Government Officials: Pony Up!

To the Editor,

Thank you for Rand Carlson's April 24 Random Shots. My sentiments exactly. Jim Nintzel's cover story, "Royal Flush," informed us exactly how much of our money was flushed down the toilet. I feel every department responsible for this faux pas should have to pay the taxpayers back for their frivolous use of our money.

The neighborhood has beautiful ornamental artwork in the center of the intersections. We do not need amateur junk on the comer.

--Patti Knight

Stupid People Run This City

To the Editor,

I have lived in Tucson for the past 10 years and have come to realize that there are a lot of stupid people running the city. Jim Nintzel's "Royal Flush," proved my point in black-and-white print.

How anyone could allow such a thing to be placed within the city limits is unthinkable. The Department of Transportation needs to stick to paving streets and not worry much about what looks beautiful. At $106,425, it appears they know nothing about art or things of beauty.

If I lived in that area, I would move after I voted Councilwoman Kathleen Dunbar out of office.

With no art education or experience, I think I'll attend the next council meeting to see if I can "create some art" and get a cool $100,000 for it.

--Joseph LeSage

Keep the Art; Remove Quik Mart Instead

To the Editor,

Lordy lordy, let's talk ugly! The Quik Mart at Fort Lowell Road and Mountain Avenue doesn't take any prizes; it is shit-crap ugly!

Jim Nintzel's "Royal Flush" was a fun read. I drive that area frequently and like Paul Edwards' attempt at unusual public art. Tucson is not the land of sky-blue water. Let him proceed and do away with the ugly Quik Mart.

--Edward Moore

A Proposal on Where to Stick the Art

To the Editor,

Almost all of Tucson's public art is innovative, beautiful and relevant to the community; I am proud to be an artist living here. But every time I have driven by the spurting "water" sculptures on Mountain Avenue, they remind me of the two sinkholes that occurred during the first week of September 2002 on Speedway Boulevard, just west of Grande Avenue. Sewage flowed freely into the Santa Cruz Wash from broken sewer pipes which had been scheduled for replacement years earlier but postponed in order to "save money." How many millions of dollars have we now saved?

For three months, temporary sewage pipes ran directly in front of our home; loud generators operated with a constant noisy buzz; bright construction lights illuminated the night; dump trucks, bulldozers and city vehicles operated 24 hours a day, beeping and scraping and revving; the stench of sewage and generator diesel fuel filled the air. Many neighbors in Barrio Hollywood were displaced out of their homes and people felt ill (including us) from the fumes. During the month of March, the scenario of black, snaking sewage pipes blocking the roads returned as a front-door view.

Most Tucsonans probably don't realize that since October 2002, the entire eastside of the Santa Cruz River Park is now the pathway for four large, above-ground sewer pipes that start at a compound full of diesel generators at Congress Street and snake along the bike path all the way north to the sewage treatment plant north of Prince Road. When one walks along the west bank of the Santa Cruz River Park north of Speedway, the sulfurous stench of sewage and the lye that was used to sterilize the riverbed still fills the air nine months later.

I suggest a new home for these "water" sculptures: a monument to the concept of deferred maintenance and Pima County's negligence at the corner of Speedway and Grande with a name change for the sculpture to "Lest We Forget."

--Catherine Nash

The KUAZ Article Lacked Facts

To the Editor,

In James Reel's "Harmony Lost" (April 24), the author takes great pains to portray the KUAZ/KUAT radio news department as doing "little more than rewriting articles from the Star and Citizen for its brief news summaries scattered through the day." Seeing that Reel is an accomplished journalist, I'm sure he would appreciate that the injection of some actual "facts and figures" into his article might have added an air of credibility. For example, contrary to Reel's portrayal, the KUAZ/KUAT news department actually produces more than 90 minutes of locally produced news and traffic reports on a daily basis. This breaks down to 16 in-depth reports and only six "brief news summaries" imbedded within our national news magazines. As for "rewriting articles from the Star and Citizen" (Tucson's two "legitimate" newspapers), that is less than accurate since we often air stories before they actually appear in local newspapers.

Summing up, while our news department is indeed short-staffed because of the continuing statewide budget crunch, the three current news staffers possess more than a hundred years of combined journalist experience and integrity. How does that compare to The Weekly?

--Nelson Warnell
KUAZ/KUAT reporter/producer/anchor

Gee, the News Media Types Are So Sensitive!

To the Editor,

As one of the remaining staff members of KUAZ/KUAT-FM's news department, I'd like to clarify some erroneous comments that appeared in James Reel's "Harmony Lost."

I found it rather odd that Reel reduced the news staff jobs to "little more than rewriting articles from the Star and Citizen." Where do our sound bites come from? They come from daily interviews conducted by the news staff and a partnership with our sister station, KUAT-TV. This is in addition to all of the other jobs we do with our skeleton news staff, such as hosting programs, fundraising and traffic reports.

