Go Suns!

Rants and raves: I enjoyed your column on the Phoenix Suns immensely. Though I enjoyed the ride and all of the characters in '92-'93, this year's team surpasses that team in many areas ("Valley of the Suns," John Dougherty, May 5).

I think when you stay out all night, you sacrifice your durability. Late into the playoffs back then, Sir Charles Barkley, and ultimately his team, fell to his lack of durability. Remember the wrapping of his arm, let alone his most glaring problem: no defense? To listen to him rant on TNT about the current team's need for defense lessens his credibility.

Doesn't everyone remember that it was his blown defensive assignment that led to the out-of-balance rotation over to Horace Grant that led to the last-second dagger from John Paxson?

It is obvious that Barkley's legacy is being challenged. Already, Amaré Stoudemire has shown more maturity in the face of strife in his third year than Charles did cumulatively in his entire career.

Win, lose or draw, I am behind this team for who they have proven to be and the way they lay it all on the court.
Robert W. Smith, via the Internet

All Bark, no bite: I'm so glad that somebody finally said it! Charles Barkley is a big, blubbery, loudmouth egotist who doesn't even root for his own previous team. It sickens me to see him (is he drunk or high on TV?) come on the TNT set and talk about the current Suns team's lack of defense and how his team would beat this one nine times out of 10 -- when his team wasn't much about defense, either.

I thought your story hit the nail on the head by pointing out how Barkley's team gave up 282 more points over the season than Steve Nash's team. Why can't Barkley, who's always saying how he lives here, get behind the local guys? But if he can't do that, why can't he at least give his ego a rest? Charles, you're old, fat and seemingly illiterate.

I don't know if this team will go as far as Barkley's, because the best team in the NBA is arguably San Antonio in the Western Conference. These Suns will have to get by the Spurs to prove they are the best. The best team in the NBA in Barkley's day was Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, which made it easier for the '92-'93 Suns to get to the Finals.

Anyway, I enjoyed your telling comparison of the two teams. If Barkley can read, maybe he will read John Dougherty's column and shut his fat mouth!
Tab Kincaid, Phoenix

SFF (Suns fans forever): As a graduate of Northern Arizona University and a longtime Suns fan, now living in Rhode Island, I couldn't agree with you more.

My son and I purchased the NBA package so that we could watch every Suns game from afar. We noticed that the fans do not seem to be as fired up about the Suns as we are, or as they were in '93.

I have already told my son, who will be turning 13 in June, that if the Suns make it to the Finals, we will do whatever it takes to be there in person at the Purple Palace to help the team and fans feel our enthusiasm.
Eric and Ian Morander, North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Baby Talk

Heading off a disaster: Thank you for such a well-written, true-to-life article about plagiocephaly ("Head Games," Sarah Fenske, May 5). As the mother of twin boys with severe plagiocephaly, I am so glad to read this. Since my boys were about six months old, I have read every article I could find on the subject, and yours is definitely the most comprehensive; it accurately describes what the parents and children go through.

When our twins were born in July 2002, we already had a two-and-a-half-year-old son, so we thought we were somewhat experienced parents. By one month old, our twins' heads were extremely flat in the back. We started asking our pediatrician about this and were given the "it'll-round-out" line. By the time the boys were six months old, little kids were commenting about their flat heads.

I went online, and then went to the pediatrician armed with information. She still insisted that their heads would round out, but gave us a referral to craniofacial plastic surgeons at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. The doctors at the Medical Center said we needed to get the boys banded ASAP. Their problems were listed as "severe" (Nolan) and "severe +++" (Nicholas).

The boys were banded just before they turned nine months old. Nolan wore his band for four months. Nicholas required a second band and wore his two bands for a total of eight months. Both received good correction. But I am still haunted that they could have received more correction if our pediatrician had taken our early concerns seriously. I worry that more problems will arise because of their head deformities. And, yes, I also worry about other children teasing them.

If your article helps one family with getting treatment for their child, it was worth it. I'm sure it will actually help many!
Michelle Jay, Ben Wheeler, Texas

Lopsided "Head": The article "Head Games" was a bit lopsided. Yes, it is true that we are seeing a greater incidence of plagiocephaly than before "Back to Sleep." We as SIDS educators did a pretty good job of educating parents about sleeping babies on their backs, but have only recently been emphasizing "Back to Sleep but Tummy to Play."

But another important thing happened in American society. It's called the portable car seat. When the car seat easily unsnapped from the car, parents began carrying a car seat rather than carrying the child.

Car seats were never designed to be correct for a child's body or head. They were designed to keep babies safe in a car crash. Yet because they are now portable, parents carry children everywhere in them -- including letting babies sleep in them. A baby's location changes through the day, but not his or her position.

Supervised tummy time is important for lots of developmental reasons. When babies are awake, there is no reason for them not to be on their tummy for play.
Pam Borchardt, executive director, SIDS of Illinois

All Joe, All the Time

Stalag Phoenix: What is Joe Arpaio running, a Gestapo?! The pattern of harassment you describe in the "Enemies List" column (John Dougherty, April 28) harks back to Nazi Germany or the KGB in the old Soviet Union. It's truly dangerous when the electorate endorses the kind of jackbooted bullshit that the sheriff slings.

No wonder he's so worried about somebody killing him. If that happened, there would be thousands of suspects.

If I were John Dougherty, I would watch myself very closely! I wouldn't put it past Arpaio and his storm troopers to plant crack cocaine, or some other illegal substance, in Dougherty's house or under the fender of his car. Then, Arpaio would be able to yell, "See, this guy is just another criminal I'm getting him off the streets!"

Funny, I actually thought we as a society were beyond that kind of thuggery until I moved to Phoenix several years ago.

