she knows that many people won't file because they fear being deported.
"I hope they don't stop them (issuing ITINs)," she said. "I hope they don't ever freeze it."
Bermudez has some advice for those who qualify for a number but have yet to file their taxes.
"My message is if you work for an employer and you get a W-2 at the end of the year, your best option is to file even if you do not have a valid Social Security number," he said. "Apply for an ITIN because then you will be compliant with the IRS requirement and save yourself a lot of grief in the future."
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or (602) 444-4947.
Edición: 694. Del 19 al 25 de enero del 2005. Phoenix, AZ.
Empleados bajo la lupa
Persisten riesgos de corrupción en MVD
Para evitar que ocurran nuevos casos de corrupción en la División de Vehículos y Motores, el Departamento del Transporte de Arizona ha implementado una serie de estrategias y acciones que permitirán mantener una supervisión más estrecha entre los empleados de la dependencia.
El titular de la Dirección del Transporte en el estado, Víctor Méndez, advirtió que no habrá tolerancia contra empleados corruptos.
Reconoció que este fenómeno, como el que afloró hace dos meses en Vehículos y Motores que motivó el despido de al menos 15 empleados y en el que estaban involucradas por lo menos 28 personas, es difícil de erradicar.
Sin embargo, manifestó que serán más estrictos en la vigilancia y supervisión de los empleados para evitar, en la medida de lo posible, que vuelvan a ocurrir hechos que manchan la imagen de la dependencia estatal.
Insistió en que no permitirán que ocurran nuevos actos de corrupción y enviarán a la cárcel a quienes sean sorprendidos cometiendo irregularidades que afecten a la dependencia.
Edición: 694. Del 19 al 25 de enero del 2005. Phoenix, AZ.
Viene de la portada
No habrá tolerancia contra los empleados corruptos
No habrá tolerancia contra empleados de Motores y Vehículos que incurran en actos de corrupción, como el que recientemente afloró en esa dependencia, de donde fueron despedidos varios trabajadores por estar involucrados en tráfico de influencias y emitir licencias sin control alguno.
El director del Departamento del Transporte de Arizona, Víctor Méndez, recordó que hace aproximadamente dos años y medio iniciaron una investigación en Vehículos y Motores ante la sospecha de que se estaban expidiendo licencias de conducir de manera indiscriminada, sin control alguno, sin exigir documentación a los solicitantes, lo que representa un grave delito.
Hace dos meses concluyeron la investigación, lo que derivó en el despido de algunos empleados, incluso detectaron que expleados de Motores y Vehículos estaban también involucrados, lo mismo que algunas empresas dedicadas a realizar trámites para la dependencia.
El funcionario aseguró que las personas involucradas, además de que fueron despedidas, podrían ir a la cárcel, ya que el gobierno del estado interpuso una demanda penal en su contra. El caso ahora está en la Corte, donde en cualquier momento podrían dictar sentencia.
Lo cierto es que no estamos exentos de sufrir de nueva cuenta actos de corrupción. El riesgo es latente porque trabajamos con personas y mientras esté presente el factor humano es posible que existan irregularidades en el trabajo que desempeñamos.
Sin embargo, el funcionario estatal reiteró que han hecho fuertes inversiones con el propósito de detectar con mayor rapidez posibles actos de corrupción.
Asimismo, se han implementado 20 líneas de acción con el objetivo de evitar, en la medida de lo posible, que vuelvan a ocurrir actos ilegales en la expedición de licencias. En este sentido, el director del Departamento de Transporte de Arizona expuso que ponen más cuidado en que los documentos que se exigen a los solicitantes de licencias sean originales. Que no sean falsificados.
En este punto refirió que ahora tienen expertos para detectar intentos de fraude con documentos.
Asimismo, se han instalado scanners y una serie de dispositivos electrónicos que permitirán mantener una vigilancia más estrecha en las oficinas de Motores y Vehículos que hay en el estado.
Hasta hoy se han puesto en vigencia 11 de las 20 líneas de acción. Los resultados aún no son medibles, pero el funcionario se mostró confiado en que habrá más control y por tanto menos posibilidades de fraude y corrupción en la dependencia.
Han cambiado los procesos de expedición de licencias. Hoy hay más control. Si tienen dudas respecto a algún documento entregado por el solicitante se revisa minuciosamente e incluso se retrasa la entrega de la licencia hasta estar plenamente seguros que es documentación original.
No a la discriminación
En este sentido, el director del Departamento del Transporte en Arizona rechazó tajante que haya casos de discriminación en contra de cierto sector de la población. Recomendó a quienes sientan que han sufrido algún tipo de rechazo o maltrato por parte de empleados de la dependencia a su cargo en cualquier área, en particular en Motores y Vehículos, para actuar en consecuencia.
Aquí no vamos a permitir acciones de ese tipo. Estamos para trabajar en favor de la población, independientemente de su condición.
Si un documento le exigimos a uno, tendremos que exigirlo a otro. No nos importa su status migratorio ni su condición social. Somos servidores públicos responsables y como tal debemos de actuar, afirmó el funcionario.
the cops are often worse then the criminals!
'The world of the rat'
Criminal informers heighten risk for agents, may create obstacles for future prosecution
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
When government agents recruit snitches for undercover work, they run the risk of getting duped. Experts on the use of informers say it's an unsavory byproduct of dealing with people who are willing to betray their friends in return for money or a break on criminal charges.
Mike Levine, a retired federal agent and specialist in handling informers, was hardly shocked to hear that informers duped their federal handlers during an investigation of the Hells Angels in Arizona.
"This is the world of the rat right now, and it's only going to get worse," said Levine. "Nothing surprises me. It's frightening." advertisement
During the two-year biker probe known as Operation Black Biscuit, an informer used drugs, assaulted people and lied to control agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Prosecutors and ATF officials declined comment. Levine said such transgressions, though illegal and distasteful, seldom jeopardize criminal cases because once an informer gets inside a criminal organization prosecutors rely on taped conversations and other evidence.
Besides, Levine added, judges and juries aren't likely to let criminals go free just because investigators made a case with unscrupulous snitches.
Gregory D. Lee, a former supervisory agent and academy instructor for the FBI, said many criminal syndicates can be penetrated only with the help of insiders, most of whom are also felons. The informers go undercover for pay, for vengeance or to have their own criminal charges reduced or erased.
Nearly all are dishonest, Lee said, and if not carefully monitored will use drugs, entrap suspects, steal money and lie to handlers. When that happens, ambitious detectives may look the other way.
Why? Levine and Lee said one major undercover sting, such as Operation Black Biscuit, can make a detective's career, bringing awards, promotions and peer admiration. If the investigation gets shut down because of a renegade informer, however, bad guys go free and the agent is blamed for a blown case.
"You've got this ego thing," Levine added. "You want to prove yourself. So you find an informant and, pretty soon, he's handling you.... It's almost like a law of gravity. It happens all the time.... A cop will say, 'You're only as good as your informant.' My answer is, 'If that's the case, you're a lying, dirtbag piece of (excrement).' "
Law enforcement agencies issue policy directives and train investigators to prevent abuses. When those rules are broken, however, there are seldom repercussions for detective or snitch.
In Operation Black Biscuit, a confidential witness named Michael Kramer admitted in court that he had used methamphetamines, beat people up and scammed his handler for months. Yet federal authorities rewarded the informer, who took part in a murder before going undercover, with living expenses plus $500 a week in spending money, and a plea deal that carries no prison time.
Levine said prosecutors face a dilemma: If they go after a crooked informer, they lose a witness who can help dismantle the Hells Angels and put away two other murder suspects. "Getting two out of three is better than getting none at all," he said. "You don't like it, but you've got to accept the facts of life sometimes."
With trials pending, Hells Angels' attorneys have condemned Operation Black Biscuit as a travesty. But their defense options are limited. They can try to convince jurors the government sting was so outrageous that charges should be dumped, but that seldom works. They can argue that snitches initiated crimes that would not have been committed otherwise, but the legal standard for entrapment is difficult to meet. Or they can dig up as much dirt on informants as they can find and threaten to bring it out in court. Faced with a public embarrassment, the government may offer more attractive plea bargains.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8874.
Elite U.S. troops take role at home
New York Times
Jan. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - Somewhere in the shadows of the White House and the Capitol last week, a small group of supersecret commandos stood ready with state-of-the-art weaponry to swing into action to protect the president, a task that has never been fully revealed before.
As part of the extraordinary army of 13,000 troops, police officers and federal agents marshaled to secure the inauguration, these elite forces were poised to act under a 1997 program that was updated and enhanced after the Sept. 11 attacks, but nonetheless departs from how the military has historically been used on American soil.
These commandos, operating under a secret counterterrorism program code-named Power Geyser, were mentioned publicly for the first time last week on a Web site for a new book, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operation in the 9/11 World. The book was written by William M. Arkin, a former Army intelligence analyst.
The precise number of these Special Operations forces in Washington last week is highly classified, but military officials say the numbers are very small. The special-missions units belong to the Joint Special Operations Command, a highly secretive command based at Fort Bragg, N.C., whose elements include the Army's Delta Force. In the past, the command has also provided support to domestic law-enforcement agencies during high-risk events such as the Olympics and political party conventions, according to the Web site of GlobalSecurity.org, a research organization in Alexandria, Va.
Since Sept. 11, military and law-enforcement agencies have worked much more closely than in the past to help detect and defeat any possible attack and to ensure the continuity of the federal government in case of cataclysm.
The commandos in Washington last week were the same type of Special Operations forces hunting top insurgents in Iraq and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But under the top-secret military plan, they are also conducting counterterrorism missions in support of civilian agencies on U.S. soil.
"They bring unique military and technical capabilities that often are centered around potential WMD events," said a senior defense official who has been briefed on the units' operations.
In the online supplement to his book (codenames.org/documents.html), Arkin says the contingency plan calls for "special-mission units in extra-legal missions to combat terrorism in the United States" based on top-secret orders managed by the military's Joint Staff and coordinated with the military's Special Operations Command and Northern Command, which is the lead military headquarters for homeland defense.
Arkin provided the New York Times with briefing slides prepared by the Northern Command detailing the plan and outlining the military's preparations for the inauguration.
Three senior Defense Department and Bush administration officials confirmed the existence of the plan but disputed Arkin's characterization of the mission as "extra-legal." One of the officials said the units operated in the United States under "special authority" from the president or secretary of Defense.
cops are pretty much powerless to stop smart criminals as in this case. and thats a good reason why we should get rid of the police. other then for protecting government officials, helping the government collect taxes cops are pretty much useless for us normal people. and dont take this to mean im saying cops are stupid. they aint. they just can bust smart criminals who plan good crimes unless they get lucky.
Chasing criminals who choose to leave no stone unthrown
E. J. Montini
Jan. 23, 2005 12:00 AM
They cast their first stone the same year that Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA finals. Bill Clinton was in his first term as president. Jurassic Park was the big movie. Back then, in 1993, it took a while for police to recognize a pattern to the crimes.
The burglar would throw a rock through an unalarmed window of a high-priced home while the residents were away. He'd search the master bedroom and closets, stealing jewelry and watches. But he'd leave behind televisions, electronic equipment and high-priced works of art.
The thief didn't roam around the house. He didn't watch TV or make himself a snack from the refrigerator. The mode of entry was crude; everything else was sophisticated. advertisement
The break-ins happened again and again. Police give the thief a name, the Rock Burglar, although investigators now believe more than one person is involved. The robberies began in Paradise Valley, where police Sgt. Alan Laitsch got onto the case. Now he sometimes wonders who will retire first, him or the burglars.
"Personally, I would like them to hang around just long enough for us to catch them," Laitsch told me.
Police estimate that the burglars have hit 250 houses and have stolen about $15 million worth of property. The crooks have struck in Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Carefree, hitting homes owned by Vice President Dan Quayle and former Diamondbacks Steve Finley and Mark Grace. A multiagency law enforcement task force hasn't been able to catch them.
"They obviously spend a lot of time planning," Laitsch said. "And they have tremendous discipline. They'll only waste so much time on a safe, for instance. And they're willing to walk away with nothing."
There have been lots of local news articles and TV spots about the case. This month, however, the Rock Burglars received national attention with an article in USA Today. The story brought in nine new leads, Laitsch said. Four have been checked out and found to be dead ends. The rest are being worked on.
"There are those who talk about these guys like they're Robin Hoods," Laitsch said. "But I hope no one makes them into heroes. The victims are law-abiding people and many of them have lost family heirlooms. Luckily, no one has been hurt."
One of the burglars had a run-in with a homeowner who surprised him, but there were no injuries. Laitsch understands why people are fascinated by the criminals' cunning and 10 years of persistence.
And there is the mystery. Who are they? What are they like?
Laitsch doesn't believe the thieves live off the money they make from selling stolen goods. He believes they may have regular jobs and commit crimes to supplement their income. Maybe even for fun. He wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood made a film about them, depending on how the case is finally resolved.
