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Falling Star

To the Editor,

Bravo for your latest Skinny salvo at the sorry Star (February 15). I labored there for nine years and knew, especially in the last few years, that it was a toxic place to work. For the last four years I've had the very good fortune to work for the St. Petersburg Times, a newspaper run by by-god journalists, so I'm even more painfully aware of just how bad things were at the Star.

Throughout my time there I worked with Gene Armstrong and know him as a man of talent, integrity and intelligence. That explains, of course, why he's getting the shaft from the Star. Family fun beat, my fanny. The Star doesn't deserve him, nor does it deserve Scot Skinner or the few other genuine journalists hanging on there by their fingernails despite the dismal conditions because they love Tucson and believe it deserves a real daily newspaper.

My thanks to you at the Weekly for doing a remarkable job of actually covering the city with far fewer resources. At least Tucson has one real newspaper to its name.

--Colette Bancroft


Hostess with the Leastest

To the Editor,

Well, I just have to say that I love it when you run letters from highly irritated people who really can't write or have a legitimate complaint. In particular, the recent diatribe against Diza Sauers' review of Amerone's has provided endless amusement (Mailbag, February 8).

One thing really should be set straight. I was with Diza on the night she had the most disastrous experience at Amerone's. It is true: The hostess, Angelica Hancock, was appalling. When Diza's review ran, I called her up to say that I thought she was losing her usual impeccably ruthless touch. She let Amerone's off easy and was overly gracious about a restaurant that serves dreadful food and has even worse service. Like Diza, I've also been to Italy, and Amerone's food is some of the worst I've ever had. The pizza was inedible. And sorry, but the cheesecakes we had were frozen and out of a box.

Hancock was not only rude, she most certainly did shrug our party off and tell us we could wait for a half hour to be seated comfortably or sit by the door in a freezing gusty cold draft. I was standing right next to Diza and heard every word. If, as she implies, she knew she was seating a restaurant critic, one should question her ability to do her job effectively. If I owned Amerone's I would have fired her on the spot. Her inability to seat tables or keep the floor from collapsing into an absolute disaster zone speak volumes of her inability to run a floor effectively. But what I enjoyed most was her letter, which speaks volumes of her lack of an education. Which is probably why she's hostessing at such a lame restaurant.

Keep up the good work, you guys; it provides hours of amusement.

PS: James DiGiovanna rocks.

--Susan Folwell


Bread Crumbs

To the Editor,

Thanks for the review of Beyond Bread last week ("Loafing Around," February 15), though I did think Diza Sauers missed a key point: the free samples and all-you-can-reasonably-eat-butter. Hey, didn't she catch what was between the dessert case and the wall-o-bread? She mentioned standing in line three different times, yet didn't think to mention the best thing to do while standing in line.

I know the Star thought enough about it that they ran a mini-blurb in Dry Heat telling of a man on his way to work who drives up to BB, runs in, grabs himself a piece of bread, butters it and continues on his merry way. You have big shoes to fill in the Chow column, so heads up.

--Steve Shapiro


Hannibal Lecture

To the Editor,

There is, between film reviewers and their audience, an unspoken agreement: If a reviewer is going to impart bits of information that someone who hasn't seen the film would reasonably prefer not to learn ahead of time but would choose to learn on viewing the film, you give a spoiler warning, so a reader or viewer can decide to continue reading. It is a sign of courtesy and respect for the audience.

James DiGiovanna violated that understanding, in my view, by discussing a particular scene in Hannibal that other reviewers have refrained from comment on, so as not to give details away and thus dull the impact ("Pig in a Poke," February 15). What DiGiovanna did was discourteous and inconsiderate.

In light of his apparent disdain for his readers, in future, I will no longer read his reviews (which no doubt devastates him) and it saddens me that, even with the apparent change from Gene Armstrong to Phil Villarreal, there is one area (movie reviews) where the Star makes the Weekly look like garbage.

--Robert Reynolds


Deranged on the Range

To the Editor,

"Indecent Proposal" (February 15) is the most slanted, insulting article this paper has ever put forth. What kind of title is that? Perhaps one dedicated to demonizing anyone in the Arizona Game Commission, or the state, for that matter, who has a ranching background or supports rural economy.

Judging from his diatribe against all but one of Arizona's game commissioners, Tim Vanderpool is obviously anti-rural Arizona. Especially when it comes to anyone's rights but his own.

"Offroad yahoos"--what a disgusting display of contempt for a legitimate recreational use of our public lands. Sue Chilton is perfectly within her job description to coordinate Arizona game laws with the rights of other land users. Yes, I said rights. Ranchers have rights to use public lands. Those rights have been crushed under the heels of jackbooted thugs in the environmental community and the federal government for far too long. It is time they were taken out of the closet, brushed off and reinstated.

Out of curiosity, where did Tim Vanderpool think Mexican lobos will get food if so-called commercial game animals aren't given priority over predators even if they are considered endangered species? Commercial game animals are their major food source, unless he thinks ranchers like Sue Chilton should be forced to donate their livestock, which I am sure he does. Want some science, Tim? Wildlife are a consumable commodity for other wildlife as well as a renewable resource used by humans.

I submit that Tim Vanderpool is a notorious environmental sycophant who supports subsidizing environmental organizations with federal grants in order to allow them to continue to drive all use from our federal and private lands. His article is certainly bigoted, sodden with conflict-of-interest drivel and not in the best interest of Arizona's wildlife or her economy.

--Laura Schneberger


Hold Your Own

To the Editor,

Susan Zakin's column "Who Owns America" (February 8) is outstanding!

This hot topic is one that everyone else seems to be afraid to address. It's about time someone had the balls to do so, and Zakin and the Tucson Weekly are to be commended for it.

The notion that very temporary residents such as man can lay claim to some sort of "ownership" over portions of the billions-of-years-old earth is sheer insanity, and one that the greedy defend with all their might.

--Jack Foster

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