Week of October 12th

Some policy initiatives need to curb the inconsistencies that exist among the vendors. The "aesthetic" ambiance is not up to your satisfaction; hence, you want to wipe out hardworking people, the same people who contribute to your quality of life.

I have eaten at the taco stands (loncheras) you mentioned in the article. You know what? Better food than Garcia's, Macayo or Casa Carmen. The xenophobic, stereotypical undertones of the article are unnecessary. If crime is an issue, the vendors are working, so maybe your kids are the ones hanging out, driving the neighborhood out of the utopian synthesis of your romanticized, nostalgic imagination.

Realistically, help out, don't flake out, with fear and ignorance. We should support people who work hard. I skip beyond the Flintstones logic of this article, and may want to convey to the mayor that the same subsidies that go to Honeywell and Motorola should also go to the little guys. They want a restaurant, government should assist them equally. Is this not a democracy? The Bill of Rights was a lie? Be a critical thinker, please.

Juan F. Carrillo

Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Salsa: In reference to your cover story, "Taco Hell," what's the big deal?

Last time I checked, this was a capitalistic society. These folks are just trying to make a living. Is this a "Taco Bell conspiracy" to drive them out of business because their food is better?

I've eaten at several of these stands along McDowell, before and after work. I work weird hours, which makes them very convenient for me, and I just don't see the problem. They have always been neat and clean, otherwise I wouldn't eat there. They give Phoenix a Southwestern, regional touch, something you'd never find in Wisconsin.

If they purchase a seller's permit and abide by local ordinances, then leave them alone. They have every right to conduct business as much as McDonald's, Wendy's or Denny's. What's next? Pick on hot dog and ice cream vendors, too? Are you going to kick the crap out of the Girl Scout next time she knocks on your door selling cookies?

Where does it stop? God, people, get a life!

Kim Bakke

Last Gas

Fuels rush in: It was refreshing that you revealed the deception of the alternative-fuel incentive program ("Fuel's Gold," John Dougherty, September 28). It is truly sad that Arizona allowed this fraudulent legislation, in the guise of responsible environmental policy.

But that is the modus operandi of the Republican Legislature: First, feign concern for the environment, then pass legislation that benefits only small, affluent groups. Replace "environment" in this equation with "education," "health care" or "growth," and you have described almost every legislative initiative in the past 15 years.

Please note that the first people to take advantage of this SUV Welfare Bill were House Speaker Jeff Groscost and his staff members. Then ask yourself for whom this bill was really designed.

Next, go to the polls this year and vote out every Republican senator and legislator that you can. Finally, contact your legislator and demand truly responsible alternative-fuel incentives.

Ken Clark

Pump room: Back in January, at my request, a bill (SB1251) was introduced by state Senator Darden Hamilton that would have restored alcohol-based fuels in the official Arizona state definition of "alternative fuels." The bill failed on its third reading with 11 yes votes, 17 no votes. So the natural gas lobby got its way and all these millions have been wasted.

An E-85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) pump could be installed at any gas station for about $10,000. That means we could have 12,000 E-85 pumps for the price of all those natural gas SUVs the state is buying for people. What good would all those pumps do us, you ask? Good question. Ford Taurus and Ranger vehicles with a four-liter engine run on E-85. They don't cost a dime more than gasoline versions; as a matter of fact, some even cost $340 less than the gasoline version.

This is just one example; there are many other brands and types that will run on E-85. The problem is there is no place to buy E-85. So there are thousands of alternative-fuel vehicles on the road now that could run on E-85, if it was available. But since there is no infrastructure, they are forced to use gasoline.

That $121 million would buy a lot of $10,000 pumps. But that is not what happened. Alcohol-based fuels continue to be excluded from the program. The DOE lists ethanol as an alternative fuel. As a matter of fact, it is the only alternative fuel that is both clean-burning and renewable, since it is made from plants. All of the other "alternative fuels" are from substances stored in the earth for thousands of years. When we burn fossil fuels, we release carbon without taking any up. This is the root cause of the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Tim Castleman


Tempe tempest: There are two issues in this Tempe problem ("The Not So United Way," Patti Epler, September 21).

Issue 1: Is the government allowed to declare certain people to be second-class citizens, such as homosexuals, atheists or blacks, and discriminate against them? Of course not! The government has to treat all people equally even if a government official hates a person's lifestyle, religion or race.

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