"But that's something for AFTER we have them behind bars," he said.
He's correct. The important thing is to catch these guys and lock them up.
And yet, even as we agree with authorities and pray that no one ever gets hurt, we can't help but imagine the film version of the case. In it, perhaps one of the burglars invites a few friends over for dinner. During dessert, an acquaintance admits to accidentally walking out of a store with an item he wasn't charged for and not going back to pay. "That's like stealing," one guest says. Another adds, "Hey, let he who is without sin cast the first stone." And the crooks just look at each other. And smile.
Reach Montini at email@example.com or (602) 444-8978.
Robo-Soldier codenamed SWORDS to be deployed in Iraq
( posted by Hubert ) - January 24, 2005
The army is going to deploy combat robots into Iraq. The SWORDS (Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems) will be the first armed robo-soldier.
These machines have been originally designed for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), but they have been upgraded with a machine gun. They are far more accurate than an average soldier.
They will be controlled by a human that sees the scene trough a camera mounted on the robot. The "pilot" is also the person making the decision to use deadly force.
TECH BUZZ: Battery-powered troops
January 24, 2005
The Army is preparing to send 18 remote-controlled robotic warriors to fight in Iraq beginning in March or April.
Made by a small Massachusetts company, the SWORDS robots will be the first armed robotic vehicles to see combat. SWORDS is short for Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System.
Military officials like to compare the roughly 3-foot robots favorably to human soldiers: They don't need to be trained, fed or clothed. They can be boxed up and warehoused between wars.
But officials are quick to point out that these are not the autonomous killer robots of science fiction. A SWORDS robot shoots only when its human operator presses a button after identifying a target on video shot by the robot's cameras.
Developers say the SWORDS robot not only allows operators to fire at enemies without exposing themselves to return fire but also can make them more accurate. The better accuracy stems largely from the fact that its gun is mounted on a stable platform and fired electronically, rather than by a soldier's hands.
The $200,000 robot will carry standard-issue automatic weapons capable of firing as many as 700 to 1,000 rounds per minute. Running on lithium ion batteries, it can operate for 1 to 4 hours at a time, depending on the mission. Operators work the robot using a 30-pound control unit that has two joysticks, a handful of buttons and a video screen.
By the Associated Press
Iraqi Insurgents Soon To Face Robot Warriors
By Mike Minton
January 24, 2005
The United States military recently unveiled its latest weapon for use in Iraq at the recent 24th Army Science Conference in Orlando, Florida. It may seem like something out of a science fiction movie, but the armed/weaponized Talon robot, dubbed Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System (SWORDS), is very real, and will soon be battle tested in Iraq.
The concept for the mechanical soldier is really the next logical step for the Talon robot -- a robot developed by Massachusetts engineering firm Foster-Miller, Inc. The Talon first saw service in Bosnia in 2000 and has been used in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The Talon assists in the detection and removal of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Staff Sgt. Sandiago Tordillos, with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal directorate of the Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Pictanny Arsenal, New Jersey, says that the SWORDS robotic soldier is not a new invention. Rather, he says, "[I]t's just bringing together existing systems."
The SWORDS comes at a time when the Bush administration has drawn heavy criticism for the number of troops who have been killed in Iraq.
However, the benefit of not having a soldier killed in combat is only one of the many features that SWORDS brings to the table. Other advantages include the fact that the robots do not need sleep, food, or water. They don't require training; they will not be susceptible to battle fatigue; and they can be warehoused between wars.
According to Bob Quinn, the project's lead integrator, the four existing SWORDS systems have been built at a cost of roughly $230,000 each. He hopes that, as production increases, the per-unit-cost will drop to between $150,000 and $180,000.
Initially, the SWORDS units will be equipped with either the M249, which can fire 750 5.56mm rounds per minute, or with the M240, which fires 7.62mm rounds at a rate of 700-1,000 rounds per minute.
In an article at DefenseReview.com, Arnis Mangolds, vice president of Foster-Miller, said that the SWORDS units can be outfitted with "a Barrett M82 A1 or M107 .50 cal (BMG) anti-material rifle, six 40mm grenades, or an M202 A1 Flame Assault Shoulder Weapon (FLASH) multi-shot rocket launcher which carries four 66mm rockets."
Defense Review further speculates that SWORDS could also be equipped with "various light anti-tank weapons." It cites the M136 AT4 anti-armor weapon and the M141 Bunker Defeat Munition (BDM) as examples.
The SWORDS units stand about three feet tall and weigh roughly 180 pounds, depending on the weapons with which it is equipped. To maneuver, the robots have tank-style tracks, enabling them to negotiate piles of rock, barbed wire and other rough terrain.
According to the Army News Service web site (www4.army.mil/ocpa/news), SWORDS can run off of AC power, lithium batteries or Singars rechargeable batteries.
The systems are operated by soldiers who can be thousands of feet away. For urban combat situations, that distance decreases somewhat. The operating soldier can see what the robot "sees," because the SWORDS systems are equipped with four cameras, night vision and zoom lenses.
In comparing the shooting accuracy of SWORDS to that of the average soldier, Bob Quinn, general manager of Talon robots for Foster-Miller, Inc., says that a soldier could typically hit a watermelon at 300 meters. At that same distance, Quinn says, the SWORDS system could "hit a target the size of a nickel."
The new "robo-soldiers," 18 strong initially, will be assigned to the U.S. Army's Stryker battalion, and should be on the ground in Iraq by late March or early April.
US sends armed robots to front line
Dan Glaister in Los Angeles
Monday January 24, 2005
Plagued by mission fatigue, casualties and a public starting to ask just how long the US plans to keep its soldiers in Iraq, the American army may have come up with a solution: robots.
From March or April this year, it plans to deploy 18 armed robots to Iraq to help fight the "war on terror".
Although the robots have a snappy name - Swords, or Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection Systems - they aren't quite the sleek, cold-blooded androids of I, Robot. Rather, they look more like the sort of contraption dreamt up for the programme Robot Wars.
The Swords are essentially modified bomb disposal robots of the sort commonly deployed in Northern Ireland and Iraq, where they have been successfully used to defuse roadside bombs.
Mounted on tracks, they have a standard army-issue automatic weapon bolted on top, capable of firing between 300 and 350 rounds a minute. The firing is done by a human soldier via a video camera.
"It's important to stress that not everything has to be super hi-tech," Anthony Sebasto, an official at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, which helped develop it, told Associated Press.
Developed at a cost of $2m (£1.07m) , Swords have certain advantages over the traditional human fighting unit.
They are cheap and require no food; they can be packed away between campaigns; they are unlikely - barring modifications - to write anguished letters home to loved ones or the media.
They are also a much better shot than the average GI.
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But there are downsides: each robot has a top speed of 4mph and can only operate for one to four hours before it needs to refuel.
Swords, made by a small company in Massachusetts, are the first in a new generation of gizmos to go to war. Coming soon is the Future Combat System from Lockheed Martin, which includes a six-wheel, 2.5-tonne vehicle.
The Pentagon's Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency is backing research into robots that can be dropped into combat zones from aircraft.
Might want to start brainstorming methods of disabling
these machines. While some soldiers would hesitate
killing fellow Americans, I am fairly certain that
enough operators could be found for these machines to
make our lives pretty miserable. Sarcastic article ...
but scary. Powell, get your .50 cal! -Craig
Army Prepares 'Robo-Warrior' for Iraq
by Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers
by Mike Rogers
The United States Army is preparing to win the war in
Iraq by sending 18 remote-controlled robotic warriors
to fight in Iraq beginning in March or April or
whenever the check is cashed.
The multi-billion dollar Robo-Warriors have been
delayed in deployment as Pentagon planners couldn't
decide whether it was more cost effective to make a
robot that mass-killed the enemy while breaking down
in hot weather or one that could fry eggs without
breaking the yokes.
Made by a small Massachusetts company, the SWORDS,
short for Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance
Detection Systems, will be the first armed robotic
vehicles to see combat, years ahead of the larger and
much more costly Future Combat System. Each robot
costs the American tax payer about 100 million dollars
enough to feed the entire population of Southern
Nambuti for the next 28 years.
Military officials like to compare the roughly
three-foot-high robots favorably to human soldiers:
They don't need to be trained, fed or clothed. They
can be boxed up and warehoused between wars. And they
never complain: Thereby freeing up US officers from
war crimes charges for torture and abuse.
But officials are quick to point out that these are
not the autonomous killer robots of science fiction. A
SWORDS robot has feelings too.
"The only difference between the robot and a human
soldier after combat is that one of them is full of
nuts and bolts, the other is just plain nuts." said
Bob Quinn, general manager of Talon robots, as he
stuffed hundred dollar bills into his briefcase as
fast as he could before the 4 Triple AAA batteries
went dead on the SWORDS killing machine. "Better use
Energizer next time," he was quoted as saying.
Quinn said it was a "bootstrap development process''
to convert a Talon robot, which has been in military
service since 2000, from its main mission of being
blown to pieces before defusing roadside bombs in Iraq
into the gunslinging SWORDS.
Working with soldiers and engineers at Picatinny
Arsenal in New Jersey, it took just six months and
only about $20 million in development money to outfit
a Talon robot with weapons using Scotch tape. The
Talon had already proven itself to be pretty rugged.
One was blown off the roof of a Humvee and into a
nearby river by a bomb in Iraq. Soldiers simply opened
its shrapnel-pocked control unit and drove the robot
out of the river. And after that, the soldiers all won
the Texas Jumbo Lottery, were hit by lightening, and
in the hospital they all met Elizabeth Taylor and got
"It's important to stress that not everything has to
be super high tech. You can integrate existing
componentry and create a revolutionary capability."
You can also buy a made-in-Taiwan calculator at Radio
Shack for $.99.
The SWORDS in the parking lot at the headquarters of
the cable news station CNBC had just finished showing
off for the cameras, climbing stairs, scooting between
cubicles, even broadcasting some of its video on the
air. The SWORDS also comes with Pac-Man and Space
Invaders at no extra cost to owner.
Running on batteries, it can operate for 1 to 4 hours
at a time, depending on the mission. Players work the
robot using a control unit which has two joysticks, a
handful of buttons and a video screen. Headphones not
included. Quinn says that may eventually be replaced
by a "Gameboy'' type of controller hooked up to
virtual reality goggles.
Its developers say the SWORDS not only allows its
operators to fire at enemies without exposing
themselves to return fire, but also can make them more
accurate. The SWORDS feature Klingon Cloaking
A typical soldier who could hit a target the size of a
basketball from 300 meters away could hit a target the
size of a nickel with the SWORDS, according Quinn. The
very same soldier is now in divorce court with Ms.
There are bound to be many eyes watching SWORDS as it
heads to battle. On its first test drive in New
Jersey, all of its right side hubcaps were stolen,
which prompted Pentagon spokesmen to say, "Well, thank
God, at least we weren't testing in Los Angeles."
Testing of the Swords was considered a smash success.
"It was a smash success!" said Bob Quinn. "The optics
and video were great."
New Jersey police are looking for a white male, 32,
about 6' 2" tall and his black accomplice, about 30
years old, 6' 4" tall, wearing a raspberry beret and
saying, "Lookie here!" for assistance in locating the
four Sony video cameras that were stolen off the
SWORDS killing machine during testing. Any information
would be greatly appreciated.
In other news, Saddam Hussein has challenged US
President George W. Bush in a game of Scrabble for
control of the world. The White House has declined the
January 24, 2005
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and
raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has
worked as an independent writer, producer, and
personality in the mass media for nearly 30 years.
sing this to the tune of frank zappas song "we are only in it for the money".
in scottsdale traffic tickets and photo radar aint about safety it's about $$$$.
City putting $1.2 mil into busy courts
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
SCOTTSDALE - Scottsdale leaders agreed to hike spending for city courts to handle the skyrocketing number of cases related to traffic tickets, drunken-driving cases and other fallout from stepped-up law enforcement.
"We are much more aggressive than we were a few years ago when it comes to DUIs and photo radar," Mayor Mary Manross said.
On Tuesday, the Scottsdale City Council voted unanimously to spend nearly $1.2 million from a contingency fund on the city's justice system, including a new $400,000 courtroom in the public safety building on 75th Street. Ten new full-time employees will be hired to handle the extra load.
Since 2001, case filings in Scottsdale increased 24 percent and are expected to be up 50 percent by the end of this year.
The front lobby, where people come in to pay tickets and get information, is packed with long lines, according to a city report. Court Administrator Janet Cornell said that a busy day in the lobby used to be 350 people. Now, a busy day means more than 700 people.
City court workers were already busy last May, when taxpayers voted to put another 38 officers on the street with a 0.10 percent increase in the sales tax.
Now, defendants facing jury and bench trials must wait 60 days, up from 30 days in 2001. Civil hearings are also take twice as long as they did four years ago.
Reach the reporter at lesley.wright@arizonarepublic .com or (602) 444-6883.
