Wayne Michael Reich

Writing ∙ Photography ∙ Art

Yuma and Back Again PT.2 (The Mean Girls Club)

“Every mean thing you do comes back and hits you twice.” -Alyssa Holcomb

Hello Blogiteers, and welcome back to the neighborhood- the word for today is nice.

But what does it mean exactly? Webster’s defines the characterization of nice as: “Pleasant in manner; good-natured; kind.” Three attributes the Artbitch has in buckets… well, according to my Mom, anyway.

All kidding aside, I actually can be a decent human being every now and then, but “pleasant” is usually not the first adjective that certain people would reach for in order to describe yours truly, and that’s ok. As you might have guessed by now, the self-absorbed and limited opinion of people I don’t respect doesn’t really carry water with me. Moreover, it never will, since as a rule- I’m much more impressed by what someone does, rather than by what they say

Talk is cheap, it’s action that’s priceless.

Besides… when it comes to those particular people, they all have a way about them that seems to declare: “If I have only one life to live, let me live it as a jerk”, and so far, I’d have to admit that Amy Silverman is doing truly admirable work in that department.

When I started writing this story arc, my original intention was to split the well-deserved derision of NT’s Yuma article betwixt Amy and her loyal pet, Claire Lawton. You know me… I like to shoot at the  tragically obvious. But as I wrote it, the focal point kept coming back to Amy, rather than the both of them, and there’s several good reasons why.

Despite her hipster attitude, and the small fact that several of her colleagues have privately voiced the belief that she couldn’t jot down a phone number without the help of an adult, Claire is generally considered to be a rather pleasant person by those who work with her. Essentially, she’s the human equivalent of a warm glass of milk, and in my personal experience, just as brave.

And according to most of her defenders, Claire isn’t the truly spiteful one in their co-dependent relationship- that honorarium falls squarely on Amy. As an addendum, I’d also like to point out that none of Claire’s fan club has challenged my assessment of her ability to write, they just like to note that she’s really a nice girl who’s seemingly getting the short end of the stick, and most likely will be thrown under the bus when Amy no longer finds her useful.

Granted, that might be somewhat truthful, but given the way that she writes, one would logically assume that she’s a “journalist” in the same way that Dr. Pepper is a “Doctor”- nevertheless, I’m fairly certain that her fellow colleagues at NT don’t refer to Claire as “Hefty Bag” the moment her back is turned, like they allegedly* do with Amy.
[*In recent years it has become common for writers to include allegedly in statements that are controversial or possibly even defamatory. The implication is that, by saying “allegedly”, the speaker is distancing himself or herself from the controversy and even protecting himself or herself from possible prosecution.

However, the effect created may be deliberate. The use of allegedly can be a signal that, although the statement may seem outrageous, it is in fact true: “She was unpleasant at work. Allegedly.”]

That’s right… Amy’s alleged* nickname at New Times is “Hefty Bag”. I’m not sure why, but it seems vaguely appropriate. Trash in, trash out, as they like to say. Plus, it’s also the only one I can repeat here without using a whole lot of asterisks. Until NT’s past (and present) employees started feeding me information about her, I honestly didn’t know that so many descriptive vulgarities actually existed within the context of the known English language.

As a Tourettes’ afflicted GI Joe would say: “Knowing is half the ******* battle!

Sorry… just couldn’t help myself. And apparently, neither can Amy. In past blogs, I’ve alluded to my belief that rather than having a few screws loose, all of hers are fastened way too tight, and while it might seem to be a flippant observation, it’s a fairly accurate one, according to those unfortunate souls who have to interact with her on a regular basis.

Since she took over the reigns as Managing Editor six years ago, NT has been hemorrhaging qualified writing talent along with the respect of the local community, at an astronomical rate.

Like everyone else, I’ve had my share of bad bosses, and because I’m an eternal pragmatist, I’m not going to lay all the blame for NT’s woes on Amy. However, she’s definitely a continuing and very critical aspect to the paper’s overall decline, especially where the writers exodus is concerned. As I have noted previously, the talent jumping from the deck of the Phoenix Titanic has been huge: Lillia Merconi, Michelle Laudig, Martin Cizmar, (no big loss, actually) Steve Jansen, Wynter Holden, and Sarah Fenske, just to name a few.

