Letters from the issue of Thursday, May 1, 2008


Dining on our neighbors' pets: I applaud New Times for debunking a lot of the politically correct dogma that passes for environmental activism these days ("Green Fatigue," New Times staff, April 17).

Yes, the good news is that most people's hearts are in the right place. However, the bad news is that their heads are still up their butts. The big picture is this: The planet is overpopulated and the trend is accelerating.

Consider people from certain religious groups (who, by the way, will benefit directly from John McCain's proposal to raise the child tax subsidy to $7,000 a head) who are brainwashed into having a minimum of four children, who in turn have four children, who in turn have four children . . .

Then there is the unfettered flow of Third World immigrants who bring their quaint Third World customs with them like, say, having as many children as is biologically possible. Multiplying four by four by four or eight by eight by eight indefinitely results in a really big number. And that really big number is how many more houses, lawns, cars, etc. will be required as the population of the United States doubles in the next 10 years.

By then, it's not going to matter if rooftops have solar panels or if cars are all Priuses or if people recycle.

All this is good news for corporate America, which will profit from the population boom. The rest of us will be dining on our neighbors' pets and scrounging for whatever we can get our hands on.
Michael Rhodanz, Mesa

We fail at the three Rs: The recent set of articles on the whole green fad can be summed up in a single sentence: They are lying to us. Who are "they"? "They" are you and me. It's about what we tell ourselves and each other.

The biggest thing you can do to really "go green" is move from being a net consumer to a net re-user, and hopefully end up a net producer. Figure out how to re-use and re-make what other people throw out or give away (or sell for nothing at a garage sale). Figure out how to raise a portion of your own food. Figure out how to generate your own energy. Stop buying a new car every year. Keep the one you have for as long as you can, and when it dies, buy a used car with cash. Yeah, get rid of your credit cards and plan a budget.

Perhaps if more people bought pre-owned houses that, yes, are smaller, there wouldn't be insane housing and lending issues. Some of the money saved could be put to use installing solar panels and energy-efficient appliances and windows. By having a smaller house you would use less energy for heating and cooling.

As a society, we fail at the three Rs: reducing, re-using, and recycling.
Andrew L. Ayers, Glendale

Make some intelligent choices: Your green issue was pretty ridiculous, but it was a bit late for April Fool's Day.

Megan Irwin's "Waterlogged" article was delightfully absurd for suggesting that water is wasted if it is allowed to stay in rivers instead of used by humans in orgies of excess.

Sarah Fenske's "The Green Machine" article was the most ridiculous of all. She preaches against taking little steps to help the environment because she thinks that being green is painful. She's reluctant to pay a dollar for a reusable bag when she can get plastic bags for free. It's definitely the right choice to buy the bag. It's more convenient, carries more groceries, and does not rip before you get home.

Ultimately, being green is about making intelligent choices. Don't buy incandescent light bulbs when fluorescent bulbs cost much less. Insulate your home instead of paying huge power bills. Finally, don't buy dumb 411-page books.
Evan Lawrence, Glendale

Everybody's cringing: I hope you had a lovely Earth Day! I just wanted to point out the subtle hypocrisies of your little exposé "Green Fatigue."

I loved how, in the opening paragraph, you state how you're not going to get all preachy and then, two or three paragraphs later, the article advises people not to take their cars to an eco-friendly fashion shows. Instead, save up for solar panels. Hmmm, sounds preachy to me.

I can't decide whether this is a thinly veiled "we care more than you" elitist piece or whether you're all a bunch of closeted conservatives who honestly don't give a damn.

While your writers may have done a nice job pointing out accurate fallacies about this movement, I don't agree with the way you condescended to those who sincerely work hard in it (myself and colleagues included).

I may even agree that I, too, cringe a little when I see how environmentalism is turning into such a fad. However, growing up in a generation that is absolutely plagued with apathy, I don't see how it's useful to send out the message: "It doesn't matter — you shouldn't care because you'll never make a difference."

So, way to be a coward and take the easy way out on a truly tough issue.
Jehnifer Niklas, sustainability coordinator, ASU Polytechnic

Typical New Times. But bad: On the [Letters page] of the New Times' "eff green" issue, Michael Lacey expresses regret for using the N-word ("Lacey Responds"), while your staff enthusiastically says, "Eff green people." Hmmm? Typical for New Times. But bad.

Don't worry, you have plenty of redeeming qualities and not much competition. Greens will keep reading; we'll keep walking right past the Safeway on Thursday night, where we used to be able to pick up New Times. And when we reach the corner store where the owners still have the balls to carry your paper, we'll buy something inside and pick the paper up on the way out.