Citizen proof is required to vote
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
Elections officials across the state are scrambling to enforce the voting provisions of Proposition 200, which became law Tuesday after the Justice Department signed off, making Arizona the first state that requires proof of citizenship when registering to vote.
So when Jassey Salgado registers for the first time after her 18th birthday in June, she will have to present her birth certificate, a passport, her naturalization papers or a driver's license issued after 1996. And when the high school senior shows up at the polls for the first time, she will be asked to show a picture ID that lists her name and address or two other forms of ID that prove her residence.
The new law, aimed at preventing voter fraud, will affect an estimated 200,000 who register to vote yearly in Maricopa County and up to 1.6 million residents who are eligible to vote in the next general election. advertisement
It creates new responsibilities for election officials statewide who are rushing to streamline the verification process before March elections. Proposition 200 requires them to verify citizenship by checking those documents.
Under old requirements, officials did not verify citizenship of voters who simply checked a box and signed a registration form affirming they were U.S. citizens.
"I look at my crystal ball and say I hope we are able to make this as smooth for the public as possible," said Secretary of State Jan Brewer, who oversees elections. "But any time you have a change of this magnitude, there's going to be some hiccups along the way. It's learning a new system, learning a new rule and understanding all of the provision - that's where the confusion's going to come in."
To complicate matters, it's unclear if a post-1996 Arizona driver's license really proves citizenship, elections officials said. To receive a license after 1996, residents had to prove they were in the United States legally but not that they were citizens. The Office of the Attorney General will soon release an opinion on whether the ID is acceptable.
Voters in November passed Proposition 200, which also requires proof of immigration or citizenship status when applying for public benefits.
Attorney General Terry Goddard has instructed state agencies to apply Proposition 200 only to welfare programs. But Randy Pullen, one of its key backers, disputed Goddard's interpretation with a lawsuit seeking an expanded definition to include more services. Goddard has requested the case be dismissed; lawyers will face off in court on Thursday.
Meanwhile, both of Proposition 200's voting and public-benefits provisions are under fire in a separate lawsuit. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund alleges it is unconstitutional in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson in November.
But to successfully fight the provision, experts said, the fund must prove Proposition 200 dilutes minority voting.
State Rep. Russell Pearce, a co-author of Proposition 200, said he was confident the measure would stand up to legal constitutional scrutiny. He predicted the new laws will help prevent voter fraud and won't be an inconvenience to ordinary Arizonans.
"If you listen to the opponents, you'd think that carrying an ID on you is somehow harmful to your health," said Pearce, R-Mesa.
"We knew it was constitutional."
Staff reporters Amanda J. Crawford and Robbie Sherwood contributed to this article.
Phoenix expected to lift boil-water advisory
Ginger D. Richardson, Judi Villa and Kerry Fehr-Snyder
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 26, 2005 10:45 AM
Phoenix officials are expected to end the boil-water advisory by noon today at a scheduled press conference they plan to hold with Maricopa County officials.
The city's 1.4 million residents were cautioned to continue boiling tap water for five minutes before using as officials await tests confirming that high sediment levels pose no public health risk.
On Tuesday night, water flowing from the contaminated Val Vista water treatment plant in Mesa was testing safe, but muddy water was still wending its way through the 18-mile pipeline. advertisement
City officials said there was no lethal risk to people who drink the water; however, health officials said potential symptoms from dirty water include gastrointestinal problems. Those most likely at risk are the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.
City officials chalked up the high levels of sediment in the water to Mother Nature, but they acknowledge that a series of decisions by water officials could have worsened the problem.
"I think we do need to look at what we knew and when we knew it, and whether there is anything we can do differently to keep this from happening again," City Councilman Claude Mattox said.
The end to the alert will come as a relief to Phoenix residents who on Tuesday turned off water sprinklers, took shorter showers or skipped them altogether and bought bottled water, some hoarding it by the cases, as they woke to find the city's water system under unusual strain. Schoolchildren went without physical education classes and recess, and there were no sips from water fountains or traditional hot meals at the cafeteria.
The restrictions also affected the western half of Paradise Valley, the only other area in the Valley that relies solely on Phoenix water. "We're just wondering if it's much ado about nothing," said John Casas, who was drinking filtered coffee Tuesday morning at the Good Egg restaurant on Central Avenue.
Still, Casas added, his children, ages 1 and 2, would skip their baths on Tuesday.
The problem first surfaced Sunday night when safety valves at one of the city's two operating water treatment plants sent out a warning that sediment levels in the water were exceeding federal standards. Muddy water due to recent storms was flowing into the Val Vista plant, clogging the water filters and reducing the plant's output.
Phoenix officials put out a public alert at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday after efforts to "manage" it by reducing water flow failed. By then, tests showed that the amount of particles in the water, called turbidity, was twice the federal limit.
Questions lingered Tuesday afternoon about why key city management was not made aware of the potential water problems until Monday afternoon and whether Phoenix and Salt River Project officials should have better anticipated, and prepared for, the high sediment levels in the water supply.
The water alert was reminiscent of other recent problems that have highlighted vulnerabilities in the Valley's infrastructure. In the summer of 2003, the rupture of a gas pipeline near Tucson closed a critical gasoline supply channel for 17 days, causing long lines at the pumps and prices that topped $3 a gallon. And last summer, a transformer fire at an Arizona Public Service plant forced Valley residents to turn up their thermostats to avoid rolling blackouts.
"It's just an unfortunate amount of coincidences that put us in this position," Mattox said of the latest alert.
Federal guidelines require that the city's water has no more than one turbidity unit. Water at the Val Vista plant contained 2.1 turbidity units when the water advisory was issued, a level still so minute that the water likely would not appear cloudy to the naked eye.
The water advisory was issued citywide, even though the Union Hills plant was pumping water without any problems, because officials couldn't tell where the water from both plants mixed. Officials continued to test the water throughout the day but turned up no bacteria, microbes or anything else that could be considered dangerous to residents. By midday Tuesday, water at the plant contained 0.6 turbidity unit, below the federal guideline. The water already in the pipeline still had higher-than-acceptable levels of dirt.
It's not unusual for turbidity to increase during rain or for microorganisms to get into a water treatment plant, said Morteza Abbaszadegan, director of the National Science Foundation's Water Quality Center at Arizona State University. Usually, chlorine, which is used at most treatment facilities, is sufficient to kill microorganisms, he said.
The particles detected in Phoenix's water supply are not disease-causing by themselves but could carry microbes that are not immediately detectable, he said.
"I don't want to cause fear and say it is dangerous to drink tap water," Abbaszadegan said. "But why should we do that if we have a high level of turbidity? Yes, let's boil the water. Let's take the precaution."
Officials blamed the shortage on a chain of events that began with the unprecedented rainfall and storms that hit the state about two weeks ago that forced the SRP to release excess water into dry river and canal beds that had been empty since 1998.
Phoenix water Q&A
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 25, 2005 12:00 AM
Answers to some common questions about Phoenix's drinking-water alert:
QUESTION: Will we have this problem again when another big storm hits?
ANSWER: City officials don't believe that a new wave of inclement weather will further affect Phoenix's water system because much of the sediment problem was caused by the accumulation of loose soil in riverbeds that had been devoid of flowing water for the past six years. That soil has already made its way into the water system. advertisement
Q: Why couldn't the city just clean the plant's filter to fix the problem?
A: The plant has 22 filters. During the crisis, so much sediment was flowing in the water that the filters needed to be cleaned every seven hours, rather than the normal once a day. Officials clean them by shutting down one or two filters at a time and flushing clean water back through them to unclog debris. During the alert, there was just too much dirt coming too fast and the filters were all in various stages of dirty.
Q: Doesn't the city have an emergency water supply to use in such alerts?
A: The city, like most others in the nation, has an extensive reservoir system. But officials drew on it most of the day Monday, when they reduced the amount of water they were pumping out of the Val Vista Water Treatment Plant to 10 million gallons a day from 90 million gallons. By Monday's end, officials had to bring the plant back up to normal pumping levels because the city's reservoir supply had been virtually exhausted. Draining the reservoir system further would have caused water pressure problems, which in turn, causes a potentially public safety hazard for the Fire Department, officials said. The city also pumped well water to try to keep up with demand.
Q: What contaminated the Phoenix water system?
A: Fecal matter from animals that caused turbidity, or imperceptible dirtiness, and was not chlorinated because three of five water treatment plants in Phoenix weren't working.
Q: What happens if water is not chlorinated?
A: Bacteria may develop. Health officials also are worried about two parasitic diseases, giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis.
Q: Are water filters enough?
A: Reverse-osmosis systems, if properly functioning and maintaining, can remove particles. But officials were not recommending that reverse-osmosis systems replace boiling water.
Q: What happens if you drink or use water with bacteria or parasites?
A: Most people will have no problems, but some will develop gastroenteritis, an infection or inflammation of the gastrointestinal track.
Q: What are the symptoms of these infections or inflammation?
A: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and gas.
Q: When will I know whether I've been exposed to a bacteria or parasite?
A: It takes from one to 12 days to develop symptoms.
Q: Who is most at risk?
A: The young, the old and those with underlying health problems, such as a weakened immune system.
Q: Is it OK to wash fruits and vegetables with Phoenix tap water?
A: No, they should be washed with bottled water or water that has been boiled for five minutes and then cooled.
Q: What should I avoid while eating out at restaurants?
A: Tap water, ice, juices mixed with water, fountain drinks and any fruits or vegetables washed with tap water.
Q: What about plates, glasses and forks food is served on at restaurants?
A: Unless the restaurant has a commercial dishwasher with high-temperature water, utensils, plates and glasses should not be used. Instead, paper plates, cups and plastic utensils should be used.
Q: Is it safe to use dishes that have been washed in a dishwater at home?
A: No, everything should be hand-washed in an unscented, diluted chlorine bleach solution (one teaspoon per gallon of water).
Q: Should you wash your hands with tap water after using the restroom?
A: That depends on whether you have any large open sores on your hands. If you do, use a hand sanitizer. If none is available, wash with hot water and a lot of soap for as long as it takes to sing Yankee Doodle Dandy.
Boil your water? How about let's boil the planners?
Jan. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
Two years ago it was gasoline. One pipeline break and we were essentially stranded, running on fumes.
But not to worry. It was, we were told, not a crisis.
Which, of course, meant that every one of us proceeded immediately to the nearest gas station to fill up, top off or suck down every last gallon of gas we could find. And for good reason. None of the people running this place seemed to figure out we had a problem until the pumps were dry. advertisement
Last year, it was electricity. One power surge at an APS substation and we were faced with the prospect of rolling blackouts.
But not to worry. It was, we were told, not a crisis.
So for 35 days last summer we turned up the thermostat until the water in the toilet reached a slow simmer, and we followed the 21-day, 2,000-mile odyssey of the only thing that could save us: a 190-ton transformer that was, curiously, not here but in Washington state.
Now, it's water. One big storm and the drinking supply of the nation's fifth-largest city has apparently turned to sludge.
Oh, but not to worry. It is, we are told, not a crisis. Which is why the city has issued a boil water advisory. A boil water advisory!
That's right. We went to bed Monday night and woke up in a Third World country.
All day Tuesday we were told not to worry but oh, by the way, don't drink the water. Not to worry but oh, by the way, boil the water before you brush your teeth or wash the dishes and by all means, give the bottled stuff to Fido. This, because of something known as turbidity.
"Abnormally dry conditions over a long period of time before recent above average rainfall in a short period of time resulted in heavier than normal sediment flowing downstream and into the city of Phoenix's water treatment plants," city officials said in an advisory.
Translation: There's gunk in the water.
Which, they assure us, they anticipated.
Just not too well.
Of five water treatment plants in Phoenix, two are shut down because of routine canal maintenance and one is closed due to storm damage. So when sediment headed our way, that left only two plants standing to do battle with the muck and mire. One lost.
Thus, the need to boil water.
Meanwhile, the water's just fine in Scottsdale and in Mesa and Peoria and, in fact, everyplace else. Only Phoenix is storming the Culligan man. Only Phoenix seems to have no alternative supply.
But it isn't much of a problem, we're told. Really.
"We have a very significant matter of inconvenience but it's not life-threatening," Mayor Phil Gordon assured us Tuesday.
"The water is not poisonous, and frankly, it's very unlikely that anyone would get sick," City Manager Frank Fairbanks said.
Meanwhile, the drinking fountains at City Hall were covered with tape Tuesday and posted: "Do Not Use Tap Water. Do Not Drink It or Use It for Coffee, Tea, Etc."
It's a heck of a way to run a city. And a state. In my present parched condition, I find myself wondering how it is that the people who run this place don't seem to anticipate problems. Even Steve Nash has a backup (sort of). Yet when it comes to pipelines and transformers and drinking water, our only Plan B is to boil water.
In coming days, I'm sure our leaders will explain how this happened, how these things seem to so often happen here. I, for one, can't wait to hear what they say.
For now, though, it's about as clear as, well, water.
Reach Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8635.
