Letters From the Issue of Thursday, June 14, 2007


Following the dodo: I just finished reading the cover story about the shrinking size of our state's largest daily newspaper ("It's a Wrap," Sarah Fenske, June 7). Compared with daily newspapers in other metro areas of comparable size — San Diego, Denver — the Arizona Republic pales in comparison.

In fact, I've seen much smaller cities with a more substantial daily newspaper. The new, Monday "Lite" edition is a joke. I've also noticed that the same stories are often published multiple times, in multiple sections of the paper, sometimes over two or three days.

I don't like the new format, and they need to do something about their counterintuitive online edition, where articles disappear at odd times. If this is the direction daily newspapers are headed, they are truly going to become extinct sooner than later.
Scott Hanks, Chandler


Problems with "veracity": Ray Stern's story on LifeLock scared me to death. It shows you how easy it is to convince the public into believing that you're offering a service ("What Happened in Vegas . . ." May 31; also see "Fred Flintstone," The Bird, June 7). It's true that you can do for yourself everything that LifeLock does for you.

But the worst thing is that Robert Maynard Jr. is such a liar. Imagine claiming you started a company to keep people from going through an identity theft — like you went through — when you didn't go through any such identity theft! In fact, you were jailed properly for failing to pay a bad gambling debt.

And the part about Maynard Jr. stealing Maynard Sr.'s identity to get a credit card, and then getting his own father in trouble with the credit card company, is almost unbelievable. Except for the fact that Maynard Sr. verifies everything that Stern wrote! He even as much as calls his son a liar by saying Maynard Jr. has a problem with "veracity."

Point being: This is not the kind of man you want to entrust your life's vital statistics to. When the foundation story of a company is a lie, then aren't the people running the company liars? If ever there was a fox guarding the henhouse, it's this!

Bravo to New Times for pulling the rug out from under this useless company. You'd have to be crazy or stupid to do business with it after reading the information this article provides.
Marybeth Thompson, Phoenix

Cashing in on fear: There really is an idiot born every minute. If he hasn't accomplished anything else in his life, Robert Maynard Jr. has proved that.

He has gone through life getting people to give him money for nothing. And his latest company is no different. He is using the identity theft plague in America to prey on frightened consumers.

It wasn't only interesting that Ray Stern's story pointed out that you can easily do everything that Maynard's company does yourself, but that even if you are the victim of identity fraud, you are barely liable. That credit cards often waive the small fee when their customers are defrauded is telling.

LifeLock proves that all you need is a slick pitchman and a cool-looking logo to start a company. The company offers no real service. And, in its world, the truth be damned!
Meg Townsend, Phoenix

Youre welcome: Thank you for writing this piece on LifeLock. It is very informative and intriguing. What a great example of true investigative journalism.
Jonathan Sutter, Laveen

Education with prosecution: My wife, JoAnn, and I would like to thank you for the story on LifeLock. We give free seminars on identity theft and help victims for free, and have since 1996.

We get asked at every seminar about these companies. We tell people that the Federal Trade Commission says to read the fine print and that Consumer Reports did a story saying that these programs are not worth the money.

Unfortunately, we have a state attorney general who has stated publicly that enforcing ID theft is too hard and that he feels education is the key. We feel that education with prosecution is the key. So we work with the Maricopa County Attorney's office on updating our ID theft laws and on aggressive enforcement.
Bob Hartle, Phoenix

Look past the rep: A story like this underscores why reputation is so important today, when a couple of Web developers can make a company look like a Fortune 100 mainstay.
Pat Mitchell, via the Internet

Wonder which "jet" wrote this? I read your article on LifeLock, and all I can say is this guy's a winner and New Times is jealous of [Robert Maynard Jr.]. Who cares about his past? Jets don't have rear-view mirrors. So never look back.  

The guy's made some mistakes. We call them risk, and anyone who has been there knows what risk means. You need to fail to succeed, and he has.

What's funny is when a corporation files bankruptcy [and] screws stockholders out of millions of dollars, then reorganizes and comes out smelling like a rose, you don't report that. This guy has a great product; he is a winner, and in my book, winners never lose.
Name withheld by request

Another terrified customer: As a LifeLock customer, I had to give them my name, address, Social Security number, and power of attorney. Holy crap, now I am scared. These guys are liars, criminals and con artists.

LifeLock's service was built on trust. I am canceling my service immediately. But I am still scared — these nuts have all my personal data. I am terrified. What happens if the company shuts down? Where will my data go? This is horrible. I should have never signed up for LifeLock.
Name withheld by request

Can it get any worse? I'm a former employee of LifeLock, and I can honestly say that even I didn't want to sign up for LifeLock's services, and they offered them to us for free!

I was working as a contractor out of my home for them, and they never did a background check on me. They interviewed me over the phone, which took all of five minutes, and that was it. They have never even seen what I look like with the exception of my driver's license that I faxed over to them.

But I had access to everybody's Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, home addresses, dates of birth — everything. I had everybody's personal and confidential information and not once did they do a background check on me.

