Buffaloed Bills
Not only did John Dougherty's article "DOC Paid Some of Fife's Bills" (February 20) scream with detail, but Senator George Cunningham's contention rings true that a department that generates unilateral decisions on spending undermines the Legislature in the very act, putting yet another yellow brick in the road of abuse.

With 23 felony counts to frost his cake, how can Fife Symington remain competent in paving Arizona's roads when he's too busy keeping his own pile of "asphalt" out of jail? Regardless, Arizonans will surely take comfort that such a plea for fashion was placed via his brand-new cell phone.

Denny Noel Farmer

Clothing Arguments
I am very concerned about the quality of Edward Lebow's review about "Art on the Edge of Fashion" at ASU's Nelson Fine Arts Center, but I am not the least bit surprised ("Schmattes for Eggheads," February 6). I urge readers to look beyond Lebow's obviously bitter, one-sided commentary on the contemporary arts. This ranting article of self-expression brings quotes from the curator out of extreme context to support "his" views accordingly.

Readers cannot really tell what Lebow is referring to with his confusing explanations of what is being exhibited and the opening evening's performances, including the photograph of the "performance artist" which was not one of the performers that evening. Lebow's categorization of "new feminism," "whiny" and "crummy lot of women, homosexuals and other fashionable outcasts" are prime examples of the writer's fears that are no longer acceptable. This type of labeling is unnecessary and unprofessional for any writer. This vocabulary runs all the way to Capitol Hill and is continually used to "unsupport" the arts with Senator Jesse Helms and others raging at the front of the pack.

I hope that people go to this exhibition to experience it for themselves and to understand that art is not all about whether one likes the work or not. Take into consideration what the artwork makes you think about, how you react to the pieces and how many times you approach everyday objects in a different way after experiencing the exhibition. It is okay not to like art, but to be so bitter as to discount and eliminate things from one's life because it makes one think differently can be frightening. Allow some new experiences to be one's conscience and not a tired, neurotic, preoccupied writer/artist who has lost his passion and manners.

Sherrie Medina

Law Law Land
In reference to "Sheriff Promotes Gambling" (Flashes, February 13). Curious: If one or more officers at the Policemen of the Year awards had the foresight to count how many times Joke Arpaio could manage to get off the ever-so-present singular "I's," why was he invited to this proud and esteemed gathering in the first place? After all of the eggs have been gathered by the "Joke" and put in his basket, I doubt any of them reek of esteem!

Tony La Spina

Editor's note: The American Legion invited Arpaio.

I just saw Sheriff Joke on Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher discussing the role of incarceration in rehabilitation (Flashes, February 20). Lenny Bruce said it best: "Good nuts, the ones who blow up trains with 300 people or repeatedly try to kill themselves, should be sent to Bellevue or other institutions equipped with mental-health programs; but bad nuts, who try to kill themselves with heroin or other narcotics, should be sent to jail.

"After all, what's the sense of sending a heroin addict to a hospital for intensified therapy and perhaps curing him in three years, when you can have him in and out of jail three times over a period of 10 years? Then, the last time, you've got him for good!

"I don't know about you, but I rather enjoy the way tax money is spent to arrest, indict, convict, imprison, parole, and then reimprison these people. I'd just piss it away on beer, anyway."

Mike Walsh

When I read letters from people who attack Sheriff Joe Arpaio, I know I am living in the right place in the 1990s (Letters, January 30). Dan Koal stated that "the sheriff's supporters appear to have never read a book involving basic human kindness or visited any church, since all the major religions seek to inspire compassion, love, understanding and concern for the rest of humanity." He also stated that "Jesus Christ loved the bad guys as much or more than the good guys."

I can assure Koal that I am a supporter of Sheriff Joe, and I have read the good book from cover to cover. I attend a Christ-loving church weekly, and I agree that we are taught by Christ to love and forgive everyone. Does Jesus teach that love and forgiveness negate the consequences in society for criminal behavior? I think not.

Koal complains that the prisoners are not receiving three hot meals a day and that they don't all have a cot to sleep on. What about the victims? Where is their basic justice? Many victims are in hospital beds in severe pain, or close to death. Many are in a cold grave--God would that they had a cot at night!

Our society must have some negative consequences for people who commit crimes. Is jail supposed to be a fun place? Should it be a five-star resort where anyone who commits a crime loves to serve time? The purposes of going to jail are to isolate the perpetrator from the public so that the public will be safe and to punish the perpetrator so that he will learn not to commit the crime again!

Koal seems to have a problem with the power Sheriff Joe has been given. I wonder how he would feel if the inmate who got a bologna sandwich had killed or raped his mother. Perhaps he would find it in his heart to forgive him, but does he really think that he would like Sheriff Joe more if he made sure that the inmate who killed or raped his mom got a prime rib dinner and a king-size bed? (By the way, Koal would be paying for those comforts with his tax dollars.)

Lee Jenae

Editor's note: Hey, Lee, when you read the good book from cover to cover, you must have missed what Jesus said on this very subject. Check out Matthew 24:35-36: "for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." He didn't specifically discourage the use of stun guns on the testicles of inmates, the breaking of paraplegics' necks, the denial of medical care to the gravely ill, but we assume He would. A more temporal authority, the U.S. Department of Justice, has found evidence of inmate abuse and violations of constitutional rights at Arpaio's jails, which also house inmates who have been convicted of absolutely nothing.


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