Political Leanings

Far from ideal: I have no doubt that Rick Murphy is a man of personal integrity. However, he is still far from ideal for representing Arizona ("Jesus Wouldn't Do That," Michael Lacey, August 12). He and Trent Franks are two peas in a pod, and their paternalistic social stances are more fit for the Arizona of the Fife Symington era than the Arizona of tomorrow.

If you want to promote an "Anyone But Trent" panacea, there are some excellent, viable candidates on the Democratic side. Recent voter-registration drives have created a massive swing group. Maybe this time around, the best man will have a chance to win.
Stacy Holmstedt, Mesa

The shame of it all: Shame on Trent Franks! Say what you will about the war in Iraq -- I support our troops. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Congressman Trent Franks. His vote to slash veterans' benefits within days of our troops invading Iraq is unforgivable. Shame, shame, shame! Jane Fonda would be proud.
Joshua Kolter, Glendale

A man of his word: I have known Trent Franks personally for more than 22 years. In all my dealings with him -- personal, business and political -- he has always been a man of his word and someone who lived life by the Golden Rule.

I seem to remember articles back in 1986 attacking Trent and extolling the virtues of Bobby Raymond. After Raymond left office in disgrace, the one person to visit him in prison was Trent Franks. Despite all the vicious personal attacks and smears by Raymond that had cost Trent his legislative seat, he reached out to Raymond at a time when he had lost everything. That is something Jesus would do.

Also, the child pornography issue was a great concern back in the mid-1980s. Trent and I were sponsors of the legislation crafted by then-attorney general Bob Corbin that was passed and signed into law by then-governor Bruce Babbitt. Neither Corbin nor Babbitt have been accused of being religious zealots.
Gary Giordano, former Arizona state representative

Above reproach: As a veteran of 31 years of military service with the United States Marine Corps, I have been on the receiving end of good and bad decisions by congressional leaders, both in wartime and peacetime. I'm a member of Chapter 785, Orange County, California, Vietnam Veterans of America, and our chapter has made many trips to Laughlin, Nevada, to visit and participate with the American Heroes Foundation Programs sponsored by the Ramada Express Hotel and Casino and Rick and Susan Murphy.

Rick Murphy is a man of the highest integrity, and his character is above reproach. It is evident in this time of world crisis that we need a decision-maker in Congress who puts the people's agenda first and his own last. Rick Murphy is that leader!

Trent Franks has shown the people his true colors. The veterans of this country, who have served and sacrificed so much, have suffered under his tenure (i.e., his cutting $28 million for vets).

Murphy, on the other hand, is strongly supported by veterans, not only in Arizona, but in Nevada and California. His generosity to veterans' causes and issues is second to none. When asked the question "would you follow him in battle?" the answer would be in the affirmative. This is the highest attribute and honor that could be paid to any man. Murphy puts the people's needs and safety first, and he has the support and gratitude of America's most cherished resource, veterans. Semper Fi!
Major Bill Mimiaga, USMC (Ret.), Orange County, California

A real eye-opener: Thank you, thank you, thank you again, New Times, for having the only real investigative reporters in the Valley. The Trent Franks story by Michael Lacey was eye-opening, to say the least. I had the misfortune to meet his wife. I knew there was something up with them. Keep up the exemplary work.
Robert Moore, Apache Junction

Matchstick Man

A black eye for honest lawyers: I recently read your article titled "Catch Him If You Can" (Paul Rubin, August 12), which inspired me to write to you. Guys like Robert Owens give all hardworking and honest attorneys a bad rap. Believe it or not, some of us have entered into this occupation -- and I know it's a cliché -- because we want to help people.

I can't help but feel sorry for Petra Cano, who lost some $75,000 to this scumbag scam artist who thinks nothing of ripping off the needy and the trusting.
Michael Urbano, via the Internet

It's who you know: I want to thank you for having the guts to bring this matter out in the open. I believe that a lot of back-room deals are made within our justice system. It all depends on who you know and how much money you have.

My husband was sentenced to 88 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. I find it absolutely ridiculous that Bob Owens could make deals and get out of situations -- when he was guilty.

My husband has been in prison for four years, and I have spent close to $100,000 on attorneys' fees trying to prove his innocence. I am angry that the system allows an innocent man to be sentenced for the rest of his life, yet allows a career criminal to walk free because of the circle he hangs with.
Rene Williams, Goodyear

Questionable character: This was an extremely well-written and obviously time-consuming article on Robert Owens. Thank you for shedding light on all the questionable characters out there. And for bringing this to the attention of the public while others turned their heads.
Tracy Machuca, Phoenix

More on Joe

Editor's note: Because of Joe Arpaio's reputation for retaliation, New Times isn't divulging the identities of those criticizing the sheriff in letters to this publication.

Malicious intent: I would like to commend New Times and John Dougherty for reporting such an in-depth assessment of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's actions since his inauguration. I'm a Minnesota native and have been living here in disbelief for four years. The inhumane treatment of prisoners in Arpaio's penal system contradicts the very Constitution this United States of America was founded upon. What further flabbergasts me is how the media (except New Times) have completely eluded the subject.

Ignorance is truly bliss, for upon reading all the articles (the latest before this issue was "Special Treatment," August 19), I felt nauseous and ashamed to be associated with Arizona as a resident, teacher and Americorps alumnus (1995-1998).

My father was a repeat felon who, because of rehabilitation programs, libraries and the crossword puzzles I sent him in the mail, taught himself to read in prison at the age of 47. He later became one of the first African-American males in Minnesota to have his criminal record pardoned by former governor Wydell Anderson. The reason for this transformation was, I believe, that the inmates were given options on how to serve their time.

When a person in the powerful sheriff's position has malicious intent, the results are catastrophic. This is what we are witnessing in Arizona.

I am hopeful that citizens here will start to read between the lines, register to vote and make a change for the better. Dan Saban gets my vote! It would be a great source of inspiration if our relatives, friends and complete strangers did not have to endure torture on top of incarceration.

Burying the news: So far, polygamists are moving to a different state, and Jerry Colangelo is gone, too. Is it any wonder that the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles award this year went to John Dougherty?

Yes, there were no banner headlines in the dailies on the sheriff's office assault on the Ahwatukee residents. It isn't the first time the Arizona Republic has buried a political story. Some years ago Sheriff Joe arrested a postal worker for spraying a barking dog. Now his own deputies laugh at spraying an extinguisher at a frightened pet trying to exit a fire, forcing the dog back into the fire ("Dog Day Afternoon," August 5). How much more sadistic brutality will Arizona's leadership and voters tolerate? Is County Attorney Rick Romley addressing this horror?!

As if everything else the sheriff and his deputies did in Ahwatukee wasn't enough to draw legal repercussions, they violated a law against cruelty to animals -- and laughed.

Now we learn that the Republic has an editorial staff member who is the son-in-law of the cruelest human-rights-violating sheriff in the country. Is it commonplace at the Republic to bury stories for political expediency? The Republic staff must read New Times. We read about the polygamy crisis first in New Times. Later -- much later -- the Republic had a reporter copycat the articles.


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