Governor's debt dishonest


Denise R. Frank ("Governor's woes not affecting duties," Sept. 29) alleges that the governor suffers unwarranted excoriation for his failure as a businessman. In doing so, she ignores the real issue.

Indisputably, some ambitious Democrats would seize upon the smallest solecism as a pretext to raise the banner of impeachment. Such men are among the governor's detractors. It is equally true that there are doctrinaire Republicans who would support J. Fife III against any charges, up to and including eyewitness accounts of his bludgeoning old ladies for their grocery money. These individuals, Frank included, have leapt to his defense in the present situation.

Many Arizonans, however, are not motivated principally by the desire that a particular political party profit. These cannot but feel some contempt toward Symington not for his business failure, but for his response to it.

A man with a functioning moral compass is bound by his word. If his debts are great and his assets small, he takes a second job, moves into cheaper lodgings, puts himself and his family on short rations and exerts himself to the utmost to satisfy his creditors cent percent. The Fife, however, proposes to repay a fraction of a cent on the dollar and go his way rejoicing. Shielded by the bankruptcy laws from the damnable inconvenience of having to pay his obligations, he intends to live in ease and comfort on his wife's holdings and to rejoin the ranks of the millionaires through real-estate skullduggery, as an expensive lobbyist to the Arizona legislature, or from the rich lode of graft available to Phil Gramm's Secretary of Commerce. It is legal, but scarcely honest.

It is not his deep indebtedness but his willingness to shrug off his debts that demonstrates our governor's moral lacunae. And it is these deficiencies of conscience, not his mere failure as a land speculator, that convince so many Arizonans that the Fife is unworthy to hold any office of profit, honor or trust.

William Flack

Mathematics Graduate Student

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