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Happiness

To the Editor,

I applaud the Tucson Weekly for publishing an honest article about a lifestyle most Americans would condemn ("Love Is a Many Splintered Thing," February 14.) And praise to Tish Haymer for the opening method she used to make us understand her subject (examining President Clinton's relationship to Monica Lewinsky in a polyamorous venue.)

Methinks that our constitutional authors were more honest about their personal lives (than Clinton) when they assured us "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." There were no qualifiers to that promise and yet I know of no organized religions, or governments, in this country that would not have a serious problem with a committed intimate relationship among more than two adults.

Due to my years of ministerial counseling, I agree with the therapist quoted as saying that serial monogamy is harmful to both the adults and the children. I've spent time in poly homes with up to three children and nine adults. One has been together 20-plus years. They explained that the effort required to preserve the extended family was paramount, but so were the rewards. The adults and children were self-confident, able to be open and honest with each other. They lived with a reality of the joys and sorrows of life rather than chasing a "happily ever after . . ." bedtime story (serial monogamy).

When will this country become mature enough to allow the therapists to make the laws that affect the psychological well-being of our children? And when will the organized religions in America realize that the Divine spirit who cares for us all wants us to be happy rather than live by rules designed to keep us feeling forever guilty?

--Rev. Jacquie Zaleski


Loco Motives

To the Editor,

"The Steam That Blows the Whistle Doesn't Turn the Wheel" is the title of a tired but true old song. It perfectly describes the loco motives of our city government. I don't mind the whistle blowing or even tooting their own horns. I just object to paying for it. I would rather have cheaper water, or at least a smaller increase in rates, than have money spent on TV commercials with dubious statements about "magic" table raising by some amateur ham actors ("Flow Job," March 14).

I would also rather have the holes in my neighborhood streets filled than have hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on citizen information (or is it inflammation?) about Tucson traffic ("The Skinny," March 21). No amount of propaganda can turn a bad plan funded by a bad tax into a way to improve Tucson traffic. The plan offers a $20 million GSI at Campbell and Grant that will reduce the number of traffic lights between me and Tucson Mall from 15 to 14. Oh joy! Nothing in the plan would take cars off the road. Sun Tran gets short shrift and ride sharing or van service for large employers wasn't even considered. The sales tax may actually increase traffic as shoppers strike out for the county, Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley or Chandler.

The city needs to use tax funds to turn the wheels of government, not to blow smoke or their own horns. This part of the electorate is getting pretty well steamed.

--Robert Samuels


Rio Misnomer

To the Editor,

Rio Nuevo means "New River," which most Tucson voters well understand.

When the city of Tucson chose that for the name of its current downtown re-development project, perhaps they needed a translator or maybe they did not mean Rio Nuevo at all. All of the projects featured ("Balancing Act," March 14) are nowhere near the "river" and in fact are all concrete and steel expenditures of Rio Nuevo funds at or near the Tucson Convention Center. Nothing whatsoever to do with a New River.

If Tucson voters want to get a first hand view of what the city actually is doing to the "river," take a drive by almost completed Rio Nuevo North (on Bonita just north of Congress, west side of the river). That city of Tucson project is a statement of policy set in concrete and steel that actually pushes into the river. There is no question about what Rio Nuevo North is and what it means for the Santa Cruz River environment.

There has been a rising flood of questions about what is happening on Rio Nuevo in recent months as there is virtually no "news" on the project. John Jones, project manager, is quoted on Channel 6 saying that "there is a lot happening on Rio Nuevo" and he is being truthful. Tucson voters just do not want to hear "news" as it is all bad for the idea of a Santa Cruz River restoration and a park-like setting for the various museums and cultural attractions on the Rio Nuevo South property.

As a past board member and president of the Panorama Estates Neighborhood during the Rio Nuevo development process (September 1998 through May 2001), my experience agrees with many of my Menlo Park neighbors--the City now has no intention of following through on what was the primary objectives as set forth before the Rio Nuevo "concept" was presented to Tucson voters and approved.