To be fair, some have been promoted to other positions (out of state, I might add) others have quit, but NT scuttlebutt suggests that Amy’s abrasive style of management was a factor in some of their decisions to do so. My numerous sources have regaled me with tales of Amy’s outbursts at NT, and when I consider that a career woman pushing fifty and not a child approaching the age of six could possibly be accountable, my mind just reels with the absurdity of it all.

There are rumors of screaming rants directed at her writers, along with a multitude of other boorish and immature behavior that so far, defies legal description. Keep in mind that this woman inspires parties at which her past/current employees dress up a Porky the Pig piñata with a frizzy blonde wig, tell their worst “working for the pig” stories, and then beat the cardboard effigy into pulp afterwards.

Amy Silverman… bringing people together. In a backyard the hell away from her, according to the grapevine. Allegedly.

To be honest, while it’s ever so much fun to metaphorically bitch-smack my preferred self-loathing butterball of Ego around, the main purpose of my little screed today is to continue on with the saga of my recent trip to Yuma. Which I promise to do… right after two more small highlights of Amy’s intolerant pettiness. My blog. My rules. My good time.

Trust me, they’re good, but first, please permit a small personal observation on my part. When I first met Amy, I walked away from that distasteful experience with the notion that she was a few beans short of a burrito, that is to say- I thought she was “Nuts”. However; it’s just not that simple a classification. After doing my research and talking to those who’ve interacted with her both socially and professionally, it’s become quite clear to me that she’s not crazy, she’s just out-and-out mean.

Now, while this is a somewhat annoying characteristic let’s say where a child is concerned, it’s an absolutely pathetic quality when it’s possessor is an adult. Especially one who controls a large medium of potential influence such as a newspaper, or in Amy’s case- NT, AKA: “The Pennysaver with Porn”. Over the last few years, NT has slowly been death spiraling into the ground, an act hastened by the gradually more hostile actions of a Managing Editor who has cheapened the quality of writing, degraded her staff, and in the ultimate abuse of her position, regularly goes online and attacks her papers’ readers.

And I’m not talking about the “Letters to the Editor” section, which is the only legitimate place a person in her position should be posting replies to their reader’s concerns. No, I’m talking about the comments section that is to be found at the bottom of every online article on the NT website. I used to think Martin Cizmar was a tad bit obsessive about taunting his detractors, but he can’t hold a candle to Amy, no way, no how.

Need an example? Follow the posted link, and read the article in full if you wish, but the real fun is below the story, where Amy derides anyone with a contrary opinion, expressing an attitude best suited for a p***ed off twelve year old, not the journalism professional she claims to be. Enjoy… I always do.

As if this unprofessional and immature exchange wasn’t bad enough, several of NT’s readers have previously called Amy out for the hypocritical act of posting incognito on her own articles. That’s right- while lashing out at NT’s readers who choose to post anonymously, she consistently does just that, in a wretched display of Ego justification. Double standards, pettiness, immaturity and unmitigated spite- she’s obviously a class act. And in my small and humble opinion, she’s still exceedingly ticked off about being the Managing Editor at NT, apparently considering her promotion as some form of unfair burden.

Writing about how she felt about her newfound responsibilities, she once summed them up as such: “I was still smarting over my transition from staff writer (read: rock star, at least in my little world) to editor (roadie) [SECTION EDITED FOR CONTEXT] before I had a screwed-up kid and they put me out to pasture.”
[Link: http://girlinapartyhat.com/index.php/2010/07/goodbye-and-good-luck-sarah-fenske/]

Wow. A “rock star”? With all due respect, my poorly deluded Editorzilla, you were NEVER a rock star, and therein lies the glue of deceit that binds your pathetic ball of self loathing together. Plus, kudos on your sensitivity for describing your child in such a maternal, and I might add- highly public way. When your other kid gets old enough to eventually go online to see what Mommy writes about, and she will rest assured, I’m sure she’ll really enjoy reading what you wrote about her sister.

