Grand Stand
The attempt to rape the taxpayers of Mesa (sales taxes and recouped taxes) and Arizona (recouped sales taxes) is small potatoes compared to the cost to taxpayers of the control of state, city and county governmental policies by promoters and developers ("House of Cards," John Dougherty, April 8).

All these gigantic projects will merely absorb sales taxes that would otherwise go into the general fund, since the spending is discretionary and would be otherwise spent in non-sales-tax-recouping businesses. Studies show even the highly vaunted Super Bowl has neutral or negative sales-tax production based on a record of taxes collected the year before and the year after the Super Bowl comes to a city. Promoter claims are hogwash.

Homeowners and business owners subsidize these "sweet deals." Then homeowners and business owners absorb the tremendous costs of schools, highways, perhaps a railway, police, fire protection, prisons, courts, infrastructure, utility extension and a host of other normal government expenses from which new "employers," promoters, builders and developers are exempted. It is axiomatic that profitmaking business should pay its fair share of taxes. However, with good lawyers, public relations men and the money to control politicians, the burden is placed on the general public.

It's the story of the frog. He will jump out of a hot pan. If the heat is gradual, he will stay in the pan and be roasted. The gradual heat is the sales tax or the fee, a little at a time; billions over a period. Also, these expenses are not one-time expenses; they are continual. Yes, after taking us for hundreds of millions, these leeches and parasites give contributions to art, music, charity, etc., and become philanthropists. Charts and graphs are promotion tools, created in boardrooms to support politician giveaways.

David Lerner

Thank you so very much for your insightful article "House of Cards." We have been so ignorant, having only read the Rio Salado Yes! campaign info and Tribune. We were a yes vote until we picked up New Times specifically because John Dougherty had written on the subject. We have high regard for his work on Fife Symington and felt we must read this. So here we are, thanking him for his tenacity. He's again laid out the facts clearly and simply for those of us who care, are most affected, but don't always have the time or energy to investigate something that isn't the squeakiest wheel in our daily lives.

Linda and Vince Nagy

Rio Salado is indeed a "House of Cards," especially were the facts known. One fact that's notably missing is the matter of a network of highways to support this potential disaster. This cost alone could rival the cost of the project, doubling the current estimate. It's not enough to merely run a road connecting the project to routes 101 and 202. Think of the nightmare of thousands of cars merging onto (and off) 202 from Rio Salado after a game, let alone at rush hour, a convention, holidays, etc. This project requires separate roadways dispersing traffic to outlying areas, not merely connecting to existing roadways alone. Nowhere is this highway system mentioned. That's the big surprise awaiting the citizens after the expected approval vote. The word must get out now, not after the vote.

Name withheld by request

A primary reason this Arizona native left Mesa was that the city, as it gets bigger and bigger, yearns for fame and prestige to go along with its population. Unfortunately, it's clear that if you want something bad enough, others will come along and take advantage of you.

All I heard when I lived there was that Bill Bidwill insisted that if the Cardinals were to be competitive, they would need a "domed stadium." I guess I now see why. It's a big opportunity to cut a deal with city officials blinded by the stars in their eyes. It's about money. Even the NFL, with its second (and second-rate) extortion routine (No Dome, No Super Bowl), is in the act.

I would urge Arizonans to resist the tactics of the Bidwill bunch. Private investors will always support and fund a win-win deal. It should be a red flag if they refuse to get involved, and the owners then attempt to cajole governments instead.

See ya, suckers!
J. Hay
Atlanta, Georgia

Chief Complaint
As an employee of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for almost as long as the agency has existed, I must say that I am not surprised by your findings regarding our new director, Jacqueline Schafer (Flashes, April 8).

It is what some of us at work refer to as "Same shit, different odor." At the risk of sounding like a disgruntled employee, I have come to believe that moving up in this department is not determined by your accomplishments but rather by how badly you fuck up. The misdeeds that she has put upon the state of California have therefore made her more than qualified to direct a department larger than the one she has left.

Thank you for the insightful article; I doubt this information would have been made available at work.

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