Water crisis raises red flags
Jan. 26, 2005 12:00 AM
Don't drink the water. It sounds ominous when a major city like Phoenix has to warn people to avoid tap water unless they boil it.
Fortunately, we're facing a public health problem, not a calamity. The experience raises questions, however, about how well Phoenix would respond in a major crisis. There are definitely lessons to be learned, ones that local governments around the state should take to heart.
First, city officials needed a single, clear message explaining the problem, what to do about it and how long it may last. This creates a basic set of critical information that people will hear over and over - and be able to repeat to others. advertisement
Mayor Phil Gordon had the right instincts in making himself easily accessible to the media. But this is a time when experts should do most of the talking.
Throughout Tuesday, there was too much confusion over how to use water safely. Was it OK to wash your hands? Were plates safe to use after going through the dishwasher?
Getting the message right is Step 1. Getting it out is just as important.
Phoenix decided against activating its reverse-911 system - where the city makes emergency calls to residents - on the grounds that it's designed for more localized events and is expensive. But that certainly would have been a handy tool, and the decision is worth re-examining.
Phoenix used its Web site effectively, with a clear link from the home page and a useful Q&A. But the Spanish version didn't appear until Tuesday afternoon.
And the water department phone line was swamped for hours Tuesday. In this era of security concerns, local governments should be able to set up hotlines rapidly, with adequate staffing.
Cities also need to be ready for worst-case scenarios. It's a variation on Murphy's law: As Phoenix discovered, when something goes wrong, it will happen at the worst possible time.
Normally, Phoenix has five water treatment plants. But two were shut down for routine canal cleaning, and a third suffered storm damage. So the city had no way to make up the supply when problems developed at the Val Vista plant, where filters couldn't handle the heavy load of sediment caused by recent storms. That led to levels of turbidity (imperceptible cloudiness) that violated federal standards and could help spread disease.
The filtering difficulty began late Sunday. As officials tried to cope with it, they urged Phoenix residents to conserve water. But the sediment levels got worse.
After conferring with Maricopa County Health Department, the city sent out a notice to alert the public at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. Some residents woke up, turned on the TV or radio and heard the warnings about the water supply. But lots of people woke up, drank a glass of water, brushed their teeth and washed a piece of fruit to eat for breakfast. With no idea of any health risk.
Councilman Claude Mattox plans to have his natural resources subcommittee investigate how Phoenix officials handled the water situation and whether the public should have been notified sooner.
To their credit, the mayor's staff also realizes that they must figure out a more systematic response to such incidents.
Phoenix water met federal standards late Tuesday, and the warnings were expected to be lifted today. But we can't sit back and relax. Phoenix and other Arizona cities must be well-prepared for future emergencies, when we may need to take far more serious steps than boiling our water.
Helicopter crash kills 31 Marines
Jan. 26, 2005 07:30 AM
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A U.S. military transport helicopter crashed in bad weather in Iraq's western desert Wednesday, killing 31 people, all believed to be Marines, while insurgents killed five other American troops in the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the Iraq war began.
Militants waging a campaign to derail Sunday's election carried out at least six car bombings and a flurry of other attacks on schools to be used as polling stations, political party offices and Kurdish sites, killing or wounding more than two dozen people.
While al-Qaida warned Iraqis to stay away from the polls - saying they would only have themselves to blame if they are hurt in attacks - President Bush called on people to "defy the terrorists" and cast ballots in the crucial election.
A Bush administration official said the cause of Wednesday's crash was not immediately known but that there was bad weather at the time.
The CH-53 Sea Stallion was carrying personnel from the 1st Marine Division when it went down about 1:20 a.m. near the town of Rutbah, about 220 miles west of Baghdad, while conducting security operations, the military said in a statement.
A search and rescue team has reached the site and an investigation into what caused the crash was under way.
The administration official said Wednesday that all 31 people killed in the crash were believed to be U.S. Marines - the most American servicemembers to die in a single incident in Iraq. It was also the deadliest day for U.S. forces since the March 2003 invasion.
Bush expressed his condolences for the deaths. "The story today is going to be very discouraging to the American people. I understand that. It is the long-term objective that is vital - that is to spread freedom," he told reporters.
He said "a lot of Iraqis" were expected to participate in the elections. "Clearly, there are some who are intimidated," Bush said. "I urge people to vote. I urge people to defy these terrorists."
In Iraq's Anbar province, four U.S. Marines were killed in fighting, the military said in a statement.
The statement gave no further details, but WABC reporter Jim Dolan, who was embedded with the troops who were attacked, said the deaths came when insurgents ambushed a Marine convoy leaving the town of Haditha, west of Baghdad, hitting a vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade.
Also Wednesday, insurgents attacked a U.S. Army patrol near the northern town of Duluiyah, killing one soldier and wounding two others, the U.S. command said.
With the four Marines and the soldier's deaths, at least 1,377 members of the U.S. military have died in Iraq, according to an Associated Press count. If all 31 dead in the crash are confirmed to be military personnel, the count would rise to 1,408.
The previous single deadliest incident for U.S. troops was also a helicopter crash: In November 2004, two Black Hawk helicopters collided while trying to avoid ground fire, killing 17 servicemembers. Earlier that month, a Chinook transport helicopter was shot down by shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile near Fallujah, killing 16 American soldiers and wounding 26.
The U.S. military has lost at least 33 helicopters since the start of the war, including at least 20 brought down by hostile fire, according to a study by the Brookings Institution.
Previously, the most Americans killed in one day came on March 23, 2003, when 26 troops were killed in various incidents during the U.S. military's drive to take Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein. Bush declared major combat over on May 1, 2003, but fighting has continued.
Last month, a suicide bomb exploded at a mess tent in a base near Mosul, killing 22 people including 14 U.S. soldiers and three American contractors.
With only days before the election, guerrillas carried out a string of attacks Wednesday targeting political groups and voting sites.
A suicide bomber detonated a vehicle packed with explosives at the offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the town of Sinjar, just outside Mosul, killing or wounding at least 20 people, said KDP official Mahdi al-Harki.
Earlier in the day, gunmen opened fire with machine guns on the local headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Communist Party in the city of Baqouba, north of Baghdad, killing a traffic policeman. The KDP and PUK are the two largest Kurdish groups in Iraq and have formed a coalition along with other Kurdish groups to run in the election.
Insurgents set off three car bombs in rapid succession in the town of Riyadh, north of Baghdad, killing at least five people - including three policemen.
Four American soldiers were injured in a car bombing Wednesday in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, the U.S. command said. Another car bomb targeted a multinational forces convoy on the road to Baghdad's international airport, injuring four soldiers, the command said.
The attack temporarily closed the airport road, one of the country's most dangerous. Up to four mortar shells exploded Wednesday near a police station in the northern Baghdad suburb of Sabaa al-Bor, injuring at least one Iraqi.
A Web site statement, purportedly from al-Qaida in Iraq, said it carried out the attack on the airport road, claiming that the targets were Americans.
The group also warned Iraqis to stay away from the polls Sunday. It said the Americans were organizing "fraudulent elections" and that Iraqi troops were protecting "the Jews and the Christians."
"The enemies of God will see that death is their destiny and failure their ally," the group said. "Oh people, be careful. Be careful not to be near the centers of infidelity and vice, the polling centers ... Don't blame us but blame yourselves" if harmed." The statement's authenticity could not be verified.
In new attacks, two schools slated to be used as polling stations were bombed overnight. A ground floor classroom in one of the buildings, a preparatory school for girls, was littered with broken glass and its main entrance was blackened and clogged with debris.
Al-Arabiya television broadcast a videotape showing three men identified by insurgents as election workers who were kidnapped in Mosul. The satellite station said the three were abducted by the Nineveh Mujahedeen, which threatened to attack polling stations on election day.
U.S. troops and insurgents also clashed in the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, in fighting that doctors said killed on Iraqi.
Iraqis will choose a 275-member National Assembly and regional legislatures. Sunni Muslim extremists have threatened to sabotage the election and many Sunni clerics have called for a boycott because of the presence of 170,000 U.S. and other foreign troops.
In Baghdad's Sadr City district, Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops raided a Shiite mosque, detaining up to 25 followers of a radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, police and the cleric's supporters said.
hmmmm! the arizona republic seems to be questioning mayor phil gorden line that him and the city council are not responsible for the filthy phoenix water supply.
All clear on Phoenix water
Problem's handling raises questions
Ginger D. Richardson and Mary Jo Pitzl
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 27, 2005 12:00 AM
Phoenix's water quality alert ended late Wednesday afternoon with a toast by city and county officials after tests showed that sediment levels in the water system didn't pose any health risks.
But even as Mayor Phil Gordon said, "Phoenix water is safe today, was safe yesterday and will be safe in the future," more questions surfaced about how the two-day problem started and whether the city managed it appropriately, including:
暊Why key city officials weren't made aware of the problem, which arose Sunday, until Monday afternoon. Maricopa County didn't begin taking an active role until late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. "I take responsibility for that," Gordon said.
暊Why the city would operate with only two of its five water-treatment plants after storms had already damaged one. A week after heavy rainfall caused the closure of the Verde water treatment plant, the Salt River Project went ahead with scheduled canal maintenance, causing the closure of two more plants.
暊Why city and county officials didn't notify north Phoenix residents at noon Wednesday that their water was safe to drink. Instead, they waited until 4 p.m. to declare the entire city safe. County officials said they were ready to give the all-clear for north Phoenix at noon but agreed to wait a few more hours because Phoenix felt it could prove the water supplies on the city's south side were also safe.
The restrictions affected Phoenix's 1.4 million residents and the western half of Paradise Valley, which also relies on Phoenix water.
Phoenix officials maintained there was no lethal risk to people who drank the water; however, they acknowledge the situation inconvenienced residents and businesses, many of which lost revenue. Water shops that sell treated city water had to close, along with some coffee houses.
"I'm irritated but not at (Starbucks)," said Sharon Nance, 45, who was unable to get a cup of coffee Wednesday afternoon. "I'm more irritated with the city of Phoenix."
City officials spent Wednesday morning huddling with county administrators, poring over test data and taking steps to repair the integrity of the city's water system before rescinding the 36-hour-old advisory that warned residents to boil water.
The all-clear came after the city satisfied a series of demands by county officials, including flushing portions of the city's pipeline network, capturing some of the cloudy water in local reservoirs, and receiving test results that showed the water contained no harmful bacteria.
"I would not lift the boil-water advisory until they could show they had met the standard," said Al Brown, director of the county's Environmental Services Department.
This week's water woes started Sunday when water flowing into the Val Vista water treatment plant in Mesa began testing for unusually high sediment levels. Although the problem worsened, a public alert was not issued until 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Officials blamed the problem on a series of events that began with heavy rain about two weeks ago that forced the SRP to release excess water into dry river and canal beds.
The prolonged drought caused loose soil to accumulate in those beds, further adding to the mud, dirt and particles that were already flowing through the water.
With only two water treatment plants operating, city officials could not shut down the Val Vista facility to properly clean the water.
At one point, city officials asked the SRP about the possibility of reopening the Arizona Canal, which provides water to the 24th Street and Deer Valley plants.
"They couldn't because they had certain construction projects going on," said Mike Gritzuk, director of the Water Services Department.
Initially, they believed that the two plants wouldn't be needed because the Val Vista and Union Hills plants' combined capacity more than doubled the city's winter daily demand of 136 million gallons of water.
SRP officials said they did receive an eleventh-hour request from the city late Monday, but it wasn't as easy as simply lifting a floodgate, said Paul Cherrington, the SRP's manager of water engineering and transmission.
Numerous projects revolve around the monthlong period when segments of the canal are dry. For example, Scottsdale is building its own water treatment plant along the canal at Hayden Road. It needs this dry period to install pipes that will connect the canal to the plant, Cherrington said.
In the coming weeks, city officials have agreed, at the county's request, to develop a system to monitor the turbidity, or cloudiness, throughout the water system 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Current guidelines require only that the city test for murkiness as the water exits the treatment plants. This new system would exceed federal requirements and could be a manual setup or automated via computers, which officials estimate could cost "tens of millions" of dollars. The county also wants the city to submit by Feb. 4 a detailed plan on how Phoenix intends to inspect, clean and test the reservoir system, which may contain residual sediment.
The city also needs to determine how best to drain and clean a reservoir along 64th Street, where officials have captured and isolated nearly 5 million gallons of turbid water.
Next month, the county and the city will conduct an official review of whether this week's events could have been handled better, said Max Wilson, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Phoenix officials will continue to evaluate their system for weaknesses and potential improvement. In the meantime, some Valley residents say they are happy things have returned to normal.
"I wasn't really upset," said Marilyn Sain, 59. "I don't know what else they could have done."
Others, including her husband, weren't so understanding.
"I just think it's a little odd that I lived in (Seattle) for more than 50 years and can't recall anything like this ever occurring," said Dustyn Sain, 52, who works in downtown Phoenix.
Reporters Christine Romero and Meghan E. Moravcik contributed to this article.
