Letters from the issue of Thursday, April 3, 2008
This old hog: The Bird proves that Sheriff Joe Arpaio is senile, dumb, evil, or brazen. It's probably all of the above with emphasis on evil.
This old hog appearing before an organization with neo-Nazi members would strain credibility ("Resident Evil," The Bird, Stephen Lemons, March 27), except that other unscrupulous politicians [state Representative Russell Pearce] have already done it. And because we have come to expect nothing but the most gutter-level behavior from our pitiful excuse for a sheriff.
What is Arpaio, an ex-member of the Hitler Youth?! He's certainly old enough to have been associated. And he has so much in common with Hitler. Paint a mustache on him, and there's a striking resemblance.
Unless Arpaio dies of old age, from a staph infection from one of his jails, or is defeated at the polls, there is no hope for us in this county. With a fellow Nazi like County Attorney Andrew Thomas in power, who's going to prosecute Joe for his malfeasance?
Um, as in giving his top deputies paid vacations in Honduras ("Jabba-Gate," The Bird, March 20) and lying that it's for the public good in this county. Please, Joe; only the people who vote for you are that stupid!
Antoine Cash, Phoenix
THE TRENCHANT ONE
It's just a matter of time: That Joe Arpaio's SS — Selective (Enforcement) Squad — would target a particular reporter so that the sheriff could attempt to have his revenge reeks of Nazi Germany ("Head on a Skewer," Paul Rubin, March 20). New Times' John Dougherty should get a medal for standing up to this tyranny.
Joe has to be stopped! Please vote him out of office in the upcoming election!
The jack-booted public officials in this otherwise beautiful Valley of the Sun are making me want to run for my life. It's only a matter of time before any right-thinking individual who speaks out against Arpaio becomes the victim of one of his smear jobs ("Enemies List," Sarah Fenske, November 29, 2007).
Opposing Joe could land you in Tent City, where you could very well wind up dead. Truly terrifying!
Jan Alexander, Phoenix
A hotter, messier Phoenix: Thank heavens for journalists like John Dougherty. Phoenix is a mess, a very hot mess. Just wait a few years and it will be even hotter and messier. I don't miss Phoenix for a minute.
Kudos to John for his lifelong work on important issues. Too bad he didn't end up doing it in a city where it could've been more effective.
Nancy LaPlaca, Denver
MONEY FOR NOTHING
More arrests mean more OT: Frightening? It can get much worse ("One-Drink Wonder," Sarah Fenske, March 20).
If you have a drink, decide to move your car in your own driveway, get behind the wheel with the keys, change your mind and get out, but get arrested and register a 0.08, you're guilty. It's called "actual physical control." Even on private property.
And if your license is suspended, it's a felony, and you must go to [jail]. Even if it's your first offense.
Think of the overtime costs. After all, it's innocent people and outrageous cases that go to trial. And that's where the OT [for cops] really is. If you're an observant police officer working four 10-hour shifts per week, you can make one or two arrests per shift. Then all the time spent in court — could be 40 hours per week — is paid at time-and-a-half.
An ambitious, young police officer can make a darn good living arresting people who really aren't a threat to society.
Michael L. Scanlan, Phoenix
One messed-up mom: I read your article, but I had to sleep on it so that I wouldn't be too abusive in my response. Are you freakin' kidding me?! Please tell me this article is phony. If not, pathetic, pathetic, pathetic! Why do people refuse to take responsibility for their actions?
All three of these people put themselves in their respective situations because of their actions. Play with fire, you're gonna get burned. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but Phil Cisneros put himself in it. Why didn't he show up for his court case? If he would've shown up, he most likely wouldn't have gone to prison.
Growing up in Detroit, I was taught not to "mess with the po-leece, 'cuz they'll get ya in the end!" If you have a court date, you show up, period. You're a bad citizen and a criminal if you don't.
I believe Shannon Wilcutt is a bit of an unfit mother. Why do you have to drink alcohol with your kid? I think it's wrong to drink alcohol and drive your kid around because clearly it's risky behavior.
