Letters from the issue of Thursday, July 3, 2008

RAY OF HOPE

Who else can they victimize?: New Times' coverage of this latest public-records outrage by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his goons is full-of-irony great! As is the bravery of "140-pound" pit bull reporter Ray Stern. Sarah Fenske's column got it right about Nazi-thug deputies who think they can do anything they please as troopers in Joe's Gestapo ("Please Tell Me We're on Candid Camera," June 19; see also various Valley Fever blog posts, including "Arpaio's thugs threaten to arrest a New Times reporter for looking at public records," Ray Stern, June 11).

All that the deputies were there to do was find out who sent e-mails in support of Mayor Phil Gordon and who's been especially critical of the sheriff because of his pogroms against anybody with brown skin in this county. They already know Gordon — along with a growing number of other big politicians (even the usually cowardly governor) — disapproves of them, so they are asking: Who else can we victimize?!

Prominent citizens and others will then be added to Joe's "Enemies List" (Sarah Fenske, November 29). Joe Inc. — which includes his lackey [County Attorney] Andrew Thomas, and Thomas' discredited special prosecutor, Dennis Wilenchik [also one of Arpaio's taxpayer-paid-for private attorneys] — already tried this with New Times' readers. They wanted to snag New Times' Internet files so they could run smear campaigns on anybody notable who was tuning in to the newspaper's critical coverage of these scumbags.

Now they're looking for victims by dogging the mayor's and city manager's e-mails.

Joe (or, more likely, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, who tells the senile geezer what to do and think, Dick Cheney-style, nowadays), you're not fooling anybody in this county who has any sense. Unfortunately — and you're counting on this to win re-election — there aren't that many voters out there with a lick of brains. Just look at the inbred, nitwit nativists who are driving the anti-immigrant movement!
Paul Sheffield, Phoenix

Add C.J. to the list: This [MCSO records search against Mayor Gordon] has nothing to do with immigration and everything to do with Arpaio's feeling backed into a corner and lashing out with a fishing expedition. He can't say what he's looking for because he doesn't know himself.

Meanwhile, the MCSO has become a bad joke that attracts nothing but the lunatic fringe of law enforcement. No officer with an active respect of the U.S. Constitution would go along with stopping vehicles on false pretenses in the hopes of finding illegal aliens (or anything else, for that matter).

How do I know they employ such tactics? In December, I was driving in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood in central Mesa when I was pulled over by two MCSO vehicles. The officer's smirk went away as I rolled down the window and he saw that I was a white man. When he asked for my license, registration, and insurance, I lied and said I had none of it. The officer told me I was free to go. As he was returning to his vehicle, I called to him, "Hey, why did you pull me over?" He paused for a couple of seconds before calling back, "Your license plate illumination looked dim."

Say what?!

We need to do something about this lunacy. Real criminals and victimizers are free to roam Maricopa County, while Arpaio uses taxpayer money to seal his next election victory. There is a constituency of insecure, racist, disillusioned white folk out there who will continue to vote for him as long as he continues to deliver brown people to the border.

Now that his moral and ethical corruption is finally getting the exposure it deserves, the moderates will be more motivated than ever to vote him out. Arpaio must surely be wondering if even his hardcore reactionary base of voters will be enough to keep him in power much longer.

He's getting desperate. My guess is things are going to get even weirder very soon.
C.J. Green, Mesa

Standing up to the fascist regime? If the Sheriff's Office is so understaffed that it can't open satellite jails and has to shut down most of the visitation hours because of a lack of staff, then why are deputies scanning useless documents at Phoenix City Hall that really could be just for gaining the e-mail addresses of citizens who have sent less-than-favorable opinions of the MCSO to the mayor's office?

It's not as though, a few months ago, [the sheriff's and county attorney's forces] didn't try to do the same with New Times readers.

New Times is awesome for standing up to this fascist regime and for reporting on things that local media refuse to cover in fear of reprisal from the MCSO. The Arizona Republic is catching on, but I don't think the paper's whole heart is in it — otherwise, it wouldn't bury some stories about the negative things the MCSO does.
David Saint, Phoenix

Is this really you, Joe?: Ray Stern is an uppity, annoying dweeb who should learn some manners.

My deputies stopped him from rummaging through the documents to be scanned because it would disrupt the process.

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