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Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, December 10, 2009

CAUGHT IN HIS TRAP

Trap's got it all: There's no reason why Trap can't be that dude to take Phoenix to the next level in hip-hop. I mean, you name it: talent, personality, drive, business sense . . . He has them, and more.

Y'all watch out for this dude. The best is yet to come.
L.V. Lavor, Phoenix

Don't count out Willy: Trap is good, but Phoenix's first "superstar" of rap? I'd think Willy Northpole would have a better chance at superstardom than Trap, if only Willy were a better businessman.

Trap is in a world where audacity will get you everywhere. He is so full of himself that it's disgusting, but that's what it takes to make it. The guys who know how to market their bravado are the ones who go to the top.

Are you taking notes, Willy?
Davis Trent, Phoenix

The incomparable Trap: Both due to his music and overall persona, Trap is already a star just waiting for his moment to truly shine. No need to compare or contrast Trap to any other local artists. He doesn't need that; his talent stands alone.
Shae Freeman, Tempe

Recognized talent early on: How lucky am I to say that I attended high school with such a stunning individual. I always knew that he was different. I am glad to see that his hard work and drive are paying off.
Leo Laydee, Phoenix

Trap won't disappoint: This man is destined to do great things. He exemplifies limitless talent. Trap is what we've all been waiting for. He is true to his word and to his fans; he won't disappoint you!
La La Blue Eyes, Phoenix

Some Trap love from Philly: Judging from this article and listening to his music, I know that he is a positive young brother who is serious about his business, as well as his roots. He will definitely put his city in the spotlight.
Robin Cloud, Philadelphia

BEYOND REDEMPTION

No one is innocent here: Ray Stern's article on the Don Stapley case put the mess that is Maricopa County government in the perfect light. Nobody is innocent in all this, but there are a couple of officials who are much more guilty.

Step up, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

The very idea of them investigating anybody! Arpaio is long overdue for stripes, and Thomas, with the way he's going, isn't far behind.

They are the definition of corruption, and why something hasn't been done about them is a mystery to me. Attorney General Terry Goddard — who wants to be governor, for Christ's sake — could have come down on Joe years ago, but instead chose to do nothing. Hide his head in the sand. He's the true ball-less wonder.

Don't even get me started on former Governor Janet Napolitano, now Homeland Security secretary under Barack Obama. Can we really expect current U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke to do squat when he ran the office of a woman who was in Joe Arpaio's pocket, who owes her ascension into high-level politics to the geriatric Hitler?

True, Supervisor Don Stapley's no saint, as Stern points out, but Arpaio and Thomas are beyond redemption.
James Bernard, Phoenix

What about an Arpaio recall?: Corruption, abuse of power, misuse of RICO funds, poor crime-fighting, and fiscal mismanagement. It seems as if every day there is a new story involving Joe Arpaio's complete disregard for the taxpayers, rule of law, and the Constitution.

Is it time to start discussing a credible campaign to recall Joe Arpaio? Or do we wait for the feds to do their jobs? He has pissed off many powerful people: The Latino community hates him with a passion, [legitimate] law enforcement holds him in contempt, and now he's alienating the Mormon community, which represents almost 10 percent of registered voters in Maricopa County.

That's a significant block of voters that would support a recall. I don't care what the Rasmussen Poll says — the Chad Snow poll shows that almost everyone I talk to thinks Joe Arpaio's act has gotten old, and he needs to go.
Chad Snow, Peoria

Sly like a "Captain" Fox: Is there some genetic defect making accuracy impossible? I mean, that's an easy one: You've been writing about me for over a year and always referred to my rank correctly. Or is this supposed to be insulting?

There is no insult in being an MCSO sergeant. You'll have to do better than that. Or do you just want people to believe that I've been demoted to add some credibility to your unfounded and baseless accusations against me? Sorry. No charges filed and no demotion, either.

You still can't seem to grasp (or hope your readers can't grasp) that what you are asking for is that Arpaio, Thomas, and Hendershott investigate themselves for doing nothing wrong, or, in the alternative, ask the attorney general to investigate a case they are already investigating.

