Letters

This is the man who, upon taking office in 1993, began the systematic intimidation of his own employees by reminding many of them that he knew exactly how much they had contributed to the campaign of his opponent. He would refer to a computer printout that he carried around to assist in this ugly process. This is the man who attempted to create a Sheriff's Office policy that would have prevented any of his 2,000 employees from uttering anything negative about him, on or off duty. After this fact was revealed in the Arizona Republic, he then proceeded to lie about having proposed such a clear violation of the First Amendment.

This is a man who proposed searching each person entering Maricopa County for illegal materials. This is a man who, being asked to show his ID card when entering a County Court building, threw his business card in the face of a $5-per-hour security guard. This is a man who required his employees to watch videotapes of his appearing in the media. All at public expense.

Kelley Waldrip, MCSO lieutenant, retired
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Kudos to Jeremy Voas for his analysis of the continuing farce that is Arizona politics. His analysis that Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be the next governor is, sad to say, absolutely correct. The people of this state seem to be able to, without exception, pick the greater of two evils. About the only way that Arpaio could fail to gain the governorship would be if Charles Manson should receive parole and decide to run (not very likely at this time).

Of course, with Arpaio as governor, New Times' job (printing the news) becomes so much easier. I'm sure we all can imagine the great copy "Governor" Joe (America's Most Insane Executive) Arpaio will generate. We can be sure that the failings of Evan Mecham and Fife Symington will pale in comparison.

Fred Geiger
Phoenix

I frequent Phoenix to visit my 68-year-old mother and she tells me that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is a saint, and she seems to feel safer because of his no-nonsense reputation nationwide! It's like watching a World War II documentary about the abuse that Adolf Hitler got away with! This makes me disgusted and ashamed that I was born in Phoenix.

How much longer can this madness last? What makes me sick is that the media make Arpaio look like James Arness from Gunsmoke! A lot of people like my mother think the same way; they think like they're out of harm's way because of this dork of a sheriff!

My hat's off to New Times for having the guts to publish Jeremy Voas' column. This column has to be the best information piece that I've ever read--too bad it's a stomach churner!

Mark Kramer
Sacramento, California

Peace of Mind
As a mental-health consumer living in Maricopa County, I am very disturbed at ComCare's decision to lay off case managers to save funds ("Scream Dement," Barry Graham, June 12). This decision is extremely detrimental to me as a consumer, as well as to other consumers who benefit so much from ComCare's services.

I have been a member of ComCare for six years. In that time, my case managers have provided emotional support in times of crisis, have found agencies to provide psychotherapy, have helped with transportation, and have even provided food boxes on a couple of occasions. It could be said that without ComCare's assistance, I might not have received the emotional and other support necessary to attend Arizona State University with the goal of receiving a bachelor's degree.

The reason ComCare has been able to assist me so successfully is because each of my case managers has been given a small enough caseload that he has had time to assess my needs and goals. One of the biggest determinants to many consumers remaining stable and functioning in the community is having access to a case manager who does not have an overwhelming caseload. This way each consumer gets the attention he or she truly needs.

ComCare owes the people it services the best possible care. Laying off case managers is a slap in the face to consumers because case managers are in the unique position of knowing more about their consumers than anybody else in the system. When consumers are having a crisis, their case managers will invariably know much quicker than anyone else what services the consumer needs in order to survive the ordeal. Case managers consistently have more contact with their clients than any other professional in the mental-health system and, therefore, have a greater understanding of what their clients need. A crisis line is a poor substitute because crisis workers don't have the wealth of knowledge about the consumer at their fingertips that a case manager does.

It is crucial that there be enough case managers employed so that consumers have the best possible access to the services they are legally entitled to, as mandated by Arnold v. Sarn. I strongly urge ComCare to find other places to cut funding besides laying off case managers. ComCare would be cutting off the very people it is mandated to protect.

Steven Stein
Tempe

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