Letters

From the week of April 12, 2001

Whale Done

Making waves: There you go again. You wrote a brilliant, interesting story about whale hunting, etc. ("Dying Breeds," David Holthouse, March 29). I really enjoyed it. I was shocked about the stinking whale meat problem. I think the population is starving like you said. All the arguments fit exactly as you called it. But keep us informed on a follow-up to see if this is correct. I am afraid that plankton catastrophes in the ocean will do what the whalers could not do because of climate changes. I hope I am wrong 100 percent on this, but I fear the most. Clearly, all beached whales should be examined for evidence of starvation.

Have a great 2001. Articles like this are great even though they are not local news but we know that many Arizonans go to the coast to hit those whale-watching boats. I still have not been, darn.

Name withheld by request

Just Say Joe

Dollars and tents: As an employee of the Sheriff's Office, I cannot agree with you more about your recent article ("Joe Arpaio's Balloon Payments," Robert Nelson, April 5). Morale is at an all-time low and getting lower as the weeks go by. This was once a proud office to work for, but not anymore. The sheriff and his band of overpriced chiefs (how many other agencies have 14 chiefs?) have demoralized a great many of us. Now that the office is in this budget crisis, the sheriff and Hendershott plan on dealing with this problem by starting at the bottom, making all of us suffer while they still keep their perks. First, they eliminated overtime pay, then they forced us to work a rearranged schedule, taking time away from our families. Now they are forcing us to use our comp time, all of this so Hendershott can get his raise. Yet the sheriff expects us to remain faithful to him. Sure, he can say that he had fought hard for our raises, but the pay-raise plan had been in place long before Arpaio came along. Even with the raises, we are still one of the lowest-paid law enforcement agencies in the county, if not the nation.

I wonder if the public knows that with all of the cuts the sheriff has made, there are hard-core criminals walking the streets, free to commit more crime, costing the citizens hardship and grief. Arpaio and his staff axed the warrants unit and axed participation in the fugitive task force unit. Criminal investigations have also suffered, with detectives only allowed to work 40 hours per week. Once a detective reaches 40 hours, he is told to go home, which leaves investigations undone. Murderers, rapists, molesters, thieves and others are free to continue with their criminal activity until the detective returns to resume the investigation, pending other cases that land on the detective's desk. Criminals can rest assured they won't be pursued as long as they commit their crimes in unincorporated Maricopa County or in the contract cities.

A long time ago, the sheriff put a slogan on our patrol cars: "Protect and Serve." This office protects and serves all right, just ask his 14 chiefs.

Name withheld by request

Court press: A couple of points in your article really need to be explored, as they didn't tell the whole story.

First, Sheriff Arpaio did indeed move into the Wells Fargo building. But you did not say what happened to his old offices in the county building at 101 West Jefferson. Why not? I can tell you what happened to them: They replaced an old 911 dispatch center from the early 1980s, reflecting the needs of a county which has exploded in growth and 911 service needs in that same time frame. I'd say that $3 million was a bargain compared to the potential cost of getting a busy signal on a 911 call. It wasn't just the sheriff moving into a swank penthouse by any means. You're looking at where the sheriff went, not what he left.

Second, county voters approved a new jail, which is going to be built in downtown Phoenix. The reason is very obvious: Downtown is where the courts are. Arrestees need to go to court, it's just that basic. The whole constitutional Sixth Amendment thing, speedy trial and all that, you know. Madison Jail is where bail is posted; they take Visa and MasterCard, but the Avondale jail wasn't ever so equipped. Family members, friends, lawyers, all of them wind up in downtown Phoenix where the courts are. So what's so horrible about Buckeye police officers going there? Citizens are just as inconvenienced, posting bail at Madison Jail and then having to go to Durango or Estrella jails to pick up their friends. Plus, Buckeye P.D. has two holding cells in their own building, so it's not as if they have no way to lock anybody up until they get to Madison Jail. Inmates need access to courts, and they won't get it locked up in Avondale.

Since when is police work about convenience anyway? Transportation costs are ultimately paid for by the taxpayer, no matter who does it. I'd suggest it's a lot better to transport a prisoner one time than it is to leapfrog from jail to jail.

Charles Doane
Phoenix

Trial Mix

Brian's song: My friend, Paul Rubin, writes from the heart. I have followed his stories since reading his articles in the Sierra Vista Herald about the disappearance and murder of Rae Marie Bennett. I prosecuted Mark Simano for that murder. He was convicted. As in the Brian Eftenoff case, that defendant also helped the state's case.

