Letters from the issue of Thursday, June 19, 2008
YOU HATE WAL-MART
Broken man, broken heart: Your story on Herman Teague really broke my heart ("The Wal-Mart Solution," Paul Rubin, June 5). It, of course, had no effect on top Wal-Mart executives — who have no heart.
As Mr. Teague's lawyer said in your article, we all know why Wal-Mart did what it did. It doesn't want to pay the health expenses of countless thousands of potential Herm Teagues in its employ as the largest retailer in the world. Wal-Mart operates with so much slave labor it isn't funny! Imagine if huge numbers of these part-time oldsters [wanted Wal-Mart to pay for on-premises injuries]. It would sure cut into their $20,000 a minute, or so Wal-Mart executives figure.
So why not just drive a sweet, old man crazy with worry in his waning years, make him fret about $200,000 in medical bills that Wal-Mart's lawyers are holding up from his Medicare benefits while their endless legal BS is being litigated, and drive him right into the grave? Hey, it's worth it to see an old man (a war hero!) die as long as Wal-Mart can continue selling its cheap crap to the masses.
As long as Wal-Mart's CEO can continue to draw his millions in salary and perks every year.
Right. To hell with Herm Teague and anybody else who dares to challenge Sam Walton's company! By the way, Sam is turning over in his grave these days knowing what the scoundrels who're running the company he built are up to, at the expense of defenseless souls like Herm.
John Braley, Phoenix
Change the laws: Wal-Mart is just like every other major corporation in the United States. It's easier to stonewall in the courts than to settle out of them.
What needs to be done is to change our form of law. In this case, if the injury is on the job, the state should pay the benefits and let the company sue the state to prove that the injury is not work-related.
Things would get settled a lot faster, and the injured would be back on the job a lot faster. But then again, I learned a long time ago to vote with my wallet!
Chris Born, Phoenix
Do what's right: I continue to be disgusted with big corporations. They don't have a conscience; they have ambition and greed.
What we have to remember is that corporations are run by human beings. People make decisions for corporations, and those people should be held accountable. We have to stop talking about corporate giants like Wal-Mart as though they are another entity, superior to us in not only wealth but knowledge of what is right and wrong.
As Herman Teague said, you do what's right, whether you are an individual or a company.
These days, we don't put enough pressure on corporations to be morally responsible. It's very easy for us to attack an individual when they're a celebrity, to point out everything that's wrong with them, even though they have no effect on our lives whatsoever. But it's so hard for people to say anything about corporations, because they sponsor everything. No one wants to lose their job or opportunity or funding.
So we accept the ridiculous notion that corporations will do what they want with us, as we are just mortal human beings, and they are the immortal corporations. I say no!
What if Mr. Teague had fallen in a very successful mom-and-pop store, and mom and pop hired a lawyer to avoid paying him? How would the community look at that store? When corporations do atrocious things in a formal setting, we have to look at it exactly as we would if an individual did it in a casual setting. That is how you can tell what is right and what is wrong, in case you forgot.
I'm really proud of New Times for running this article. There seems to be so little pressure on corporations, even though I feel they're the trunk of the tree representing our country's problems.
Zack Aydelotte, Phoenix
Ban it: Out-fucking-rageous! Ban Wal-mart now!
Liberty Goodyear, Buckeye
The only game in town: Why do people shop at Wal-Mart? Wyatt Earp asked Doc Holliday why he was playing a rigged faro game one day, to which Doc replied, "Hell, I know it's crooked, Wyatt, but it's the only game in town." That's what Wal-Mart has become. Karma may catch it someday.
Jim Bailey, via the Internet
It's all about slave labor: Common sense is the only thing not found at Wal-Mart. And if the company had it, it would be made in China. I would never allow a family member to work there. Wal-Mart is about slave labor.
Mike Dalton, via the Internet
Those were the days: In my dad's day, I saw his plant shut down several times when word got around that someone was getting the shaft. Workers just walked off the job and set up a picket line. Once, while I worked for Greyhound, we walked off and shut down a terminal because our checks were late. Those were the days!
