Letters From the Issue of Thursday, November 11, 2005
Telling it like it is: Well, finally somebody told the truth about Pat Cantelme. I can hardly believe New Times had the cojónes to do it, considering his scary reputation ("Ambulance Chasers," Sarah Fenske, October 27).
Your writer really told a compelling story about the ambulance business and all the finagling that goes on in it. It was a fascinating, well-written piece.
I know the cast of characters she writes about. In fact, I left the Phoenix area because I couldn't stand to be associated with all the intrigue anymore. It reeked and continues to reek of the Jimmy Hoffa era.
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Why don't local officials get a clue and stop doing business with Cantelme and Bob Ramsey? It's crazy that such businessmen who play it so fast and loose continue to thrive in the Phoenix area.
I found the story insightful. In fact, this was an old-style New Times story that tells it like it is. Keep these kinds of articles coming. Especially on the likes of Pat Cantelme.
Kyle Zine, Prescott
Not an easy target: Let me first off say that "Ambulance Chasers" was well-written. It is obvious that Sarah Fenske spent a good deal of time obtaining records and doing interviews. I tried to keep an open mind as I read the article. However, your title for the piece was grossly misleading.
A more accurate title should have been something like: "Cantelme, Double-Dipper, Scumbag, Blah, Blah, Blah."
Your article centered on trying to discredit Pat. Is your writer in a consulting position with Southwest Ambulance? Because after reading your biased but well-researched and -written piece, it would appear that your writer could be the one double-dipping.
If Cantelme did something illegal, prosecute him. If he did or is doing something unethical, then get rid of him. But for cryin' out loud, there are so many other players here! How about moving your crosshairs off him for a few paragraphs?
I read New Times. What you wrote tends to fit right in with tons of other articles I've seen in the magazine. A writer stumbling on what he/she thinks is an easy target, taking aim and letting loose. I think you'll find that Pat is not an easy target.
I am sure your response will be that you were just reporting the facts. That's the media's way of not being accountable for what is written. But, as a member of Local 493 for the past 22 years, I can say your view is extremely slanted.
Louis Carlucci, Gilbert
Hitting a nerve: Great article in New Times on the ambulance companies. The story finally revealed the underhanded union/business dealings of Pat Cantelme.
What you wrote almost has a Chicago underworld flavor to it. I hope the mayors and council members of cities in Cantelme and Bob Ramsey's [world] will stand firm and not do business with them.
This article has hit a nerve with some, and if more people read this article and take heed, it may cause a groundswell of resentment among International Association of Fire Fighters membership in Arizona. Actually, the union members have no balls and will not sniff after Cantelme if he tells them to sit-stay.
I would not have had enough guts to write this article. Sarah Fenske should watch out.
Candy Cortez, via the Internet
Show him the money: As one of many former employees of Bob Ramsey's, I hope others like me are writing in to let the public know that what this man really cares about is money, not people!
I was employed with the company when it first decided to unionize, and now I know why Ramsey was so happy when the majority voted in the IAFF. (I personally voted for the Teamsters Union.) Now, whatever ounce of respect I have left for the IAFF and the Phoenix Fire Department will be lost if they keep supporting Ramsey and Pat Cantelme.
I was told once that the Phoenix Fire Department likes to "take care of its own," but I had no idea just how deep it went. I find it interesting that the powers that be keep ignoring the obvious by continuing to accept these two cohorts as legitimate businessmen. My only hope is that, now, the public will see these two and the almighty IAFF for what they really are.
Please don't print my name or address. I love my job, and it's definitely not for the money. Because God knows just how little we really make saving lives.
Name withheld by request
The 411 on 911: "Ambulance Chasers" was a great story. Good job! The facts speak for themselves concerning the weasels involved. It makes some of us emergency medical technicians and paramedics very cynical.
I think Southwest has been a great place to work since the Ramsey era. Local I-60 has been fantastic. The company has also gone to great lengths to improve working conditions for us. I don't think the people at PMT have any idea what's in store for them.
Thank you for the info. It's a shame Pat Cantelme and Bob Ramsey go to these lengths to get contracts. It's a shame they do this at the expense of innocent people who don't know any better when they call 911.
Eric Johnson, via the Internet
Standing Pat: I picked up "Ambulance Chasers" in the hopes of reading a well-rounded article detailing important information about people who are obviously very important and influential on the city. How wrong I was!
This article appeared to be nothing more than a worthless, factless, malicious attack on Pat Cantelme and Bob Ramsey. One would think it would be important to know all sides of a story or to research all of the players involved.
The most extensive research the reporter did on members of Southwest was to inadvertently reveal CEO Barry Landon's obvious fear of meeting with Cantelme and Ramsey.
It's quite obvious that Cantelme and Ramsey knew New Times was writing the article, since they sat for interviews and posed for pictures. I wonder if they would have participated if they had known the article was going to be full of lies and misrepresented facts, and be so completely one-sided. I think probably so.
See, it looks to me like Cantelme and Ramsey know they have succeeded (they've already won Scottsdale), they know that through their decades of experience, their extreme intelligence and their intense dedication to serving and bettering the community (not their pocketbooks, as was stated), they will continue to win.
My guess is Landon and Southwest know this as well. Why else was their background not delved into? If Landon is really defenseless in trying to compete against the likes of Cantelme and Ramsey, why aren't people rallying to his aid and trying to stop these big, bad men from taking over? Probably because he's not defenseless.
But then again, maybe I'm wrong. After all, the entire article was about Cantelme and Ramsey and their sheisty dealings. That must mean that Landon is defenseless and has been nothing but upstanding and completely honest, right?
On top of completely omitting any pertinent information about Landon, you are trying to tell me Pat Cantelme -- who has dedicated practically his entire life to his city, this state and its people -- is actually nothing more than the sheisty, money-hungry, deceitful man?!
The simple fact is, he isn't like that.
I know it, you know it, Landon knows it, everyone knows it.
You talk about Cantelme being in Ramsey's pocket. Well, writer Sarah Fenske, I wonder what vindictive, malicious liar's pocket you are in.
A relative of Pat Cantelme's
Editor's note: New Times stands behind the facts in Sarah Fenske's story.
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