The city of Tucson's currently announced plans are all about very expensive new concrete and steel construction in downtown and on the TCC. The expansive concrete and steel construction of the TCC is credited by the "experts" for killing downtown in the first place. Current city project managers are telling us that more concrete and steel construction at the taxpayers' expense is what is needed to bring downtown back alive. That is a very questionable idea and not one approved by the voters. In fact, if this new concept were presented to the voters it would most certainly fail.

These newly announced plans no way reflect the voters' support for the concept of rather inexpensive natural restoration of the Santa Cruz River, associated museum(s) and cultural complexes in a park-like setting. The New River, in Tucson's birthplace, was advertised to be a natural and cultural rebirth of which we could all cherish and be proud of.

It is now clear from the latest official pronouncements that it is not to be perhaps within the next half decade. It takes several years to plan a simple park that size and then another three to five years to build at best.

mis.no.mer 1: the misnaming of a person (place, or event) in a legal instrument. The city needs to rename the project or Tucson needs new people to administer the concept more in line with what the voters believed they were voting for, Rio Nuevo.

-- Richard Fisher


Congested? Take a pill

To the Editor,

The City of Tucson's new multi-page color brochure, "Tucson's Transportation Plan," leads one to believe that the mayoral administration and city are truly looking out for our transit woes. According to the brochure, $180 million--or 45 percent of the $400 million the city estimates it will raise over the next 10 years from the half-cent sales tax increase--is earmarked for "congestion management."

Congestion management consumes the largest portion of these anticipated tax dollars. Its two major projects are road-widening of four major sections of city thoroughfares and construction of three continuous-flow, grade-separated interchanges. One of the proposed road-widening projects is Grant Road from Oracle to Park. One of these proposed GSIs is planned for the intersection of Grant and Campbell ("Street Sweep," February 14).

If city contractors get the green light to begin tearing up Grant Road in this one- to two-mile stretch, how does the city expect to accommodate the existing traffic that clogs both of these major thoroughfares? All those people that use Campbell presently to commute to the UA or South Side business parks--how will they get to work? The brochure neglects to mention the necessary sacrifices or displacements that citizens will incur while these projects are completed over an unspecified period of time (years, at best).

Why doesn't the city spend some of this anticipated $400 million in transit-dedicated revenues to actively promote alternative transportation schemes, including subsidizing bus passes for commuters? How about increased vigilance cracking down on red-light runners whose disregard for safety leads to further congestion as ambulances and firetrucks join the rush-hour fracas?

The brochure makes no mention of the availability of federal transit aid to encourage development of mass transit systems. The current plan is shortsighted and seems only intended to maintain the existing paradigm--single-passenger, vehicular traffic. No thanks, City of Tucson. I plan to vote No on both propositions.

--Stu Williams


Daggers to Nurse Practitioners

To the Editor,

I was gratified to read the article regarding mental health treatment in southern Arizona communities ("Daggers of the Mind," January 24). Community awareness of existing mental health services is vital to public access and utilization in times of need.

But this article contained a biased accounting of system inadequacies and pitfalls. Mike Munday's reference to "gold-clad insurance" and the earnest assurance it offers is a pejorative toward community mental health care; in particular nurse practitioners, be they psychiatric specialty or otherwise.

One could assume by reading this that face-to-face contact with medical doctors is the gold standard for "quality" psychiatric care. This is inaccurate and contrary to research findings in a variety of patient-care settings.

I am a family nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist working many years in this community. Mr. Munday's agenda trivializes the role of the nurse practitioner with flagrant disregard and demeans successful mental health care in a system pictured as hopeless for those who enter.

--Deane W. Apperson


Way Beyond Oprah

To the Editor,

To J. Uschuk ("Beyond Oprah," February 28): Now that you have read Jonathan Franzen's novel, read Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose. Why? This is the book Franzen couldn't write and how we have accepted junk novels as the great "masterpiece." What you will not find in Stegner's work are the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors!

--Lynn Schmollinger

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