Ronald Jonas, via the Internet
We're all at risk here: Between the government's shoddy practices and the corporate giants, the average person is very much at risk for devastation. This is a sad story about a proud, all-American elderly man whose life should never have ended this way.
I won't be shopping at Wal-Mart and supporting their inhumane business practices.
Name withheld by request
Getting away with murder?: Twenty thousand dollars a minute. Wow! In a case like this, it seems as if we've forgotten about ethics. Time will tell if Wal-Mart is actually getting away with murder. What goes around comes around — tenfold. We'll know sooner or later.
Name withheld by request
HANG ON, 'LUPE
Guadalupe, fleshed out: One of the reasons I wrote my master's thesis on the history of Guadalupe well over a decade ago was because there were so many news stories about the town that reflected absolutely no understanding of its history. I'm relieved that Stephen Lemons took the time to see this community in all its rich complexity ("Brown Out," May 29).
The only thing I would have emphasized was that the Yaquis came here not just because they were pushed from Mexico, but because the Salt River Project and the Arizona Cotton Growers also recruited them.
Because of their refugee status and work ethic, Yaquis served as the SRP's preferred workforce from the 1920s through the 1960s. The people of the Guadalupe community were essential to the development of the infrastructure of the Salt River Valley. It was because of those push-and-pull factors and strong identity that the Yaquis established enduring communities in Arizona — so much so that Congress officially recognized them as an American Indian tribe in the 1980s.
The trick, of course, is that Anglo employers and representatives of the Catholic Church established Guadalupe as an Indian town site. Decades later, it incorporated as an independent town.
The town's cultural flavor, trilingualism, and cohesiveness made it a natural attraction for non-Yaqui Mexican immigrants.
In any case, I was glad to see Stephen emphasize endurance, citizenship, and identity in his article — Guadalupe is not a squatters' town for illegals. Its persistence and problems are rooted in its history, and Guadalupe deserves recognition far beyond negative news stories that undermine its importance to the Salt River Valley.
Leah Glaser, Hamden, Connecticut
Then you're part of the problem, Patrick: Your Letters section regarding the Guadalupe story ("Fed Up With Joe," June 5) shows what a weird cross-section of humanity reads your paper. One rarely sees such one-sided and angry comments on any issue in our local papers, especially about extremely popular politicians.
Nonetheless, despite your writers' and readers' obvious hatred for the man, Sheriff Arpaio will get re-elected easily. His efforts to enforce the law are winning him more fans and supporters daily. However, New Times' tactics and reader comments are showing how low, nasty, paranoid, and extreme some oddballs with a word processor and a small audience can be.
I don't love Arpaio, but the treatment he receives from you and your angry, fulminating readers will cause me, and many more like me, to support him and vote for him.
Patrick Flynn, Scottsdale
Keeping inhumanity alive and well: You are right on the money that the Guadalupe operation put a crimp in Joe Arpaio's plans. Now he's relegated to raiding Fountain Hills and area water parks. Pathetic.
I remember when Arpaio figured out that he'd better get on the anti-illegal immigration bandwagon. It was when he wanted County Attorney Andrew Thomas to prosecute a vigilante who had pulled a gun on some illegal aliens at a rest stop, and Thomas (naturally, he selectively enforces the law) refused to prosecute the guy. Arpaio took so much shit from the nativist rednecks that he went: "Shazam"!
Or, I should say, his advisers went, "Gaaaw-lee"! Because the geriatric geezer probably can barely remember to zip up his pants after he takes a piss anymore. He's almost 76, you know.
Before that rest-stop incident, Joe just busied himself riding in parades and heading up one of the cruelest jail systems in the world. He thought that would be enough to keep the dumbass majority in Maricopa County electing him to term after term.
So, as I say, when illegal immigration came to the forefront, he realized that he needed to get in on some new cruelty. The same old cruelty to prisoners wasn't getting the airtime it once did. What the crackers wanted to see was a sheriff who was treating Hispanics like shit. Because, you know, even if brown-skinned folk are American citizens, their relatives had to have come here illegally, so let's just whomp up on everybody in places like Guadalupe.
Anyway, we're all so proud of Joe and his forces for all they have done to keep inhumanity in the news.
Sal Padilla, Phoenix
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