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Watch Your Figure

To the Editor,

As a cyclist, as well as a one-time participant in El Tour de Tucson, I was very interested in your story about Tu Nidito and its relationship to El Tour ("Spin Cycle," December 14).

In addition to the serious allegations lodged against Tu Nidito, as a cyclist who has organized and led rides, albeit on a much-reduced scale, I was shocked to read that El Tour costs $1 million annually to put on. How can this be?

For the sake of simpler math, let's assume 5,000 riders. One million dollars divided by 5,000 equals $200 per rider. Sure, the tour distributes some prizes, medals and other assorted doodads, but that is still a lot of money per rider. On 30- to 40-mile rides I've led, I've provided basic support out of my pocket--snacks, fruit, etc.--and it comes to $1-2 per rider. Even considering the greater length of the tour route, as well as counting items my rides don't have, such as administrative overhead, the expenses seem seriously out of whack.

Tucson is a city that's very supportive of cycling in general, and El Tour in particular. I would urge the Weekly's writers to investigate and find out exactly what El Tour's costs are, and where all the money goes, and then inform the cycling community.

--Brian Churchill


What Counts

To the Editor,

I am a registered Libertarian in Pima County. My party had no chance to win the presidential election. But Susan Zakin's "Robe Warriors" (December 14) should disgust any true American voter who does not reside in Florida.

The estimates are that over 5 million voters' ballots throughout the United States were not counted due to the types of ballots, voters not following instructions and problems with machines used to perform the counting. If the intent is to have "every vote count," as Susan has proposed, why only worry about the Florida votes?

Her apparent candidate, Al Gore, was the loser and not necessarily the popular-vote winner. If we had counted every vote as she wanted, votes would not only be contested in the Florida Supreme Court, but in all of the other states. Fortunately, every state has rules on how those votes are counted and which ballots are considered legal.

What none of the whiners from the presidential election have bothered to report is that with any of the rights and privileges that the Constitution assures us comes a responsibility. If the voter cannot mark the ballot properly or follow directions to make sure that it can be counted by the normal means, the ballot should be excluded. I do not intend that "physically challenged" voters should be excluded and prevented from exercising their right to vote. In every state that I am aware of, help is available for those people in the voting booth, if requested. If voters need help to properly complete the voting process, they should be given help when requested. If voters do not understand the process, they should not be allowed to vote.

There is no doubt that with the country we live in, a more consistent way of voting should be widely used, in all states. We certainly have the technology to accomplish this. And if Susan had proposed such a thing I would strongly support her. But to say that the United States Supreme Court "rigged the election" is both stupid and senseless. The court was required to protect the rights of responsible voters who did cast their ballots in the proper manner and not allow interference from outsiders to interpret or divine the voters' desires.

--Tim Murphy

To the Editor,

Susan Zakin claims that all votes were not counted. In reality, all ballots cast in Florida were counted at least twice. Some were counted as many as five times. In some cases, votes were given to Al Gore when clearly no vote had been cast for president, as witnessed by a Florida congressman. Some votes were counted that clearly should not have been: Over 400 ballots were cast by convicted felons who are ineligible to vote; 75 percent of these went to Gore.

Election laws, both state and national, were clear in identifying how ballots were to be counted, deadlines for completion, and how to change these rules. This is the reason the Democrats lost virtually every legal challenge. The only victories the Dems enjoyed were overturned on appeal because of these laws.

It can be debated whether the conservative members (along with the centrist members) of the U.S. Supreme Court actually chose the president, or simply made a ruling based on federal and state law. I'm sure it will be discussed for years to come.

In the end, the election is over. It was not stolen, or won in the courts. Bush won in accordance with all federal, state and county laws. Don't like the rules? Change 'em. You just can't do it after the election.

--James R. Metras

To the Editor,

I predicted in October that there was no way the Republicans would let Al Gore win Florida's electors. Absolutely no way! Even I, though, expected something more covert than the events that transpired. Susan Zakin states that these events say coup d'état to her and I think that is the most accurate description I have read or heard anywhere. Thank you, Susan, for restoring my belief in American journalism. The truth occasionally does get printed. No, I didn't vote for Al Gore.

Now that constitutional law has been dispensed with, I suppose King George II and Cardinal Scalia can begin the ransacking of the treasury. Why do I suddenly feel so Latin American? Maybe it is because even without the Green, Libertarian and Reform Party votes, the majority of American voters did not vote for the President Se-Lect (thank you, Dr. Knowledge, December 21). They now do not believe in the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court, or the election process and the value of their vote. Thank you, George W. Bush, for bringing the majority of voters up to speed. How does Bastille Day sound, folks?

And thank you, Tom Danehy, for telling Florida's Cuban voters the bitter truth ("Tally-Ho," December 14). Until they give it up and move on with their lives, they're losers! I really didn't understand the kid gloves, but it was still a slap up-side their right-wing heads. It's about time someone did it!

Susan Zakin is the most perceptive and eloquent political columnist in print in Tucson and probably in the whole damn state. Tom Danehy is the most ... ah ... well ... ah ... persistent writer in the city. The guy is really beginning to wear me down; I'm actually starting to like him! Congratulations to the Weekly for continuing to be the best paper in town.

--Bill Haynes


Peoples' Choice

To the Editor,

I am responding to Jim Wright's "Dead Line" (December 21), addressing the Border Patrol's role in the tragic human loss along the border. At the risk of sounding too right wing, has anybody thought to place at least some of the blame on the immigrants themselves? Yes, these are human beings who have met a horrific demise in the desolate Sonoran Desert, but they are also free-thinking human beings who made the decision to take such a risk. If I drive recklessly on Mt. Lemmon Highway and go over the edge, I don't blame the Forest Service.

Yes, the BP sector chiefs in Tucson warned that there would be more deaths if patrols were shifted, forcing illegal immigrants to cross in remote, dangerous areas, but no one is forcing these people to cross in the first place. (Especially not the Border Patrol.)

I find it ironic that groups in America that look out for the human rights of illegal immigrants end up treating them like mindless wanderers who can't think for themselves, almost as if they weren't human. Perhaps these groups, and the Weekly, should focus on what is forcing them to cross. Perhaps you should go deeper and explore what is wrong within Mexico that forces these illegal (key word) immigrants to risk death in order to get here.

Then again, it's a lot easier to just blame the Border Patrol for everything, so maybe we'll just stick with that.

--Alan Williams

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