 

Why be unreasonable and irrational? Malicious? Vindictive? Bitter? Too proud to admit when you're wrong? Vanity, thy name is Ray Stern.
Joel Fox, via the Internet

A voice of reason: Stupid, arrogant, idiot, brainless, clueless, fool, dupe, toadie, bootlicker, thy name is Joel Fox. Joel, you really ought to do yourself and everyone else a big favor and shut the fuck up.
Name withheld, via the Internet

ALEX'S STORY

Sorry you're such a miserable P.O.S.: God forbid that we think about the human race and better ways to spend our resources than keeping everyone alive no matter how much of a burden it is on the person being warehoused, let alone society.

I can't wait for the economy to fail, if for no other reason than my tax dollars will stop going into the pockets of people like [Niki Varlotta and her] deadbeat, slacker "musician" husband.

Name withheld

Niki Varlotta responds: When Greg and I had Alex, we were 28 and 34 years old and had owned a home for four years. Far from a slacker, Greg, an ASU graduate, had worked full-time and then some as a musician for Disney.

Greg's job provided awesome insurance coverage. When Alex was 18 months old, long before any professional deemed him other than "terrible 2s," is when we conceived our second son.

By the time Alex was 9, he'd been hospitalized seven times for psychosis. This little boy thought he could fly and heard voices telling him to kill himself or saw people crawling in the window. To see your child terrified — and there's little you can do to help — is something I hope you never experience.

In California, Alex was in residential treatment paid for by the county mental health department and the school district. Greg and I took care of his medical coverage. We saw Alex twice a week and brought him home once a month. Alex went to school and made progress.

Unfortunately, he was misdiagnosed and overmedicated by the psychiatrist at the facility. This was the reason for his increased agitation and the main reason we moved to Arizona.

If I can be faulted, it is for not considering the incredible differences in care and services available to children from state to state. We moved to Arizona because one of the facilities that California was considering for Alex was a facility in Scottsdale. We thought we could move closer to the facility and have a more "normal" life.

We came because our son was severely overmedicated, and we were hoping to get him help — and be closer to Greg's relatives, who all live in the Phoenix area. I never once thought Arizona would deny us the same services we'd received in California.

I was hired as a full-time pediatric registered nurse at a local hospital. Greg continued to work at Disney for a while before transitioning to other work here. We had every expectation that Alex would be in a great facility learning to cope with his illness.

Turns out that the facility was not appropriate for Alex. The school district refused to offer residential placement. The only way Maricopa County would pay for any services was if our family was on [with the] Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. I continued to work, and Alex went to school at a great special-education school in Phoenix. Until he didn't go.

What do you do when your child refuses to go to school because he can't stand the noise, [can't] sit still, or hears things that aren't there? Even this great school was not equipped to handle such an ill child. Because I had to pick up Alex from school so many times — and then he flat-out refused to get on the bus — is why I was forced to quit my job. We did not ever go use AHCCCS.

We never set out to have a disabled child. Alex is loving, smart, and is growing up. He is well-liked by his friends and staff at his Texas facility. He hasn't hit anyone or tried to hurt himself in two years — because he's getting the right help. He hopes one day to care for animals [in an animal shelter or veterinarian's office]. His school counselors believe he may go on to college. I just want him to feel calm.

Alex's care is too expensive. Arizona should have a residential facility for children with neurological and behavioral problems.

There are a handful of facilities here but none providing what Alex and many other children need. In the past seven years, at least five Arizona facilities for mentally ill children have closed because of lack of funding.

 

And guess what? Even if there were a terrific facility in Phoenix that cost a fraction of the Texas facility, we still couldn't get Alex into it. We are not on AHCCCS. Arizona does not provide any residential services to any child who is not on AHCCCS. So if you have a severely mentally ill child and are not on AHCCCS or cannot afford $10,000 a month for residential treatment, the only way to get services is to have your child made a ward of the state.

Greg and I get to see Alex six times per year (alternating months). We spend thousands of dollars per year in motels, rental cars, and food in Texas. (We can't move to Texas because Alex is a ward of Arizona.) We are doing the very best we can.

What does society do with a child like Alex? Is he worthless? It would be so easy to make that judgment were I not in this position.

This is my child. He has hopes and dreams. He is generous, funny, and I thank God that he's getting the help he needs. For now.

Niki Varlotta, Surprise


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