Stars and Gripes Forever
I can't wait to read the letters from the inbreds regarding the sidesplitting piece about the flag exhibit ("Flag and Country Bumpkins," May 2). I have yet to see the display myself, so I'll refrain from any "Newtonian" squalling. I will, however, say this (and forgive me if I'm wrong): I thought the premise for fighting for one's country was to uphold the tenets of the Constitution; fundamentally, the freedoms of speech and expression. Screw the simple-minded Legionnaires, the lack of courage on the part of Phoenix Art Museum curator David Rubin, and kudos to Michael Lacey to have the guts to tell it like it is. Again.

P. Alexis Wilson

Michael Lacey's column "Flag and Country Bumpkins" is very informative and in line with some of my own feelings on the subject of the Phoenix Art Museum's display of the American flag. The flag is exactly where it belongs.

As a native of this country and a member of a minority race, I salute the artist for trying to make this country aware of where we all stand. I am sick of the lie this nation was founded on. That's why the only symbol the stars and stripes represents is of a mockery of democracy and the hypocrisy of those who raised it.

As for those white veterans' indignation of the desecration of the symbolic colors, I can only add that many more minority veterans also fought, were maimed and died, from the Civil War to Vietnam only to return home to a country that denied them that very freedom it proclaimed to uphold.

Name withheld

Badge Company
This concerns Tony Ortega's "Mutiny at the County" (April 25) in which Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his posse are ridiculed and criticized. The article certainly does not appear to be very objective, but this trend seems to be more and more prevalent in present-day news reporting.

Being one of those 70 percent of county residents (and one who happens to live in an unincorporated area) approving of the sheriff's efforts, this writer is completely supportive of Arpaio. In my observation, he is doing the right thing. He is a "tough cop," and that is the job we, the county citizens, hired him to do.

Certainly, the sheriff uses different ways to publicize what he has done and what he is doing. Otherwise, how would the voters know about them? After all, he is an elected official (thank God). If he was an appointee or a bureaucrat, how long would he be able to last in the present political climate of dishonesty, timidity and petty jealousies?

While I think that Ortega's article is somewhat inaccurate and biased, I also believe it is Ortega's absolute right to voice his opinions. And I claim the same right to criticize Ortega's writings.

One more thing: With the sheriff's high percentage of popularity, doesn't "Vox populi, vox dei" have meaning anymore? With the many more heinous "shenanigans" of numerous other Arizona politicians, it certainly appears that our vote for sheriff was one of the few worthwhile and correct ballots we have cast.

I am a member of the sheriff's posse, trying in my little way to help the sheriff in his law enforcement efforts. Isn't this also the right, or even the duty, of a citizen? I am also proud that my vote, and those of the others who feel as I do, elected the right guy for the job.

George T. Cole Jr.

"And only a few feet away, a pickup truck full of little Latino boys in soccer uniforms is pointing at the posse men and can't stop laughing." That's good stuff. In fact, that one sentence almost made the years of bending over to pick up New Times worthwhile. Keep it up.

Wesley P. Richards

Just get to the bottom line. What readers really need to know is this: What impact is "America's toughest sheriff" actually having on crime? Here are recent homicide totals for the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale, Tempe and Scottsdale (from the Arizona Republic, January 12): 1992 (the year Arpaio ran for election)--190 murders; 1993 (Arpaio's first year as sheriff)--205 murders; 1994 (Arpaio's second year in office)--283 murders; 1995 (Arpaio's third year as head lawman)--300 murders.

In other words, homicide, the most direct measure of violent crime, is up 58 percent in the major cities of Maricopa County since Arpaio took over as sheriff. And to add insult to injury, murder in the U.S. overall dropped 12 percent last year (from the Associated Press, December 18, 1995).

Peter Wilson

Winner Wonderland
Subs used to come into port in WWII with a broom lashed to the conning tower for a "clean sweep" of the enemy--and damned if New Times didn't clean sweep the Arizona Press Club awards ("New Times Sweeps Top Journalism Awards," May 2)! Congratulations from an almost-retired old newsman and PR type and former president of the Tucson Press Club.

Enclosed is a $30 check for a six-month subscription to New Times, and I hope you can send me one about the awards. The Tucson Citizen used to print pictures of winners--it won't need much space this year!

Thanks, and more good luck.
Robert Bruce Stirling

Pet Reprieve
Amy Silverman's article about the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals rescuing a much-abused dog ("Dog Dead Afternoon," April 25) points out the need for education and supervision of "companion animals" that are so very vulnerable to the physical and mental conditions of owners.

As the aging process takes its toll (and this writer has been in the 80s for some time), it is impossible to do what should be done to protect precious friends who cannot speak or act for themselves; they suffer in silence, unheard and unseen. Owners cannot be faulted for wanting companions, but they must realize that eyesight, hearing, physical maneuvering and the like become slowed and/or impaired. Many owners take exception to offers to help, but others welcome the assistance to keep four-legged friends pain-free and safe.

We have block watches for crime; why not for compassion? Why not monitoring programs to help owners make sure their friends are properly cared for--to include grooming, proper food, visits to doctors, etc.? It would not take away the freedom of anyone, but it would provide happy homes for faithful friends who ask only to be loved and to love.

B.B. Eilers, Arizona representative,
The Animals' Crusaders, Inc.


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