As a hobbyist security guard, I smelled a setup in the expose concerning the treatment of blacks at Dillard's ("Shoed From Dillard's," Marc Ramirez, March 7). First, the young men admitted to being dressed out of character for such an exclusive department store. Second, in an era when it is impossible to find a witness to an accident or a crime, New Times was able to find and interview persons present in the store at the time of the alleged incident. Good Lord! Are we to believe that people actually exchange names and telephone numbers after a minor racial incident?
I have watched store security guards follow white teenagers in baggy MTV pants, earrings, goatees and backward baseball caps, and no one even thought of mentioning racism as a motive. The lesson here is that regardless of what racial group one happens to be part of, if one walks into any upscale store looking and acting like someone the store would be afraid to hire, one should expect to be viewed suspiciously.
People of all races do steal. The security guard observed good procedure by assuming a high-profile stance. But his error commenced with misinterpreting as being disrespectful the young men's attempt to defuse the incident with a little humor. Maybe the guard has become jaded from many years on the job, but a poor sense of humor doth not a racist make.
Thanks to Ed Lebow for pointing out some of the tragedies of the Del Webb Villages at Desert Hills project ("Webb Design," February 22). Although the planned visual boredom of densely constructed housing is a valid criticism, the real situation is that the natural desert where this development is to occur is varied, balanced and extremely interesting.
Golf courses are monocultures of unnatural grass that are totally inappropriate for the desert because of their overuse of water. The demise of undeveloped areas within the Villages is almost assured by their isolation from other parts of the desert which effectively turns them into little islands of nature in a sea of pavement. The washes support about 100 kinds of animals, many of them have been declared by this developer to be a nuisance and will no longer be welcome in their traditional homes. The planned equestrian trails through "modern suburbia" do not have much appeal for those used to riding through real open spaces.
When Terravita was built, the desert was razed, hills were leveled and the fragile environment was destroyed. Del Webb's claim of "harmony of land and life" is a bitter joke at best. This developer's track record of destruction leads me to believe that we can expect no better in the future.
The residents of New River who respect the desert have tried all means within their legal rights to stop this travesty, but the county has turned against the community that already exists. Friends of the Villages have no right to use a saguaro as their symbol--it is a symbol of the past, not the future, of the Villages.
Andrea "Tinker" Ouse
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