Letters from the week of October 9, 2003

Thank you for your vision.

Nancy Jonap

Social studies: Let me first commend you on your excellent cover story. Having moved to the Valley approximately two years ago, I was immediately taken aback by the fragmented social scenes and/or lack thereof downtown. Being a supporter of the arts, and specifically music, I was disheartened to learn of the Valley's dismal indie/underground scene in the form of frequent cancellations by acts I admire. Lack of advance ticket sales and little to virtually no local promotion, let alone no accessible radio.

Hailing from the Midwest, I reveled in the fact that whatever I may miss in Cleveland, I could always, without fail, catch in the surrounding cities of Chicago, Detroit and Toronto. Further puzzling me is our city's recent tie with Chicago in the Top 5 of traffic congestion. For such a large and ever-expanding city, it is even more confusing as to why a total of only 49 paying customers over 15 events at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art turned out, resulting in half of all scheduled exhibits being scrapped. An absolutely baffling statistic uncovered in your piece!

Also surprising is heading downtown for a baseball game, then wondering in amazement at the complete evacuation of the city once the game's final pitch is thrown. There is nothing in central Phoenix to keep people in the city after a game, concert, art event, etc. No restaurants or bars certainly contribute to this dilemma. While I applaud the efforts of those associated with First Fridays as well as those struggling to regain a foothold downtown by bringing in live music (most notably the kind folks at Modified Arts), let's hope the blue-ribbon task force can not only address the urgency of the situation but remedy this serious and key issue for the Valley and its residents.

As for Richard Florida's appearance at the Orpheum on October 21, count me in.

James Broscheid
Via e-mail

A streetcar named light-rail: I read your article on downtown with great interest. I am not a regular New Times reader, but I will make it a point to follow the Downtown Special Project series.

There are a lot of us who know it can be better in central Phoenix, and want to put some positive energy into it. I am encouraged by light-rail (known as streetcars in my native San Francisco, so I know they work), TGen, the downtown ASU presence, and the possibility of a downtown UofA College of Medicine campus.

I'm not so pessimistic about the convention center thing -- Philadelphia's Convention Center is a good example of how it can be done right: bring it right up to the sidewalks, and have neat street-level stuff as part of it.

Thanks for taking this on!
Jack Kerrigan

Via e-mail

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