Incompetent Cops

To the Editor,

I was disgusted though completely unsurprised by the rough treatment Stephen Seigel reported receiving in "Of Kiss, Cops, Mom and Cigarettes" (Soundbites, March 30). For those who missed the story, music editor Stephen Seigel was grabbed by the throat and thrown out of the Kiss concert for the reprehensible crime of taking a drag off a cigarette in the presence of a cop who had inaudibly told him to put it out. I happen to know Stephen, and he is a kind and unassuming fellow who stretches 5 feet on the rack (5 feet 3 inches in stilettos). This cop undoubtedly popped wood when presented with the opportunity to bully such a nefarious scofflaw.

Stories of police excess are invariably tempered with the refrain "most cops are good cops," but where are these alleged good cops? Twice I've interrupted burglars trying to break into my house and received a belated and lackadaisical response from 911. I've also had a number of friends relate stories of police inaction on 911 calls, including: 1) a domestic abuse call that was phoned in independently by two of the pugilist's neighbors, 2) a friend who was solicited by a woman trying to prostitute her two very young daughters near Fourth Avenue, and 3) a woman who caught a Peeping Tom who fit the description of a notorious burglar/rapist.

Meanwhile, we hear noisy hell-o-copters swoop from the sky to break up dangerous college parties, we see CHIPs bicycle patrol shout down late-night bikers who recklessly careen through side-street stop signs, and we observe sidewalk martinets harass panhandlers for standing around suspiciously.

I'd love to see The Weekly compile some of the many stories of TPD incompetence I've heard. In utter cowardice, the department directs its gaze toward the petty when confronted with a panorama of real crime. The police continually lobby for pay raises, but if their pay were commensurate with their performance, they'd have been panhandling with their prey long ago.

-- M.S.

To the Editor,

Every week I turn to Stephen Seigel's Soundbites column to check out the current musical offerings. Sometimes I'm scanning the print for names I know; sometimes I'm looking for some guidance on how to spend my weekend. To date, I've yet to be disappointed, or misled.

On Seigel's watch, Soundbites has ceased serving as source material for local cynics to yawn their opinions on how Tucson nightlife sucks. Instead, he's taken the time and effort to open his ears and find interesting musical events around town, and also to say enough about them to inspire me to reach for my jacket and my cash and head out into the night. I believe Seigel is as good as he is because he truly loves music. And sometimes, he'll pull off a piece that rockets straight from the eye of music's storm and finds its mark at your midsection, in the place in which both bellyfuls of happiness and lumps of bitter knowledge reside.

"Of Kiss, Cops, Mom and Cigarettes" (March 30) was one of those rockets. My outrage, if -- unfortunately -- not surprise, at the police misconduct Seigel recounts is offered for public record. However, what made an even greater impression on me was the quality of Seigel's beautifully bittersweet narration of his fandom, and how this particular band intersected so profoundly with his life, shaping the formation of memory and bending the line of fate. And, in addition, he even managed to introduce me to some of the nuances of the band Kiss (of which I understand there are many). All in all, it was a good piece, and I hope to see more work of this nature from Seigel in the publication. Just please remind him: don't forget to tell me next time there's a good lineup at the club.

-- Jennifer Peashock

Desert Over Dollars

To the Editor,

Regarding "Incorporation Desolation" (The Skinny, March 30): We, the present residents of Tortolita, are hearing the death knell of our dream for self-determination rung by a money-saving Legislature, a lock-stepping Tucson City Council, and a gutless judiciary. Our effort was precedent-setting in that it represented one of the few instances in which the will of the residents seemed to prevail over the will of the money-making, desert-killing, monied few. The good news is that even if our efforts can't preserve the incorporation of Tortolita, they have delayed the living-desert killers long enough to allow the federal pygmy owl restrictions to kick in, and preserve our beautiful, biodiverse surroundings.

The Arizona Legislature is certainly oblivious to the constituency that they service, and even downright apologetic about stating that without the developers' support a new incorporation bill allowing towns to incorporate without permission from the neighboring towns would not pass unless the bill mandated that seven percent of the new town be commercial and 60 percent developable. What about the will of the people rather than the will of the monied? How many actual votes do these developers represent, and how many are even Arizona voters? Seventy percent of Tortolita's residents signed petitions to incorporate contrary to their own money interests, because they valued the living desert around them more than the dollar. Never has the will of the people spoken more clearly in the one voice of a community with a shared set of values, yet the Legislature won't even craft a bill that allows such a community to exist. Rather, to exist, a new town must hold to the prime value of money-making by the monied few. What if the will of the people speaks in the only way it seems able to in Arizona -- by referendum, stating that a development organization can only lobby the Legislature if they represent a certain percentage of Arizona voters -- let's say 15 percent?

-- Eric P. Gormally

Out Of Joint

To the Editor,

Regarding "Silent Sting" (March 30): Project Censored's annual list of the year's most underreported news stories yet again mysteriously failed to included cannabis suppression. Well, at least Jim Hightower is on the ball!

-- Greg Donovan


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