Deface-Off

Tag team: Thank you, Bird! Concerning the tagging story, what a waste of money Andrew Thomas' policy is ("Tag, You're It," May 11)! I managed property in L.A. County and battled taggers daily. We had to work very hard in those days to keep our occupancy high enough to meet our income demands. It was difficult to encourage people to live on our property when the area around was covered with the tags of the Bloods and Crips gangs.

The management company I worked for had the philosophy that if we got out there and covered or removed all the tagging by 6 in the morning, the taggers would be still sleeping, and when they awoke, their efforts would be gone and they would eventually stop.

It was a continuous battle, and we won. The taggers got tired of painting and getting it painted over. We had more paint than they did!

I am suggesting that the Maricopa County Attorney's Office rethink this. What about making taggers do community service cleaning up and painting? Utilize the juvenile "criminals" and do not charge them with felonies. Charging them will only create angry, unproductive people.
Wendi Gutierrez, Mesa

Park Place

Juiced: Poor Papago Park. She was a beauty queen, a national monument who was then stripped of her title and abused for decades. And now we have three city governments, committees, associations, experts and consulting firms all suggesting cosmetic improvements ("Cash Cabal," John Dougherty, April 27).

But nobody ever mentions Papago's most obvious problem: the massive set of 12-story high-voltage power lines that run right down the middle of the park. Cyrano de Bergerac had a big, unavoidably ugly nose. Papago has dozens of steel snouts that seem to point up in contempt of the scenic beauty they mar.

Hole-in-the-Rock offers nice views -- facing west. Look east and you'll see nothing but two columns of metal towers and wires marching along the canal and through adjacent neighborhoods.

The bike/jogging path is nice in the Tempe section -- as long as you look down. Artful, scenic, it's like being in the middle of the desert. Except, of course, for the 30-plus cables humming above your head, or the metal-and-concrete footings you have to navigate through the slalom course of steel. So pronounced are these that one can follow their path from the window of a plane approaching Phoenix.

How many people visit the Phoenix Zoo or Desert Botanical Garden and wonder why, in this desert oasis, did officials allow this blight to be erected? Even Frank Lloyd Wright was so horrified by high-voltage lines that he redesigned Taliesin West so as not to see them.

All Papago needs is some cosmetic surgery to remove that ugly scar, and she'll be well on her way to a beautiful comeback. Anything else would be like putting lipstick on a pig.
Jon Evans, Phoenix

Poor Sports

Arrested development: I read your column on the Arizona State University athletics situation ("Fire HIM!" John Dougherty, May 4), and I want to thank Rob Evans for all he has done with the basketball program, taking it from disgrace to a place where a lot of players are earning degrees. It seems, however, that ASU forgot to thank him for putting the student part of it first. His reward: He was fired.

On the other hand, football coach Dirk Koetter, in about the same period of time, has done little to grow his student athletes. How many of his players have graduated? And what is the ratio of arrested athletes to graduates? Much higher than the university will ever admit. Yet ASU gave him a better contract. Wow!

I would like to say I am surprised, but I am not. Even in 2006, it's quite clear to me why. Seems like ASU did not judge Rob Evans on the content of his character.
Name withheld by request

Taste Test

Not even close: In doing your "satire" titled "Xtreme Cuisine" (Stephen Lemons, May 11), you compare yourselves to The Onion, Mad Magazine, and National Lampoon ("Man Bites Dog," The Bird, May 25).

In your dreams, you sick creeps. Your genitals should be lampooned. You are ethically bankrupt and morally reprehensible. And not talented. May you suffer agonizing gastritis from eating sautéed sheep shit.
Anne Baker, Phoenix

Losing the public trust: I was disappointed to see New Times devote so much space to what is reportedly a "spoof'" article by Stephen Lemons. Slow news week, perhaps?

My biggest concern, as a fellow journalist, is that you chose to believe that most people would read through the entire, lengthy piece -- at least enough to start raising eyebrows. And I also wonder why you chose not to clearly label this as a spoof. I find this a very irresponsible practice.

The media continue to struggle daily with regaining the public trust that was almost a given three or four decades ago. Now, readers are more likely to disbelieve a genuine news story.
Teri Carnicelli, Phoenix

Butt of the joke: I read your article on Kaz Yamamoto on May 11 and was disgusted. Not picking up on the satire, I further thought the author was an idiot for believing Yamamoto's claims. I guess the joke was on me.

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