Casting a Smell
Something's fishy: I read John Dougherty's column about the purchase by Mary Rose and Earl Wilcox from APS of a parcel of property across the street from their [El Portal] restaurant in south Phoenix. According to Dougherty, the property was sold by the APS to Maricopa County Supervisor Wilcox and her husband for substantially less than fair market value ("Sweetheart Deal," June 16).
First, it would seem that a regulated utility would make very sure that any property sold by it was sold at fair market value. If it did otherwise, I believe that ratepayers have a legitimate concern under the theory that all funds received by the utility go to offset the operating costs of the utility and affect the bottom line in determining whether the utility is receiving a fair return on its investments and the rates paid by its customers.
Second, when a utility is dealing with a public official that may have some say-so over its affairs (like, for example, approving sites for power lines), the utility should have a heightened responsibility to ensure that its dealings are completely at arm's length. It must ensure that, with any property sold, there is absolutely no appearance of impropriety.
As it is, the dealings between the APS and the Wilcoxes just don't pass the smell test.
Brent F. Moody, Phoenix
Quid pro quo, Mary Rose, quid pro quo: As far as I'm concerned, Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox has a lot of explaining to do. As a constituent, I don't buy her explanation of how she and Earl got that land so cheap. Pure and simple, APS thought it could buy her good will when it needs something, and it needs something all the time from the county supervisors. To claim anything else is disingenuous.
Kudos to John Dougherty for having the guts to go up against a big-time Democrat. Before this, I would have thought New Times would be protecting her fat ass. I just hope Andy Thomas does the right thing and takes this matter before a grand jury. If he doesn't, somebody should organize a recall effort against him.
Anthony Cahill, Phoenix
Impropriety is color-blind: What a scam Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and her husband are involved in! I can't believe her statements that they did nothing wrong. Doesn't she realize that you can't, in her position, do business with a powerful entity that counts on her votes to get what it wants. Period!
She's either a liar or extremely stupid to think that getting land that cheap is on the up and up. And what kind of fools does she thinks her constituents are to believe they will just say: "Whatever you say, Mary Rose. We all know that you would never do anything wrong. You are the spokeswoman for the Latino community in Phoenix and thereby a pal of the likes of former President Clinton."
Anyway, thanks to John Dougherty for continuing to pull the carpet out from under lying scumbags like Wilcox and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now I'm just waiting to see if this goes before a grand jury, as Dougherty suggested it should. It would be just like the powers that be to sweep this under the aforementioned rug. Why? Because Wilcox is an influential Latino politician, and it wouldn't be P.C. to go after her. Might cost somebody some votes.
Then, on the other hand, Republican Andy Thomas is the new district attorney. He doesn't seem to like Latinos much, if his actions are any indication. He ran his campaign on an anti-immigration platform, and he decided not to prosecute that guy who drew down on the illegal aliens at the rest stop. Could this big-time Democrat be in trouble?
I hope so, not because she's a Latino but because she's using her position for personal gain. The last time I looked it up, that was a conflict of interest and illegal. There should be no color barrier barring prosecution of a public official for that.
Thomas D. Smith, Ahwatukee
Well, since you ask: Give us a break! Of course Mary Rose Wilcox and her husband, Earl, benefited because of their political affiliations. She's a sitting county supervisor, and he's an influential former state legislator.
And what a bad move to take on con man Charles Keating in the Wilcox enterprise. Talk about dumb! Even if everything were on the up and up, it would stink to high heaven with Keating involved.
If Mary Rose Wilcox isn't indicted by a grand jury for conflict of interest, there's no justice in this county. Could you imagine any white Republican politician in the Phoenix area getting away with this?!
Terri Benjamin, Glendale
A time and a place: I just wanted to say my piece. As a military wife and mother, I may not agree with all the ways recruiters try to influence both adults and teens, and I do agree this information needs to be out there. But I don't agree with the way the military is being bashed by the people writing in to your publication ("Military Intelligence," Letters, June 16).
I guess I take it personally because my husband has put his life on the line. We both also work in government, and those of you who are opposed can make a difference, but not by just bitching about things. Like anything to do with the government, you have to find the right way of bitching, like on paper to someone who can actually do something about it.