Urk. Gah.

My flesh just absolutely crawls every time I read that self-absorbed paragraph. It’s one thing to be an unprofessional cow to almost everyone you work with, quite another when it involves your own flesh and blood, with little to no regards for their feelings. The way she acts, it’s like she’s still stuck in high school, and is going to make damn sure that everybody pays for not electing her student body president. Several people have at various times, labeled Amy as a “mean girl”, a definition I was rather unclear on, despite the self-explanatory title.

I am a guy after all, and we tend to be somewhat thick at times. So, what exactly is a “mean girl”? Definition: The label “Mean Girls” is a tween expression used to describe girls who exhibit anti-social behavior known as Relational Aggression. The term was popularized by the movie Mean Girls, starring Lindsay Lohan.

Mean girl behavior includes gossip, verbal put downs of others, bullying, backstabbing, and using others to get ahead. Girls who are friendly one minute, and mean the next, they are particularly good at turning friend against friend, and they target girls who they are jealous of, or who stick out from the crowd. Mean girls thrive on drama, and often resort to cyber-bullying to torment their victims.

Hmm… does this remind you of anyone? I thought so too, except that when it comes right down to it, I’d rather be trapped in an elevator with a drunken Lindsay Lohan than a sober Amy.

At least the forced conversation would be interesting, if not the scenery. I’ve never experienced anyone who seemingly enjoys being insensitive, uncouth, and just plain disagreeable as much as she does. Willfully ignorant pride- that’s what I like to see in a fully functioning adult, or in this case, a spiteful wannabe poseur. Overall, I gotta hand it to her-she is consistent, even if she does assume that being a triple platinum plated b***h is an actual talent.

Interestingly, one of the things that I have observed in relation to my dealings with current/past NT employees is that despite their understandable detestation of Amy, they were somewhat reluctant to discuss their experiences working with her… at first.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they were suffering from *NTPTSD.
(*New Times Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Fortunately, when it comes to getting people to open up, I possess some serious skills. Usually, it involves having to prove that I’m not out to throw them under the bus, which is easier said than done, especially when you’re dealing with those poor souls who’ve worked alongside Amy.

For when you write on a subject such as this, one must separate the wheat from the chaff, the vetted from the vendetta, the good from the bad, as it were. The following story I will soon share fits the bill, and it’s just one of several I’ve been told regarding Amy’s juvenile behavior.

What strikes strange, is that so far, not one person has attempted to defend Amy in any way, shape, or form. Not one co-worker. Not one friend. Not even her husband. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Even Martin Cizmar had a defender or two, and he’s… well… Martin Cizmar.

In my judgment, that speaks volumes. When you can’t find even one person willing to stand up and defend your character, perhaps it’s the clearest sign you really need to go get some. Given this fact, it’s probably not surprising that I have yet to meet anyone who willingly claims to be exceedingly close to her- I’m not saying she doesn’t have several close friends, I’m just saying that those people have probably never been informed of this alleged reality.

And herein lies the beginning of a tale.

One of my favorite sources at NT shared the interesting observation lately that Amy and they were in fact, ”good friends”, which came as a total shock, due to the small fact that this person absolutely loathes her. It seems that anytime someone actually tolerates her presence, she apparently assumes that they must be BFF’s or something.

To quote my source: “I’ve been at her house like three times, and the only reason I go is because she’s my boss. And don’t get me started on the way too personal crap she says at work, either. I swear to God if I hear her say: “You didn’t hear it from me” one more time, I’m gonna punch her in the face.” Solid as a rock friendship- it’s truly a beautiful thing, especially when the other person isn’t even aware of it.  Or worse… is.

At the end of October, I was contacted by no less than three NT insiders who shared the following account with me regarding a former NT staffer who was also “friends” with Amy much in the same way I’m Claire Lawton’s *”boyfriend”.

 [ *That was a joke, by the way. She already has enough problems, I think.]

Some time ago, when this individual worked alongside Amy, they, like most professional colleagues, exchanged Christmas gifts, and normally, it wouldn’t really be worth mentioning when you get right down to it. But remember, this is Amy Silverman we’re talking about, and when it comes to anything she’s involved in, normal is kind of a stretch, to say the very least. 

