By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Star pit: I will never understand the American proclivity for failing to "get a life" ("Down Memory Lame," Dewey Webb, November 2). All involved in this article most surely need to. If your 15 minutes of fame are up, go do something else and then you won't look like a parody of your former selves. Some personal observations, though: Good for Jim Nabors, ugh to Adam West, and I guess that Steve Allen's being "pissed off" is kind of a moot point now.
Mark A. Hoffman
Gas pains: The alternative fuel vehicle subsidy debacle has everyone in an uproar ("What a Gas!" John Dougherty, October 12). Blame is heaped upon legislators, auto dealers, the governor and even consumer greed.
There is indeed a lesson to be learned here, but most pundits are missing the mark. It's the system, stupid. If you tax it, you get less of it, and if you subsidize it, you get more of it.
America won the Cold War in large measure because we have an economy and a society based upon free markets and individual freedom. So soon we forget.
Using tax systems to manipulate individual behavior is certainly efficient. Who can dispute that fact, especially when you view the results of this current debacle? But this isn't the first time that tax policy has generated unintended consequences. Examples abound. Many people believe the real estate depression of the late '80s and early '90s was greatly influenced by unsound tax policy.
Central planning in Moscow was unwise, inefficient and unsuccessful. We are foolish to believe that central planning in Washington, D.C., or in Phoenix, Arizona, is likely to be any better.
America is a successful society because of our tradition of free markets and individual freedom. It is time we quit using tax policy to manipulate behavior.
Wheeler dealers: I wonder how many of the state legislators purchased new vehicles under this program. Just a thought. These people should be removed from office. How incompetent can you get? What other kind of job could you get that would allow you to make a $400 million error and not be held accountable or be fired? It appears to me that most of the vehicles purchased under this program are large, gas-guzzling vehicles that only the most affluent can afford to purchase because of the way the rebate works. Now the average working person will end up paying the price for all of these people who could afford to participate in the program. How about asking the federal government to bail out the citizens of the state of Arizona? This is a state disaster.
No tanks: Our legislators passing this outrageous bill was business as usual, only this time their personal greed got them caught. They have routinely hidden special interests' agenda in bills to serve themselves and their lobbyists. This should be a wake-up call to all of us in Arizona. What our senators and representatives did here is what they do every legislative session -- cater to special interests and fat cats. Their mistake was, while throwing pork to retrofit companies and fleet owners -- and themselves -- they left the door open for Joe Citizen. And the greedy ones jumped at the opportunity.
Action should be taken to retroactively rescind this bill, paying only for the conversion kit.
Station break: I read your article about the Mobil dealer and all the other dealers ("Paying the Price," Bob Burtman, October 26). It's so very true. I was a Mobil dealer for more than 23 years. Mobil told me they didn't want me anymore, after many years of success, just because I had a mind of my own and knew how to make money and do it my way, instead of theirs.
I opened an unbranded gas station at the end of July, totally automated, to keep the overhead down and bring the price of gas to the consumer cheaper. Now I am paying the price. My cost is higher than the majors before I can even sell it. Officials of some of the oil companies have said they want to get rid of us so they can control the margins on the gas prices. Why? Because we're taking their volume away and bringing the same product to the consumer cheaper. Whatever happened to free enterprise?
What a joke. I think the state should look into what's really going on with big business and the oil companies. I think it's time to take action, maybe a class-action lawsuit, to wake these guys up. They have no hearts, just plain greed.
Pans and Needles
Poison pen: Robrt L. Pela's terribly harsh review of Phoenix Theatre's production of Arsenic and Old Lace ("Maim Your Poison," November 2) was typical of his writing in that he harped upon the weaker points of the show nonstop and completely ignored the best aspects of it. Not once did Pela mention the wonderful performances put in by Elizabeth Dimon and Randy Klein as the two ladies who have taken to poisoning friendless bachelors as a "charity," nor did he note David Vining's fine performance as their nephew, Teddy, who thinks he's a Roosevelt. Pela simply trashed the set design and lighting and considered his job done.