Letters

From the week of September 13-19, 2001

Hue and Cry

Fade to black: Edward Lebow's article ("Primary Colors" August 30) about the social and political conditions in south Phoenix was well written. Unfortunately, you avoided discussing what has caused blacks and whites to feel "invisible" today in their own neighborhoods of south Phoenix. You really ignored how illegal immigrant Mexicans have been the cause of the change.

You wrote fairly about all the candidates to the point an outsider would think the social changes were caused simply by normal population growth. This is not the case in south Phoenix or anywhere else in the Southwest where the increase of Mexicans far exceeds any normal birth rates or "legal" immigration. You stay well within the bounds of political correctness by referring to these illegals as Hispanics and Latinos so as to legitimize their effect and not offend any of them.

When I was in downtown El Lay two weeks ago for a rally at Loyola Law School, the Hispanic representatives were all wearing black tee shirts with the phrase "Mexican -- not Latino, not Hispanic, not Chicano" on the back. The reality is Mexican illegals have overrun Los Angeles and they are doing the same in south Phoenix.

Your avoidance of this illegal immigration issue is exactly why blacks in south Phoenix feel deserted and unheard. They know why their neighborhoods changed, why they are losing all political influence and now feel invisible. They've had homes on their streets used as halfway houses for transporting illegals. I've seen entire streets change to where once 20 black families lived now only four remain. Your sanitized report is just another of many that fail to deal with illegal immigration and its effects.

I know only one of the people you interviewed -- Leah Landrum, whose family is seventh-generation Arizonan. She is exactly right about the pressure cooker atmosphere in the community now. The Mexican office holders and candidates have no interest in sharing, cooperating or acknowledging blacks or black candidates. Of course, she can't say that and none of the Mexicans would, either, but that is the reality.

Usually New Times can be counted on to reveal the truth behind Phoenix politics. In the case of "Primary Colors," only half the truth was told. The other half, illegal immigration, never will be told even as it continues to erode the south Phoenix community.

Dave Young
Chandler

Our town: Edward Lebow has again written a perceptive and accurate report on the condition of Central City Phoenix and politics that give rise to it. District 8 is where the future of Phoenix as a city gets decided.

Dr. John McIntosh
Arizona State
University

Voter pool: Your article just reminded me of how times have changed since I grew up in District 8. I believe your article has shown a real need for people like myself to find ways to help bridge those age-old gaps that exist between all people. I am reminded of how true it has been for me to believe that one day we all will be judged by the content of our hearts and not the color of our skin.

Whomever wins that district will be faced with having to look in the mirror each and every morning just to decide what color of skin they will have to wear that day. My heart goes out to each of the families that will have to make that call of who will represent District 8. As you indicated in your article, those families that get out and vote will be following a tradition. Those who do not will have to learn a new one.

Larry Hankins
via Internet

Huckster Do

End run: I just had to smirk at the depiction of Bill Bidwill mounting the mayor of Tempe ("Quarterback Sneak," John Dougherty, August 16). Having not checked New Times for a while since moving to Georgia, I don't think I was surprised to find the same old high jinks being played out to another tune. Tempe is about to get BOB'd in yet another pathetic grab for "world-class" status.

I noticed the usual weasels are in full chorus over "economic benefits" of yet another stadium and retail scam. My brain wanders over its mental picture of the "Valley": Which part will be gutted now as a result of sprawl development?

But consider this: The last time I heard Arizona spoken of somewhere down south here, the context was scam artists and smarmy tourist traps -- not world-class developments, stadiums, lakes or roads. One good ol' boy said, "Waaal, thar's a place with no soul and I ain't goin' back."

Ditto that . . .
Chris Long
Chattahoochee County, Georgia

 
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