Now, when this particular person left NT, apparently they were still on good terms with Editorzilla, at least to her face, that is. I happen to be a big believer in honesty, but when you might still have to deal with a future career reference whose obviously faulty wiring is just looking for an excuse to go off, justified or not, it’s best to err on the side of caution, and keep your trap shut.

However, that means that you also need to be careful about who you talk to in private as well, since your words could travel up river to the wrong set of ears, and if that happens, you’re gonna get seriously screwed. Evidently, this well deserved concern was foremost on this former reporters mind, for when I asked them to open up about their experiences working at NT, they e-mailed me back, saying:
“I’d rather not comment on NT right now- it’s just so nice to finally think and talk about other things! I’m enjoying great support from my friends and peeps like you, and it’s inspiring me and giving me momentum for the next step in my life….

Thanks for the link to your blog! Fun reading indeed, so I’ll have to stop back to read more (damn, you are prolific!).”

Granted, they somehow forgot to mention that I’m also very easy on the eyes, but because I’m the milk of human kindness, I’ll let it slide this time. Eventually, they wound up telling a friend (or two) what their honest opinion was in regards to Amy, and when Editorzilla heard about it, she was not pleased, to say the very least. But that’s the big problem with having to play verbal cat and mouse games in the shadows- ultimately, you’re gonna run into a rabidly feral pit bull, and it isn’t gonna want to play nice.

Obviously, some feelings were bruised, and she just had to craft a rejoinder. So, how does a mature adult in this day and age go about responding to what they may feel is an undeserved, and possibly harsh affront, you might ask?

For instance, would you: go all old school and write a heartfelt and personal letter, or go all new school and send a heartfelt e-mail? Maybe you’d make a rather terse phone call, or perhaps, you might take the initiative and just drop by their home for a face to face discussion to air your grievance instead.

But remember, this is Amy Silverman we’re talking about, and she’s got a style that’s all her own.

Well… hers, and maybe your average fourth grader. Allegedly, of course. Keeping past immaturity in mind, Amy’s knee-jerk reaction really isn’t a shock to those of us who’ve come to know and despise her, even it’s just from a safe distance. Rather than rely on any of the typical and expected routes to settle her issue, she just tore a page out of the mean girls playbook, and ran with it, by returning all of the Christmas gifts her former co-worker had given her… in August.

For those of you counting, that’s eight months later, way past your typical exchange time slot.

I don’t know about you, but I rarely, if ever, return gifts, even if they’re from someone I loathe. When my fiancé and I broke up several years ago, I did return all the stuff that had our names and/or the words “forever” etched on them, but I did keep all the jewelry she’d ever bought me. Yes, she turned out to be untrustworthy, but Daddy likes his shiny baubles, and he ain’t giving them up anytime soon. I have to wonder seriously about anyone who does something like that, especially when they’re not currently dating the person who ticked them off.

Amy Silverman. Class act. Mean Girl. Allegedly.

But what isn’t alleged, is that when it came to Yuma, Amy was just dead wrong there, too. At this point in our narrative, nothing that she had written about this charming community has been even remotely true, according to my personal experience. Distorted, fictitious, and imprecise to be certain, but factual? Hardly. This doesn’t come as a shock really, since it’s a widely-held belief in Phoenix that NT is basically the flipped mirror of FOX News, albeit with uglier reporters.

Out of context “quotes”? Check. Fabrication of facts? Check. Refusal to answer their critics? Check. Personal opinion masquerading as journalism? Check, once more. If Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity, then Amy and NT must be metaphorically stoned 24/7.

So for those of you who might need a recap of the last blog, here goes the Cliff Notes version: my GF Ashley and I arrived in Yuma where I countered NT’s deceptive claims about the local Hotel availability, mocked Amy and Claire’s sense of direction and inability to spell the simplest of words, reviewed an excellent and funky restaurant, dispelled the myth of a “bad” neighborhood, and ended with a visit to the Historic Yuma Territorial Prison, which also comes highly recommended, despite my life long ambition to stay out of jail in general.