I have a friend who works at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (he's a good man who hates Arpaio, but must keep his mouth shut to hang on to his paycheck), and he tells me that New Times has really gotten to Joe and his cronies. He says Joe and his yes-men and yes-women rant about New Times all the time. He says the sheriff's face reddens every time John Dougherty's name comes up.

You're getting to him. Don't give up! Sooner or later, Joe will go too far for even the dumb-ass Phoenix public that keeps electing him.

I hope you find what you're looking for in those public records. Sad but true, but most people will care a lot more about any stealing of public money than about the people Joe's killed in his jails.

What I want to know is, if Joe's not hiding anything, why has he hidden those commercial real estate records from the public? And how ridiculous is it for Joe to claim he is only trying to protect his family by blacking out information about his commercial property? Does he think we are a bunch of idiots?! Well (duh!) he obviously does based on the fact that registered-voter morons keep defending him.

I loved the way you linked to the elections department's Web site and that document containing his actual home address ( You made the point that his home address is available all over the place while his commercial property records are hidden.
K.T. Johnson, Peoria

The majority of the people can't be wrong: I am very angry that New Times could take so many cheap shots at the character of the best law officer in the country!

Have you ever thought about why Sheriff Joe is elected time and time again? Dumb wacko liberals like you just can't figure it out that Sheriff Joe is tough on lowlife crooks, rapists and just plain white-trash criminals.

This is what the public wants. If you don't want to go to Tent City, don't do the crime.

What I love about Sheriff Joe's office is, it catches a high percentage of bad guys. I come from the Midwest, and the city I lived in for most of my life did a very poor job of taking bad guys into custody. The only thing law enforcement there was good at was giving out speeding tickets.

I hope Sheriff Joe never retires because we can all sleep better because of the way he leads and directs that department.

Also, if I were Sheriff Joe, I would be damn mad at you for making public his home address. You endanger him and his family. Any dumb writer would know that there are many punks who would like to do him harm or hurt his family. I feel what you did is a crime. You put a lot of good people at risk. Shame on you!
John Sam Campana, Gilbert

Reality -- what a concept: The problem with movies and television is that the big, evil bad guys are always so smart. In reality, most evil people have the intelligence of retarded grapes. Here are three good examples: George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein and Joe Arpaio.

Bush is an idiot because he started a war based on no threat. That's about as smart as blowing up your own house because you thought you had termites, and it turned out you didn't.

Saddam is an idiot because he thought the best way to escape from the United States was to hide in a hole.

And Joe Arpaio is an idiot because . . . well, because he's Joe Arpaio.

The most recent stupid thing Arpaio has done was not the car accident you describe in "Enemies List." The stupidest thing he's done lately is the random investigations of his enemies. It proves he's desperate. He's scared. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but maybe his time in office is running out -- and he knows it -- so he's getting impulsive.

It's too bad he's concentrating on small things like his address being published. What he should be concentrating on is his growing list of enemies. It'll eventually be too much for him to handle, and then it's all over.
Mene Tekel, Phoenix

If it ain't broke, don't fix it: I assume you are a left-wing paper. I cannot understand why John Dougherty feels sorry for the inmates in the county jails.

Looks like the sheriff is doing something that works.

I see that most of the negative reports about the sheriff are from Dougherty and a few others. I think your paper would be better off giving news about things that concern people. At least 85 percent of the people agree with the sheriff. Looks like your paper and a few reporters (if you want to call them that) have a personal vendetta against the sheriff.
Robert Myers, via the Internet

Avoiding responsibility for his actions: While serving as a police volunteer for a local law enforcement agency in the 1990s, I was involved in an on-duty accident in a marked police vehicle. Unlike the vague explanation offered by Sheriff Joe, I gave the investigating officer a complete and truthful report of my actions. Accordingly, I was cited for the accident.

Sadly, a man who claims to "serve the public" and basks in his reputation as "America's toughest sheriff" apparently chose to avoid responsibility for his actions and instead blamed his county police cruiser. Worse yet, his apparent failure to tell the truth about the accident and the lack of a proper investigation further jeopardizes the trust that should exist between the public and our law enforcement officials.
Brian Duffin, Phoenix

Public enemy number one: Outstanding column on Joe Arpaio! I never heard of the traffic accident in other local news. Keep flushing the sheriff out of the bushes. The public needs to see him as he really is: incompetent!
Gerry Allen, via the Internet

Where does that leave us?: All I have to say is, I'm staying the hell out of Phoenix until this Joe Arpaio is out of office.
Rich Buchanan, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa

A punitive and ignorant culture: After moving from the Puget Sound area to Tempe a year and a half ago, I am still in culture shock over how often civil rights are violated in Arizona.

While still in Washington state, I explored my soon-to-be new home on the Internet. When I looked at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Web site, I was horrified that Joe Arpaio felt politically safe bragging about the humiliation and inhumane treatment he heaps upon those in his custody. I was disturbed that this community accepted this.

Once I moved here, New Times was my first happy discovery. I didn't feel entirely alone in my views.

My son attended his last year of high school here, and then, as much as I miss him, we encouraged him to book back to Washington state. I don't feel this is a safe place for young people, especially young males.

Horrified by the actions of Arpaio and disgusted by a community that accepts them, I am inclined to join forces with others against this cowboy culture. However, fear of retaliatory, unethical law enforcement officials makes me hesitant to draw attention to myself and mine. I am not at all surprised about the break-in and theft of the names of anti-Arpaio people at Recall Arpaio headquarters.

As for John Dougherty, he is not only an engaging writer, but a hero. It takes great courage to keep doing what he does. I hope John makes public everything Joe Arpaio does to him. John is not only a citizen with rights, but a reporter entitled to journalistic freedom and protection from retaliation.
Name withheld by request


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