Caffeine fanatics edgy about not getting java
Christine L. Romero
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 27, 2005 12:00 AM
Serious trouble was brewing for Erika Ferrer.
No, it wasn't a tragic accident. It was a drama of another kind: caffeine withdrawal.
Like hundreds of other coffee-dependent residents across Phoenix, she couldn't get her Starbucks fix early Wednesday as the city coped with the second day of advisories to boil tap water or use bottled water. Starbucks Corp.banned its Phoenix stores from making any java until the city mandate was lifted and no doubt lost thousands of dollars in sales.
The city finally lifted the ban around 4 p.m., but that didn't help Ferrer or other java addicts early in the day.
"I'm desperate," the 35-year-old Ferrer said around 2:30 p.m. "I told them, 'I don't even care about the water. I'll sign a waiver.' If this goes on tomorrow then I will be upset."
The store manager of a downtown Phoenix Starbucks admitted early Wednesday afternoon that he hadn't yet had a drop of brew and needed a fix. Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz in Seattle, where coffee was fit for consumption all day, said that safety came first and that the city had advised the company to halt production.
Hilowitz didn't seem surprised that customers were riled up.
"We have very passionate customers," he said.
Some caffeine-driven consumers sought alternative sources.
"I guess I'll switch to Diet (Mountain) Dew," Jaime Smith said.
Ironically, one Starbuck's advertised a new drink with the tagline, "That's our idea of happy." Smith, 25, was anything but content. She offered to buy a bottle of water so the Starbucks employees could make her usual sugar-free hazelnut cappuccino. But the workers couldn't do it.
"I was willing to work with them if they were willing to work with me," Smith said.
Some sad Starbucks customers heard a rumor that a nearby Einstein Bros. had hot joe and headed out to investigate.
In fact, Einstein's did have coffee but still wasn't serving fountain drinks early Tuesday afternoon. Cautious company officials closed 20 Phoenix stores Tuesday but reopened them Wednesday, using bottled water.
Einstein's coffee machines employ special filters, so it's safe to drink, regardless of water conditions nationwide.
The water crisis was a sales boon for some, like Shamrock Foods, which distributes food service products, including water, to restaurants, schools, some government institutions, casinos and prisons.
"There was more a sense of urgency," Shamrock Foods' Rob Ahrensdorf said. "People stopped at our location to pick up the product rather than having our drivers deliver."
He sold thousands of cases Tuesday, compared with hundreds of cases on a normal day.
"We did about 20 times the business that we do on an average day."
Reporter Luci Scott contributed to this article. Reach the reporter at (602) 444-8285.
a new terrorist weapon? parking a car on train tracks?
simple and in this case in los angeles effective!
10 dead after L.A. train hits suicidal man's SUV
Jan. 26, 2005 03:35 PM
GLENDALE, Calif. - A suicidal man parked his SUV on the railroad tracks and set off a crash of two commuter trains Wednesday that hurled passengers down the aisles and turned rail cars into smoking, twisted heaps of steel, authorities said. At least 10 people were killed and more than 180 injured.
The collision took place just before daybreak on the outskirts of Los Angeles, creating a scene of carnage: Employees at a Costco store rushed to the scene and pulled riders from the tipped-over double-deck cars before the flames reached them. Dazed passengers staggered from the wreckage, some limping. One elderly man on the train was covered in blood and soot, his legs and arms apparently broken.
"I heard a noise. It got louder and louder," said passenger Diane Brady, 56. "And next thing I knew the train tilted, everyone was screaming and I held onto a pole for dear life. I held on for what seemed like a week and a half it seemed. It was a complete nightmare."
Dozens of the injured were in critical condition, and more than 120 people were sent to hospitals.
The wreck set in motion a huge rescue operation involving more than 300 firefighters, some of whom climbed ladders to reach the windows of the battered train cars. A triage center was set up in a parking lot, where the injured lay sprawled on color-colded mats - red for those with severe injuries, green for those less seriously hurt.
Authorities said the nation's deadliest rail disaster in nearly six years was caused by an aborted suicide attempt by a man who parked his sport utility vehicle on the tracks. Police said he changed his mind and got out of the vehicle before a Metrolink train smashed into it.
The train then derailed and collided with another train going in the opposite direction. That train also jumped the tracks.
Juan Manuel Alvarez, 25, of Compton, was arrested and will face homicide charges, Police Chief Randy Adams said. Alvarez had also slashed his wrists and stabbed himself, but the injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, authorities said. Adams said Alvarez had a criminal record that involved drugs.
"This whole incident was started by a deranged individual that was suicidal," Adams said. "I think his intent at that time was to take his own life but changed his mind prior to the train actually striking this vehicle."
The crash occurred at about 6 a.m. in an industrial area of Glendale, a suburb north of Los Angeles. One train was headed for Los Angeles' Union Station from Moorpark, a western suburb. The other train was outbound from Union Station to the San Fernando Valley.
About a dozen employees from the Costco ended up playing an important part in the rescue after hearing the thunderous collision.
Costco employee Jenny Doll said trapped passengers - some severely injured - screamed for help as flames raced toward the front of the train car and smoke and diesel fumes filled the air. Forklift operators, truck drivers and stock clerks worked side-by-side to pull victims out, using store carts to wheel some of the most severely injured to safety.
"There were people stuck in the front. Everything was mangled," Doll said. "You could not even tell that it was a train cab at all."
Anguished relatives rushed to the area to find out what had become of their loved ones.
George Touma, 19, said he was called by his mother, who was on one of the trains.
"She told me she was bleeding in the head and her arm was really hurting," said Touma, who searched for her. "I'm really worried because she has vertigo and when I tried to call back she wouldn't answer.
It was the worst U.S. rail tragedy since March 15, 1999, when an Amtrak train hit a truck and derailed near Bourbonnais, Ill., killing 11 people and injuring more than 100.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Railroad Administration were sent.
"The magnitude of the incident requires a large team," Transportation Department spokesman Robert Johnson said.
Hugo Moran, one of Costco employees who rushed to the wreck, could not fathom the suicide attempt.
"There's a lot of ways to do it without hurting someone else," Moran said. "Was he mad at himself or mad at the world? I don't understand it."
Tempe Town Toilet Overflows again! 2nd time in two weeks!
Tempe closes lake to boaters
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 27, 2005 12:00 AM
Tempe Town Lake is off limits again to boaters, the second of what could be a string of closures this winter.
Today the Salt River Project plans to release 10,000 cubic feet of water per second from Bartlett Reservoir, increasing water flow through the Tempe lake, said Basil Boyd Jr., a Tempe water resources hydrologist. City leaders fear that debris from that runoff could pose a hazard to boaters. This winter's water releases are the first to affect the lake since it opened in 1999.
"We are applying the abundance of caution to this because this has never happened (to the lake) before," Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman said. advertisement
A team of city workers, including representatives from police, fire and risk management, will go out on the lake and evaluate conditions.
While vessels aren't allowed on the lake, other recreational activities on the shore, such as fishing, are allowed. Tempe Town Lake, which was formed by damming the Salt River in Tempe, gets 2 million visitors annually.
It reopened Saturday after a three-week closure caused by SRP releasing water from the Bartlett and Horseshoe reservoirs into the normally dry Salt River, filling it bank to bank. It was the first time city officials turned away boaters since the lake opened.
Both reservoirs are still brimming with water from earlier rainstorms and more rain is expected in the region this weekend. The National Weather Service predicts the area will have an unusually wet winter, which means more releases into the Salt - and possibly more Town Lake closures.
A weak storm from the north Pacific will bring showers to the Bartlett reservoir area on Saturday and Sunday, said Hector Vasquez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. It won't be as powerful as Wednesday's storm, which picked up subtropical moisture from Baja, he said. Similar tropical systems will probably give the region more rain than usual for the rest of the winter, Vasquez added.
The rain and subsequent water releases mean it will take longer for the lake to lose its muddy complexion.
Town Lake has been murky because river water gushing into the lake brought clay and silt from upstream. Those particles won't settle to the bottom of the lake until the water is still, Boyd said.
a double standard? stun guns are a deadly weapon when used by civilians but just a tool when used by cops?
Bill seeks to regulate stun guns
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 27, 2005 12:00 AM
Police should have the right to shoot and kill any suspect who threatens them with a stun gun, state lawmakers said Wednesday when they took a step toward legislating the weapon in Arizona.
The proposed law would also require stun-gun manufacturers to keep and maintain a registry of stun-gun buyers who must provide a government-issued identification and an address before taking possession of the weapon.
House Speaker Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, who introduced the legislation, said it seeks to head off abuse of a weapon that has been unregulated and is becoming more accessible to the public.
Attorney General Terry Goddard said in a statement Wednesday that he supports the legislation because it makes clear that while stun guns are "non-lethal" weapons, they can be deadly in the wrong hands.
Goddard also said he wants to make sure anyone using a stun gun during a rape or robbery can be appropriately punished.
"Under current law, a criminal might argue that a stun gun is a non-deadly, non-dangerous weapon, and if the court were to agree, the criminal would receive a lesser sentence," he said. "I don't want any criminal using a stun gun to be able to slip through that legal loophole."
The legislation does not specify any particular model of stun gun, but Weiers praised Scottsdale stun-gun manufacturer Taser International as "a great company in Arizona" with a great product.
However, medical examiners have cited the gun in 12 deaths nationwide, The Arizona Republic has found. In three cases, they cited Taser as a cause of death. In six cases, they cited Taser as a contributing factor. In three other cases, they said the stun gun could not be ruled out as a cause of death.
Kevin asked what is the legal defination of assault?
13-1203. Assault; classification
A. A person commits assault by:
1. Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing any physical injury to another person; or
2. Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury; or
3. Knowingly touching another person with the intent to injure, insult or provoke such person.
B. Assault committed intentionally or knowingly pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 is a class 1 misdemeanor. Assault committed recklessly pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2 is a class 2 misdemeanor. Assault committed pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3 is a class 3 misdemeanor.
13-1204. Aggravated assault; classification; definition
A. A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault as defined in section 13-1203 under any of the following circumstances:
1. If the person causes serious physical injury to another.
2. If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
3. If the person commits the assault after entering the private home of another with the intent to commit the assault.
4. If the person is eighteen years of age or older and commits the assault upon a child the age of fifteen years or under.
5. If the person commits the assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is a peace officer, or a person summoned and directed by the officer while engaged in the execution of any official duties.
6. If the person commits the assault knowing or having reason to know the victim is a teacher or other person employed by any school and the teacher or other employee is upon the grounds of a school or grounds adjacent to the school or is in any part of a building or vehicle used for school purposes, or any teacher or school nurse visiting a private home in the course of the teacher's or nurse's professional duties, or any teacher engaged in any authorized and organized classroom activity held on other than school grounds.
7. If the person meets both of the following conditions:
(a) Is imprisoned or otherwise subject to the custody of any of the following:
(i) The state department of corrections.
(ii) The department of juvenile corrections.
(iii) A law enforcement agency.
(iv) A county or city jail or an adult or juvenile detention facility of a city or county.
(v) Any other entity that is contracting with the state department of corrections, the department of juvenile corrections, a law enforcement agency, another state, any private correctional facility, a county, a city or the federal bureau of prisons or other federal agency that has responsibility for sentenced or unsentenced prisoners.
(b) Commits an assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is acting in an official capacity as an employee of any of the entities prescribed by subdivision (a) of this paragraph.
8. If the person commits the assault while the victim is bound or otherwise physically restrained or while the victim's capacity to resist is substantially impaired.
9. If the person commits the assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is a fire fighter, fire investigator, fire inspector, emergency medical technician or paramedic engaged in the execution of any official duties, or a person summoned and directed by such individual while engaged in the execution of any official duties.
10. If the person commits the assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is a licensed health care practitioner who is certified or licensed pursuant to title 32, chapter 13, 15, 17 or 25, or a person summoned and directed by the licensed health care practitioner while engaged in the person's professional duties. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply if the person who commits the assault is seriously mentally ill, as defined in section 36-550, or is afflicted with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia.
11. If the person commits assault by any means of force which causes temporary but substantial disfigurement, temporary but substantial loss or impairment of any body organ or part, or a fracture of any body part.
12. If the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203, subsection A, paragraph 1 or 3 and the person is in violation of an order of protection issued against the person pursuant to section 13-3602 or 13-3624.
13. If the person commits the assault knowing or having reason to know that the victim is a prosecutor.
B. Except pursuant to subsections C and D of this section, aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section is a class 3 felony except if the victim is under fifteen years of age in which case it is a class 2 felony punishable pursuant to section 13-604.01. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 11 of this section is a class 4 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 7 of this section is a class 5 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 or 13 of this section is a class 6 felony.
C. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section committed on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 2 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 11 of this section committed on a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 3 felony. Aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section resulting in any physical injury to a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the execution of any official duties is a class 5 felony.
D. Aggravated assault pursuant to:
1. Subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 of this section is a class 2 felony if committed on a prosecutor.
