A BANANA REPUBLIC
Jabba in control: Isn't it great that Maricopa County's dictator has sent his men to Central America to train police, though it was really [Chief Deputy] David Hendershott who sent himself and the others? ("Jabba in Paradise," The Bird, Stephen Lemons, January 24)?
Maybe Hendershott can teach the cops in the banana republic how to kill prisoners in jails, how to get sued for $41 million, how to send "threat-assessment" officers in unmarked cars in the middle of the night to arrest newspaper people, [political] enemies, and anybody else who gets in the way ("Enemies List," Sarah Fenske, November 29).
The key is for their Joe Arpaio to get on TV all the time, acting like the tough lawman because he makes it clear to his detention officers that it's good law enforcement to kill people being held for trial — people who haven't been convicted of anything. They probably would've been convicted of something, but that's not the point. Unless they were murderers, they didn't deserve what they got.
The Bird's right with what he said about the Honduran thing, but he was right and wrong about a couple of details in the article:
He's right that Hendershott is the one with the brains. Hendershott leads Arpaio around by the nose. He's wrong about the MCSO being "one of the worst metro police agencies in the nation." There are many good officers working here. These guys hate Arpaio and Hendershott. These guys will be voting for Dan Saban. Please leave my name off this letter, because I'm one of them. I'd like to keep my job.
Name withheld by request
Sheriff Joe is an embarrassment to all of professional law enforcement. Even if there is an explanation for the issues raised by The Bird, Joe's refusal to explain the whys and hows must cause a reasonable person to suspect the very worst. Where is the FBI's Political Corruption Unit when we need it most? Name withheld by request
Lay off the McCain Kool-Aid, Sarah: Columnist Sarah Fenske obviously has a crush on John McCain, but she really should stop drinking the Kool-Aid about the war ("Favorite Son," January 17). She admits it was a "mistake" to invade Iraq, but we can't "just leave. We owe it to the Iraqis to get the country stabilized and give democracy a chance."
Guess what; the war isn't, and never was, about stabilizing Iraq or democracy. It was about de-stabilizing the country so we could control their vast reserves of oil! That's what we're doing there, and the majority of Iraqis want us to get the hell out.
We ruined their country and are making life miserable for them every day. More than a million people have been killed and 4 million have been displaced. But John McCain says the surge is working so well that we can never leave — at least for a hundred years or so. Typical "enthusiastic conservative."
Nancy Cavazos, Apache Junction
Another galvanized liberal: I just read your article on John McCain, and succumbing to my visceral reaction, I immediately sent Hillary Clinton another donation. It is writers like you who will continue to galvanize us liberals and lead to our victory in November. So on behalf of Hillary Clinton's supporters, thank you!
Orlando Alvarez Jr., Scottsdale
Translation: I can't cite any other examples: I have been reading New Times ever since the first issue came out. Heretofore, I have done so not only because the price was right (i.e., free) but because it usually took a liberal-to-moderate position. I have noticed, however, that as it has gotten much larger, and probably more financially rewarding, it has moved to the right in its stances.
I could cite any number of examples to prove my point, but for now I will simply cite the article concerning John McCain written by Sarah Fenske. I agree with her that McCain has some claim to our sympathy and respect for his service in the Vietnam — which is why I, a lifelong Democrat, assisted him with knowledge of government in Arizona the first time he ran for Congress. But I part company with him on two right-wing positions he has taken:
His support for the fundamentalist positions on social issues (e.g., against freedom of choice). And [his support of the war in the Middle East] — 9/11 was not an example of warfare between nations but an ideological battle that cannot be resolved with military action.
Bruce B. Mason, via the Internet
You don't know the real McCain, Sarah: I've enjoyed a number of the articles Sarah Fenske has written since arriving at New Times. But it's obvious she hasn't lived in Arizona long enough to see through [John McCain].
Sarah, take some time and read your own newspaper's coverage of McCain back in the day — stories about his wife's drug thefts and drug problems, how an innocent man was used to try to cover her forged prescriptions (see various stories on McCain by Amy Silverman, including "Opiate for the Mrs.," September 8, 1994).
You may come away with a much different opinion. New Times has done an excellent job over the years bringing the real McCain to the masses.
Name withheld by request
Grime, where's the inconsistency?: I like that the article made me laugh ("Wigga, Please," The Bird, Stephen Lemons, January 17). I did not like that the article did not address any of the points that [Power 98.3 DJ] Karlie Hustle or I made, which were that Phoenix is much more diverse than just black/white, and that New Times tried to create tension between two different hip-hop scenes where none previously existed.
I'm not sure where the "wigga" term fits in. It seems inconsistent to me to argue in one article that the Blunt Club [isn't frequented by that many] blacks and in the next article that the people at Blunt Club want to be black. Maybe that's because it's two different writers with two different perspectives.
Stephen Lemons is a good writer, and I have great respect and admiration for the work he does on the anti-illegal immigration movement, but the "Wigga, Please" piece is more of a defense of New Times than a serious response to the criticisms of Niki D'Andrea's article ("Raising Terrazona," January 10).
I agree with many of Stephen's points but that's only because he didn't really challenge any of mine. In our interview, we both gave a little on our positions, but unfortunately, none of that made his article. On the other hand, I understand that this is a column, so it is what it is.
I also have a lot of respect for Niki, who has said extremely gracious things about me in the past and has made a good name for herself at New Times. However, I still feel that her article was irresponsible, and the consequences of it are now being felt in our community. Her piece has created several rifts, some of which I can speak on and some I cannot, some of which can be resolved with a sit-down and some that cannot.
Niki, you have to remember that you're writing about hip-hop, and while you might talk about the roots of hip-hop, you still lack a real understanding of that community. I commend you for putting the Phoenix hip-hop scene on the cover of New Times, but the way you went about it has upset many people, some of whom do not fit so neatly into your Blunt Club versus Groove Candy paradigm.
And, unfortunately, most of the anger is not being directed at New Times but amongst ourselves in the Phoenix hip-hop community. Ironically, while New Times ridicules people for speaking out against the article, those same people are putting in real work to clean up your mess. I'm sure you're working on a new story by now and have moved far beyond Phoenix hip-hop, but we have to stay here and do our best to smooth out the rifts that have been created by your mangling of our community.
As far as the Blunt Club and Groove Candy are concerned, these two nights have coexisted for several years now without any real problems. There are, indeed, two scenes in Arizona hip-hop but, although they are separate, they are not divided. Your article brought animosity and conflict to a community where there was none before, and now your fabrications have manifested into reality.
We will be in the trenches doing our job [to smooth over the problems caused by New Times]. I just hope the next time you write about Phoenix hip-hop, you do yours.
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White rappers are the fools here: If I were New Times, I'd write only about black hip-hop from now on. These white rappers (the word hardly applies to them!) are just plain fools. Big names in the black hip-hop scene in Phoenix don't wanna be involved publicly in this petty fight with New Times, but they're laughin' their asses off at these "wiggas."
And some [black rappers] are pissed off, 'cause what this is all about is: White folks don't like a brother on the cover of New Times. Pure and simple! They're jealous of Willy Northpole and all he's about. Which is that hip-hop is about the black experience.
And that makes these white folks who write in on arizonabeats.com and on [phoenixnewtimes.com] a big joke in the black community. And in the Latino community, where there are also some standout artists. Eminem, these white rappers ain't. They need to shut the fuck up!
William May, Tempe
True dat: Wow, who knew Phoenix rappers were so delicate? All this BS 'bout love and unity makes me wanna puke. No wonder their little scene has never, and likely will never, bust out beyond the confines of the Valley.
Name withheld by request