From the week of March 21, 2002

New Boy in Town

Talking out of both sides: Clint Bolick, "The Merry Revolutionary" (Amy Silverman, March 7), would merrily use publicly financed vouchers to breach church/state separation, leaving the way open to indoctrinate kids with ultra-parochial religious and cultural beliefs, unscientific notions of science, etc. Clearly the diversion of public school tax dollars to private schools is an obscene attack on public education, a blatant raid on the public treasury and probably unconstitutional.

On the other hand, in other venues Bolick forcefully asserts that it's unconstitutional for a majority to vote to earmark a few of our tax dollars to assure convenient access to the free speech views of all candidates competing for public office. In effect, while publicly financed religious indoctrination of school kids is constitutionally protected speech in Bolick's view, publicly financed free speech political debate by opposing sides of public policy issues is deemed unconstitutional.

Competitive groveling for big campaign bucks by today's politicians to finance one-sided, hit-piece advertising indoctrination of voters is hardly the kind of competition in the marketplace of ideas envisioned by the founders.

Without public financing, politicians seeking public office -- like parents seeking private schools for their children -- are limited to the private funds available. But parents have an alternative: the system of free public education that they already control as taxpaying voters; it has served the nation well for two centuries.

On the other hand, to cast an informed vote, we need to hear from all candidates, not just those with the most money. It is sensible and constitutional to publicly finance free speech media dialogue among candidates who seek to lead us. After all, we have always publicly financed the conduct of elections and the counting of ballots to ensure fairness.

The need for balanced political debate is too important to be diverted by bogus broadsides from the hypocritical right.

Bill Searle

The Joe Show

Hi ho: Thank God someone is addressing a subject that few of the flaccid organs of daily news in Arizona dare address ("Serious Business," Robert Nelson, March 7). Namely: Joe Arpaio is a nut and has no right to hold office. I had been observing his fortunes from afar in Northern California, little realizing I would come to a state under his jurisdiction. I agree that the bulk of his support comes from well-heeled retirees living safely behind the secure portals of gated communities, but how can we address that?

Keep up the good work, and don't let up on this bloody egomaniac -- every little bit helps. Why not fight ignorance with ignorance? I suggest a line of bumper stickers with the slogan: "Sheriff Joe, the Media Ho!"

Nick Gardner

Fallacy symbol: I like just about anything spoken or in print that reveals Sheriff Arpaio for what he is, so for that reason alone I enjoyed Robert Nelson's column. But I wish he had been more specific, used numbers instead of just saying how he has lied about the cost of lunches, etc. We all know how the little old folks just love Sheriff Joe, but tell them about the fallacy in their fears so they won't run with open arms to what they perceive as their protector.

What in the world will the media have to do to convince people that this man is deceitful and neither capable nor worthy of the office of governor? Please, take off the gloves! Come March 27, the move to defeat Sheriff Arpaio in his gubernatorial bid goes into high gear, and I expect New Times to be front and center.

Linda Massey
Via e-mail

Cuckoo's nest: I have been in Arizona for four years now and I cannot believe that no one in the media except New Times has noticed that Sheriff Joe is a psycho. Robert Nelson really hit the nail on the head in his column about him. I cannot understand why anyone would vote for that moron for governor. I would also like to know what his educational background is. Did he even get his GED? Sometimes I think listening to the man talk is like watching a dog lick peanut butter off the roof of its mouth. I know his mouth is moving, but nothing of substance is coming out. How can anyone think his treatment of inmates is anything but inhumane? I feel that man is the true menace to society and should be locked up with Nurse Ratched.

Desi Nicodemus

Hot Diggity

Who even remembers Erik Estrada?: Is it just me, or does every bureaucrat and politician in this state have a forked tongue and invisible ink in his pen ("Steamed," Paul Rubin, March 7)? This hot dog vendor is getting jacked like every other person in this state: for the benefit of the stagnant quo.

A "convenience" clause? In a private business transaction, you'd be a moron to sign anything with that, but who would think your government would screw you? On top of "convenience," they are concerned about him "attracting" business? Isn't that what business is about? The American Way! They should make him speak in hushed tones of an old Hebrew dialect to make it even tougher to make money!

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