John Dougherty took the first step in getting the information out there about military recruiting of high school students ("Uncle Sam Wants Them," June 2), and now it's up to us. I love our military, even if I don't agree with what it's doing all the time. Recruiters have a job to do, just like you and I.
Laci McNitt, Gilbert
Punk Iraq: John Dougherty is a communist. Why shouldn't military recruiters try to salvage no-good high school students from drugs and rap music for a life of serving their country in the military? In the long run, they will be much better off.
The kind of drivel that the [people like] Dougherty spew makes me sick. It would serve this hippie right if his son had to go to Iraq and stop listening to punk music.
Lawrence Todd, Phoenix
Why not?: What's the big deal? I see nothing wrong with military recruiters trying to find more cannon fodder -- as New Times calls the high school kids getting recruited -- by going onto campuses like Camelback High School's.
Where else will the military find soldiers? They way I look at it, the same people who are crying over the possibility of a draft are complaining about recruiting on high school campuses. Hey (duh!) isn't it more likely there will be a draft if the armed services aren't allowed to do all they can to get recruits? It's not like they have much choice when Uncle Sam decides to continue the war in Iraq.
Excuse me, but there must be something I'm not getting here.
Ron Rohrlich, Los Angeles
It could be worse: We seem to not mind recruiting events for anti-government efforts, but all of a sudden recruiting for the military is such a thorn in our sides?
I work as a civilian with the military and am a reservist myself. Some of my soldiers were misguided youth or youth who just needed the mentorship that the military chains of command offer so that they could get on the right track. They benefited immensely from serving in the Army (and others have benefited from serving in the other three branches of the service).
Is the military for everyone? No! But is it fair to not let people know about it either? There are a lot of evils out there from which we should shelter our youth, but the military is not one of these evils.
We in and affiliated with the military are just your average freedom-loving, flag-respecting, not-in-it-for-the-money, self-sacrificing folks who are saying to America: "You can rest assured I will answer the call to protect yours as well as other oppressed peoples' rights and freedoms when called upon, so sleep well tonight."
It's rather sick that in this country people attack the institution that protects them for wanting to recruit more people to ensure we have the resources to offer said protection. I wish you parents could glimpse recruiting methods in other countries where kids are snatched off the streets.
Tina Shahijanian, Phoenix
DRIVING WHILE MEXICAN
Drop it: Michael Lacey's story of Luciano Arriaga Jr. was riveting. It's hard to believe that a guy could get railroaded like that. But Lacey proved that it happens ("Thunder Road," June 16).
What I want to know is why doesn't the County Attorney's Office simply drop all charges against Arriaga, and apologize to him. Wouldn't that be the just thing to do, rather than even holding another trial? It makes me think Andy Thomas really hates Mexicans.
It's great that the Arriagas are holding the line. Few people would have the cojones to do that. They would just cop to a lesser charge and be done with it. Except that the crime they didn't commit would hang over their heads for the rest of their lives. Better to risk prison than that. You're finished anyway if you have that on your résumé.
Daniel J. Ortega, Phoenix
Just don't defend yourself: How can anybody criticize a cop for stopping somebody who looks suspicious on a dark and stormy night in south Phoenix? Look at what happened recently when an officer pulled somebody over and got killed for his trouble. I don't blame Officer Warren Poole for being suspicious of Luciano Arriaga.
Bottom line: make sure you exhibit extreme caution when a cop pulls you over. It's just common sense. Don't walk away on a dark street. And never, never hit a policeman. The system has no choice but to throw the book at you then.
Dante Newman, via the Internet
Scary cop: What I want to know is what we have to do to get this drunken cop, Warren Poole, off the street? The way he was acting was outrageous. I don't think a guy like that should continue to serve on the police force.
The guy was running around showing poor judgment for months, if not years. It's no wonder he showed such poor judgment in pulling over Luciano Arriaga and then assaulting him. I thought it was the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office with the lax employee standards, not the Phoenix Police Department.
And I'll sure watch my ass if a Phoenix patrolman ever pulls me over in a dark alley.
Name withheld by request
Editor's note: The start of the new trial for Luciano Arriaga Jr., falsely accused of assaulting a police officer, has been continued to July 25.