In short- a surprisingly good time all around, so far. But there’s more fun to be had, and just like last time- I’m going to compare the NT article against our experiences in Yuma, and try to pretend to be shocked that they’re so vastly different.

From the NT article: “There is only one reason to drive all the way to Yuma – and we can’t tell you much about it. It’s a junk store at 315 Main Street that shares a cash register with the shop next door. The store has no signage and no business card, and after Wednesday, just one Brownie camera for sale. We scored the other one for $5. It’s a great spot, filled with rusty campaign buttons, vintage glassware, and funky antique furniture that made us wish we had more trunk space.”

Ok, this descriptive paragraph actually threw me for a loop, because except for that first inaccurate sentence- NT actually got this part right. It’s ok, I’m kind of freaked out too. But to be fair, even a broken clock gets it right at least twice a day, and this funky store had plenty of those, along with a newly acquired chunk of my disposable income. Pop culture, my old nemesis. So after some thought, I’ll give this one to NT, but if tradition holds… It’ll soon come back.

“And it didn’t even smell like old people, like most of the junk stores on Main Street in Yuma.”
See? Here it is already. But once again, this slur is not that surprising, especially when you consider that the co-author of this sentence once implied in a personal blog that she feared the elderly. That must have made those Sunday visits to Grandma’s house awkward to say the very least.

“Anyone who’s tried to navigate a city using a travel article knows the potential pitfalls. (Try following Thomas Kohnstamm’s Lonely Planet guide to Columbia, (which he later admitted to updating from his desk in San Francisco)”

Which is worse, kids- updating a well researched travel article from your desk, or just outright falsifying an entire unsubstantiated op-ed critique out of ether and air? Your call.

“And if you’ve written one, you know all the tricks: Focus on just a few highlights, don’t mention the empty lots or the fact that while that restaurant serves excellent tamales, their chips have a reputation for always being stale.” 
In other words, if you’re NT and discover something really positive about a community during your veiled assassination attempt, ignore it entirely and hype the small negatives therein by emulating FOX News’ “fair and balanced” approach by making sure you’re neither.

“Make sure you have a really good photographer along.”

Which of course, NT neglected to do when they traveled to Yuma, due to the small fact that their “journalists” are also expected to perform double duty as “photographers”. To note a sardonic positive, these wannabe hacks shoot pictures almost as good as they write articles.
“In other words, rub the stone a bit. We get that. But after reading Sunset’s homage to Yuma, we had a feeling there was some turd polishing going on.”

If there’s anything being polished here, it’s NT’s ongoing feeble attempt to maintain it’s credibility as a legitimate newspaper. I don’t recall ever seeing the classless phrase “turd polishing” in the New York Times, for instance. But then again, maybe I’m expecting too much from a paper that has to be given away for anyone to read it.

So, after leaving the prison, Ashley and I headed over to the Sanguinetti House Museum which is the sister to where my GF Ashley works as a Registrar, the Arizona Historical Society. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places the Sanguinetti House Museum was constructed in the 1870′s, and was purchased in 1890 by pioneer merchant E.F. Sanguinetti. He added to the home as his family grew and created an Italian oasis with a garden and bird aviaries, which are maintained today.

The house tells the story of the time with the exhibits and displays pertaining to the history of the lower Colorado River region from the 1540′s to the present, and just like our prison visit, it was both entertaining and educational- the grounds alone are worth the visit. On the day Ashley and I visited, the garden was being prepared for a wedding ceremony, and it was a beautiful sight- peacocks, doves, a wedding party dressed in 1920’s vintage, white lawn chairs- the whole works. I’d recommend that Amy visit, if it wasn’t for the reality that exposing her to something cultural is akin to giving Kryptonite Speedos to Superman.

