Road Work Ahead
I used to think 1989's ValTrans was a bad idea, but Proposition 1 is looking worse ("Trainplotting," Howard Stansfield, July 3). ValTrans actually had a plan. There was a 30-page report laying out how the taxpayers' money would be spent. We knew where the routes would be and how much each part of the proposal would cost. Proposition 1 has no plan. City officials have produced a flimsy, single sheet of paper that says nothing about routes or the costs of any portions thereof (in dollar amounts). In essence, they are asking voters to sign a "blank check" and trust the politicians and bureaucrats to spend this money wisely. This doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

The tax proposed for ValTrans had an expiration date. The tax proposed for Proposition 1 would be permanent. Even worse, the spending planned for Proposition 1 would push the city over the legal spending limit. That's why Phoenix officials are hoping voters will quietly go along with the unadvertised Proposition 2, which would allow the city to exceed the current legal spending limit.

I didn't think it would be possible to concoct a worse plan than ValTrans, but the Phoenix mayor and city council have surprised me.

Dr. Earle A. Bronson Jr.

Howard Stansfield did a commendable job of diagramming the mass-transit plan facing Phoenix voters on September 9. Two points need clarification, however:

1) As program chair for the Arizona Republican Caucus, I gather guest panelists to represent all sides of hot political issues. Our April luncheon meeting was originally titled "The Pros and Cons of Light Rail." Unfortunately, Valerie Manning declined our invitation to be a panelist and informed us there was "nothing to discuss," that "the people had spoken," that "opposition had no alternatives to offer" and, therefore, there "was no reason to participate." I was not "gleeful" that neither Manning nor any substitute transit-tax supporter would appear, since lively point/counterpoint is always more informative.

2) Stansfield transposed the two groups: Libertarian Gary Fallon heads No New Taxes, and John Semmens is allied with No Transit Taxes, incorrectly labeled a Libertarian group. Although some of their best friends are Libertarians, NOTT is chaired by a Republican, boasts a bike-riding Democrat committee member and cavorts with Independents.

The bill to legalize the manufacture of Freon in Arizona did pass both houses and was signed by the governor.

Becky Fenger, program chair,
Arizona Republican Caucus

Editor's note: The two groups were, indeed, transposed.

Those campaigning for the transit tax have been insisting that the 400 new buses they plan to buy will all be clean burning. Aside from there being no such thing as "clean burning" (all combustion produces by-products), there is a "little" problem with these natural-gas-powered buses. It seems that the air conditioning on these buses has an unpleasant tendency to fail when temperatures rise above 100 degrees.

Should we spend $4 billion to buy buses that will turn into torture chambers on normal summer days? This is just one more sign that this so-called transit plan, and the higher taxes it will require, deserves a "no" vote!

Alice M. Smith

Food for Thought
I can't say that I'm any fan of Arizona Republic's restaurant reviewer Penelope Corcoran, but, in her defense, I wouldn't "do" oysters on the half shall, raw beef or sweetbreads, either (Flashes, July 10). I would hardly characterize Corcoran's refusal to ingest these things as ". . . [a] screwy fetish," as The Flash so baldly has.

Anyone who keeps up with health-related news knows that raw oysters can carry organisms that make people seriously ill or cause death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that a number of people were infected with severe gastroenteritis, vomiting and diarrhea from eating raw (and even cooked oysters) from the Gulf of Mexico; this virus comes from fecal contamination (yum, yum). In 1993, eight people in the L.A. area died and hundreds more became seriously ill after eating raw Gulf oysters contaminated with vibro vulnificus, a naturally occurring bacteria that can sicken and cause death. In fact, the Federal Drug Administration put out an advisory warning in 1995 about the dangers of eating raw Gulf oysters.

As for raw beef, give me a break! Where was The Flash when, in 1996, seven people died and more than 6,000 people became violently ill in Japan from eating raw and undercooked beef? Contaminated beef is also responsible for causing devastating kidney disease secondary to hemolytic uremic syndrome; E. coli and parasites are just a few of the delightfully disgusting microscopic critters that can infect beef. Mad cow disease is supposed to be responsible for killing 16 people in England. And, interestingly enough, it's only been in the past several months that U.S. beef growers have been forced to stop feeding their cattle feed made from the carcasses of diseased cows.