2. Subsection A, paragraph 11 of this section is a class 3 felony if committed on a prosecutor.
3. Subsection A, paragraph 13 of this section is a class 5 felony if the assault results in a physical injury to a prosecutor.
E. For the purposes of this section, "prosecutor" means county attorney, municipal prosecutor or attorney general and an assistant or deputy county attorney, municipal prosecutor or attorney general.
and since you all are in jail we get some new definations.
13-1206. Dangerous or deadly assault by prisoner or juvenile; classification
A person, while in the custody of the state department of corrections, the department of juvenile corrections, a law enforcement agency or a county or city jail, who commits an assault involving the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument or who intentionally or knowingly inflicts serious physical injury upon another person is guilty of a class 2 felony. If the person is an adult or is a juvenile convicted as an adult pursuant to section 8-327 or 13-501 or the rules of procedure for the juvenile court, the person shall not be eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the sentence imposed by the court has been served or commuted. A sentence imposed pursuant to this section shall be consecutive to any other sentence presently being served by the convicted person.
13-1207. Prisoners who commit assault with intent to incite to riot or participate in riot; classification
A person, while in the custody of the state department of corrections or a county or city jail, who commits assault upon another person with the intent to incite to riot or who participates in a riot is guilty of a class 2 felony and shall not be eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or release from confinement on any basis until the sentence imposed by the court has been served or commuted. A sentence imposed pursuant to this section shall be consecutive to any other sentence presently being served by the convicted person.
13-1212. Prisoner assault with bodily fluids; liability for costs; classification; definition
A. A prisoner commits prisoner assault with bodily fluids if the prisoner throws or projects any bodily fluid at or onto a correctional facility employee or private prison security officer who the prisoner knows or reasonably should know is an employee of a correctional facility or is a private prison security officer.
B. A prisoner who is convicted of a violation of this section is liable for any costs incurred by the correctional facility employee or private prison security officer, including costs incurred for medical expenses or cleaning uniforms.
C. The state department of corrections shall adopt rules for the payment of costs pursuant to subsection B. Monies in the prisoner's trust fund or retention account established by the correctional facility in which the prisoner is incarcerated may be used to pay the costs pursuant to subsection B.
D. A prisoner who violates this section is guilty of a class 6 felony and the sentence imposed for a violation of this section shall run consecutively to any sentence of imprisonment for which the prisoner was confined or to any term of community supervision, probation, parole, work furlough or other release from confinement.
E. For the purposes of this section, "bodily fluids" means saliva, blood, seminal fluid, urine or feces.
13-1208. Assault; vicious animals; classification; exception
A. A person who owns a dog which the owner knows or has reason to know has a propensity to attack, to cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation or which has been found to be a vicious animal by a court of competent authority, which bites, inflicts physical injury on or attacks a human being while at large is guilty of a class 6 felony.
B. A person who owns a dog which the owner knows or has reason to know that the dog has a propensity to attack, to cause injury or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings without provocation or which has been found to be a vicious animal and who keeps the dog or vicious animal in an enclosed area or yard outside of a residence or structure on the property shall post a notice indicating the presence of the dog or vicious animal.
C. The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs owned or used by a law enforcement agency and which are used in the performance of police work.
Translator: Thong underwear, sexual tactics used at Guantanamo
Jan. 27, 2005 01:52 PM
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider's written account.
A draft manuscript obtained by The Associated Press is classified as secret pending a Pentagon review for a planned book that details ways the U.S. military used women as part of tougher physical and psychological interrogation tactics to get terror suspects to talk.
It's the most revealing account so far of interrogations at the secretive detention camp, where officials say they have halted some controversial techniques.
"I have really struggled with this because the detainees, their families and much of the world will think this is a religious war based on some of the techniques used, even though it is not the case," the author, former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar, 29, told AP.
Saar didn't provide the manuscript or approach AP, but confirmed the authenticity of nine draft pages AP obtained. He requested his hometown remain private so he wouldn't be harassed.
Saar, who is neither Muslim nor of Arab descent, worked as an Arabic translator at the U.S. camp in eastern Cuba from December 2002 to June 2003. At the time, it was under the command of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who had a mandate to get better intelligence from prisoners, including alleged al-Qaida members caught in Afghanistan.
Saar said he witnessed about 20 interrogations and about three months after his arrival at the remote U.S. base he started noticing "disturbing" practices.
One female civilian contractor used a special outfit that included a miniskirt, thong underwear and a bra during late-night interrogations with prisoners, mostly Muslim men who consider it taboo to have close contact with women who aren't their wives.
Beginning in April 2003, "there hung a short skirt and thong underwear on the hook on the back of the door" of one interrogation team's office, he writes. "Later I learned that this outfit was used for interrogations by one of the female civilian contractors ... on a team which conducted interrogations in the middle of the night on Saudi men who were refusing to talk."
Some Guantanamo prisoners who have been released say they were tormented by "prostitutes."
In another case, Saar describes a female military interrogator questioning an uncooperative 21-year-old Saudi detainee who allegedly had taken flying lessons in Arizona before the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Suspected Sept. 11 hijacker Hani Hanjour received pilot instruction for three months in 1996 and in December 1997 at a flight school in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"His female interrogator decided that she needed to turn up the heat," Saar writes, saying she repeatedly asked the detainee who had sent him to Arizona, telling him he could "cooperate" or "have no hope whatsoever of ever leaving this place or talking to a lawyer.' "
The man closed his eyes and began to pray, Saar writes.
The female interrogator wanted to "break him," Saar adds, describing how she removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent erection.
The detainee looked up and spat in her face, the manuscript recounts.
The interrogator left the room to ask a Muslim linguist how she could break the prisoner's reliance on God. The linguist told her to tell the detainee that she was menstruating, touch him, then make sure to turn off the water in his cell so he couldn't wash.
Strict interpretation of Islamic law forbids physical contact with women other than a man's wife or family, and with any menstruating women, who are considered unclean.
"The concept was to make the detainee feel that after talking to her he was unclean and was unable to go before his God in prayer and gain strength," says the draft, stamped "Secret."
The interrogator used ink from a red pen to fool the detainee, Saar writes.
"She then started to place her hands in her pants as she walked behind the detainee," he says. "As she circled around him he could see that she was taking her hand out of her pants. When it became visible the detainee saw what appeared to be red blood on her hand. She said, 'Who sent you to Arizona?' He then glared at her with a piercing look of hatred.
"She then wiped the red ink on his face. He shouted at the top of his lungs, spat at her and lunged forward" - so fiercely that he broke loose from one ankle shackle.
"He began to cry like a baby," the draft says, noting the interrogator left saying, "Have a fun night in your cell without any water to clean yourself."
Events Saar describes resemble two previous reports of abusive female interrogation tactics, although it wasn't possible to independently verify his account.
In November, in response to an AP request, the military described an April 2003 incident in which a female interrogator took off her uniform top, exposed her brown T-shirt, ran her fingers through a detainee's hair and sat on his lap. That session was immediately ended by a supervisor and that interrogator received a written reprimand and additional training, the military said.
In another incident, the military reported that in early 2003 a different female interrogator "wiped dye from red magic marker on detainees' shirt after detainee spit (cq) on her," telling the detainee it was blood. She was verbally reprimanded, the military said.
Sexual tactics used by female interrogators have been criticized by the FBI, which complained in a letter obtained by AP last month that U.S. defense officials hadn't acted on complaints by FBI observers of "highly aggressive" interrogation techniques, including one in which a female interrogator grabbed a detainee's genitals.
About 20 percent of the guards at Guantanamo are women, said Lt. Col. James Marshall, a spokesman for U.S. Southern Command. He wouldn't say how many of the interrogators were female.
Marshall wouldn't address whether the U.S. military had a specific strategy to use women.
"U.S. forces treat all detainees and conduct all interrogations, wherever they may occur, humanely and consistent with U.S. legal obligations, and in particular with legal obligations prohibiting torture," Marshall said Thursday.
But some officials at the U.S. Southern Command have questioned the formation of an all-female team as one of Guantanamo's "Immediate Reaction Force" units that subdue troublesome male prisoners in their cells, according to a document classified as secret and obtained by AP.
In one incident, dated June 19, 2004, "The detainee appears to be genuinely traumatized by a female escort securing the detainee's leg irons," according to the document, a U.S. Southern Command summary of videotapes shot when the teams were used.
The summary warned that anyone outside Department of Defense channels should be prepared to address allegations that women were used intentionally with Muslim men.
At Guantanamo, Saar said, "Interrogators were given a lot of latitude under Miller," the commander who went from the prison in Cuba to overseeing prisons in Iraq, where the Abu Ghraib scandal shocked the world with pictures revealing sexual humiliation of naked prisoners.
Several female troops have been charged in the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Saar said he volunteered to go to Guantanamo because "I really believed in the mission," but then he became disillusioned during his six months at the prison.
After leaving the Army with more than four years service, Saar worked as a contractor briefly for the FBI.
The Department of Defense has censored parts of his draft, mainly blacking out people's names, Saar said. He needed permission to publish because he signed a disclosure statement before going to Guantanamo.
The book, which Saar titled "Inside the Wire," is due out this year with Penguin Press.
Guantanamo has about 545 prisoners from some 40 countries, many held more than three years without charge or access to lawyers and many suspected of links to al-Qaida or Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime, which harbored the terrorist network.
Paisley Dodds is an Associated Press reporter based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and has been covering the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since it opened in 2002.
first phoenix mayor phil gordon denied that him and the city council members were responsible for the filthy water supply. now the mayor says that maybe he and his fellow city council members are responsible for the filthy water
Mayor: Water alert was botched
Gordon orders inquiry into Phoenix scare
Ginger D. Richardson
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon admitted Thursday that the city botched this week's water scare and has ordered an immediate investigation.
He said the week's events raise serious questions about the safety of the city's water supply, key officials' ability to handle the unexpected and how important information is relayed to the general public.
Gordon added that he is "not happy" with Water Services Director Mike Gritzuk's handling of the situation. advertisement
"Candidly, the information that the manager, myself and my colleagues received . . . some of it was inaccurate, incomplete and just incorrect," he said.
Gritzuk, who has been the city's water services director for 16 years, could not be reached for comment.
In a memo to City Councilman Claude Mattox, who heads the city's natural-resources subcommittee, the mayor said that problems went well beyond communication snafus at the management level.
"While the end result of this week's water-related events was a good one, the process that got us there was simply not worthy of Phoenix and the people we serve," Gordon wrote.
For example, Gordon said, the water-boiling advisory that was issued about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday was not required by the county and was possibly an unnecessary step.
"That's what I have been told," Gordon said. "It's just one of many things we need to look at."
The restrictions affected 1.4 million Phoenix residents and the western half of Paradise Valley, which also relies on Phoenix water.
The memo is specifically addressed to Mattox, who is being asked to lead the investigation.
The mayor is demanding answers to the following questions:
Do the city's plants have the capacity necessary to provide clean, safe water to residents?
What steps can be taken to better ensure a safe drinking water supply?
Why was the information flowing to top city officials and the public changing?
How can the city better deliver timely, accurate and useful information to residents?
Did the city make the best decisions it could with the information that was available?
What did the city know, and when did officials know it?
How could they have acted to handle this better?
The inquiry will run concurrently with a review that City Manager Frank Fairbanks is conducting.
Fairbanks is looking into actions and decisions by management and water personnel; Mattox's subcommittee will focus on safety and communication issues.
All preliminary findings will be presented to the City Council by Feb. 15.
"We're absolutely not going to try to do anything to cover this up," Mattox said. "It's obvious that there were major communication faux pas here that need to be addressed."
Phoenix's water-quality alert ended late Wednesday afternoon after tests showed that sediment levels in the water no longer exceeded federal guidelines.
But the all-clear came later than expected and capped two days of questions that have raised the specter of mismanagement by the city as attempts were made to bring the situation under control.
Questions have swirled about why key officials weren't made aware of the problems at the Val Vista water treatment plant until early Monday evening despite the fact that water department administrators knew there were high sediment levels in the water on Sunday.
City officials have blamed the high sediment levels, or turbidity, on recent heavy rains that caused the Salt River Project to release water from its reservoirs into its canals and the Salt River.
The floods forced the Dec. 30 closure of one water treatment plant, and two others were taken offline when the SRP began its annual canal dry-up on Jan. 7.
That left the city with only two of its five plants in operation, which officials believed was enough to meet demand.
But then water flowing into the Val Vista plant in Mesa began testing for unusually high sediment levels.
The extra dirt clogged the plant's filters faster than they could be cleaned. The city couldn't shut it down because the remaining plant wasn't enough to supply the city with water.
As the city grappled with the situation, there have been indications that Phoenix officials had to seek help from other municipalities about how to treat the muddy water. They also could have told residents in the northern half of the city to stop boiling water four hours before the advisory was actually lifted at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
"This was an inconvenience," Mattox said. "We were never in a serious situation. But it has now raised very important questions about our infrastructure and how we handle things."
yea! like the USA is going to obey international law!!!