After that delightfully historic interlude, we then stopped to eat at Tacos Mi Rancho, located directly across from our hotel, enjoying both excellent customer service along with some absolutely killer enchiladas in the process. Deciding to walk off the twelve extra pounds we acquired at lunch, Ashley and I headed downtown to check out Yuma’s art district, which NT summed up like this:

“we found the not-so-special arts and pottery galleries Sunset recommended that were full of pinch-pot bake ware and glaze-heavy mugs. We later wished we would have grabbed a stein before heading to the artist co-op that was so enthusiastically touted it was embarrassing. At least it occupies a retail space on the vacancy-ridden Main Street. 

In fact, the only line we saw extending past a front door was outside of the Mexican consulate. And the only businesses with full parking lots were law firms (one even took over the historic United States Postal Service building). We yearned for downtown Mesa.”

“Wow” doesn’t even begin to cover the inaccuracies contained within, or the inherent backhanded racism. Since it’s rather obvious how NT regards individual creativity, their review of any artistic space must be considered highly suspect, especially when they neglect to actually mention why they thought the touted co-op wasn’t up to snuff.

Pottery studios generally make well… pottery- mugs, cups, steins, bowls, etc., practical items whose elegance lies in their simplicity. They’re not supposed to be Chihuly masterworks, but they’re not your average run of the mill high school ceramicists’ works either. What’s more, Main Street wasn’t exactly “vacancy ridden”- there were a few empty spaces, some up for rent, others in the process of being renovated for future tenants, hardly the economic wasteland that NT described, the reality is that what was being represented is a city in the process of transition.

Moreover, since Yuma is only 15 minutes from Mexico, NT’s observation of the Mexican Consulate’s popularity was no more than a racist cheap shot, one of two bigoted slurs that were contained within their xenophobic travel review.

As an aside, NT’s claim about the USPS building was challenged on the NT forums by one Steve West who stated the following: “And the only businesses with full parking lots were law firms (one even took over the historic United States Postal Service building). ” God I hate idiots… that is not a law firm in the old post office, rather a global leader in the Crop Protection business. Leave it to boneheads with a hard on for someplace to not bother and check on their facts.”

In NT’s limited defense Steve, getting it wrong is truly their niche, and they do it better than anyone.
Besides… true facts just get in the way of a good cock-and-bull story.

From the NT article yet again: “Sunset raved about a new park built on the old town dump, but to be honest, we’d rather let our kids run up and down the aisles of the Target just off the I-10, given the deserted slums we had to navigate to finally find the park.”

Geez. When NT starts to dig a grave, they’ll just keep going until they hit China. Earlier, I called attention to one of two racist slights contained within NT’s article, and now I’ll address the other one, hopefully making a point or two along the way. 

West Wetlands Regional Park is located in an area of restored wetlands which also serve as an active recreation area. A statue memorializing the 1st Iowa Volunteers also known as the Mormon Battalion is found on the well designed walking trails, along with the APS Solar Garden, which ably services all the electrical needs of this picturesque recreational area courtesy of our buddy, the Sun. Designed by Leathers and Associates Playground, a 40 year old firm with over 2500 projects under it’s belt, this park was planned with full involvement from the community and especially the children, who contributed the idea for the amazing castle/jungle-gym that is it’s centerpiece.

A 17,000-square-foot kingdom for the kids of Yuma- in simpler terms, that’s more than three acres of playground. Somewhere, a four year olds’ head just imploded from sheer awesome joy. I know mine did, as I had to be physically restrained from going and playing on it. Several times, in fact.

Damn… Ashley’s a heck of a lot stronger than she looks, let me tell you.

On the night that we went, there were several families of all races enjoying the park. Cute kids were climbing all over the castle, whooping it up in general, and the overall atmosphere evoked a Norman Rockwell painting. All that was needed to make it even more idyllic was a pickup truck with a dog in the ba… oops. Spoke too soon. There it is. My bad.

But here’s what raises my hackles something fierce. Ashley and I walked around the neighborhood that surrounds the park for close to an hour, and as we strolled, one fact became glaringly evident. I’m from New York City. Native born and raised. I KNOW a slum when I see one, and If that part of town was a “slum”- it must have been in disguise, because all I saw was your average middle-class neighborhood. Clean yards, nice houses, no loud parties, no lawn couches, no derelict cars, and most importantly… no Zombie horde.