But some us feel a bit ripped-off this time around. As for the idea that there is no quick, painless way to make a difference: What?
Lyle Stevick, Phoenix

We have to take the plunge at some point: Screw you! And thank you! The introduction to your issue seems to be telling people not to do anything about global warming, which is horrible. As I read through the articles, I got it. Seeing as how America's sense of entitlement and laziness got us into this, it is very important to let people know that there isn't an "easy button" that will fix this mess.

That doesn't mean we can't use the canvas bags and recycle; if that gets people's feet wet, fine. As long as they know that we all have to take the plunge at some point. This state should be plastered with solar panels, as should every vehicle produced. The wind drag produced as we drive could be used to produce the energy for the vehicle, as well.

All we need to do is make our voices heard — over and over. Until we get our leaders to say "fuck you" to old industry and give funding to new, safe industry.
Patrick Stone, Mesa

H2-whoa!: Regarding Megan Irwin's "Waterlogged," here is approximately how water in the western United States is used: irrigation of crops, 76 percent; power plants for cooling, 13 percent; municipal, 8 percent, industrial, 1 percent; and livestock, 1 percent.

Most of the water used for irrigation is for low-value applications, especially hay. This water-allocation arrangement was started early in the last century when nearly all the people who lived in the West were farmers. Today, there is ample water in the West. The real issue is political: getting the water away from low-value farming crops to higher-value applications.

Name withheld by request


Why is no one doing his job?: Your story ("Employee of the Month," April 10, Sarah Fenske) leaves more questions unanswered than answered:

Why was the disk not admitted into court as evidence? Why did the judge, upon learning that this case was about evidence of discrimination on employee-performance evaluations, not issue a court order forcing the FBI to investigate possible civil rights violations? Why, upon hearing about this case, did the state attorney general or the Department of Administration not open an investigation of possible (the fact that DOT went to court to intimidate other employees makes it appear more than possible) discrimination on employee-performance evaluations and/or civil rights violations?

Why are there no answers to the above questions and why is no one doing the job he or she was hired to do?
Pete Miller, Phoenix

ADOT is rife with pettiness: I read with interest the article concerning Cliff Young's situation with the Arizona Department of Transportation. Having been an employee of ADOT who was terminated (although not sued), I found the pettiness not surprising.

Since the departure of director Mary Peters, the leadership of ADOT has severely suffered. The current leadership is cloaked in the "buddy system" and various "cliques."

In the past five years, I have witnessed:

• A deputy director lose a battle of power and influence with the chief of staff and resign. Her 22 years of service to the department are gone.

• A deputy state engineer with more than 37 years of service terminated because he disagreed with the chief of staff.

• A 19-year IT employee, who basically built the WAN (Wide Area Network, which connects offices statewide) told that his services were no longer necessary because he had the knowledge and potential to access various records.

• A senior engineer confronted with undeniable proof of stalking a female subordinate with 18 years of service. The subordinate has since left state service, while the senior engineer has been promoted.

I had the privilege of working alongside Cliff Young during my last 13 years [at ADOT] of service and found him dedicated to his duties. Until such time as Governor Janet Napolitano takes a good look at what is going on with ADOT management, the pettiness will continue and the transportation needs of the citizens of Arizona will suffer.
J.R. Romley, Gilbert


It's still a crime: I can appreciate that Phil Cisneros should not have died in prison, that he may not have been of any particular danger to anyone at the time of his imprisonment. That said, the fact that he did not hit or kill anyone while driving drunk was as much a matter of luck as not ("One Drink Wonder," Sarah Fenske, March 20).

Just because you did not kill anyone when you shot a gun in the air does not make it any less a crime.

By driving drunk, he put people in danger. On Easter Sunday in Chandler, my sister's car was struck by a drunk driver. He never even slowed down; he continued on until he pulled into a parking lot and hung up his car on a median, where he was found and arrested.

I held my sister when she collapsed; she spent a few hours in the ER and luckily will be okay. Who knows how many times this person had driven drunk with no consequence?

Cisneros was lucky, as was everyone near him on the road while he drove drunk.
Louis Roundtree, via the Internet

Scared of MADD: It's refreshing to see someone finally reporting the truth regarding the state's attempt to curb traffic accidents related to drinking.

Everyone is scared to broach the subject at the cost of offending Mothers Against Drunk Driving or anyone who has ever had someone they know hurt or, God forbid, killed by a drunk driver.

The vast majority of accidents aren't related to drinking. I know that people who have two or three drinks with dinner are not the people who're fading across two lanes of traffic and killing innocent people. However, this is the group that the state has decided to go after.

I really feel for the two women you wrote about, and feel that they are a perfect example of a faulty system. There is so much pressure on police! Why do we bother having legal limits if they really don't mean anything?
Name withheld by request

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