In the Eftenoff case, Rubin fell victim to a salesman ("The Final Straw," March 29). Eftenoff says cocaine is like a Lay's potato chip and Judi could not put it down. Eftenoff's opinions of Detective Joseph Petrocino as a bad cop were like Lay's potato chips to Rubin. Somewhere between the numerous hours Rubin spent with the "used-car salesman" and a reporter's desire to write creatively, passionately and mysteriously, Rubin OD'd on the intoxicating "chips" he was fed.

My friend, Detective Joseph Petrocino, reported from the facts. Eftenoff tried to feed Petrocino the same "chips" he fed Rubin. Over and over during the investigation, Eftenoff phoned Petrocino. Petrocino recorded the calls. Finally, all the evidence came out -- at trial. The "chips" were examined by 12 citizens who did not previously know Eftenoff or Petrocino. Twelve microscopes of varied skills: homemaker, cabinet maker, engineer, minister, nurse, doctor, et al. (I disagree with your observations of the doctor on the jury who allegedly threw up his hands during testimony in the trial. It makes interesting reading, but it disparages a good doctor and citizen who gave six weeks of his time to serve on this jury. Kudos to the jurors for "voluntary" servitude without fair wages.) Rubin and Eftenoff's expert, Dr. Karch, so highly esteemed in the New Times article, was correct when he told Rubin the jury did not believe him. A doctor was on the jury. Karch was understood for what he was: an editor, uncertified in the field of toxicology.

My friend Rubin owes my friend Petrocino an apology. Those "chips" Eftenoff fed Rubin were not Lay's: The chips were "bull-chips." Give Rubin some mouthwash -- it's called an apology -- and let's clean up that foul smell. Rubin, you'll be my friend "'til death do us part"; and so will the honest cop whose breath is a lot fresher, and cleaner, than yours at this moment.

Bill Clayton
Co-prosecutor, Eftenoff murder case

Acquit while you're ahead: Paul Rubin's article is based on faulty logic. If Eftenoff's testimony prejudiced the jury against him, why was the jury's first vote evenly divided between six to convict and six to acquit? The first vote, if it were prejudiced, would have been 10 for conviction or some other unbalanced result. Perhaps it was an oversight or perhaps it did not support Mr. Rubin's personal view. Omitting significant data is not seeking the truth. Or am I making a fallacious assumption that Mr. Rubin was seeking the truth?

D. Harding
Annapolis, Maryland

Tip Dance

Percentage deal: As someone who has worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years (13 of those serving), I can honestly respond to Sirrah Ray ( Letters, March 22) and her editorial by saying three little words: Please drive through!

Arizona, being a right to work state, provides no union for restaurant workers and therefore somehow this makes our pay of $2.13 an hour justifiable. After taxes on wages and tips, you are lucky to get a check at all. So to Sirrah, do what I did seven years ago and you'll feel much better: Just click your heels together three times and say: "There are more places than Mesa." Get the picture?

Tracy Girard
Chandler

Tip for tat: I was not going to respond to the article "Tipper Score" ( Eater's Digest, Alex Neville, March 8), but after reading a response (Letters, March 22) made by an individual (name was withheld by request) who appears to be/have been in the food-service industry, I could not hold my tongue any longer.

I am far from a bad tipper. If I feel that the service was fair, I will tip 15 percent. If I feel that the service was above average, though, it is not uncommon for me to tip 25 percent to 30 percent. And only if the service was a total disaster will I ever tip less than 15 percent.

I know that the people in the food-service industry work their collective tails off to provide the customer with an enjoyable dining experience. But that does not excuse servers who have no business waiting tables or tending bar because of a bad or indifferent attitude.

I know that food-service industry employees get paid half of minimum wage, that the employer takes out taxes based on the total amount of the sales that server made for the day. If the tips don't cover it, then the server loses money.

But that does not excuse poor service or just plain lack of common courtesy. If the female in question put herself through school by waiting tables or tending bar, that was her choice. But it is not the fault of the customer, or the industry, if the server is rude or incompetent. If poor service is given, expect a poor tip in return.

It is also not the fault of the industry or the customer that the server is working at a bar or eatery. That person can go and get a job elsewhere that pays higher wages. Yes, there are part-time jobs that are not in the food industry. So don't lay the lack of tuition fees or the need for money to feed the kids on the customer. You knew the job was dangerous when you took it.

Your motto, "Tip 20 percent or eat at Taco Bell," speaks volumes about your attitude as a server. If I would have been your employer and heard that, you would have been out the door faster than you could say, "Do you want fries with that?"

A tip is something that has to be earned, not expected or demanded. As for "having" to tip in this country, unless there is a new amendment to the Constitution saying that tipping is now mandatory, you're not in the same United States that I am.

Sonny Haynes
Goodyear

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