Mexico threatens to take Prop. 200 to rights tribunal
Republic Mexico City Bureau
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
MEXICO CITY - Mexican officials said Thursday they may complain to an international human rights tribunal if U.S. courts fail to overturn Arizona's Proposition 200.
Human rights experts said such a complaint likely would have little legal impact, since courts have limited power over the United States, but that it could be a diplomatic embarrassment for the United States.
A foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday confirmed comments about the case made by Luis Ernesto Derbez, Mexico's top diplomat, during a radio show earlier this week.
"We are looking at all legal means in the United States, and if that fails, we could look to an international body - that was the context," said spokesman Edgar Trujillo.
The comments came as activists in Arizona challenge Proposition 200 in court, and as opposition politicians accuse Mexican President Vicente Fox's government of doing too little to stop the law.
The Mexican government has provided "moral support" but not money for the legal challenge filed by the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said Danny Ortega, a Phoenix attorney helping the group.
Proposition 200 requires Arizonans to prove their U.S. citizenship when registering to vote, and to provide proof they are legal residents when applying for certain state benefits. State employees who fail to report undocumented immigrants face a possible $750 fine and four months in jail.
Derbez says the law could encourage racial discrimination. He has said that the Mexico is helping activists.
"We are . . . first using the legal capacities of the United States itself and . . . if that does not work, bringing it to international tribunals," the Associated Press quoted Derbez as saying in the radio interview.
It is unclear whether a ruling by an international tribunal would have any impact.
There are only a few international courts, and their jurisdiction and power over countries is limited, said James Ross, senior legal adviser for New York-based Human Rights Watch.
But Mexico could bring the issue to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, a group of countries that condemns human rights violations, said James Anaya, a professor of human rights law at the University of Arizona.
homeland security thugs want another $3 each time we board a plane. does this sound like a mafia extortion or what?
Bush seeks raise airline security fee
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - A fee charged to airline travelers to help pay for airport security would more than double under President Bush's proposed spending plan for the Homeland Security Department.
Bush's plan, due to be released Feb. 7, would add just $48 million to Homeland Security's overall $41 billion budget, according to a copy of the agency proposal obtained Thursday by the Associated Press.
Of that, $6.8 billion is required by law while the rest is appropriated by Congress, which could change the total.
Bush's plan calls for boosting the security fee to $5.50 from $2.50 for a one-way airline ticket and to $8 from $5 for a round trip. The hikes are expected to generate $1.5 billion.
Another budget provision would set aside $174 million to complete installation of high-speed computer connections to replace dial-up connections used by about half of the nation's airports.
Officials of the Transportation Security Administration have said the upgrade is needed because some of the nation's largest airports do not have telephone or computer connections among administrative, screening and baggage areas.
That poses a security risk because a problem could occur in one area of an airport and another area might not learn of it right away.
The spending proposal also calls for establishing a new office to coordinate programs that collect information about foreign visitors, airline and ship crews, and hazardous-materials workers.
The plan would provide more money for authorities to crack down on undocumented workers and arrest and deport undocumented immigrants but would fund only 210 more Border Patrol agents.
A bill signed by Bush last year called for 2,000 additional agents.
the question is not will the arabs nuke the American Empire but when!
Ashcroft warns of nuclear threats
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The possibility that al-Qaida or its sympathizers could gain access to a nuclear bomb is the greatest danger facing the United States in the war on terrorism, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Thursday.
U.S. officials "from time to time" uncover evidence terrorists are trying to develop nuclear capability, Ashcroft said without providing any specifics. It is not clear whether they have made any progress, but the United States must take the threat seriously, he told the Associated Press.
"If you were to have nuclear proliferation find its way into the hands of terrorists, the entire world might be very seriously disrupted by a few individuals who sought to impose their will, their arcane philosophy, on the rest of mankind," he said. advertisement
Ashcroft, 62, is ending four years as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, much of the period devoted to a war on terrorism that began with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Alberto Gonzales, nominated to succeed Ashcroft, must be confirmed by the Senate.
Since the 2001 attacks, the staunchly conservative Ashcroft has been vilified by political opponents, civil liberties groups and privacy advocates for pushing controversial counterterrorism policies, which critics say undermine freedoms. They include the Patriot Act, which bolstered FBI surveillance and law enforcement powers in terror cases; increased use of material witness warrants to hold suspects incommunicado for months; and secret proceedings in immigration cases.
Ashcroft made no apology for his actions.
His greatest failure, Ashcroft said, was in not fully explaining to the American people early on just how the Patriot Act has helped in that war. Time will prove that the law has not been the threat to the Constitution seen by some, he said.
they want to take aways the people right to veto krappy laws. in tempe this has already happened. nazi mayor harry mitchell did something like this which made it impossible for tempe voters to veto bad laws because the percentage of signatures is so high it makes referendum almost impossible to get. nazi mayor harry mitchell has moved on to being a nazi member of the arizona house, and is now a nazi senator from tempe.
People's power targeted by bill
Would toughen referendum rules
Thomas Ropp and Elvia Diaz
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
A bill that could make it more difficult for community watchdogs to reverse unpopular ordinances was approved 9-1 by a legislative committee Tuesday.
House Bill 2351 cleared the House Counties, Municipalities and Military Affairs Committee. If passed by the full House and Senate and signed into law, it would allow communities of less than 50,000 to require more signatures on referendum petitions.
Referendums are tools commonly used by voters to reverse an action by a town or city council.
Currently, the number of signatures required for a referendum is based on 10 percent of those who voted in the city or town election, which attracts fewer voters than general elections.
The new bill would change the percentage to 10 percent of those who voted in the last presidential or gubernatorial general election, which attracts many more voters.
Peter Mahoney, a Litchfield Park council member, said that the community's election numbers are pretty consistent and that such a measure wouldn't likely have much impact.
Regardless, it's one that he would strongly oppose.
"I don't like whenever someone tries to change these types of things, where it gives people less of an opportunity to question the councils," he said. "That's the right of the citizens, and to make it more difficult takes away more power from the people."
He said the checks and balances now in place work and make decision-makers think twice about unpopular topics.
"You know that if you approve an unpopular ordinance, you're going to be taken to task," he said. "That's their right, and it's what makes our country strong."
Critics of the state's referendum system argue that a few dozen signatures from disgruntled residents of a small town can easily force an election and cost taxpayers thousands of dollars as well as distract officials from their daily tasks.
Rep. John Nelson, a Glendale Republican and the main sponsor of House Bill 2351, argued that increasing the number of required signatures is necessary because, in many places, anyone can collect a few dozen signatures and force an election.
The goal, Nelson said, is not to force anything on small cities and towns but to give them a choice.
Speaking on behalf of Marana, Michael Racy told lawmakers that residents there need only 31 signatures to put anything on the ballot. Under the legislative proposal, they would need about 600 or 700 signatures, he added.
"We're not attempting to discourage people who have a legitimate interest to refer something to the ballot," Racy said, noting that it is costly to carry out referendum elections. "But we want a realistic threshold they should meet."
Critics argue that the proposed law could effectively put the brakes on public referendums because of the difficulty of collecting signatures in a relatively short time.
"They should work on improving voter turnout, not make it impossible for regular folks to put things on the ballot," Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club said. "Democracy isn't the cheapest thing to do."
A similar bill failed a year ago. This one is different in that it allows communities to decide whether to change the signature requirement.
"That bill has been introduced every year since I've been mayor, and it always fails," four-term Buckeye Mayor Dusty Hull said.
He agrees that the bar should be raised on signature requirement.
"I think it should be 10 percent of the registered voters in the community, not 10 percent of how many people voted," he said.
He said about 500 people vote in each town election, and getting 50 signatures is "too easy."
"If you have a problem that really requires a referendum, people are already upset with the project or with what's being done," he said. "If people are bothered by the thing, they're going to come out of the woodwork at it. The power of the people will get it done."
The bill still must clear the House Judiciary and Rules committees before it goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
Reporter Monica Alonzo-Dunsmoor contributed to this report.
very funny. what kind of puppet government is going to ask the American Empire which keeps it in power to remove its troops?????
Bush vows troop withdrawal if Iraq asks
New York Times
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - President Bush said in an interview Thursday that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq if the new government that is elected Sunday asked him to do so but that he expected Iraq's first democratically elected leaders would want the United States to remain as helpers, not as occupiers.
"I've heard the voices of the people that presumably will be in positions of responsibility after these elections, though you never know," Bush said. "But it seems that most of the leadership there understands that there will be a need for coalition troops at least until the Iraqis are able to fight."
He did not say who he expected would emerge victorious from the first competitive Iraqi election in a generation. But asked if, as a matter of principle, the United States would pull its troops out of Iraq at the request of a new government, he said: "Yes, absolutely. This is a sovereign government; they're on their feet."
Some members of the administration have made similar pledges, but this was the first time Bush has done so.
In a 40-minute conversation in the Oval Office with correspondents from the New York Times, Bush, seated in front of a crackling fire, ranged across a number of issues that he is expected touch on in his State of the Union address next week. Yet Iraq was clearly foremost in his mind, and he said that with the coming election, "we are watching history being made, history that will change the world." That has been Bush's message in a series of interviews he has given in the days before and after his inaugural address on Jan. 20.
He later drew Iraq into a broader plan for democracy in the Middle East. "I think two of the great ironies of history is there will be a Palestinian state and a democratic Iraq showing the way forward for people who desperately want to be free," the president said. He particularly praised Mahmoud Abbas, the new Palestinian leader, as a man who "has the will of the people with him, and that inspires leaders."
The president acknowledged that many Iraqis still view the United States as an occupying force, though he stopped short of endorsing the view of a growing number of Republicans that the sheer size of the American presence in Iraq was worsening the violence by giving insurgents a large target.
"The fundamental question also that I think a lot of Iraqis understand - and I do, too, - is how do we make sure the Iraqi citizens view U.S. troops as helpers, not as occupiers," Bush said.
Light rail will take us for a ride . . .
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
Now that the Valley has been granted more than a half-billion dollars of U.S. taxpayer money for light rail, the project will move ahead.
One question still remains: Will the trolley riders pay the full costs of $12 per ride, or will the fare be only around two bucks, with the Maricopa County taxpayers paying the $10 subsidy for each passenger? Talk about taken for a ride.
David J. Kolander, Scottsdale
it is time admit we lost the war, bring the troops back home, and swear never again to make the same stupid mistakes we made in korea, vietnam, afghanistan, and iraq.
Iraq insurgents test U.S. leaders, troops
Military learning to deal with special type of warfare
Gannett News Service
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
Marine Cpl. Daniel Villalobos spent seven weeks in Afghanistan during the height of that conflict in 2001 before ending up in Iraq's infamous "Sunni Triangle," the heart of the nation's raging insurgency.
"My Combat Action Ribbon from Afghanistan came from one firefight in 48 days," said the 24-year-old from Santa Maria, Calif. "Over here, things are blowing up every day. It's a completely different story."
It's what many Pentagon officials only recently have conceded is a full-blown "insurgency."
This admission was meaningful, especially to Americans trying to understand Iraq and the importance of the upcoming elections there Sunday, because military commanders do not use the term "insurgency" indiscriminately or interchangeably.
Insurgencies are more than rebellions by "dead-enders" or final gasps by defeated foes. They are a special type of conflict with deeply rooted military and political characteristics that make them excruciatingly difficult to defeat.
Modern insurgents attack military, economic, social, political and religious targets to convince the enemy's decision-makers their cause is ultimately too costly in blood, money and political capital to pursue.
Insurgency is the only form of warfare that has ever defeated a superpower, most notably the United States in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
The insurgency in Iraq is rooted primarily in the nation's once-ruling Sunni Arab minority, which now fears a massive power loss.
American and Iraqi forces already are struggling with the military side of the conflict. If the elections go badly and the political side collapses into chaos, Americans will be facing a debacle that easily rivals Vietnam.
"Much of the rest of the world has already decided that this is the way to fight because it plays to our weaknesses," said Marine Corps Col. Thomas X. Hammes, author of The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century.
Despite its experience with insurgencies, the U.S. military has tended to minimize their importance in its collective institutional memory.
Now a new generation of warriors must learn the lessons of insurgency warfare - on the fly in Iraq.
Perhaps the most daunting characteristic about insurgencies is their staying power.
It typically takes a decade or longer to defeat one.
Americans fought for 11 years in Vietnam before leaving. The Soviets ended their futile decade in Afghanistan in 1989.
Although weapons have changed since then, tactics haven't. Insurgency warfare remains a test of will, not weapons.
But the costs of the 22-month-long Iraq campaign already are starting to wear on Americans.
The price tag is approaching $200 billion, while the number of Americans killed recently passed 1,400. Escalating violence recently prompted the Pentagon to raise the number of troops to 150,000.
Support for the war among Americans appears tenuous. A recent USA Today-CNN-Gallup Poll said that almost 60 percent of Americans are unhappy with the way the campaign is being handled.
