We are evacuees, but we are also survivors of one of the worst natural disasters in the history of this country. And we're still here, and I believe it's for that reason that we belong here.
Mitchell Davis, Phoenix

Keep a positive attitude: It's sad to see these people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, but they seem to dwell more on their situation than trying to help themselves.

I can imagine the feelings of despair because of the loss of home and family, along with the loss of the way their lives used to be. However, there has to be a way of looking ahead to make ends meet and getting back on one's feet.

Arizona is a state that gives to the "needy," which is why there is a large population of "needy" people who are able to work but are too lazy to find and keep a job. Education among these "needy" people is low because they do not want to get educated because of the welfare programs they have become accustomed to counting on.

The same goes for illegal immigrants; however, they are willing to find employment wherever they can. Some of these "needy" people complain that illegal immigrants are taking all the jobs for low wages, but it isn't true. I personally know a few illegals who make more money than me, but their jobs involve manual labor that most "Americans" won't do because they think the jobs would lower them to the level of immigrants.

The best attitude is a positive one. I now make enough money to support myself, as well as own a vehicle and keep a roof over my head. This despite the fact that I was a bum (alcoholic) living on the streets seven years ago. I got an education, thank you!

So, to the people of Katrina: Life is hard, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But you must get to it by employing a big fat "E" for effort.
Name withheld by request

Band Aid

'Net gain: I have made your piece on The Format required reading for my unsigned acts ("Format Busters," Michele Laudig, July 6). You somehow worked in Malcolm Gladwell's concepts and totally nailed the formula that hard work, a decent break and talent = success. Period.

The Internet changed everything — how music lovers discover and purchase new music is at the forefront of that new business model. It's 100 percent of mine.

Great job! And thanks for shedding some light on the fact that it can be done without a Sony/BMG deal behind a band.
Sean T. Shepherd, personal manager and agent

No need to be labeled: Loved your story on The Format. It made me think my band can make it, too, even without a big record label behind us. I really admire these guys for doing it their way.
Gene Abbott, Tucson

Ajo Andy

Publicity hound: Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' crackdown on Ajo Al's ("Panic Attack," Sarah Fenske, July 13) is a misguided publicity attempt by a nebbishy Joe Arpaio wanna-be.

The only crime is that this chump can virtually shut down a legitimate business with no evidence and get away with it.
Brian Simpson, Gilbert

A bad personal experience?: I've been a loyal customer of the various Ajo Al's locations for 16 years. They not only serve some of the best Mexican food in the Valley, they are among the cleanest restaurants I have ever enjoyed.

The obvious witch hunt that our county attorney launched against Ajo Al's has to be a cover for some other, more devious goal. Or maybe he didn't get waited on quickly enough during a personal visit to one of the eateries.

In any case, I believe that Andrew Thomas should keep his big fat mouth shut in front of the media until he has hard facts and not just innuendo.
Mary Grant, Tempe

Spreading the love: Thank you for your article about Ajo Al's and the Dains family. They are a wonderful family and have done so much for the community. We appreciate your taking on this assignment. This will certainly change my opinion about your publication.
Jim Young, Phoenix

Short and sweet: Thanks for Sarah Fenske's efforts to report fairly on the Dains family and Ajo Al's.
Kathy Davidson, Phoenix

Total recall: Well, it looks as if we have a tag team from the World War II era right here in our backyard! We have the ever-so-great Stalin (a.k.a. Sheriff Joe Arpaio), and little Adolf (a.k.a. Andrew Thomas). Both are extremely political, and both fail to serve the public. It seems as if they only serve up their own agendas to attempt to further their own careers.

Regarding "Panic Attack," I grew up going to Ajo Al's, and I never once got sick or noticed anything other than the employees making it a point that I had an enjoyable experience.

When did it become all right for Arpaio and Thomas to run this city like it's their own little playground?

Someone opposes Arpaio in the election, and he reverts to Nazi tactics to scare people away; he claims untrue facts about his opponent, Dan Saban, in the media and gets away with it ("Bully Pulpit," John Dougherty, June 29).

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