By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
I raise my 75-cent kamikaze in salute to Franco and the Jar!
In response to the unsigned April 13 letter to the editor concerning the article "Hood Winked" (Edward Lebow, March 30), if the residents and other volunteers were not doing periodic community cleanups in these neighborhoods, we would be totally covered with trash. The roads, alleys and vacant lots would be blocked with trash. There would be trash piled as high as the City Hall building; the only thing different is that it wouldn't have a crown on top.
In the last three years as an employee of Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, I have organized cleanups with the help of many neighborhood residents and business owners, removing as much as 300 tons of trash. It goes beyond just trash in vacant lots. It also includes used drug needles, human feces from the homeless problem in this area and the irresponsible land owners that don't take responsibility of cleaning their own properties. I sure wish the person who wrote the letter berating the residents for not taking care of their neighborhood had signed his/her name so I would know who to invite to our next cleanup.
Julian Sodari, Community Organizer
Phoenix Revitalization Corporation
I read with interest the article by Edward Lebow titled "Hood Winked," regarding the area of the city called Central City South. I have lost my naivet' of believing that elected officials are actually representing their constituents. But I was surprised to see that employees of the City of Phoenix so blatantly ignore what is expected of them in their jobs with the city.
I have been through the neighborhood covered in this article. Yes, some of the houses need replacing and repair, but the people who live there are good people. They have good family values and a sense of place because a lot of them have lived their whole lives in the area. For city officials to portray them as lazy and uncaring about their homes and neighborhood is unfair and disrespectful. The City of Phoenix should not ignore a natural resource of cultural heritage this close to downtown when it could play upon that heritage to make the area a place of pride for the city. However, don't gentrify the area and force the longtime residents out in order to placate a bunch of "yuppie" sensibilities. Help them build decent homes and work with the residents to make the neighborhood what they want it to be, not what some "white bread" Anglo thinks it should be. This city should reflect the culture of its citizens and stop trying to homogenize itself.
Let em Eat Cake
I write regarding your Flashes item "How Much Is Enough?" (April 13), a small article pimping www.responsiblewealth.com and other sites and organizations espousing a mission statement of "seeing that all Americans share in the incredible economic growth this great nation is experiencing." Since we are all so dramatically concerned with "fairness," I feel the readers of New Times should have the chance to examine a more comprehensive, non-socialist point of view.
These cries for equality may initially sound noble and courageous in their glossed-over, candy-coated, shortsighted rhetoric, but don't be misled. Who is Responsible Wealth, these self-proclaimed advocates of the poor? What do they want? Oh, nothing more than a commitment from all wage-paying Americans to voluntarily raise minimum wage to $8 an hour, encourage anyone who will listen to do the same, coercively encourage all their suppliers and clients to join them in overpaying their employees, and to only patronize other business establishments that also overpay for labor. This commitment would be solemnized by signing a "Living Wage Covenant." They also want us to sign a "Tax Fairness Pledge," an act that would also demonstrate nothing more than an egregious display of ignorance. The signers of this pledge commit to forfeit any tax advantages they receive in the name of injustice since some of their neighbors didn't receive the same treatment, regardless of circumstance. (It would be interesting to know how many of these declarants received a tax write-off for their pious forfeiture, as if it were, ironically, a charitable donation.) RW also wants the top tax rate to return to 70 percent as it was in 1970; it wishes for the percentage of the federal government's revenue that consists of income taxes to return to 20 percent, as it was in 1969; it wants the estate tax to affect far more people than the current 1.4 percent of taxpayers it already does. That's progressive? Wow, these are definitely the people I want to be listening to when it comes to "fairness." And I'm sure there is a completely logical explanation why only "the top 5 percent of income earners and/or asset holders in the U.S. (i.e., over $135,000 household income and/or over $650,000 net assets)" are invited to their propaganda-filled, inspirational seminars.
From Responsible Wealth: ". . . the prosperity of this economic boom is not being shared broadly. The economy has worked well for asset owners, but not for wage earners. The new wealth created has overwhelmingly gone into the pockets of the very wealthy, while many others have lost ground economically. This trend is dangerously weakening our social fabric and undermining our democracy."