Letters from the issue of Thursday, June 5, 2008


Doddering Joe: Whatever you think of Joe Arpaio, the codger's too old to be sheriff of Maricopa County. At almost 76 (he'd be 80 by the end of his next term!), he's showing his senility every day with the stupid things he does ("Brown Out," Stephen Lemons, May 29).

Sometimes, I don't think Arpaio knows exactly what he's doing. It seems he's just being told what to do and say by his handlers. Probably Chief Deputy David Hendershott, who then tells one of his legion of flacks to pull the strings of the marionette this way or that.

Often, under questioning from the media, Joe seems truly perplexed. As though he can't comprehend the questions. He then will start spouting his mantra about being the "toughest sheriff in America" and how he won't cotton to criminals in these parts. He's like a cartoon character. Imagine an evil, wrinkled Goofy.

I'm not saying Arpaio has anything against the policies his cronies put forth. He's got nothing against killing pretrial detainees in his jails; he created the atmosphere of cruelty in his lockups back before his mind started to go. Now his henchmen must carry this culture forward or face extinction. It's sad — hugely sad for the people in his clutches, which could include any one of us.

That's what people who support him need to understand. If any one of them got caught in his web, he would show no mercy. That they supported him in his racist quest to drive Hispanics (oh, sorry — Mexicans) from our midst would have no sway.

You know, it's just time for him to go away. He's always been a third-rate badge-wearing blowhard. Cunning, not at all intelligent. Now he's a senile, Nazi badge-wearing blowhard. Please, please vote him out of office in November!
Howard Stevens, Phoenix

A dictator like Joe: I loved Stephen Lemons' story on Guadalupe. I've never been to the small town, but I now feel that I've not only been there but lived there — even lived through the terrible siege by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his crew.

This was the best story I've read on the immigration situation. The history provided was rich in detail. Made me understand how entrenched Guadalupe residents really are. These citizens are Americans to the very core, coming here to escape oppression, just like our country's founders did from England in the 1700s.

The article makes you really see how, in the hands of a dictator like Joe, things can go terribly wrong. How somebody who's been allowed to run over anybody he pleases can use the need for action on the illegal immigration situation to trample the constitutional rights of American citizens.

And, as I said, these small-town residents — who have lived in their homes for generations — are the very essence of what it means to be an American.

As for Joe, it's all for the purpose of getting his face on the boob tube so he can get votes in the next election. Sad.

Thanks for putting this complicated issue into perspective. I feel like "Brown Out" gave me a real education.
Mallory John, Phoenix

And there's a lot of it to see through: Hell of a story by Stephen Lemons on the marauding monster Joe Arpaio! Lemons is one of the few journalists in Phoenix who sees through the bullshit. Sarah Fenske is another (see her column, "Racketeering for Jesus"). They deserve raises!
Pete Reynolds, Phoenix

Godzilla with a badge: Loved your cover illustration! And what an accurate portrayal of our beloved Sheriff of Naziham. He really is Godzilla with a badge! Just hope your article shakes some sense into the voting populace of this hare-brained county. We cannot let this kind of tyranny continue!
Sheila Ann Dennis, Phoenix

One fewer vote for Joe: I just finished reading your "Brown Out" article, and I was blown away by it! I've lived in Phoenix for only two years (I grew up in D.C.), and back home, I can't ever remember hearing or seeing the sheriff in any news coverage ever. I couldn't name one of the sheriffs there.

I'm amazed at how Sheriff Joe comes across, and I can tell you that I won't be voting for him in the next election. I would love to see New Times publish a side-by-side comparison of Arpaio and his Democratic opponent Dan Saban, if that isn't already planned.

Thank you, and I look forward to next Thursday.
Dave Munsell, Phoenix

Kudos to the mayors Gordon and Jimenez: I'm sorry, but this Guadalupe thing has made me want to leave this county forever. Why is it that we allow this SS commandant and his storm troopers to run over the tiny town of Guadalupe? Well, it's the same reason we have allowed him to run over Phoenix.

The mayors of both Guadalupe and Phoenix are to be commended. They are the only politicians who had the nerve to stand up to Joe and his bullshit. The governor and others only came along when it was safe to do so.

Your Guadalupe story should be must reading for anybody living in this county. Unless you're a racist retard, you couldn't possibly vote for Arpaio after reading this.
Beth Adams, Phoenix

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Sam Kahn
Sam Kahn

Heard of juvenile chang gangs, are they implemanted yet and how young?


Actually sometimes we forget that most of the people Arpaio is harrasing and putting in Jail are non-violent non-dangerous people. That is where many people don�t understand. Joe likes to paint the picture that he is getting tough on the �bad guys� but really he is harrasing the average, unfortunate anybody. Immigrants, drug users, hispanics, and people who stand up to joe haven�t made any �attacks� on society. He just uses them as scape goats to pull his stunts to attract media attention.

Another thing is, even if some VERY FEW of his inmates really are �bad guys� I have never seen any evidence nor any psychological study which shows that by abusing people they become better people. Most people in jail will get out of jail some day and it is much better to concentrate on rehabilitation so that they become better members of society instead of abusing them and very likely making them even worse offender.

Another thing, Phoenix has one of the highest crime rates in the US and is one of the more dangerous cities in the US. Joe has been in office several years and if his stunts really worked, then why is this the case?

I say �Joe�s gotta go.�

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