The office building may be, or look like, it's a highly secured company (I only know that from your article; I was never asked to come into the office), but, as for the outside contractors, there is no kind of security or guarantee that your information is safe.
Name withheld by request

What kind of man . . .? How could [Robert Maynard Jr.'s partner], Todd Davis, possibly be an honest businessman if he would tell Maynard's story again after he knew it was false?

Do you want to give these people your personal information and power of attorney? The Federal Trade Commission and attorney general need to shut them down.

The whole premise of LifeLock is a based on Maynard Jr. telling a story of identity theft that he made up to dupe investors and to create fear in the public. LifeLock doesn't do anything that you can't do for yourself, for free. All it does is try to make people afraid by telling its lies.

Robert Maynard, Jr. was legitimately arrested for failing to pay a gambling debt. Apparently, however, Maynard Jr. is an identity thief: He stole his father's identity and left him holding the bag. What kind of a man does that?
Name withheld by request


Its not about the money: The Bird's column says, "Being popped with a DUI doesn't equate you with being a murderer." That is, unless your impairment leads to you killing someone while driving. I would like to see writer Stephen Lemons make that statement to someone who has lost their kid to a drunken driver ("Mad at MADD," May 31).

I am happy that local cops "lurk" outside bars pulling "anybody and everybody" over in case they arrest even one driver who would have killed my wife or kids. It is not all about money. If you want to criticize police on that account, criticize speed cameras, not their looking for drunken drivers.
Joel J. Smiler, Marana

Its all about the money: Popping people for DUI is definitely a scam. Cities make so much money off this when statistics show that people at .08 cause a minuscule number of injury accidents. Traffic deaths and injuries are overwhelmingly caused by people with double-the-legal-limit blood-alcohol levels.

What has happened is Mothers Against Drunk Driving has been allowed to run rampant in this country with its scare tactics. There is no doubt that driving insanely drunk is wrong and dangerous. But at .08, people of average weight don't even have a buzz on.

The law needs to be made more rational. And now, first-time DUI offenders must buy ignition Interlock devices! This is insane, unless drivers are blind drunk at the time of their arrest! I'm saying they should have to be at .20 or above to deserve this punishment.  

And The Bird reports that MADD now wants such devices put in all vehicles! Orwellian, for sure!
Mike Yarbrough, Phoenix


Keep your eye on the sheriff: The Bird really summed up Sheriff Joe Arpaio in "Useful Idiots." It's no lie to say this geezer is dancing on the graves of his victims with the help of stupid media that humanizes him by airing his little publicity stunts (The Bird, May 31).

You never know what wrinkled, old Joe will come up with next! Just when I thought his Inmate Idle competition was about as dumb and low as it gets, then came his Spider-Man and Paris Hilton foolishness.

Like you say, you could see on TV that Joe had no remorse for the people who have died in his jails. He considers them the real joke. He was crowing about winning one of the many lawsuits against him. Well, his winning a suit had to be a first! He has cost taxpayers millions and millions of dollars and has made a mockery of justice in the process.

It was interesting how your article pointed out that he lost a big case at the same time he won that one. Hadn't seen that anywhere else.

Keep hammering on this creep; you're the only news organization in Arizona — and apparently the rest of the country — that won't cream in its jeans over the Idiot Joe Show.
Jack Lieberman, Glendale


Chaos in the court: It's hard to fathom how such an abuse of power could happen in our Phoenix municipal court system. Sarah Fenske did a good job of bringing this outrage out into the open ("Injustice System," May 31).

Presiding Judge Roxanne Song Ong should be ashamed of herself for firing a respected jurist like Michael Carroll for simply speaking up about what's an obvious problem. I'm sure there are those who would argue that Carroll only complained about the appointment of Judge Eric Jeffery to assistant presiding judge because he wanted his wife [Judge Karyn Klausner] to get the job. But as Fenske points out, that's hardly the case.

Jeffery was not only inexperienced, but had a checkered past. Why didn't any of this matter to Song Ong? Apparently, the only thing that mattered to her was eliminating somebody who snapped at her about her awful decision. Her actions are an outrage that cannot be tolerated. I hope the Phoenix City Council does something about this injustice to restore faith in its court system.
Michelle Contreras, Phoenix

A bigger problem: What you have here is a judge (Roxanne Song Ong) with a hunger for power and control and no integrity, a judge (Eric Jeffery) who had a protective order out against him, and a judge (Michael Carroll) who had the courage to respectfully speak up in e-mails and was fired.

Only one judge (Karyn Klausner) had the integrity to stand for what was right and bring attention to what is probably a bigger problem than just one firing.

Other judges and the City Council are complicit in the matter. The city's court system caters more to the rising careers of judges than with citizens getting justice!

In this judicial system, it seems that too many judges have thrown integrity out with the baby and the bathwater while judges with integrity are paying the price, and so are the citizens of Phoenix.
Pamela Walsh, via the Internet

Complicit council: Great article. I hope it will light a fire under this court and under the City Council. Only one thing you overlooked: There is another possible explanation for what Judge Song Ong screwed up. She may be corrupt, but ditto the City Council.
Eric Daure, via the Internet

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