March 16, 2000

The Growing Smarter Plus bills do not represent a compromise, they represent business as usual for development in Arizona. This should come as no surprise, as a development attorney who represents the interests of Del Webb, Diamond Ventures and Suncor (to name a few) drafted most of the bills. They do little to change the status quo and even include some provisions that could set back community planning (see new process for takings claims).

The Citizens' Growth Management Initiative is a strong plan to protect Arizona's natural heritage and our neighborhoods and gives voters the ultimate say in how our communities plan growth. I urge all Arizonans to read the initiative, read the legislative bills, and then decide whether you think the Legislature has addressed the problems we have or if a more meaningful proposal like the citizens' initiative is what is needed come November.

Sandy Bahr
Steering Committee Member
Citizens for Growth Management

Bull Session

I've just finished reading David Holthouse's column on Sammy "The Bull" Gravano ("Shooting the Bull With Sammy the Bull," March 9), and while I don't necessarily agree with it, I do enjoy his writing.

In the first section of his column, he seemed to be mocking him, and toward the end defending him. If I'm not mistaken, Holthouse was one of the "admirers" who seem to have hung on his every word at the Gold Bar coffee house.

I work in law enforcement (Department of Corrections) and I have had the opportunity to speak with Gravano. I found him to be courteous and inquisitive. The last time he telephoned he spoke with my son and he talked about sports with him.

While I don't condone the way that Gravano lived his life in the past, I always admired him for the assistance that he gave to the government. Unfortunately, he had a second chance that most criminals can only dream of and he blew it. Totally. He made a fool out of a lot of people, and the most disappointing thing behind his arrest is that drugs were involved. That is the one thing that I never thought he would get involved in. I guess greed got the better of him.

Name withheld by request

Nice column. My friends and I have been wondering what kind of twilight zone world it is we're living in where Sammy the Bull is dealing E at raves. It's been the subject of much humor.

Richard Keppler

Sick Transit Gloria

I loved Laura Laughlin's article exposing the true folly in the Valley, namely the detractors of Transit 2000 ("Traffic Thicket," March 9). As I am writing this letter before the election, I only hope that this might be an expression of congratulations to those of us who see the need for immediate mass transit action in Phoenix.

If the initiative fails, don't come crying to us when the EPA withdraws highway construction funds and won't give us further consideration for other transit projects. And please don't even say anything when the air becomes truly unbreathable and gridlock becomes an everyday occurrence. Don't blame us, we did what we could.

Scott Hume

Mass transit needs help, I agree, but there are better ways to spend our money. Transit 2000 will help out, but it will not be a cure. Most people are not going to leave their perfectly operating and clean cars in the garage in favor of riding public transportation, even if it was free. You couldn't pay most people to do that. Cars are not going away and we all have to face it and plan accordingly.

By the time a light rail system is built in Phoenix, there will be thousands of new, clean-burning and zero-emissions cars on the streets. The auto industry is re-creating itself from the inside out and by 2010 we will be driving cars that get 100 mpg. Mercedes and Chrysler are creating hydrogen fuel cell power plants that will see production by 2005. Cars may be a problem now, but in five to 10 years they will be stronger, lighter, cleaner and smarter.

Smart cars are coming, and Phoenix should prepare for it now. Smart cars will use sensors and computers to aid the driver. In the near future, it will be possible to group cars onto freeways and turn the driving over to the computers. The vehicles will travel faster, closer together and will communicate to one another. Smart freeways will have the greatest impact on the Valley and its residents.

Jeff Case

That was quite a hit piece on Doug Malewicki, SkyTran's inventor, in "Traffic Thicket." Gloss over his two Guinness world records for vehicle fuel efficiency, and his other numerous successful inventions and aerodynamic expert project designs, and just belittle his many notable accomplishments into a put-down phrase -- "an inventor whose biggest accomplishments are a fire-breathing giant robot and a flying beverage can" -- what a cheap shot. Have you been taking lessons from Republic transit hack Mary Jo Pitzl?

How about looking more closely and critically at the transit stats that you were spoon-fed by City of Phoenix transit bureaucrats that indicate their current and projected ridership? You bought that grossly inflated "crapper" hook, line and sinker. If you are interested in the facts, try analyzing their figures. I did.

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