Governing principles: I read your column about Joe Arpaio ("Serious Business," Robert Nelson, March 7). Excellent. I wish and hope you're successful in getting the word out, but don't count on it. I agree completely regarding Arpaio, and wrote in a name hoping he wouldn't be reelected; however, I have come to the conclusion that Arizonans are bumpkins when it comes to choosing elected officials, and that's why Arpaio remains sheriff. Arizona is consistently naive regarding politicians, and the record speaks for itself. Evan Mecham fooled them, and later Fife Symington. I am astounded why these people are elected in the first place. Imagine the budget crisis after a few more years of a genuine "psychopath" in office.
Serial head case: I read with keen interest Robert Nelson's outstanding piece on Joe Arpaio. Having been involved in a 10-year battle to expose Joe Arpaio as the dangerous mental case that he is, I was gratified to see that I wasn't alone in that assessment. I was particularly impressed by Nelson's diagnosis of Arpaio as a psychopath, a characterization that Arpaio is undoubtedly flattered by.
Over the years I have learned one thing about Arpaio: Anything that produces publicity for himself is good, regardless of the source, and regardless of the cost. Unfortunately, Nelson's lumping Arpaio into the internationally infamous ranks of the John Wayne Gacys and Charles Mansons of this world does nothing but further inflate the ego of a man who cares naught about his responsibilities as an elected public servant, or even as a civilized member of the human race. As I have often said, Joe Arpaio would be as happy being seen as a bleeding-heart liberal as he is a renowned "tough" guy, right-wing icon, provided that he receives similar media exposure. He is a man without principle, ethics, humanity or empathy. Arpaio is Arizona's political Ted Bundy.
Maybe, with the help of excellent reporting of the caliber of Robert Nelson's, Arizona's voters will finally begin to see Joe Arpaio as the self-serving, wasteful head case that he really is. Now, if we can just get the state's largest newspaper to follow suit; but I'm not holding my breath.
Lieutenant Kelley Waldrip, retired
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Street Fightin' Man
Doc in the box: I was a pretrial detainee at the Madison Street Jail. There was only one "clear" glass window that looked out of the jail pod. I would sit in front of the window and watch people buy food from the hot dog vendor ("Steamed," Paul Rubin, March 7). I and the other pretrial detainees would dream out loud about getting a "dog" and a cup of coffee from the vendor as soon as we were released from custody. If the county bureaucrats shut down the hot dog vendors with their inane rules, they will only add to the emotional darkness of Sheriff Joe's inmates as well as destroy the livelihood of the vendors.
Inspiration on wheels: I am writing in regard to "Murderball" by Susy Buchanan (February 28). It was an amazing and entertaining story. This is the exact kind of story that keeps me picking up New Times week after week. The story was riveting and inspiring, and Buchanan told it in such a way that I really felt like I got to know these guys. I had no idea that quad rugby was even a sport, much less that Arizona was so well represented, and, like good journalism should, it made me want to learn more by telling me a story in a professional yet lively fashion.
I especially liked how Buchanan detailed the players' good-natured ribbing, and also learning all of the "in the know" terms like "settlement boys." The world of these athletes is one I think that too many able bodies just ignore. We tend to lump all disabled people into one group and have pity for them, thinking that what they do is "good for a handicapped person." But these guys could kick my ass, as well as the asses of every other able-bodied athlete I know!
Buchanan also let us see and consider things that we never thought of -- such as how difficult spontaneity would be when you are in a wheelchair. What a wonderful job Buchanan did of truly giving us a glimpse of a life we hadn't even thought to imagine. And what a great job these players are doing of showing us our pity is not only unnecessary, but completely clueless.
Over the edge: You can take Kristi Dempsey out of Scottsdale, but apparently you can't take Scottsdale out of Kristi Dempsey. At least not the good-ol'-boy Scottsdale that Dempsey faithfully served for so many years.
Her flight of paranoia ("On Thin Ice," February 28) is a throwback to her days on the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Tribune when she saw a COPP behind every attempt to arrest the established "wink and nod" way of maximizing profits for the good ol' boys' real estate and development business. When Dempsey writes about imagined signals being sent by COPP operatives to city council members who refuse to conform to Chamber views, one can only wonder if her good ol' coaches are still sending signals to Dempsey.
Or maybe the anti-Zraket animus inculcated by her Scottsdale mentors is activated by some Manchurian Candidate-like trigger such as John W. Allman's balanced profile of George Zraket ("Furious George," February 7) that dared to debunk the various Chamber-encouraged defamations that are grist for Dempsey's former Scottsdale mill.
Either way, it's time for Dempsey to get a journalistic life. One that is not dependent on imagined signal sightings and certainly one that avoids libeling honest, principled elected officials such as Ned O'Hearn, Tom Silverman and George Zraket.
Lamenting Los Arcos: Your article stated that George Zraket invited Tom Silverman and Ned O'Hearn "to meet behind closed doors to discuss building what the neighborhood wanted. Nothing wrong here, either legally or ethically."
Steve Ellman and Zraket started discussions in September 2001, about the big box redevelopment of Los Arcos. On June 15, 2001, Zraket voted with all of the council to spend $170,000 on a study that would provide a macro view of development for south Scottsdale and, in particular, a micro view of the Los Arcos redevelopment site. This study includes what the neighborhoods want and could support for the area.
There was no public disclosure about big box discussions with owner Ellman at any of the meetings where Los Arcos was discussed or when U.S. Bancorp PiperJaffray presented its findings in November and once again the council voted unanimously to support continued work on the study.
I object to the idea that there was no ethical problem about voting to spend our tax money while withholding pertinent information, then actually voting on that issue while engaged in exclusive discussions. It is equally discouraging that two fellow council members would be encouraged to follow suit and do so.
Perhaps CBS is hiring: So I take it you didn't get an invitation to the Survivor party ("Star Stricken," Spiked, February 28)? My question is this: Are you jealous that you weren't invited so you tried to ruin it for those who were, or are you jealous of Tammy Leitner getting the opportunity of a lifetime? It's glaringly obvious that it's one of the two. You give journalists a bad name. Help wanted: National Enquirer. Go apply.