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To the Editor,

At first, I thought it was Susan Zakin's shoddy reporting that upset me so when I read her article "Saving the Rich" (March 22). The first time I read the piece I was horrified, until I stepped out my back door and observed that yes, there are still hundreds of healthy cottonwoods on the Santa Cruz River banks, in the San Rafael Valley. Actually, there is no place along the river where you can see only one dying cottonwood, as Zakin wrote. Maybe her eye is not as "educated" as she believes, or maybe the truth is merely a small obstacle in the path of her anti-ranching agenda.

Her comment a few weeks back claiming that ranching employs less than 500 people in Arizona ("Historic Mistake") is as obviously untrue as the cottonwood claim. With 44,455 employees in agriculture, it seems obvious that more than 500 work on ranches (figure from Arizona Department of Commerce). She claims the ranch looked like Chernobyl to "the educated eye" but all the educated people at the Sonoran Institute (or any other prestigious organization) will tell you that the valley looks just about the way it did when Europeans first arrived. The Sonoran Institute can describe to you in detail just how well preserved and unique the valley is.

The second read through, I totally dismissed the words she put in Bob Sharp's mouth (I know him personally, know he never said what she attributes to him) because I knew by now that she is a voracious liar.

True, this land is not as good for large grazing animals as it was during the Pleistocene Period (when mammoths lived here), but neither is it suitable for millions of humans, especially not the resource intensive American version (at 4 percent of the world population, Americans produce 25 percent of its greenhouse gasses). Seems to me that these people would rather point their fingers at someone else, than to take responsibility for their own impact. The ranches affect the land they occupy, but the urban American has a devastating effect on the entire planet. I wish these people would stop rationalizing their destructive consumption, and work to minimize their effect on the global environment before casting stones at an occupation which has existed since the beginning of recorded time.

--Zay Hartigan


Riotous

To the Editor,

What would prompt you to riot? Certainly it would be something significant, something profoundly troubling and important to our lives. Perhaps something along the lines of racial injustice, political and economic oppression, genocide, or even a president taking office under very dubious circumstances. Yes, I am referring to the much publicized Fourth Avenue riot that the media has been covering ad nauseam.

It seems that the mainstream media, and our society in general, is too concerned with civility. No one wants to offend those UA sport fans (Perhaps there is too much Nike money at risk to rock the boat, I don't know). But, the night of the riot I watched a clearly disgusted news anchorman as his face reddened with contempt as the melée unfolded. His face spoke a thousands words, but not a disparaging word flowed from his lips.

I use the previous as an example. Broadcast news is supposed to present news without bias. Nevertheless, very little has been said about the clearly pathetic and embarrassing display of behavior by a bunch of liquored-up losers who lack the appropriate psychological development to release their frustrations and handle the fact that we lost a stupid basketball game!

Let's put aside the reaction: the excessive use of force by TPD officers, who by all accounts were shooting their rubber bullets and bean bags above the waist at rioters and innocent bystanders alike. Let's focus on the action: if it weren't for the poor choices and actions by several sore losers (and frightening herd mentality) there would not have been a riot, violence and damage to life, limb and property. Those involved must accept responsibility for their reprehensible behavior.

Violence at sporting events is common place in some European and Latin American countries where sports fans lives and futures are bleak, perhaps as a result of political unrest and harsh economic conditions. Unacceptable, but at least one can attempt to trace the forces behind their violence. But what forces lead our primarily young, well-fed, privileged college students and others to act in such a despicable way? Are their lives so empty?

What ever happened to "it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game". You shake hands, accept the loss and move on with your life (if you have one). It's just a game!

--Xavier Otero


Hawking Lives

To the Editor,

The hawkers are to be gone. Many people cheer. I weep. This has been done by Councilwoman Carol West, et al, in the name of political correctness. In reality, it is a crime against humanity. These people had stable lives. I should be so lucky. Now they have been thrown to the wolves to appease some political perception. Shame, shame.

--Cletis Harry Beegle

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