A Newcomer's Advice: Get Involved With the Co-op

My experience with the Food Conspiracy co-op is brief ("Organic Planning," Sept. 16). I moved to town just more than a month ago. I, too, have observed the effects of a group of people: In this instance, the kind often found shopping together in a store.

I worked for a few years at my former neighborhood co-op, The Uncommon Market, in Northern Virginia. When I heard about the local co-op, Food Conspiracy, I went in that day.

The floor does look good, and so does the produce. I have been satisfied to find the products I wanted or needed to buy.

I'm lucky; I live only a few miles away, so I can bike down with my backpack. I'm also lucky because I have made eye contact with enough people to have developed some familiar faces; in fact, I may have shared some eye-rolling at the (what can be) annoyingly long lines.

The first day I came to the co-op, I bought something. I joined, and I made plans to volunteer within the week. The first benefit I wanted was the discount. Volunteering gets you an even better discount. It also gives you the opportunity to meet and make friends with the staff--which makes volunteering, working, that much easier, as you become a part of the material function of the store.

Work at the store; shop at the store; volunteer at the store. Membership exists to fulfill these pleas. Shape the short and long future of the co-op with your presence.

Michele Beagan

A Call to Write in Nader

The Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo campaign expects to be on the ballot in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia; however, due to restrictive ballot access laws, they will run as write-in candidates in Arizona. Although the Weekly has covered the election, an important movement is underway that deserves attention: Voters are pledging to write in Nader at www.WriteInNader.org.

The Nader/Camejo ticket is running an aggressive write-in campaign in Arizona using the slogan "W.I.N--Write In Nader" as a way to educate the public about their voting options in 2004.

Polls show millions of Americans favor the Nader/Camejo ticket; however, thanks to obstructionist efforts by the Democratic Party, voters in several states will not see Nader's name on the ballot.

Denying citizens the right to vote their conscience is an affront to the civil liberties of all Americans, and www.WriteInNader.org intends to let Arizona voters know they can still vote their beliefs instead of their fears by writing in Nader.

The election season is a busy time for the media, but the Weekly has a responsibility to ensure that its readers get as much information as possible about all their voting options, including learning how to vote for Nader at www.WriteInNader.org.

Yours in democracy,

Ashe Higgs

If You Know What's Good for Billionaires, You Won't Vote

There has been an epidemic of voter registration in Arizona and all over the nation, and the Billionaires for Bush are concerned (Guest Commentary, Aug. 19). This increase in voter registration might lead to actual voting, and we billionaires can't have that. While we still control most of the media and own the best president money can buy, George W. Bush, we don't have those Diebold voting machines in every state. There's still a possibility of people's votes being counted. I am here to put a stop to this voter enthusiasm and tell you why you shouldn't go out on Nov. 2.

1. It's only a presidential election. Well, there are propositions about education, land and taxes, but it's not worth the arduous effort of going to the polls and filling in those tricky little bubbles. Who cares who runs our schools, our state, or our county? It's only our future. No, nothing to vote on here.

2. We're doing fine without your voice. Billionaires rejoice at the whining and complaining chorus of non-voters, but if people actually vote, politicians might have to listen to the needs of ordinary citizens once in a while.

3. Voting should not interfere with the rights of commerce. In a free enterprise system, people should get what they pay for, and Billionaires for Bush paid for eight years of Bush up front. If you believe in property rights, you won't interfere with our ownership of the presidency and George W. Bush.

4. No one outside of Arizona pays attention to us. Why should they? We like being a backwater where national politicians fear to tread. This helps cut down on the pesky government interference. If Arizona's voter turnout is low, the federal government won't bother us with such things as investment for schools and infrastructure.

5. Help us to be No. 50 by staying home. In the presidential election of 2000, Arizonans voted at a startling rate of 42.3 percent! That put us second-lowest to Hawaii (41 percent). We can be 50th if we just reduce turnout by 1.4 percent!

6. If it's not broken, why fix it? That's why we have Halliburton.

7. When you vote in Arizona, you still have a piece of paper and a receipt. A paper ballot can't be fixed once it is in the box. Besides, paper is dangerous! With electronic voting machines, there's no paper trail to keep track of; experts can keep track of your votes for you. There is also no risk of paper cuts, a leading cause of voter injuries, with electronic voting machines.

8. Voting costs Arizona money. If you really loved Arizona, you'd do the right thing to save us money, and not participate in that expensive democracy thing. Environmentalists should be on the billionaire's side, too. Voting is such a waste of paper, so the fewer people that vote, the better.

9. Voting by mail isn't the answer either. Those ballots cost 37 cents to mail, good money that could be spent on Yu-Gi-Oh cards and the Home Shopping Channel. We must also think about those poor, hard-working public servants, the mail carriers. Forcing them to carry all of those ballots in October and early November, just before the Christmas rush, is inhuman. If you care about humanity, you'll leave those mail-in ballots at home.

10. Voting would confound the beleaguered politicians. Most politicians, especially on the national level, aren't used to responding to the needs of citizens. If lots of people voted, they would have to start listening. Right now, the president only has to respond to big oil, big pharma, agrabusiness and a few other large corporate interests. Bush is already a little out of it. He's on vacation, and you shouldn't bother him. Georgie needs his nappy nap. Voting would only confuse the man.

With the downsides to voting--being heard, getting federal assistance, having a voice and annoying politicians--it's a wonder people vote at all. We must also watch out for peer pressure. Peer pressure can get people to do all sorts of strange and bizarre things, like wearing bell bottoms, having beehive hair-dos and buying pet rocks and mood rings. Well-intentioned individuals might come to your door and ask you to vote. You might even have friends or family urging you to vote. They will be hard to resist. One way to stand firm is to think about all those poor billionaires you will hurt by voting.

Tex Shelters (aka Joe Callahan)


In last week's Noshing Around, due to an editing error, we reported that Charro Grill would re-open "near El Charro at 100 W. Orange Grove Road." While Charro Grill is re-opening at that location, there is no El Charro near there. We apologize for the error.


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