Letters

E. Greul

Juxtaposing the two articles in the July 24 issue, "Keeping 'em in Stitches" (Tony Ortega) and "DONKs!" (Amy Silverman), left me almost--but not quite--speechless. Has anyone ever seen a better example of how out of whack our society's priorities are? Animals pampered like royalty; prisoners treated like animals? Yes, I am an animal lover who owns two well-fed and well-loved (but not well-dressed) cats, both rescued from straydom many years ago. Let me also make it clear that I am not a "bleeding-heart liberal" where criminals are concerned--although reading Damon Dreckmeier's story made me reexamine my beliefs.

Basically, I don't see anything wrong with keeping criminals in a "tent city" when there are far too many law-abiding people in this society who are without adequate housing, food or medical attention. But, and this is a big but, those prisoners must be accorded at least a modicum of respect in the form of freedom from torture and abuse. They also have a right (and I mean a right) to basically nourishing meals, adequate sanitation and adequate medical attention.

The story about poor Damon Dreckmeier made me want to cry. Yes, he committed a really stupid crime; he probably should have known better. But he was going to serve his time and make restitution, which is all he was required to do to pay his "debt to society." He sure as hell didn't deserve the treatment he got at the hands of the Maricopa County jail system. I think King Joe [Arpaio] needs to spend a couple of days in Dreckmeier's shoes. I'd also like to see Emperor Fife [Symington] in Tent City posthaste instead of sitting in the governor's chair every day like business as usual (which, sadly, it is).

A couple of factoids: 1) The dog of lesbian choice is usually a cat; and 2) although gays and lesbians love animals as much as anyone else does, today many, many lesbians, and some gay men, either are raising children from previous marriages or are choosing to have or adopt children. I guess you could call it a Gayby Boom.

Patricia Victour
Phoenix

Our miniature poodles add greatly to our quality of life ("DONKs!," Amy Silverman, July 24). However, in their wonderfully doggy way, little pleases them as much as hearing an enthusiastically delivered "Good dog!" How sad to deprive them of this tail-wagging delight with a staid, human expression like "thank you." And, we would never demean the poodles by referring to them as people. We, and they, feel that their very canineness is what makes them so exquisite.

Katherine Behr
Jeffrey Behr
Phoenix

Bar Tab
As president of the Independent Paralegals Association of Arizona, I have been aware of Richard Berry and People's Paralegal for several years ("Going for Broke," July 17). His past and current practices are not typical of those in our profession who provide caring and accurate services at a low price as an alternative to lawyers.

Paul Rubin's article was factual and correct. Berry, who is not a member of our association, is the one area of agreement between the Arizona Bar Association and IPAA: Disbarred attorneys should not be able to slip in the back door as "paralegals" or "document preparers."

I fear that the impression given by the article is that all nonlawyer document preparers are somehow dishonest or incompetent, when, in fact, the great majority of document preparers are very competent and knowledgeable about their particular fields. My own firm gets about 70 percent of its business now from referrals from former clients--not a very likely situation if we were operating in the same way as Dick Berry.

I believe that if the state bar association and the courts did a better job of policing their own (lawyers), there would be much more support for licensing of paralegals. It may interest New Times to know that our association has met with state bar representatives several times with the intent of establishing a reasonable licensing law for "legal technicians" or "document preparers," but the state bar has never been willing to negotiate in good faith, always attempting to set up the proposed law in such a way as to eliminate the legal technicians entirely.

Allen D. Merrill
Mesa

I am a bankruptcy attorney who has witnessed firsthand the tremendous hardship that has been caused by People's Paralegal. I was very impressed with the depth of the article and thorough research conducted by staff writer Paul Rubin. Nonetheless, it was unfair and misleading for Rubin to criticize George Nielsen for his refusal to comment. Specifically, Rubin claims (unfairly) that "Chief Judge Nielsen apparently wants the general public to remain in the dark."

Nielsen was acting in accordance with judicial ethics by refusing to comment. Moreover, Nielsen has, on many occasions, evidenced his concern for the general public. It is unfair to criticize him for complying with his ethical duties not to comment on these matters. Indeed, this would never have happened if Richard Berry and his cohorts had 1U100th of George Nielsen's concern for the general public.

Ronald J. Ellett
Phoenix

Comic's Hip
Max Cannon's Red Meat is the best comic to come along in, well, quite a long time (Letters, July 24). I must compliment the management of New Times for continuing to print the strip. As is normally the case with fringe or new format artists, there are bound to be a few who say, "Eeeeeww."

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