Crusing Is Not A Crime!Excerpt from the Arizona RepublicRecently, a bill that was meant to control cruising was stopped in its tracks in the Arizona House after protests and rallies by custom car and truck clubs and automotive hobbyists. The proposed legislation, HB2136, was killed by a 37-19 vote. Previously, it had passed in March with a 41-17 vote. If the newest version of the bill had passed, it would have gone to the governor for signing.
Opponents of HB2136 called the bill "vague and heavy-handed." They took action after the Senate passage, with enthusiasts and vehicle customizers from across the valley turning out to protest the bill at four separate rallies in front of the Arizona state capitol. "It was a very grassroots campaign, but it worked," said Bill Gilmore, an automotive hobbyist and historian. "Cruising is not a crime, and thank God the legislators agreed on that."
The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Nelson, R-Glendale, would have allowed local jurisdictions to make cruising illegal and ticket and tow offenders' cars. It came in response to complaints from residents in the Maryvale, Arizona, area, who complained of crowded streets, noise, and loitering caused by frequent-cruising custom cars and trucks.
The Maryvale area is favored by the lowrider clubs and was recently named one of the top cruising venues by Lowrider magazine. Although the lowriders were targeted by the bill, mainstream car clubs and street rodders were concerned that the measure also could be turned on them.
"(The bill) was unfair and a violation of civil rights," said Johnny Lozoya Jr., who helped organize the protests and connected car aficionados with state leaders. "We established a dialogue within the community and the youths that cruise. I think it made a difference." It did with state representatives such as Rep. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, who changed his original yea vote in March to a nay on Tuesday. Gallardo, who lives near Maryvale, acknowledges that west-side cruising is a problem, but said it can't be solved with a "heavy-handed tactic."
"Trying to turn these kids into criminals by taking away their vehicles is not a solution," said Gallardo, adding that he's been stuck in the bumper-to-bumper gridlock caused by cruisers. "A lot of these kids that are cruising in the Maryvale area live there. They're looking for something to do. They like showing off their vehicles."
Gallardo plans on organizing a meeting between car clubs and Phoenix leaders to find a solution that will allow cruisers to roll the streets, but not clog them. Gilmore called the rejection of the bill "an affirmation that cruising is socially acceptable," although the problems with the Maryvale neighbors need to be resolved. He said the complaints during cruises and other car events are primarily by a tiny minority who cause the trouble.
Hyundai Trucks?Hyundai Motor America recently hired John Krafcik, a long-time Ford truck division guru. Speculators see this move by Hyundai as a possible move toward building trucks by the South Korean manufacturer, which has long been entrenched in mini- and midsize car building. John Krafcik's new position at Hyundai is Head Product Planner. Time will only tell, but it's our opinion that with Mitsubishi ailing so badly, and with the success of Toyota and Nissan in the North American truck market, it's only a matter of time before other overseas-owned manufacturers (such as Hyundai) also enter the fray.
Ford Running StrongFord Motor Co. recently said that its quarterly profit more than doubled. This was due largely to active work by the company to cut costs. Still, Ford posted extremely strong profits. Shares of Ford stock rose as much as 10 percent after the automaker also boosted its full-year earnings forecast. Ford's strong first-quarter performance occured despite what has become an increasingly difficult market in the U.S. Chief Executive Chairman Bill Ford said, "This is the best quarter we've achieved since we began our back-to-basics efforts more than two years ago." For the first time in four years, Ford's automotive operations earned more than Ford Credit.
Fast 411* DaimlerChrysler AGs will stop pumping money into Mitsubishi Motors Corp.* Low Life Video is in the process of finishing its follow-up DVD. More information can be found at www.lowlifevideo.com.* DaimlerChrysler will sell its 10 percent piece of Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd., which is worth approximately $1 billion.* Ford is recalling more than 322,000 Escape SUVs to fix a problem that makes the engine stall.
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