A Politician's Politician

A standup guy: Paul Rubin's story on Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley ("Balls in the Air," December 16) was first-rate and fair. My assessment is that Romley, even though he's a Republican, would make a far better governor than Janet Napolitano. I hope he runs against her, because he's not a wishy-washy politician who stands for nothing, like she is.

This was one in a long line of excellent profiles written by Rubin over the years, though I can tell that he likes Romley better than most of the people he thrashes. Romley should be happy that Rubin didn't treat him like he did incoming County Attorney Andrew Thomas. In fact, the only problem I see with Romley is that he virtually endorsed Thomas, who's a dangerous right-wing nut.

The part about Romley's Vietnam background was fascinating. Appropriate headline, too, considering his war injuries and his future plans. You can see where Rick gets that steely resolve. I have said for years that I wouldn't want to get on Rick's bad side. Once on his radar screen, it would take something along the lines of the conflict of interest he suffered when going after Outlaw Joe Arpaio (John Dougherty's term) for Romley to ever give up.

As for getting Joe legally, Romley was our last, best hope. With Thomas coming in, the County Attorney's Office will revert to kissing the scum's ancient butt again. Unless U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton steps in and latches onto the many abuses Dougherty has uncovered about Arpaio, we've got Joe forever. Unless he dies of old age, of course.
Skip Moran, Peoria

Character assassination: When I arrived at the office [on a recent morning], numerous colleagues approached me expressing their outrage at the "journalism" engaged in by you with regard to your references to me in your article about the county attorney.

I am very disappointed that you would engage in such a blatant attempt at character assassination. I thought you were better than that. Obviously, I was wrong. Since you did not permit me to respond before you printed the anonymous comments about me, I will take this opportunity to comment now.

You falsely single me out as one who has permitted political motivations to drive prosecutorial decisions. That accusation is blatantly untrue. In my more than 30 years as a prosecutor, I have had the opportunity to try hundreds of criminal cases, many of them high-profile, and to make hundreds more prosecutorial decisions. While obviously aware of the potential political ramifications of certain prosecutions (the Governor Mecham case is but one example), I have never let political considerations dictate any decision. Never! I would challenge you to name even one case where a decision I made was political. There are none. For you to insinuate to the contrary does me a great disservice.

Your assertion that I am "almost universally disrespected by . . . colleagues at the office" is hyperbole in its lowest form. As you are most certainly aware, the duties of my position (including overseeing sensitive investigations such as [that] of the juvenile justice system, representing the county attorney in public forums, responding to constituent inquiries, responding to public records requests, interacting with the media and supervising the Community Action Bureau) do not require me to interact on a regular basis with the great majority of the nearly 1,000 employees of the County Attorney's Office. As a matter of fact, I have never met or communicated with most of them. Any opinion they may have surely is not based on personal knowledge.

I have been informed that you did not inquire as to my reputation of those with whom I work on a regular basis. I have worked hard for more than 30 years to earn the respect of my colleagues. I know I have been successful. I know there are some who do not like me. That comes with the territory of occupying positions of authority where you have to make tough decisions. However, "almost universally disrespected"? I think not, and you know not.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that your reference to my possessing a videotape of the county attorney in a compromising position was tongue-in-cheek. In any event, it is beneath my dignity to further comment on this ridiculous assertion, just as it was beneath your dignity even to assert it.

While I recognize that it may not matter to you, I again want to express my extreme disappointment that you would gratuitously smear me. My previous judgment of you as a journalist with a sense of fairness has unfortunately proven wrong. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Barnett Lotstein, Special Deputy County Attorney

Bombs Away

What a rip-off: I just wanted to say thank you for speaking out in your recent article titled "Bada Bomb" (Cafe, Stephen Lemons, December 16). Too often today the media and news publications are so fearful of offending anyone and so loyal to sponsors/advertisers that they don't tell people the truth.

Your article was honest and completely true as far as I'm concerned. Even though I initially thought the name Bada Boom Pasta Room was a complete rip-off and insulting to any remotely intelligent person, I still decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Like the experience you described, I was completely disappointed.

While the ambiance at first glance seems to be somewhat swanky, once inside you realize just how unoriginal the place is. As far as the food, the quality was terrible, and it tasted like it had been prepared at Dos Gringos and just carried across the street. And finally, to add insult to injury, the prices are definitely higher than they should be.

Please keep up this style of writing -- there are many more overrated places that deserve an article like this written about them!
Name withheld by request

A Life Remembered

One of a kind: This is to thank you for your story about my friend and colleague Ginger Lee ("Gone But Not Forgotten," Paul Rubin, December 16). One of our students brought it to school today. It was my privilege to have her teach my children and then teach alongside her at Griffith School until the time of her unfortunate passing. She was truly one of a kind.

My son happened to be in her class when she died. It was thought at that time that he had a learning disability. I asked Ginger if she would take him in her class and help him. This she did, and he has since graduated in the top 2 percent of his high school class, and is pursuing an accounting degree. He feels one of his greatest accomplishments was to be awarded the "Ginger Lee Memorial Award" upon graduating from eighth grade.

Things at that time were difficult financially for me and my large family. Ginger always saw to it that my son had a dollar in his pocket for a bake sale or a book fair. She would stop me in the parking lot and show me some used clothing she had from her nieces and nephews that she thought we might use. I accepted gratefully, only to find out later that she had bought them new herself. She had missed a sales tag or two by mistake.

Ginger had a genuine love for others, and it showed in everything she did. She coached girls' volleyball at Griffith and was very close to her students and well-respected by all staff members. I never heard a disrespectful word escape her tongue. She served quietly but with power, love, dignity and a conviction to higher goals. Her picture hangs in many of the classrooms of those who knew her as a reminder of all that is good in the teaching profession.

Thank you for dedicating a page in New Times to her memory. The article evoked good memories. It was wonderful to read positive remarks in print about a beloved colleague.
Marva Egnewl, via the Internet

A graceful tribute: I knew Ginger Lee; she was my wife's cousin. I remember having lunch with her when I was newly married into the family. Ginger was very warm and cordial and made me feel welcome. On the sad day of the funeral, people came up to speak about Ginger, and I will forever remember the young student who came forward to tell how she had helped him. He was wearing a white shirt and a tie that a grown-up must have lent him, because the shirt was much too big for his slight frame and the tie was knotted and hung inches below where it should.

What I saw was a very graceful young human being paying tribute to his teacher. The killers took a life, but they could never extinguish that light.
Ed Herrera, Bakersfield, California


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