From the Week of October 26, 2000

Anybody who becomes familiar with these activist groups will understand their elitist character. The groups demand that government prohibit Wal-Marts, Home Depots and low- and middle-income housing, and demand that government establish regulations on landscaping, architecture, property maintenance, and a host of other busybody decrees. North Scottsdale activist groups have taken elitism to snooty heights, demanding (and obtaining) government prohibitions on fast-food restaurants, "secondhand" stores such as Goodwill, and on any commercial development not possessing "Sonoran" architecture.

Basically, these activist groups want government to make life difficult for the lower and middle classes.

What do the activists ultimately have in mind? It's quite simple, really: They demand these government actions in order to artificially inflate their own property values. They think their home values will increase faster by keeping out "big box" stores, apartment complexes, McDonald's and -- to be blunt -- Latinos and lower-income whites altogether. (I have personally heard Scottsdale activists discuss the undesirability of "shirtless Mexicans" and "New River hicks in their pickup trucks.")

Advocating intolerance, exclusion and elitism as a matter of public policy so that the advocates can make a few extra bucks on the sale of their homes is a putrefying concept. It's nauseating to know that one is breathing the same air as these abhorrent "citizen activists."

Clearly, many Latino residents fully understand what these activist groups are all about.

Nicholas Damask

Blight spirit: Silent majority? What a crock! I have been a resident of McDowell Manors, an annex of the Greater Coronado Neighborhood Association, since 1991. Our last president (of five years) was Hispanic. Not once was I advised of or invited to a neighborhood meeting. My phone calls were not returned. No cleanups, block parties or watches were scheduled. He did, however, allow and encourage "culture" to overrule common sense and city codes.

In that five-year period, once-green yards became brown parking lots, two-bedroom homes now contain an average of three families, garbage cans are filled beyond capacity, the sewer system is overflowing, streets are strewn with beer cans, litter and dirty diapers. Theft, crime and gunshots have become routine.

It's not a lack of Hispanic involvement, it's a lack of concern from the city, neighborhood services, our local council, etc. I blame their lack of interest and action for the blighted, crime-ridden area that I now reside in. I used to call them for help. In fact, on average I spent at least two hours a week -- getting the runaround! I am single, work more than 50 hours per week and have a home/yard to maintain, yet they want me to "police" the area, write down all infractions and then spend hours on the phone detailing the problems to them because they "can't do anything without an individual complaint." That would be a full-time job. I already have one. Isn't that their responsibility?

I appreciate the diversity of my neighborhood. However, there needs to be some type of enforcement. Now. It's time for the city to get involved. We have been crying for help. Can't they hear?

Michelle Zally

Rental wrap: In the past year, I have organized a neighborhood association to take up a particular problem -- the traffic changes resulting from the reconstruction of the old Tower Plaza on Thomas Road between 36th and 40th streets. My neighborhood is changing with a growing number of Hispanics and blacks, who are mostly renters. My experience is that 90 percent of the renters are not interested in the neighborhood problems. Those people who have an economic stake were the people who responded. Making housing available where the Hispanics can become homeowners would change the situation.

A clash in cultures and economic status is also apparent. The subtle criticism of Bob Hayes is unjustified. Of course, the next question will be whether Gilbert Ramirez is running a landscaping business in a neighborhood not zoned for that type of activity.

Frank Kadish

Stub Par

Ticket master: As a volunteer usher/ticket taker at the Herberger Theater Center, I want to say that Robrt L. Pela's "A Guide to Cultural Crudity" (September 28) is in no way an exaggeration and is in every way an absolute masterpiece!

The article should be blown up in size and posted in a prominent place in the lobby of every theater in the greater Phoenix metro area (which includes Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale and Tempe); further, it should be printed in flier format and handed out with the purchase of every ticket in all of the above-mentioned venues.

Name withheld by request

Smother of Pearl

Jam straight: This letter is in response to the music review "Shut Up, Jeremy!" by Zac Crain and Robert Wilonsky (October 12). I read the entire story and have a few problems with the extraordinarily negative review.

First, why would New Times have two music critics with a highly negative view of Pearl Jam review the albums? From the title of the story and the first paragraph, it is apparent there will not be an objective review of the band's live albums. I have no problem with negative reviews of a band I like; however, this review seems like two people who dislike the band having a two-page forum to tell us why.

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