Crackers, gimme a break: The Juan Mendoza Farias case is so typical of what has gone on repeatedly in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails. Somebody gets put inside for a minor crime (in the great scheme of things) — drunk driving, getting high on drugs — and winds up slain at the hands of Joe's detention officers ("Dead Again," John Dickerson, September 11).
That is, prisoners get capital punishment for misdemeanor violations (though at the point they are killed, they haven't been convicted of anything). These aren't even accused murderers, rapists, big drug dealers, and armed robbers we're talking about here!
What the crackers in Maricopa County who keep electing Joe can't get through their thick heads is that it's illegal for jail or prison guards to kill even violent, convicted offenders — much less these petty possible lawbreakers.
If you ignorant rednecks don't care about the barbarity, you should at least care about the amount of money — almost $44 million — Joe's stupidity has cost county taxpayers. Because Arpaio has infused his jails with a climate of inhumanity that he calls "law and order," we're all paying through the nose.
And it's just dumb for voters and the county Board of Supervisors to let Arpaio get away with it — over and over.
I'll admit that, when I look at Juan Farias, what I see is a drunk. But Arpaio's guards aren't allowed to abuse the guy because he's out of his mind due to alcohol withdrawal, drugs, whatever. Professional law enforcement people know how to handle such situations without costing lives and untold millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts.
If this were any of the other five biggest counties in the nation, Joe and his detention officers who commit such atrocities would be in, or headed for, jail.
J.T. Gallagher, Phoenix
The bodies continue to stack up: The FBI's already investigating Joe Arpaio and his operation on a variety of levels. Let's just hope that the Juan Mendoza Farias case gives the bureau even more to go on. The bodies just keep stacking up — as do the lawsuit judgments. This hugely expensive cruelty can't go on forever, can it?
Sean Sullivan, Phoenix
Fred's the sensitive type: Scratch one taco. Juan Farias doesn't have to worry about where his next drinks are coming from. He can sleep his drunk off for all eternity.
Joe Arpaio's doing this county a service. He's ironing out these kinds of losers so that they will become horizontal.
You ought to do a story on how the losers' parents came into millions of dollars milking their sons' deaths in county jail. They're laughing all the way to the bank. Arpaio did these inmates a favor by putting them out of their misery and making their parents millionaires.
Ninty-five percent of the people in the county jail will be found guilty, so why cry about it?
Fred Linsenmeyer, Phoenix
What's next, an inmate lynching?: So let me get this straight: Guards have [fatally] beaten inmates and nothing has happened.
Earth to FBI: Time to do your jobs already, or are you waiting until the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office starts lynching inmates publicly in front of the jail?
I mean, come on, already! How far does it have to go until someone stops what's amounting to county-sponsored [killing of inmates]? It's time someone stepped up and proved that cops aren't above the law. Without cops you have anarchy, but with cops and detention officers continuing to break the law you have insanity.
I find it totally amusing also that County Attorney Andrew Thomas recently accused Democratic opponent Tim Nelson of taking donations from defense attorneys so that they can get better deals. Hey, Andy, try prosecuting one of the many [crimes] by detention officers before you start that BS.
David Saint, Phoenix
You get a clue!: You writers down at New Times are really a bunch of wise guys. Sheriff Joe does his job and tackles the tough job of dealing with illegal immigration.
Get a real job other than sitting behind a desk typing mindless bull manure and go out and see what the real world is like. I'll vote for Sheriff Joe again and again. Get a clue!
John Bielicki, Phoenix
Editor's note: Columnist Sarah Fenske and Managing Editor Amy Silverman expressed their opposing views on Sarah Palin — who's got a shot at becoming our first female vice president — in New Times' September 11 edition. Readers were outraged and delighted by Fenske's "Sister Sarah" and Silverman's "Mommy Dearest" commentaries. Below is a sampling of the feedback.
She's simply incapable: As I'm reading through this week's copy of New Times — from taxpayers paying for [killings] by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's SS (excuse me, corrections) officers, to the irrelevant nuances of Sarah Palin's character to Mesa residents supporting a neo-Nazi asshole ("Mesa's Shame," The Bird, Stephen Lemons) — I feel frustration like I have never felt before. It literally makes me want to holler and throw up my hands.
Can't we just simplify things?
It doesn't matter that Sarah Palin is a woman or what's going on in her family or where she was governor and for how long. What matters is that she is unintelligent and absolutely incapable of being our country's vice president or, God forbid, president.
We shouldn't have to debate these things and give her credibility. We should have the common sense to see that it's just plain dangerous, wrong, and irresponsible to elect a ticket with either her or John McCain on it.
Speaking of McCain: When so many in this country say without hesitation that they hate George W. Bush, do they even know why? I don't think they do, because the polls [showed at this writing] that a man who voted with Bush 90 percent of the time is leading a man who promises change.
Zack Aydelotte, Phoenix
Impressed but not ready to commit a vote: I suppose I will be in the tiny minority that supports Sarah Fenske's article. Thanks for an honest, well-researched piece. Governor Sarah Palin seems like an open and good person — whether you agree with her politics and views or not.
