Letters from the issue of Thursday, April 10, 2008

SIDEWALK FRIDAYS

Beer vendors will bring sanity: I disagree with The Bird and agree wholeheartedly with efforts to rid First Fridays of so many street vendors ("Art Crime," Stephen Lemons, April 3). If you want to go to the art galleries, you have to walk in the middle of Roosevelt Street, sometimes, to get to them. Try pushing a baby carriage along there, as I once did!

It's not only a dangerous situation, but the stuff most of these retards are selling on the streets is worthless.

What the city needs to do is set up a zone where vendors can sell refreshments, from beer to anything of a food-and-beverage variety, as is done at festivals in parks and on fairgrounds. As for tchotchkes, ban them! Who cares about that crap at an art happening?

So, Mr. Bird, why is it that you always back anarchists over law-abiding types? Sometimes I applaud you for this (most of the time, in fact; especially when it comes to Sheriff Joe Arpaio), but we need to bring some sanity to First Fridays, or people will stop going.
Zee Brundell, Phoenix

NANNY STATE 911

Ruthless self-preservation: Arizona Child Protective Services is paid to do everything it can to drag the parent through the mud. It will fabricate, embellish, exaggerate, take the parent's statements out of context, and blatantly lie ("Mother, Interrupted," Megan Irwin, March 27).

CPS will allege and it will allege. It will attempt to cover up its lies by destroying records. So discrepancies might not ever be brought to light. A blatant injustice.

And the parent and the child must live with it forever. CPS is advocating only for the state, not the child. My God, think of the children who have suffered because CPS caseworkers knew they wouldn't get paid if they told the truth.
Melanie Bulseco, Phoenix

Why just "Sarah"?: I would like to thank you for writing the article exposing the horrific miscarriage of justice that Carol Dunlavy and her daughter have received at the hands of CPS and the Maricopa County court system.

I am the mother of two special-needs children and met Carol in an observation room where we could watch our children receiving group therapy together. I bonded to Carol pretty quickly, because when you are a parent of children who require early intervention, your life soon revolves around therapy and doctors' appointments.

Friends you used to have don't relate to your lifestyle, your kids can't do what their kids can do, and you don't have time for them anyway. Carol was living the same kind of life with "Sarah" that I was living with my two children.

When she started to share what was happening with her custody situation, I was horrified. Each one of my children had more hours of therapy than "Sarah" did — some funded [publicly] and some privately by myself and my husband. I told Carol that if she went to trial, she'd be okay, that [the authorities] would have to give her daughter back or take away all of the children undergoing early intervention.

"Sarah" isn't receiving any more hours of therapy than any other child parented by a good, involved parent. Children with autism are supposed to receive 30-40 hours of early intervention each week. Mine do, and they are each under the age of five. If that is excessive care, then I am guilty, too.
Michelle Lopez, via the Internet

Some parents lie: Stories like this really anger me because it is all so one-sided. The other side is not going to comment because any comments will be used against them by wonderful attorneys looking to sue the state.

There are a lot of fallacies in this story. She did not lose her parental rights; she lost custody. Of course she is still paying bills, bills she had when she had custody of the child. In everyone's mind, the mission of CPS is leaving kids with bad parents and taking kids away from good parents. That parents never lie, only CPS does. That CPS has shredders running 24/7.

I would like to see [critics] in the place of a CPS worker trying to make a decision in this case. You have a mother who has lied about her education and who knows what else, and you have doctors/professionals telling you something is not right. Then you have people writing that CPS kills kids.

It is hard trying to do the best you can with the information that is being provided. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Is CPS doing a good job? I don't know, but let's not jump off the deep end. Is the mother telling us the complete truth? Of course not.

I am not associated with CPS, but was once a child who was helped by CPS-type agency in another state. It saved my life from an abusive father.
C.V. Dirk, via the Internet

Nothing but the facts, Mari: I have enjoyed reading featured articles in New Times, but there are so many misrepresentations of CPS' role in removing the child from this mother's care [in "Mother, Interrupted"] that I now have to rethink articles I have read in the past and wonder how much of them is fact and how much is malicious fiction.
Mari Masatada, via the Internet

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