Letters

Letters from the week of December 30, 2004

A Politician's Politician

A standup guy: Paul Rubin's story on Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley ("Balls in the Air," December 16) was first-rate and fair. My assessment is that Romley, even though he's a Republican, would make a far better governor than Janet Napolitano. I hope he runs against her, because he's not a wishy-washy politician who stands for nothing, like she is.

This was one in a long line of excellent profiles written by Rubin over the years, though I can tell that he likes Romley better than most of the people he thrashes. Romley should be happy that Rubin didn't treat him like he did incoming County Attorney Andrew Thomas. In fact, the only problem I see with Romley is that he virtually endorsed Thomas, who's a dangerous right-wing nut.

The part about Romley's Vietnam background was fascinating. Appropriate headline, too, considering his war injuries and his future plans. You can see where Rick gets that steely resolve. I have said for years that I wouldn't want to get on Rick's bad side. Once on his radar screen, it would take something along the lines of the conflict of interest he suffered when going after Outlaw Joe Arpaio (John Dougherty's term) for Romley to ever give up.

As for getting Joe legally, Romley was our last, best hope. With Thomas coming in, the County Attorney's Office will revert to kissing the scum's ancient butt again. Unless U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton steps in and latches onto the many abuses Dougherty has uncovered about Arpaio, we've got Joe forever. Unless he dies of old age, of course.
Skip Moran, Peoria

Character assassination: When I arrived at the office [on a recent morning], numerous colleagues approached me expressing their outrage at the "journalism" engaged in by you with regard to your references to me in your article about the county attorney.

I am very disappointed that you would engage in such a blatant attempt at character assassination. I thought you were better than that. Obviously, I was wrong. Since you did not permit me to respond before you printed the anonymous comments about me, I will take this opportunity to comment now.

You falsely single me out as one who has permitted political motivations to drive prosecutorial decisions. That accusation is blatantly untrue. In my more than 30 years as a prosecutor, I have had the opportunity to try hundreds of criminal cases, many of them high-profile, and to make hundreds more prosecutorial decisions. While obviously aware of the potential political ramifications of certain prosecutions (the Governor Mecham case is but one example), I have never let political considerations dictate any decision. Never! I would challenge you to name even one case where a decision I made was political. There are none. For you to insinuate to the contrary does me a great disservice.

Your assertion that I am "almost universally disrespected by . . . colleagues at the office" is hyperbole in its lowest form. As you are most certainly aware, the duties of my position (including overseeing sensitive investigations such as [that] of the juvenile justice system, representing the county attorney in public forums, responding to constituent inquiries, responding to public records requests, interacting with the media and supervising the Community Action Bureau) do not require me to interact on a regular basis with the great majority of the nearly 1,000 employees of the County Attorney's Office. As a matter of fact, I have never met or communicated with most of them. Any opinion they may have surely is not based on personal knowledge.

I have been informed that you did not inquire as to my reputation of those with whom I work on a regular basis. I have worked hard for more than 30 years to earn the respect of my colleagues. I know I have been successful. I know there are some who do not like me. That comes with the territory of occupying positions of authority where you have to make tough decisions. However, "almost universally disrespected"? I think not, and you know not.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your reference to my possessing a videotape of the county attorney in a compromising position was tongue-in-cheek. In any event, it is beneath my dignity to further comment on this ridiculous assertion, just as it was beneath your dignity even to assert it.

While I recognize that it may not matter to you, I again want to express my extreme disappointment that you would gratuitously smear me. My previous judgment of you as a journalist with a sense of fairness has unfortunately proven wrong. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Barnett Lotstein, Special Deputy County Attorney

Bombs Away

What a rip-off: I just wanted to say thank you for speaking out in your recent article titled "Bada Bomb" (Cafe, Stephen Lemons, December 16). Too often today the media and news publications are so fearful of offending anyone and so loyal to sponsors/advertisers that they don't tell people the truth.

Your article was honest and completely true as far as I'm concerned. Even though I initially thought the name Bada Boom Pasta Room was a complete rip-off and insulting to any remotely intelligent person, I still decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Like the experience you described, I was completely disappointed.

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