Letters From the Issue of Thursday, March 29, 2007

Flash Point

The devil you dont: I have to admit that this is the first time I have ever written a letter to an editor, but after reading your vilification of Fire Chief Bob Khan I just had to ("The Fire Inside," Sarah Fenske, March 15).

I retired from the Phoenix Fire Department in 2003 after 26 years. I was very close to Chief Khan, and he worked for me as a firefighter for nearly five years. People are making out that these organizational changes made by Khan are somehow nefarious, even unusual. But let me tell you that if Chief Alan Brunacini felt slighted in any way when he was chief, you can believe that your career would be affected. Believe me, I know from experience. There were no fewer than three mass "reorganizations" during my career, usually precipitated by some perceived or actual slight toward the chief or his department.

You quote Assistant Chief Bob Cantwell. Well, let me tell you that he was the henchman for Bruno [Alan Brunacini] and did all of his dirty work, and Chief Robert "Hoot" Gibson . . . don't get me started.

The Phoenix Fire Department has a long history of not airing its dirty laundry in public, with corresponding hell-hath-no-fury retribution for those who do. The king is dead, and long live the [new] king. Bob, you go, girl!
Mark Bracy, retired PFD captain, Phoenix

Wrath of Khan, or the one and only Billy Shields?: Who's kidding who? The United Phoenix Fire Association, Billy Shields, and Shields' buddy Pat Cantelme are running the Phoenix Fire Department now, and anybody who says differently is either an idiot or in on the scheme.

It speaks volumes that Assistant City Manager Alton Washington refused to speak to New Times about a couple of matters, since he's the one the paper was referred to for answers. What has Washington got to hide if everything is on the up-and-up?

In one area, I'm referring to this statement in your story: "They then purchased a $210,000 billing system from [former union president Pat] Cantelme's business partner, Bob Ramsey, without soliciting other bids or openly advertising." About that, Washington, who's in charge of the city's dealings with the Fire Department, refused to say a word.

Even if the endgame in a deal like this turns out to make sense, as Fire Chief Bob Khan argues it does, then shouldn't it be done on the up-and-up?

The other area regards Bob Compton's getting a "fat consulting contract," as your story states. Again I quote the New Times article: "Oddly, Compton was hired without a request for proposals or any attempt to see whether anyone else was interested in the job." Compton is a close ally of Khan and Shields, and again Washington was the man the city held up as an expert on such matters, and again Washington refused to comment about the transaction.

Mayor Phil Gordon's friend Billy Shields hates retired Fire Chief Alan Brunacini, and now, because Chief Khan has to be worried as hell about his political future if he messes with the union, Khan must do as Shields tells him.
Name withheld by request

Prole Violation

Any time we can help: I was actually intrigued enough to consider seeing the new staging of 1984, even though this version is under the direction of perpetually pissed über-liberal Tim Robbins. But New Times' blurb ("State of Shock," Wynter Holden, Night & Day, March 22) pretty much deflated any interest:

"In 1949, author George Orwell described a fictional state in which Big Brother is always listening, innocents are jailed without trials, and citizens are punished for speaking out publicly. Sound familiar?"

Yeah, how about the Taliban ruling Afghanistan with terrorist leaders, public stonings. and women enslaved under black robes and dying on sidewalks in front of hospitals that won't admit them? Or maybe Iraq, where Saddam's sadistic sons kept elementary schools near their palaces for their personal booty calls and fed citizens into industrial plastic shredders for entertainment? No, please, let's cry about our own government trying to keep these crazy bastards from killing us again.

The blurb continues: "At least Dubya hasn't resorted to spy cams yet — we think — and the Dixie Chicks weren't tortured for their thought crimes, unless you count boycotts, blacklisting and the mass burning of their albums."

How many Grammys were thrown at the Dixie Chicks this year? If Hollywood didn't have to make a choice as to how to out-liberal itself, I'm sure the Chicks would've had an Oscar instead of global warming scare-meister Al Gore.

Thank you, New Times, for saving me some time and money. I get enough hysterical liberal panic and smug persecution delusions from most of the media, especially New Times.
John Kestner, Peoria

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