I'm impressed with Palin. I haven't decided whether she and McCain will get my vote yet. I will wait and see and mostly listen, especially to the few debates we will be able to hear.
It's most unfortunate that too many voters will be swayed by the gotcha press, one-line sound bites, and negativity from both sides.
B. Rosenberg, Phoenix
None. Zero. Zip: I don't know how anybody with two brain cells to rub together could possibly think that Sarah Palin's fit to be vice president.
She has no clue about foreign affairs other than the talking points that the McCain campaign's prepared for her. None. Zero. Zip.
She's a proven, compulsive liar. She's a creationist, and a religious nut-bag.
What the hell are you smoking, Sarah? I cannot believe you are truly such an idiot.
Michael Fallai, Phoenix
Here's a hockey mom who finds Palin vile: Eeeyyeeww! Yuck! I could hardly get through Fenske's article without the picture of Dolores Umbridge (the cruel Ministry of Magic official in the Harry Potter series) saturating my brain! As a woman, Palin is just a hot, steamy pile of ick to this AZ hockey mom!
Lindy Nagy, Mesa
Feels like a bad dream: Thanks to Amy Silverman for her column about Sarah Palin. For days after she was added to the McCain ticket, I felt I was in the middle of a bad dream.
I couldn't believe that, out of all the likely VP candidates in the entire country, the "maverick" of the GOP selected a person with little national (much less international) experience, knee-jerk tendencies, and an intolerance for people with different viewpoints on matters like, say, evolution. Or reading, evidently.
Her greatest strength seems to be as the ticket's smartass. Our country doesn't need another smartass in [line for] the White House. I kept pinching myself in an attempt to wake up from the nightmare scenario that's the term "Vice President Sarah Palin" or, far worse, "President Sarah Palin."
Apparently, I've been awake all along. I'm writing to beg you to keep shrieking in your column in order to wake up the others.
Wendy White-Ring, Phoenix
The Palin family is nothing more than a prop: I really liked Silverman's "Mommy Dearest" article on Sarah Palin. As another mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, I couldn't agree with her more that baby Trig and, indeed, all the Palin children are being used by their mother and the McCain/Palin campaign to attract conservative voters.
It's infuriating to me that a baby should be used as a self-serving prop.
And if Palin becomes VP, who will work with Trig to help him develop his potential? Who will take him to the doctor and his early-intervention program and the speech, occupational and physical therapists he'll probably need?
Martina Lively, Phoenix
Attack on Palin is a double standard: Silverman's article missed one key point — Todd Palin's a stay-at-home dad. That means that [the Palins' situation is] really no different from that of a male politician with kids.
I have to say that this controversy has shown that there is absolutely a large group of sexist people out there. They just aren't the ones everyone thought they were. Is it fair, by any line of reasoning, to say that any single parent or any parent of a special-needs child should be excluded from running for office?
Todd Palin is available to be a full-time parent. That means that the children will have someone at home. U.S. Senator Joe Biden was in office while he was a single parent; who was taking care of his kids?
You have to admit that it seems a double standard when women aren't allowed to pursue a career because of their children, even if there is a parent at home. Is this the 1950s, or is it just that the question is being asked on the wrong side of the ticket?
Marjorie Deverman, Avondale
Troubled by the lying: I really liked Fenske's article, even though I disagree with most of the policies and positions of McCain/Palin. I caught that moment at the convention when the little girl spit-combed her baby brother's hair. It gave new meaning to the phrase "a picture says a thousand words."
Even though I never had kids myself (I'm 52), I did raise a 3-year-old girl by myself for a year (she is now almost 6).
You wrote: "The kids are all right. Let's talk about the future of the country." So true.
The one thing that bothers me about Palin (and others, but to me it's more pronounced in Republicans) is the lying.
To paraphrase Palin: I sold the plane on eBay. (Not true; you listed it on eBay, but it was never sold on eBay). I was against the "bridge to nowhere" (actually, you were for the bridge long before you were against it).
It's really easy for me to believe that she'll lie to me while in office when she's telling me (easily discovered) lies during the campaign. In the age of YouTube and the Internet, someone's got to tell these politicians that lying in public is much more difficult than it was just a few short years ago.
Geoff Emerson, via the Internet
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McCains/Palins are just tabloid fodder: Sarah Palin paraded her 17-year-old pregnant, unmarried daughter, Bristol, around the stage at the Republican National Convention. In fact, Sarah Palin's first child was born when she had been married about seven months. Sarah Palin's admitted marijuana smoking and [was accused of] abuse of office.
All of the above happened while Palin professed to be a Christian.
John McCain, fifth from the bottom of his Naval Academy class of 899 members and [an accused] adulterer, married Cindy one month after he divorced his first family. Cindy [was accused of] drug addiction and drug theft.
These two families in the White House would provide fodder for the tabloids for years to come. Such a terrible example for our young people.
Jewel Mathias, via the Internet