Oh, Jane, why hast thou forsaken us?
Being a retired employee of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, I maintain a passing interest in the goings-on of its beloved leader, cultural shockmeister and all-around inept buffoon Joe Arpaio. I have to admit, however, that even I was shocked by Barry Graham's bizarre description of Arpaio's latest political event in north Phoenix ("Joe, Jane & John," October 30).
No, it wasn't that Arpaio, currently the state's most incompetent elected official, was promoting himself as some sort of south-Boston-accented Western legend. And it wasn't that his popularity, an increasingly Byzantinelike cult of personality, continues to draw large crowds. It was simply how low seemingly competent, clear-thinking, intelligent public officials will stoop to garner what they believe to be political advantage. Governor Jane Hull's presence at Arpaio's shindig was, well, disappointing, to say the least.
I expect a Republican governor to demonstrate party loyalty--when it's principled and appropriate. I don't expect a governor to feel compelled to lock step with every fellow party member who throws a party, especially one who has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be nothing but a self-promoting, egomaniacal demagogue, not to mention one who harbors his own, ultimately expensive, delusions of grandeur. This does nothing but diminish Hull's standing with the thinking public and lump her in with those politicians who continue to give politics a bad name.
Eventually, as recent polls have shown, the public will catch on to Joe Arpaio. Responsible Republicans need to keep that in mind when they make decisions about whose parties to attend, unless they aren't worried about their reputation, or their jobs.
Kelley Waldrip, retired
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
I am just one of the many people who is tired of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's cruel and unjust treatment of the inmates in the county jails. Arpaio is supposed to watch over, care for and, when it is possible, rehabilitate inmates. How is it that there are organizations that fight against cruelty to animals, yet no one fights for those county inmates?
Howard Stansfield's article about the employment of "security personnel" by companies ("Hired Guns," October 23) makes me wonder if Section 26, Article I of the Constitution of the State of Arizona is being ignored. It provides: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men."
As a former employee of Phoenix Security International (PSI), I could not agree more that all companies must improve the training they give. I received one classroom training covering one piece of equipment out of the half dozen I carried on my rig. In the short time I worked there, I realized that PSI was not a company I wanted to associate with. As a result, I was illegally fired by the management because my views were different from the company's.
Some other employees were not given any training in the use of their equipment prior to working a store on their own. Many of the former PSI employees were very short-term employees when they found out that the management practices were unsavory. Some of the longtime workers told of horrors including no pay, reduced hours on paychecks and instructors not getting paid for in-house training.
I have met several Phoenix police officers who do not like PSI guards. I have had the bad luck to work for security companies whose only concern is money, not the welfare of the employee. I do not wish to become a police officer, but I was raised to help people, and when I was injured in a stable job, this became one of the few jobs I could work without more college training. Not all companies are bad, and not all security officers are bad, just untrained by their employers.
Making the Cut
Chris Farnsworth's long article on the firing of Dr. Magda Cynkutis-Simon from a surgical residency at Maricopa Medical Center ("Distaff Is Restless," October 23) could have been reduced to one paragraph. This resident managed to achieve not one but three separate, independent failing evaluations from three different hospitals.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the surgical chief at MedPro wanted to discriminate against a female resident; how do you think he managed to get two admired and fiercely independent hospitals, Mayo and Barrow, to give negative evaluations? It just doesn't happen that way.
The public wants physicians to police our ranks and rid ourselves of individuals with "attitude" and competency problems. Unfortunately, not every resident who enters the pipeline is worthy to emerge at the other end. Three different hospitals turning thumbs down on Cynkutis-Simon does not add up to discrimination, but instead to a physician in trouble or in the wrong specialty.
Dennis C. Cooper, M.D.
chair, Department of Surgery
Scottsdale Memorial Hospital-Osborn
In today's proverbial "pop culture," an "artist" will invariably storm onto the scene if he sounds enough like Pearl Jam or Stone Temple Pilots. This "culture" is horrendously repetitive, and anything cutting-edge or on the way to becoming the leader of a completely refreshing new genre is ignored or put safely to the side as something tried-and-true is again comfortably placed in the spotlight.
I am referring to the review of Bjsrk's album Homogenic (Recordings, October 16). This woman is nothing less than a genius. Mere words cannot convey her greatness, her vision, or the extent of her knowledge of music and its endless components and possibilities. It never ceases to amaze me that she can pull all of her wild musical orgies together, and emerge with a brilliantly orchestrated piece of work with meaning and intelligence.
Does anyone sound like Bjsrk? Can you compare Bjsrk's sound to anyone around?
She is an entity in herself, her work forever speaking volumes, her sound ever evolving into something more brilliant than before. I'm not a Buddhist, but this is enlightenment.
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I generally agree with Howard Seftel's restaurant reviews. They're one of the main reasons that I am a faithful New Times reader. But I respectfully disagree with his assessment of Sammy's California Woodfired Pizza ("Basta Pasta?", October 16).
I eat there frequently, enjoying both the pizzas and the salads, and using considerable will power to pass up the Messy Sundaes. The pizza toppings are creative and tasty, and the consistency of the pizza crust is definitely a matter of taste.
The superiority of Sammy's has been sufficient to cause me to leave a barrage of direct-mail discount offers from California Pizza Kitchen untouched.
Richard D. Stern