By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
This concerns the column written by Michael Lacey ("Typo Negative," June 5) about the testimony of J. Fife Symington III's former secretary, Joyce Riebel, relating the governor's alleged banking corruption. In discussing Riebel's experience and her previous connections with powerful and influential men, Lacey stated that she is not "some bumbling Kelly girl." It is not clear whether Lacey was specifically referring to temporary employees of Kelly Services, Inc., or was using "Kelly girl" as a generic term for temporary clerical personnel.
Please be advised that "Kelly girl" is a federally registered trademark of Kelly Services, Inc., and, as such, it should not be used as a generic term for temporary personnel or temporary-service companies, but should only be used to refer to our company's employees and services.
Additionally, because of the widespread use of temporary help by satisfied customers and the large number of people who are temporary workers, Lacey's derogatory reference very likely offended many of New Times' readers, as well as our company, who knows temporary workers to be hardworking, honest and intelligent. Please help us protect our trademark and the reputation of our company and our temporary employees by, in the future, only using our trademark when referring to our company's temporary employees or the services furnished by our company.
Cheryth Taylor, legal assistant
Read It and Reap
I couldn't be more pleased with the reporting and writing John Dougherty is doing concerning the trial of our resident crook, the guv. Does Fife Symington make Ev Mecham look good, or what? Well, actually, I could be more pleased. If the other two mainstream newspapers had a little more chutzpah and a little less self-interest, maybe the entire community would get a little more outraged and concerned that Symington and his lawyer, John Dowd, are picking our pockets in broad daylight and no one will call the police. The latest sellout was Doug MacEachern of the Mesa Tribune. In his column, he scolded Dougherty for practicing hate journalism. Maybe so, Mac, but at least it is journalism. Keep it up, John. This community needs New Times now more than ever.
Admittedly, we have pretty zany folks in San Francisco and California, but I am wondering: Does long-term exposure to blistering sunshine fry bureaucratic brains down New Times' way? Is it my imagination or is every governor and developer in the Sun Devil state required to become embroiled in the center of controversy shortly after swearing in? I remember Mr. Amazin' himself, old Ev Mecham; and now it's strife with Fife. What gives?
I was very disturbed to read Tony Ortega's story "Keeping 'em in Stitches" (July 24) on what is clearly a hideous case of neglect, and akin to "cruel and unusual punishment" in our county jails. What the jail staff did to inmate Damon Dreckmeier is inexcusable and must be regarded as a crime. The nurses and guards responsible ought to do time behind bars and get a taste of their own bad medicine. My sympathy goes out to Dreckmeier and his family.
However, I must say I'm equally disturbed not just for Dreckmeier but for what this means to Sheriff Joe Arpaio's program and others like it across the country. I consider myself a supporter of reform and of Arpaio's philosophy. As a worker, a taxpayer and a law-abiding citizen, I'm tired of paying for criminals to beef up in fitness centers and watch cable TV in cushy jails. Most people I know feel the same. But the morons on staff who perpetrate the kind of cruelty and gross neglect Dreckmeier suffered give fuel to objectors. They could ruin this program.
There is a middle ground. There is a way to demand from prisoners that they contribute something back to society through useful labor. It is possible to provide inmates with simple, rudimentary, even uncomfortable living conditions, and yet not torture or harm them.
Obviously, staff morale is abysmal. They must not be paid well enough to do a decent job (or the county made the mistake of hiring sadists--in which case, fire them!). Because of the possible consequences--as illustrated in the Dreckmeier case--Arpaio and the county can't afford to cut corners. Basic access to sufficient medical care is a human right, and it must be provided. Arpaio had better make sure his medical and security staff understand this.
I enjoyed Tony Ortega's article. We need more of them to expose that egomaniac madman Joe Arpaio. I almost took a job as a nurse at the county jail. I would have been one of the ones who "didn't last."
My son had the misfortune of being in Durango jail for two months last fall. Believe me, even the visitors are treated like criminals. I couldn't bring him anything, such as a hairbrush or a toothbrush. I once put $10 "on the books" so he could get what he needed from the jail store (run by Arpaio's brother). My son went to medical with a terrible toothache, so they took $7 of his $10 for meds.
Please send a copy of this article to the judge in Iceland. I'm sure New Times knows about the one who won't send back that couple wanted by Arizona because he has heard of Arpaio's reputation. Sometimes "dinner" was rice with barbecue sauce.
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.
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.
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
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
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."
I've always used the comic section of newspapers to gauge the humor sophistication of a given area or readership. If JHP wants easily digestible and easily understood comics for the Wonder bread crowd, I recommend Family Circus, Peanuts, Garfield or any of the other vast masses of (un)"funny" and "coincidental" mainstream crap.
As long as New Times continues to carry strips like Red Meat, The Quigmans, This Modern World and Life in Hell, I will continue to be a happy camper (customer).
I'm amused at letters from people trashing one thing or another who lack the courage to sign their real names (JHP, for example). Since I moved to the Valley six years ago, I have picked up New Times religiously each week. Before flipping to the concert and club sections, I take a minute to read Max Cannon's comic strip.
Personally, I think Red Meat is great. Cannon's humor is on the twisted side. I've never met another human being who wasn't a little twisted in his or her own way. As easy as it is to get wrapped up in the "seriousness" of life, I find it refreshing to sit back and laugh at myself.
Phoenix is one of the fastest-growing cities in America. I think that the only way to cope with these rapid-growing pains is to respect, encourage and love one another. As an artist, I think it's really important that we support one another locally, regardless of whether the work is what we're into personally. Face it, without the arts (and the whole creative process in general), what kind of bland, expressionless existence would we have to look forward to?
Kate Lincoln Heyn complains (Letters, June 26) that the Arizona Republic doesn't promote performances of the Phoenix Symphony until after the fact, and her interest in concerts is aroused "a day late." Has it ever occurred to her that she could call the symphony office directly and request an official brochure, listing the dates, times and guest artists for the entire nine-month season? It's difficult for me to believe that she, as a professional musician, would rely on the Republic as her sole source of classical-music information and enlightenment in the Valley.