River Dance
Regarding John Dougherty's "A Fortune Runs Through It" of May 20--am I just idealistic and naive? Am I naive enough to be confused by why we continue to build lakes in the desert?

Am I so idealistic that I don't understand why we can't reduce our use of water in needless golf courses and swimming pools and just let the natural rivers flow, thus creating spaces where culture and business will grow naturally?

Am I too quixotic to believe that massive preplanned, Disney-fied business and "culture" districts add no soul to a city (reference downtown Phoenix)?

Am I so romantic that I would rather live in a Phoenix that respects the fact that it is a desert city, knowing that I could enjoy a natural river and riparian area running year-round?

The problem with Town Lake is not the money. Every long-term project goes through such squabbles. The problem is twofold. First, governments in Arizona think that we can turn the desert into New Hampshire, thus creating more problems in our local environment and less-pleasant cities. The simple fact that the Town Lake requires underground tanks to pump water back into the lake should be a hint that maybe, just maybe, the lake should not be there!

Second, city planners want so badly to have cultural centers that are profitable that they create antiseptic, contrived, inhuman zones of chain-store mercantilism. They never took the time to study other cities where cultural and business activity is rich and diverse, such as London or San Francisco. Had they done so, they would see that such richness is not built in six days by Del Webb, et al., but nourished by good urban planning, public transportation and attention to nonfranchised private businesses.

Somewhere along the way, we were convinced in Arizona that "culture" means a place where you park your car, visit stores that you could have seen in any other mall in America, and leave before it gets dark outside. Rich culture requires people living in downtown districts, spontaneous street activity and, yes, street people.

Kenneth Clark

Finally, somebody gets the scoop and poop on what's really going on, and you have the backbone to put it into print. Refreshing. Good for you!

Name withheld by request
Great piece of work, John Dougherty!
Arthur D. Jacobs
via Internet

The Rio Salado project story was absolutely right on the money (no pun intended). My only question is, why didn't you write it years ago before the waste occurred to this degree?

Hercel Spears

Editor's note: Actually, John Dougherty wrote a prescient piece on the subject six years ago, "Tempe's Shore Thing," April 4, 1993. A link to it can be found at: www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1999/052099/feature1-4.html

Flash Point
Like your "Daily Flash, A Reader's Guide to the Arizona Republic," but hope that you broaden it to cover other media. Don't limit yourselves. Give us the old Flash content, but on a daily basis.

Paul Weich

I almost laughed my head off when I read the Flash's brilliant review of the Arizona Republic and its resident gorgon, Marianne Moody Jennings (May 20). Her grumpy whining made me cancel my subscription more than a year ago. I'm glad New Times had the guts to call her like she is!

Name withheld by request

Great to see the Flash on a daily basis. Editorial cartoons to go along with it would be nice. Good work.

Name withheld by request

Editor's note: "The Daily Flash, A Reader's Guide to the Arizona Republic," can be seen daily at www.phoenixnewtimes.com

Teens, Screens
Glenn Gaslin, might I ask, when was the last time you visited a high school? As a high school teacher, I can honestly say that the fictionalized "sunny, semi-urban land(s) with no adults" described in your article ("The Teen Commandments," May 20) are not all that different from the real thing.

I urge you to take a stroll through a local high school parking lot. Notice the garden of BMWs, Mercedeses and '99 Honda Accords. These sweet rides do not belong to the faculty or to the administration, they belong to the teenagers described in your article. I would bet my teeth that their minimum-wage jobs do not cover the monthly payments of these vehicles. Nor does the Taco Bell paycheck cover the Kenneth Cole loafers and bebe dresses. Rather, mom and dad supply the "giant wad of disposable income."

As for your question, "Where did all the adults go?" my fellow teachers and I have been trying to answer that one for the past two years. Around 75 percent of my students go home to empty houses where they may entertain whomever they please until a parent returns home from work. I have three students who live in their own apartments, because their parents have asked them to leave. As you may imagine, these pads become the happening place to hang after school and are welcoming for co-ed overnighters. One of my students returned from a spring-break vacation in Las Vegas with photos of her hotel suite at Caesars Palace. Her father thought that this would be a nice gift for her and her friends. After all, this gave him the time to entertain his lady friend while his 16-year-old daughter walked the Strip with no chaperone.

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