Feedback from the issue of Thursday, September 18, 2008


Joe Arpaio's nauseating situation: I'm constantly sickened to my stomach over the reported treatment of inmates in the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's jails ("Dead Again," John Dickerson, September 11). Why does it seem that the people who work for the MCSO get away with so much abuse?

These [detention officers] who are abusive ought to have the same thing done to them as they do to inmates. Also, do [sheriff's officials] do psychological reports on the stability of the people they hire? Seems like a lot of their people have skeletons in their closets.
Patricia Jenske, via the Internet

Thomas is the true threat here: How does Sheriff Joe Arpaio keep getting away with punishing legal dissent? In a civilized state — where law enforcement officials have to obey the law they enforce or wind up in prison — Arpaio's henchmen would be in chains for what they did to your reporter ("Free Ray Stern," Michael Lacey, August 28).

But it's easy to see why the sheriff is emboldened. He's been getting away with it for going on 20 years. Now he has spawned a Harvard-educated clone, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, who's every bit as evil — only much, much younger.

Unless voters come to their senses and get rid of at least Thomas in the general election, we're in for tyranny for a long, long time. Arpaio will die of natural causes soon enough (he's 76) or go so senile that he won't be able to function. It's Thomas who's the scary one. If voters sanction him to keep being a Nazi — and he keeps letting Arpaio be one — God help us!

When society allows the government to try to silence a reporter who's only doing what he has a legal right to do, then how can we keep those who abuse their power in check? I know a lot of people who are looking to move out of Maricopa County because of government oppression. I hope the general election makes this unnecessary.
Jeffrey Thomas, Phoenix

Who polices the police?: You guys are doing a great job reporting government corruption. Certainly (and unfortunately) there seems to be job security in that field. But whose job is it to police the police, or to prosecute the prosecutor? Whoever it is, they don't seem to be doing their job too well.
Jeff Turner, Sierra Vista


"I'll be taking Southwest . . .": What an evil coup the eastern pilots (the original US Air guys) have pulled on the former America West pilots, though the situation seems far from over ("Unfriendly Skies," Sarah Fenske, September 4).

I don't blame the former America West guys for doing what they're doing when their careers are at stake. But it goes to show you how even like-minded folks (pilots) will turn on each other when it comes to livelihood. The eastern guys are real cutthroats.

For the former America West pilots to be laid off, because the seniority list is cooked, is hugely unfair. And all this squabbling can't be good for air travelers. I, for one, am glad that the America West guys (many of whom are out of Phoenix) are not allowing the guys who screwed them over [to sit] in cabin jump seats. The last thing any of us wants is fisticuffs in the cabin of an airliner.

An exaggeration? Who knows in this dog-eat-dog airline climate? I've got a question: Why is it that the airline industry always seems to be fucked up? I can't remember a time when airlines weren't going broke, having troubles.

Although it may not be much better than other airlines, I'll be taking Southwest, or whatever else, on my next trips. I had a choice recently to take US Airways or Northwest to my destination. I chose the hometown airline, since US Airways is headquartered in Tempe. Not again in the near future. Maybe never.
W.T. Wilson, Phoenix

Nobody wants upset pilots: It's a scary situation over at US Airways. Don't think I'll be traveling on that airline until the pilots work out their differences.

The part about how the one pilot couldn't even fly back to Phoenix because he was so upset about getting named in a legal action gave me the shivers. The less-experienced pilot had to take over while this guy shit bricks. Not a good situation for passengers. Nobody wants upset pilots in the cockpit.
Dirk Reginald, Phoenix

Union threatens survival of US Airways: As one of the accused pilots, it's refreshing to finally have our story told. A few facts to add to the story:

• Financially healthy America West bought (not merged with) bankrupt US Airways, which industry experts said was weeks away from closing its doors for good.

• The USAPA union's lawyers tried to coerce the accused pilots to sign a confession, which would have falsely implicated other pilots.

• The George Nicolau seniority award included 517 east pilots on top of all west pilots, with a 2-to-1 east/west ratio after that. Hardly a "windfall" for the west.

• Instead of accepting the award, joining forces and fighting for an industry-leading contract, the east pilots decided to form a divisive union that, ultimately, is threatening the very survival of US Airways.
Eric Auxier, Phoenix

Executives don't care about the pilots' bickering: Do I feel David Braid should be in trouble? Absolutely not. But what people are forgetting is that . . . this was all management's decision. [Top officials couldn't] care less about the two groups' arguing.

Danny Holycross, Phoenix

Where's the truth?: I only hope that the actual hatchet used by Sarah Fenske in her laughably distorted news article on the US Airways pilot-integration mess is not the one used by George Washington. George's hatchet is forever associated with truth-telling, and there was very little truth to be found in Fenske's writing.

If your newspaper would like to have a balanced view, perhaps contacting Arnie Gentile at USAPA might be a good start?
Elwood Menear, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

Overpaid bus drivers?: Boo-hoo. A bunch of overpaid bus drivers whining about pay. Cry me a river. Those planes can take off, fly, and land by themselves. The only thing pilots are there for are to make out with the stews. Have fun with your unions.
Rogelio Martinez, Phoenix

Why should America West pilots sacrifice their careers?: Seems to me the perpetually furloughed US Airways pilots want the America West pilots to make their careers whole.

US Airways had pilots on furlough during the glory days of the late '90s, when airlines were printing money. If you were furloughed from US Airways at that time and stuck around expecting recall, blame no one but yourself for bad career decisions.

Before the "merger," I couldn't read any industry publication that wasn't speculating about the impending demise of US Airways. And make no mistake, coming out of the summer of '05, no one in the industry expected it to see '06.

The US Airways people have selective amnesia as to what the state of their airline was in '05. Pilots in the industry blame them for three pay cuts and concession after concession. US Airways pilots have lowered the bar — when given the opportunity.

I fail to see why the America West pilots should sacrifice their careers to make the stagnated careers of the US Airways pilots whole. There is overcapacity in the industry; perhaps if US Airways had failed in '05, as it should have, the industry wouldn't be as much of a basket case as it is these days.

But it didn't fail; it managed to convince investors that this would be a great idea, much to the detriment of the rest of the industry.

We lost Pan Am and Eastern during the last industry downturn, why not US Airways? What is so special about this carrier that merits its continued existence? Nothing. Hopefully it'll be the next airline to shut down.
Name withheld

US Airways should've shut down in 2005: Let me see if I have this straight: US Airways pilots agree to binding arbitration and when the arbitrator's decision isn't to their liking, they try for a do-over by replacing the collective bargaining agent?

Wow! Just wow!

I suppose that when a professional athlete goes to binding arbitration on salary, he can replace his agent and get a do-over if he doesn't like the arbitrator's decision.

I'd like to see what would happen to US Airways if it tries to fire the former America West pilots en masse for non-payment of union dues. Maybe US Airways should have shut down three years ago. Who knows? Maybe the company is worth more in pieces. Something to think about.
Name withheld

Arbitrator's word should stand: Glad this story has been publicized in detail. While not wanting to take sides, I will say that once you have agreed to arbitration, then you must then accept the arbitrator's ruling. End of story.

That said, I can't see not letting either side ride my jump seat. Jump-seat access is at a captain's discretion, and the reasons one might deny that access have nothing to do with internal company disputes.

I am an ALPA member and, at times, a commuting pilot who very much appreciates the accommodation and professionalism shown to me by each of these groups whenever I am onboard, whether in the cabin or cockpit.
Name withheld