The Bush administration's plan is to establish a large and competent-enough Iraqi force so that even if the insurgency has staying power, it won't be Americans fighting it.
But so far, according to a handful of respected think tanks, Iraqi troops will not be ready to handle the insurgency alone until the end of 2006 at the earliest.
Combat is brutal
Marines and special forces are the U.S. troops traditionally trained to fight insurgencies.
"It's some of the most difficult, dangerous and physically intense kind of warfare," Marine Capt. Lee Johnson said.
Much of the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah had to be taken room by room.
Innocents often die in this kind of fighting, but that's what the insurgents want.
Experts say they try to develop a cycle of futility that ultimately convinces the locals that the visiting troops cause more trouble than they prevent and should leave.
Force alone can't win
History has shown insurgencies cannot be defeated by force alone because they inherently carry a level of popular support to be won over.
The support Iraq's insurgents get, if only from Iraqis who merely don't report them, is immeasurable.
This is why all eyes are on the elections.
They'll indicate whether the political side of the conflict can be won and the masses conclude that the insurgency is bound to fail, or the insurgents will be successful.
Army Times reporter Gordon Trowbridge contributed to this article.
while mayor phil gordon has said he is not responsible the city of phoenix filthy water supply he takes credit for getting rid of crime and eliminating porn from the library computers. it seems like mayor phil gordon doesnt want to be responsible for his failures. and that mayor phil gordon will take credit for the good work of other people
Crime rate drop shows Phoenix on right track
Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM
When The Arizona Republic devotes more than 22 column inches to crime statistics in Phoenix, it's because people have a real and personal stake in the safety of their community and a keen interest in what their government is doing about it ("How Arizona compares," Viewpoints, Jan. 16).
They understandably want to know how we stack up against other places in the country. Frankly, so do we. That's why we want to thank the Morrison Institute for its in-depth analysis of Arizona, including the Phoenix metro area, and The Republic for reporting on the issues that directly affect all our lives - especially public safety.
Public safety is our top priority as elected officials and our top priority as members of a community. And this year, our top priority is to put more officers on the streets. We need them. That's why we welcome this opportunity to comment on the crime statistic portion of the report and provide additional updates on what we're doing in Phoenix. advertisement
The numbers cited in the Morrison Institute report reflect the FBI's statistics for 2003. And although not all of the results were good (2003 showed an increase in rape and murders - many attributed to border related issues), overall, violent crimes fell significantly, by 8.3 percent. That's a deliberate and hard-earned step in the right direction, especially for one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the nation.
In Phoenix, our own numbers are more recent and show even more progress. From January to September 2004, we experienced significant improvement, reflecting that violent crime continues to decrease in Phoenix - and that incidences of murder and rape are actually down 24.9 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively.
More recent numbers; more encouraging results.
Simply stated, we are on the right path, with proven and successful programs like the Violence Impact Project, which, in its inaugural year, decreased murders in a single area by an amazing 72 percent. The Violence Impact Project, known as VIP, was a pilot program that culminated three months ago in its first area of deployment bounded by Washington, Seventh and 32nd streets, and McDowell Road. It was a phenomenal success that resulted in an unprecedented decrease in all violent crimes.
Although lower numbers and better statistics are nice, having secure neighborhoods and safer families is the real payoff and the real measure of our success. When residents from this area looked us in the eye and told us that they now feel safe in their neighborhoods, walking to school, sitting on their front porch and playing in their parks - well, that was all the encouragement we needed to keep these programs on track.
Just about a year ago, we stood alongside our Phoenix police officers and federal agents and announced an ambitious plan to severely curtail crime in our city - Project Safe Neighborhoods. We pledged to partner together and work with all law enforcement agencies, in all levels of government, to effectively tear down jurisdictional boundaries.
Let's face it, someone who simply wants a safe environment for their family doesn't care much about "jurisdiction" and doesn't care at all about turf battles. Criminals don't care about organizational charts and certainly aren't restricted or deterred by imaginary lines on a map.
We just want our professional crime fighters to do what they do best: pursue, prosecute and lock up the criminals who prey on our families and destroy our property.
All of these programs have made a positive impact on crime in Phoenix and around our Valley. We are making a difference. But there's still plenty more to do, and we continue seeking out new projects, best practices, programs that work, and the needed manpower, resources and technology to implement them.
Every crime disturbs us greatly. And we spend every day researching ways to further cut into our crime rates.
Chief Jack Harris is doing a tremendous job. His "Phoenix Policing" strategy of focusing on the most violent, repeat offenders is making a real impact. And our officers are truly Phoenix's Finest. Every day, they clip on the badge and put their lives at risk for all of us.
Our current successes and trends indicate that we are on the right road.
These successes belong to all of us - community leaders, law enforcement agencies, neighborhood groups and residents. And the city, well, we will continue to vigorously and creatively pursue our unchanging goal of making Phoenix the most livable city in America.
Phil Gordon is mayor of Phoenix. Dave Siebert is a councilman.
Tempe supervisor fired for bikini party
By Dennis Welch, Tribune
A Tempe public works supervisor was fired Thursday after investigators found that a bikini-clad woman handed out doughnuts at a retirement party on city property.
Two other supervisors who attended the event were not fired, but face strong disciplinary actions for failing to break up the farewell gathering, officials said.
Dale Cogswell, who worked for the city 21 years, was escorted out of the Public Works Department building by police. Although Cogswell did not organize the party, city officials said they based their decision on a checkered work history.
Family members and coworkers accuse the city of making Cogswell a scapegoat.
"I think the City of Tempe is making a huge mistake," said his wife, Barbara. "Hes really shocked and upset because hes only three years away from retirement."
Dale Cogswell, who was traveling to Denver to meet his wife for a family reunion, was unavailable for comment.
Employees who attended the unscheduled party Jan. 21 said Dale Cogswell was the only supervisor who asked the woman to leave. Her name was unavailable.
Bobby Ray, the retired employee who brought the woman, said his former boss told the woman to put her coat on.
Ray, who worked for the city for 11 years, said he brought the woman to entertain his former co-workers. He added he didnt know who she was, but that her husband, whose name was also unavailable, was waiting in the parking lot.
Those who witnessed the incident said the woman walked into the break room about 5 a.m. where she stripped down to a bikini and passed out doughnuts for 25 to 30 minutes.
John Osgood, the deputy public works manager, said his investigation uncovered that Dale Cogswell could have stopped the incident, but didnt.
Osgood would not comment on details of the investigation, but added that he heard stories that contradicted Dale Cogswells account.
Dale Cogswells personnel records include numerous disciplinary actions the past three years.
He was suspended for 30 hours without pay in May for forwarding several sexually explicit e-mails to a co-worker, according to city records. In a written response, he stated that he was trying to "pass on some humor" and there was nothing inappropriate.
In another incident, Dale Cogswell was reprimanded for his harsh treatment of a female co-worker.
He told the woman that she was not allowed to apply for a position because she had missed too many days, the records stated.
Dale Cogswell has also received two letters of appreciation from supervisors detailing his excellent work performance.
The retirement party prompted the city to call a meeting Thursday afternoon at the Public Works Department building on Rio Salado Parkway and Priest Drive.
More than 50 employees filed in the small assembly hall eating a fresh batch of glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts brought by Ray.
Departmental managers and the citys diversity director met with workers behind closed doors for nearly 45 minutes. After the meeting many of the employees said they were unhappy about the firing.
"Whats fair for one should be fair for all," said Darrell Ross, a public works employee. "This was just a good old-fashion witch hunt."
Most of the public works employees described the former supervisor as a hard worker who was well-liked by members of his crew.
The department has been investigated recently for racial and gender discrimination. The Arizona Attorney Generals Office, a Phoenix law firm and Tempe supported claims that employees were subjected to racist and discriminatory behavior. Since then, city workers have undergone diversity training.
Some co-workers speculated Dale Cogswell was targeted because he was white. The other two supervisors, who kept their jobs, were Hispanic.
The Tribune is withholding their names pending an investigation.
Contact Dennis Welch by email, or phone (480) 898-6573
hmmmm.... when this crisis started didnt the mayor say he was not responsible for it? now he is firing people trying to blame someone else.
Phoenix reassigns top water official
16-year director called for alert
Ginger D. Richardson and Mary Jo Pitzl
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 29, 2005 12:00 AM
The man who made the decision to declare Phoenix's water unfit to drink was removed from his job Friday and transferred to other duties.
City Manager Frank Fairbanks stripped Mike Gritzuk, director of the city's Water Services Department, of his title after more than 16 years because of the way he managed this week's water problem, which included issuing an alert that told the city's 1.4 million residents they needed to boil water before drinking it.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon on Friday said that alert may have been made in haste.
"Given that the testing of the water showed it was never a health issue, and that the city always felt that the water was safe . . . it's difficult for me to come to any other conclusion, other than it was unnecessary to issue that advisory at 2:30 a.m.," he said.
Officials say there is nothing in safe-drinking water rules that required a boil-water advisory, issued early Tuesday morning after the water at the city's Val Vista water treatment plant in Mesa tested high for sediment levels, or turbidity. Although turbidity itself is not a health risk, it creates an environment for bacteria and viruses to grow, which can cause a variety of gastrointestinal problems.
The advisory, which was in effect until 4 p.m. Wednesday, prompted some restaurants to close, curtailed business at others and sent schools scrambling to keep children from drinking the water or washing their hands with it.
Fairbanks said Friday that he will await the results of the internal investigations before deciding whether the boil-water advisory was prudent. But both Gordon and Fairbanks were upset that they weren't consulted before it was issued.
The city had a duty to tell the public there was a problem with their water after turbidity levels exceeded the federal standard, said Al Brown, director of the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department, which regulates all Valley water operations.
However, Brown said, the message could have included a range of advice, such as not brushing your teeth with tap water, or using bottled water.
The county was not involved in the early-morning decision but had no quarrel with it, Brown said.
"I think they made a good call because they're interpreting it the way we would have," he said, referring to the provisions of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Those provisions require public notice within 24 hours when turbidity levels exceed federal health standards. The notice must tell people the consequences of murky water, such as the risk of harmful bacteria.
"A boil-water advisory is a big no-no," said Wayne Janis, an assistant director of water services in charge of operations.
"The only thing worse is making people actually sick."
Turbidity in the Milwaukee water system in 1993 led to flulike symptoms in more than 400,000 residents and visitors. The illness was traced to cryptosporidium, a one-cell protozoan that can form when there is too much sediment in the water.
The episode prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tighten drinking-water standards, a change that took effect in January 2002.
The Milwaukee case looms large with public health officials, who don't want to see a repeat in their area.
Gordon's anger stems from the fact he was told only that the "advisory was needed," not about the latitude the city had in what they chose to include in the public alert.
"I am outraged that once again that information that was conveyed to me, my colleagues and the management was either incomplete or just plain wrong," he said.
That bungled communication contributed to Friday's decision to relieve Gritzuk of his duties.
"I think, ultimately, Mike is responsible for the performance of the water department," Fairbanks said. "In this incident, he took upon himself the individual handling of this case.
"We don't want to make a final judgment because the review and the audit are still outstanding, but based on what we've seen, we think a significant change is necessary in the handling in these sorts of incidents."
Gritzuk will handle special "water-related projects" but will no longer be involved in the department's daily operations.
City Administrator Danny Murphy takes over immediately as department director. A 21-year veteran with the city who most recently served as the head of Phoenix's Information Technology Department, Murphy is being moved to the Water Services Department because of his excellent managerial skills, city officials said.
Joining him will be Jerome Miller, assistant director of the Neighborhood Services Department.
Miller will help run the agency's daily operations and put in place changes that may result from this week's water situation, Fairbanks said.
Staff writer Richard Ruelas contributed to this article.
Don't put blame on Mother Nature
Jan. 29, 2005 12:00 AM
One needn't be a geologist to understand what causes muddy (turbid) water.
From a very early age most people recognize that water resulting from rainfall runoff is frequently discolored. They may not associate this with a very elementary geologic process called erosion. Erosion dislodges soil particles. Smaller soil particles may be transported in suspension until they are ultimately deposited in some reservoir, channel or floodplain. This cycle has been ongoing for billions of years.
As to the city and county officials referring to recent rainfall events as "unprecedented," I can only ask: Can you remember the 1970s, when much larger amounts of water were released into the normally dry Salt River channel? I do, because I was involved in flood-prevention projects as a geologist.
My work required that I analyze erosion, sediment transport and deposition. There is a vast amount of data readily available from governmental agencies and personnel that will demonstrate that the recent rainfall is anything but unprecedented.
Perhaps our officials were either misquoted or their words were taken out of context. However, I believe it is incumbent upon our officials to have the facts, and understand them, before making statements to the public. I have seen no quotes attributed to those persons most qualified to address the sediment issue.
Finally, don't blame Mother Nature. After all, without Mother Nature where would you get your gasoline for that SUV?
Aubrey C. Sanders Jr.