Something rings false here, for if that community was truly a “slum”, then I, a middle age white guy carrying close to $2000.00 worth of camera equipment, should have been picked clean faster than a bottle of Oxy-Contin at Rush Limbaugh’s house.

But I wasn’t.

Interestingly, this locale does have something in common with the other reputable neighborhood that NT trashed in their article. What was it, you ask? Both areas seemed to be exclusively Latino, and while I’m hoping that’s just a coincidence, it does provoke a query. If the motivation wasn’t veiled racism, then why would NT characterize these perfectly ordinary neighborhoods as “slums”?

I’ve been in Scottsdale boutiques that were more hardcore than either of these places, so what exactly did Amy and Claire run into? Other than their own pre-established conclusion, that is. We walked through on a Saturday night, and the few times we encountered residents, all they said was “hi” or “Isn’t it absolutely gorgeous out tonight?” Clearly, we were dealing with some old school gangbangers, and were exceedingly lucky to get through unharmed.

That was a joke of course, but my curiosity about what’s wrong with Amy has been seriously piqued. My guess was that she couldn’t find a Sephora, and that just freaked her the Hell out, so hence; she was in a “slum”. Disturbingly, the only other possible alternative is that she harbors a strong dislike of the cinnamon people. Allegedly, of course. But I’m hoping that’s not it.

To help foster that optimism, I’m gonna take the high road and attribute this literary xenophobia to her being the Charter President of the local Mean Girls association. Due to the fact that NT’s verbal representation of Yuma was nothing more than an obvious cheap shot, one could surmise that it has Mean Girl written all over it.

Specifically one who wrote her review from the safety of her rental car. Allegedly.

On our last day, Ashley and I woke up, had breakfast at the Landing, and then decided to finally check out Yuma’s much touted Riverfront project, and just like most of our trip so far, we were pleasantly surprised. The river was awesome, the park along it’s banks was beautiful, and once again- it was an idyllic scene.

Walking in the shallows, we knew why this project had become so popular. It’s freaking gorgeous, and a definite positive for the community. For decades, Yuma had sought to reconnect the local community to its most precious natural asset — the Colorado River. Although widely recognized for its historic importance as the Yuma Crossing National Historic Landmark, the downtown riverfront had become blighted from divided and complicated ownership, industrial uses, and disuse.

After many years of planning, Yuma was able to transform the formerly wrecked river into a breathtaking home for a brand new Hilton hotel, along with a corporate center and recreation area. But the best part? Next to the Hilton sits a 100 year old Locomotive. That you can play on. And it makes awesome train noises, too. Finally, I got to “drive” a train. And while I am truly sorry about shoving that adorable four year old to get at the controls, I still maintain that he should have gotten the heck out of my way and that his Mother needed to calm down.

Besides- he’s young, and that arm will eventually heal in time.

On that end note, we took our leave of Yuma, relaxed and a little more enlightened, which is more than I can say for Amy and to a limited degree, her loyal pet, Claire. Given every opportunity to defend their misrepresentations, they have instead chosen to hide while ridiculing those who would dare to mock their fabrications, their elitism, and their lack of character.

Speaking only for myself in regards to my experiences, and on the strength of those alone, I’d have to seriously call bull***t  when it comes to the honesty of NT’s representation of this charming little community. As I stated in my last blog about their journalistic credibility: “I’m not calling them liars, I’m just suggesting that they make stuff up.”. That unkind opinion still stands, strengthened by my exploration of this city, and meeting it’s people, who were warm, friendly and full of local pride.

Ashley and I do plan on visiting again, and I would strongly recommend that you holiday there as well. We had an excellent time, found plenty of interesting things to do, while still managing to squeeze in a whole lot of much needed and relaxing down time. It’s a shame that Amy and Claire didn’t even bother to try seeing Yuma the same as we did, but then again… they’re chock full of something else, and it sure isn’t integrity.

Cowardice, spite, xenophobia, and just plain meanness, perhaps- but not integrity.

Truly class acts all the way.


“I don’t think you can compromise, news either has integrity or it doesn’t. It either is accurate, balanced and fair or it isn’t.” – Richard Parson