If you've had dental surgery, stay home afterward. You're messed-up and groggy. You don't belong on the streets or in a restaurant. Shannon didn't feel like cooking? Then stay home and order pizza for the kid. Or get a neighbor, a friend, a family member, or, God forbid, your husband to help you out. Have someone take the kid.
If you drink alcohol with your child and someone sees you and they perceive you're acting funny, you might just have to face the consequences of your actions.
Jane Smith, Scottsdale
Jail time for stupidity: I find it exceedingly difficult to muster up sympathy for the "One-Drink Wonder."
Here's a woman who had dental surgery, popped a prescription painkiller, sipped a mimosa, and then drove around with her kid in the car! At the very least, didn't her dentist tell her not to drink? Everyone knows that anesthesia and alcohol don't mix!
Granted, Steven Ceballes should've minded his own business — if there's one thing more despicable than a goody two-shoes, it's a goody two-shoes snitch. But the One-Drink Wonder deserved to be locked up for stupidity, if for nothing else. She has nothing to complain about except her own bad judgment.
Alexander V. Areno, Surprise
Getting out of Dodge: Regarding the Shannon Wilcutt story, all this city cares about is putting you through hell for the smallest thing and taking all of your hard-earned money. I'm moving!
Randy Jones, via the Internet
Hard lesson: I was arrested for DUI 41/2 years ago. I was guilty, and have no complaints about the price I paid for my crime, which included a $1,200 fine, $75 a month for a breathalyzer in my car for a year, 10 days in Tent City, $5,000 in attorney fees, $400 in substance-abuse classes, and an increase of $1,200 per year for auto insurance.
Since then, I have not and will not drink and drive; not only because of the price I paid but because I realize how truly dangerous it is. I deserved my punishment. But while in "the system," I learned a few things most people do not know.
One is that field-sobriety testing is not pass/fail. Police administer the tests for evidence-gathering purposes. If you think that after performing these tests at optimum levels a police officer is going to release you, guess again.
Once an officer has administered the test, you will be taken for a breathalyzer or blood test. Field-sobriety testing is done to create evidence that can be used against you later. The tests are so ambiguous that results can be easily spun as a prosecutor sees fit. Even a completely sober person may not perform well.
If you are guilty (you know when you are) and it's a straight DUI with no accident or injury involved, it's a waste of money to hire an attorney. Just allow the system to process you, because that is what will happen anyway. An attorney can't help you.
I find it interesting that the bill to increase penalties for DUI and the bill to extend last call for alcohol to 2 a.m. were passed and put into effect within a month of each other. Gee, funny how the same groups were backing both bills.
I'm glad New Times published this story, if only because most people are afraid of being labeled "baby-killers" if they point out injustices. Go ahead and call me that; at least I'm not lobbying for laws that deliberately set people up for DUI so I can make money under the guise of saving babies.
Christine Cokely, via the Internet
Sense a common theme here?: Your article really hit home with me. I also was pointed out [to police] by a citizen. The person claimed that I almost hit him and was swerving. He followed me to the grocery store and called the police.
He told the officer that I'd stumbled into the store. He pointed me out when I left approximately five minutes later. The cop followed me and pulled me over for a wide turn.
Long story short: I'd had two beers with dinner. I had just had my right ankle out of a cast because it needed to be fused. It was very sore, making it hard to walk. I have MS, and it was messing with me. I told the cop that I always sway because of the illness. I had taken an Ambien and admitted that.
I was charged with DUI. My blood-alcohol level was 0.04. My case was reduced to reckless driving. I've had to go through classes, a MADD meeting, and undergo drug and alcohol evaluation. I've paid $5,000 in fines and attorney fees, plus tax dollars to pay for the judge, cop and prosecutor.
Thank you for your article. It really hit home with me. Guess the city has to raise money somehow.
Patrick Trujillo, via the Internet
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