Road Work Ahead
I used to think 1989's ValTrans was a bad idea, but Proposition 1 is looking worse ("Trainplotting," Howard Stansfield, July 3). ValTrans actually had a plan. There was a 30-page report laying out how the taxpayers' money would be spent. We knew where the routes would be and how much each part of the proposal would cost. Proposition 1 has no plan. City officials have produced a flimsy, single sheet of paper that says nothing about routes or the costs of any portions thereof (in dollar amounts). In essence, they are asking voters to sign a "blank check" and trust the politicians and bureaucrats to spend this money wisely. This doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

The tax proposed for ValTrans had an expiration date. The tax proposed for Proposition 1 would be permanent. Even worse, the spending planned for Proposition 1 would push the city over the legal spending limit. That's why Phoenix officials are hoping voters will quietly go along with the unadvertised Proposition 2, which would allow the city to exceed the current legal spending limit.

I didn't think it would be possible to concoct a worse plan than ValTrans, but the Phoenix mayor and city council have surprised me.

Dr. Earle A. Bronson Jr.

Howard Stansfield did a commendable job of diagramming the mass-transit plan facing Phoenix voters on September 9. Two points need clarification, however:

1) As program chair for the Arizona Republican Caucus, I gather guest panelists to represent all sides of hot political issues. Our April luncheon meeting was originally titled "The Pros and Cons of Light Rail." Unfortunately, Valerie Manning declined our invitation to be a panelist and informed us there was "nothing to discuss," that "the people had spoken," that "opposition had no alternatives to offer" and, therefore, there "was no reason to participate." I was not "gleeful" that neither Manning nor any substitute transit-tax supporter would appear, since lively point/counterpoint is always more informative.

2) Stansfield transposed the two groups: Libertarian Gary Fallon heads No New Taxes, and John Semmens is allied with No Transit Taxes, incorrectly labeled a Libertarian group. Although some of their best friends are Libertarians, NOTT is chaired by a Republican, boasts a bike-riding Democrat committee member and cavorts with Independents.

The bill to legalize the manufacture of Freon in Arizona did pass both houses and was signed by the governor.

Becky Fenger, program chair,
Arizona Republican Caucus

Editor's note: The two groups were, indeed, transposed.

Those campaigning for the transit tax have been insisting that the 400 new buses they plan to buy will all be clean burning. Aside from there being no such thing as "clean burning" (all combustion produces by-products), there is a "little" problem with these natural-gas-powered buses. It seems that the air conditioning on these buses has an unpleasant tendency to fail when temperatures rise above 100 degrees.

Should we spend $4 billion to buy buses that will turn into torture chambers on normal summer days? This is just one more sign that this so-called transit plan, and the higher taxes it will require, deserves a "no" vote!

Alice M. Smith

Food for Thought
I can't say that I'm any fan of Arizona Republic's restaurant reviewer Penelope Corcoran, but, in her defense, I wouldn't "do" oysters on the half shall, raw beef or sweetbreads, either (Flashes, July 10). I would hardly characterize Corcoran's refusal to ingest these things as ". . . [a] screwy fetish," as The Flash so baldly has.

Anyone who keeps up with health-related news knows that raw oysters can carry organisms that make people seriously ill or cause death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that a number of people were infected with severe gastroenteritis, vomiting and diarrhea from eating raw (and even cooked oysters) from the Gulf of Mexico; this virus comes from fecal contamination (yum, yum). In 1993, eight people in the L.A. area died and hundreds more became seriously ill after eating raw Gulf oysters contaminated with vibro vulnificus, a naturally occurring bacteria that can sicken and cause death. In fact, the Federal Drug Administration put out an advisory warning in 1995 about the dangers of eating raw Gulf oysters.

As for raw beef, give me a break! Where was The Flash when, in 1996, seven people died and more than 6,000 people became violently ill in Japan from eating raw and undercooked beef? Contaminated beef is also responsible for causing devastating kidney disease secondary to hemolytic uremic syndrome; E. coli and parasites are just a few of the delightfully disgusting microscopic critters that can infect beef. Mad cow disease is supposed to be responsible for killing 16 people in England. And, interestingly enough, it's only been in the past several months that U.S. beef growers have been forced to stop feeding their cattle feed made from the carcasses of diseased cows.

Sweetbreads, the thymus and pancreas of calf or lamb, have been taken off English restaurant menus by law because of the potential threat of disease. No thanks, woefully uninformed Flashes dude! I'm with Penelope Corcoran--and I'm no slouch when it comes to trying exotic things, like fried grasshoppers, black corn fungus and maguey worms. The Flash can have my share of parasites. Talk about a slow news day. Bon appetit!

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