Sweetbreads, the thymus and pancreas of calf or lamb, have been taken off English restaurant menus by law because of the potential threat of disease. No thanks, woefully uninformed Flashes dude! I'm with Penelope Corcoran--and I'm no slouch when it comes to trying exotic things, like fried grasshoppers, black corn fungus and maguey worms. The Flash can have my share of parasites. Talk about a slow news day. Bon appetit!

Kathleen Vanesian
Paradise Valley

The Flash responds: More people die every year from bathtub accidents than die from diseased oysters, raw beef and organ meats. Should we stop bathing? In Japan, 120 million people eat raw fish every day. Is there a Japanese health emergency we're not aware of? Mad cow disease can be transmitted by cooked beef; is the writer suggesting that restaurant critics should stop eating that as well? The Flash's point seems to have escaped the writer. Folks who don't want to eat certain foods are under no obligation to explain their choice. But it does seem odd for a restaurant critic to say she "doesn't do" foods that the world's best restaurants routinely serve. Having a microbe-fearing vegetarian write a restaurant column makes about as much sense as having Ray Charles write on the visual arts.

Manor of Speaking
I am age 86 and live at the Baptist Village ("In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Wholly Owned Subsidiary," Terry Greene Sterling, May 22). In October 1985, I signed the agreement for an apartment and moved in in January 1986. I am happy and content and have all that I need. I understood from the agreement I would not have the right to sell, but I would get the equity amount left according to the chart in the agreement.

About the nursing home--I was told that it was in the plans if the money came in to build it and if the city okayed it. Later, I heard that the city did not approve it because the city already had more nursing homes than were needed. I don't understand how we get so many tales about our residence, as we all signed the agreement and it was in writing.

I think that the articles appearing in New Times do not reflect the real issue or the whole matter, and I would like to have New Times say what the majority of the residents who have lived here for several years would say.


I was very grieved when I read Terry Greene Sterling's article "In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Wholly Owned Subsidiary." The whole article seemed to be aimed at insulting Christians and defaming the integrity of Baptists in general. The letter to the editor (June 5) written by Loretta Sawyer of Peoria is very informative and positive, and I am in full agreement with her.

My mother has been a resident of Baptist Village, formerly Paradise Valley Estates, for 10 years, and I have seldom heard a discouraging or negative comment from her regarding her life there. My father passed away in June 1985. It was very important for my mother to remain independent and to continue living in familiar surroundings, where she had established her circle of friends, her doctors and her church.

After much prayer, my mother decided this was the direction she wanted to choose, and it was the wisest decision she could have made. She explained to my brothers and me that she was not actually buying real estate, but rather entering into a contract agreement for the two-bedroom condo. The condos were not even built at that time.

We all understood that the agreement was that the condo was "hers" as long as she could care for herself. We also understood that when the time came when she could no longer live independently and would have to relocate to a nursing home or elsewhere, the condo would revert to the Baptist Village. It was well-explained that my mother would get back only a portion of the contracted price. My brothers and I were happy that every question was answered to our mother's satisfaction.

I cannot begin to express what it means to me to know that my mother and her now husband are safe and secure and living a full and productive life with friends and neighbors whom they consider extended family. This would never have been possible had she kept her home or moved to an apartment with no choice in the age group, lifestyles or religious beliefs of her neighbors.

From the very first moment that I walked into the courtyard area and heard only the peaceful sound of the water fountain, I felt how very special and blessed Baptist Village residents are. They truly have a little touch of "Paradise" in the middle of an ever-growing and threatening city.

Gail Robinson
Camarillo, California

Decked Out
Special K has been a part of the New York club scene for a number of years ("Ket Nip," David Holthouse, July 3). Before moving to Phoenix from New York City, I was part of one of the biggest club scenes of all time, partying like a maniac and being treated like a celebrity.

I can remember when Special K first surfaced. It was new and exciting, but, after a while, it became part of everyone's evening appetite. It was at that point that a fresh, new, exciting, emerging underground filled with creative fashions and theatrical personalities turned into a sea of sedated shells of people unable to speak and hardly able to stand.

In my opinion, Special K was one of the many sparks that set the New York club empire up in flames. In short, Special K is not the beginning, but the beginning of the end.

Tyler Naifeh


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