Letters from the issue of Thursday, June 5, 2008


Doddering Joe: Whatever you think of Joe Arpaio, the codger's too old to be sheriff of Maricopa County. At almost 76 (he'd be 80 by the end of his next term!), he's showing his senility every day with the stupid things he does ("Brown Out," Stephen Lemons, May 29).

Sometimes, I don't think Arpaio knows exactly what he's doing. It seems he's just being told what to do and say by his handlers. Probably Chief Deputy David Hendershott, who then tells one of his legion of flacks to pull the strings of the marionette this way or that.

Often, under questioning from the media, Joe seems truly perplexed. As though he can't comprehend the questions. He then will start spouting his mantra about being the "toughest sheriff in America" and how he won't cotton to criminals in these parts. He's like a cartoon character. Imagine an evil, wrinkled Goofy.

I'm not saying Arpaio has anything against the policies his cronies put forth. He's got nothing against killing pretrial detainees in his jails; he created the atmosphere of cruelty in his lockups back before his mind started to go. Now his henchmen must carry this culture forward or face extinction. It's sad — hugely sad for the people in his clutches, which could include any one of us.

That's what people who support him need to understand. If any one of them got caught in his web, he would show no mercy. That they supported him in his racist quest to drive Hispanics (oh, sorry — Mexicans) from our midst would have no sway.

You know, it's just time for him to go away. He's always been a third-rate badge-wearing blowhard. Cunning, not at all intelligent. Now he's a senile, Nazi badge-wearing blowhard. Please, please vote him out of office in November!
Howard Stevens, Phoenix

A dictator like Joe: I loved Stephen Lemons' story on Guadalupe. I've never been to the small town, but I now feel that I've not only been there but lived there — even lived through the terrible siege by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his crew.

This was the best story I've read on the immigration situation. The history provided was rich in detail. Made me understand how entrenched Guadalupe residents really are. These citizens are Americans to the very core, coming here to escape oppression, just like our country's founders did from England in the 1700s.

The article makes you really see how, in the hands of a dictator like Joe, things can go terribly wrong. How somebody who's been allowed to run over anybody he pleases can use the need for action on the illegal immigration situation to trample the constitutional rights of American citizens.

And, as I said, these small-town residents — who have lived in their homes for generations — are the very essence of what it means to be an American.

As for Joe, it's all for the purpose of getting his face on the boob tube so he can get votes in the next election. Sad.

Thanks for putting this complicated issue into perspective. I feel like "Brown Out" gave me a real education.
Mallory John, Phoenix

And there's a lot of it to see through: Hell of a story by Stephen Lemons on the marauding monster Joe Arpaio! Lemons is one of the few journalists in Phoenix who sees through the bullshit. Sarah Fenske is another (see her column, "Racketeering for Jesus"). They deserve raises!
Pete Reynolds, Phoenix

Godzilla with a badge: Loved your cover illustration! And what an accurate portrayal of our beloved Sheriff of Naziham. He really is Godzilla with a badge! Just hope your article shakes some sense into the voting populace of this hare-brained county. We cannot let this kind of tyranny continue!
Sheila Ann Dennis, Phoenix

One fewer vote for Joe: I just finished reading your "Brown Out" article, and I was blown away by it! I've lived in Phoenix for only two years (I grew up in D.C.), and back home, I can't ever remember hearing or seeing the sheriff in any news coverage ever. I couldn't name one of the sheriffs there.

I'm amazed at how Sheriff Joe comes across, and I can tell you that I won't be voting for him in the next election. I would love to see New Times publish a side-by-side comparison of Arpaio and his Democratic opponent Dan Saban, if that isn't already planned.

Thank you, and I look forward to next Thursday.
Dave Munsell, Phoenix

Kudos to the mayors Gordon and Jimenez: I'm sorry, but this Guadalupe thing has made me want to leave this county forever. Why is it that we allow this SS commandant and his storm troopers to run over the tiny town of Guadalupe? Well, it's the same reason we have allowed him to run over Phoenix.

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