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Or we could just be law-abiding: About your "T.G.I.F." article (Benjamin Leatherman, September 1): I was on the Roosevelt strip on August 5 and saw the officers who seemed to be posted on every corner. I didn't think anything of it because where people gather in the thousands, there are bound to be cops.

That's okay with me because people in large groups have the potential to do a great deal of damage. The cops were very friendly and didn't seem to bother anyone except maybe to engage in a polite conversation.

Some of the "fine artists" blew the minimal show of force way out of proportion with stupid phrases like "Bloody Friday." The cops were just keeping an eye out for people who are breaking the law. I think the problem is that the people who gave it that nickname have no point of reference to use as a comparison. Perhaps they should use their parents' money to vacation in a war zone, or maybe in the middle of the genocide in Sudan, to put things in perspective.

These are the same people who accessorize their outfits with plenty of metal studs and patches with Reagan-era punk bands on them, just so you can be sure that they are genuine rebels.

This anti-establishment mindset of "fuck the police" can usually be overcome by a simple question: Why?

"Cause, um, cause they stop me from drinking in public, and they, um . . ."

Yeah, and . . .?

"Cause, fuck 'em, that's why!"

If you want to smoke weed or drink in public, you can petition the Legislature. You live in a society of rules, and if you don't like that, you have three choices: Change the rules from within the system, move to a more chaotic part of the globe, or just break the law and end up in jail.

I have never had a bad experience with a Phoenix police officer. I don't doubt that there are some officers on the force who don't deserve their badges, but I personally have never met one.

As for the bureaucracy that is slightly hindering some of the galleries, their owners should just get their shit together. A lot of small businesses in this city have all of their permits in order, and these galleries can do that, too. It takes a lot of time and effort, but it beats getting shut down because you are not up to code.
Grant Parrinello, Phoenix

Let's get this arty started: Great stories on First Friday and what it must do to stay afloat. I especially enjoyed the shorter story in the package about places needing to stay open later.

I agree that the worst thing about the monthly event is that by the time I get off from work and school and have dinner and drinks (in other words, get in the mood for a street party), almost every gallery is shutting down.

And about the bars and restaurants in the area: Portland's has been an especially irritating place, since I've been in there for a late drink (10 p.m. is late for the proprietors of this mom-and-pop establishment), and they have literally run a bar full of people on First Friday out into the street.

Are downtown establishments in this city allergic to money?! Do the people that run them really need to get home to the 'burbs by midnight or turn into pumpkins? Thank God almighty for Fate and Carly's! I just wish both would start operating full bars.

In any case, it's good to know what's open and that some of the places are adopting a more progressive attitude. Even Portland's! Come on, folks, we are a big city now and shouldn't roll up the sidewalks early, particularly on weekends and particularly on First Friday.

The art galleries -- all of them -- also need to stay open much later. They might actually sell some art that way. Hello! If the city of Phoenix and its cops are hindering any of this, they need to get out of the way. City Hall is always bragging about Phoenix being the fifth-largest city in the nation. Well, it needs to start acting that way.
Kim O'Conner, Tempe

Fear of the urban: These spoiled middle-class art kids of First Friday ought to stop gentrifying downtown and get their asses back to the suburbs. As it is, they're nothing but colonizers, appropriating space and culture while making the environs they inhabit safe for yuppies.

Just like their paranoid parents, hiding in their walled-off McMansions, these self-described artists live in fear firmly rooted in denial of their own role in society. They want the urban hipness without an urban population that scares them so much.

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