While I have no disagreement with Reel's comments about the department being a shell of what it used to be, in terms of resources, I take offense at the way he represented our jobs. Perhaps if he had actually interviewed some of the news staff, we could have told him what we do each day. As a former co-worker of Jim's, I gladly would have spoken with him had he asked.

--Robert Rappaport
KUAZ/KUAT-FM reporter/producer/anchor

We Had to Confirm This Letter Twice

To the Editor,

With regards to the recent quote from the Ward 1 City Council office ("Ghost Writer," The Skinny April 24) that I am a pathological liar, mentally unstable, and in possession of a split personality, I must object.

And so do I.

--Scott D. Egan
Vice president for 16 years of Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood Association

Tom Danehy: Emil Franzi's Lapdog

To the Editor,

One of the more burlesque aspects of America's "turn to the right" is the strange ritual of supposed left-wing politicians or commentators acting as apologists or straight men to crypto-fascist counterparts. Bush and Blair, Hannity and Colmes, and now in Tucson, we have Emil Franzi's poodle.

Hey Danehy, how about our generation's No. 1 regret ("Baby Boom Bungles," April 10) should be that we allowed this country to rush into another bullshit war? Ah, what the hell; maybe we got it right this time. Let America's "great unwashed" do the fighting, dying and peacekeeping during this international Ox Bow Incident. Our kids are comfortably ensconced at the university prepping to become leaders in the "New American Century." Hopefully, they will be taking worthwhile majors, such as "entrepreneurship." In this field of study, they learn how to squeeze the maximum amount of labor for the minimum amount of pay out of that very same unwashed as well as ethnic studies majors.

Tom, you're a great sportswriter, but as a social commentator--well, you suck. Ever since you got on Franzi's talk show, you've been sucking up.

--Matt Smith

How Dare You Dislike This Restaurant!

To the Editor,

In the April 10 issue, food critic Jimmy Boegle embarrassed himself ("Mexican Mediocrity") by demonstrating his ignorance of Mexican cuisine in his review of Lerua's. Who is this guy?

Maybe he should move to Saskatchewan and review the quesadillas and chimichangas there, where they might actually be considered Mexican food. That stuff's on the menu for people who either don't like Mexican food or don't know anything about it. Please--in Tucson, you are actually going to waste our time by reviewing a tortilla with cheese inside? Or a burrito that has been deep fried and therefore rendered of any of its subtlety of flavor?

If you are going to review Lerua's, or any other Mexican restaurant for that matter, you should know what the keystones of good Mexican are: green or red chile con carne, carne seca and tamales (which, by the way are excellent at Lerua's). You might answer these questions: How is their enchilada sauce? How are their beans? Are they rich and flavorful or bland and pasty? How about their tortillas?

Don't tell me about cheddar or Monterrey jack unless you are reviewing Del Taco please. I don't care whether you liked or disliked Lerua's, but in the future, make your decision based on more informed menu choices.

--Sherri Rosalik

Damn! We're No Longer Perfect!

To the Editor,

I'm happy The Weekly was willing to venture out to the wilds of northwest Tucson to experience one of my favorite restaurants, Restaurante Pura Vida ("Catalina Meets Costa Rica," April 17). I live near 22nd Street and Pantano Road, so you know I have to love it to make the trek.

I was very sorry to see this sentence: "The servers were kind enough to seat Irene and I ..." You're the editor, for Pete's sake. You, of all people, should know that "me" is the correct pronoun for the object of the action, no matter how many others also receive the action. You wouldn't write "they seated I near a window," so why do you write they seated "Irene and I," near the window? You sound like one of those blow-dried news readers on television.

Tsk, tsk.

--Kilian Metcalf

Clarification About the Food Bank

To the Editor,

In "Homeless Helper" (TQ&A, April 17), Ms. Libby Wright-Giovingo mentioned buying donated food from the Community Food Bank, and the interviewer questioned that. In fact, many agencies regularly buy donated food from the Community Food Bank.

Food is donated to the Community Food Bank in a couple of ways. The way most familiar to your readers is nonperishable food donated through food drives held locally. The food received from those drives is distributed through our free food box program. Food boxes are available to agencies, which in turn distribute them for free to people who need food. Last year, more than 96,000 boxes were distributed in Tucson and Pima County.

Food is also received through our food rescue efforts with local grocers and restaurants. This perishable food is available only to nonprofit agencies with free feeding programs and a shared maintenance fee of 18 cents per pound is charged. Also available through food rescue are food products we receive as a result of our affiliation with America's Second Harvest. These items come from major food manufacturers, and while there is no cost for the food, we must pay for the freight to get the food to us.

The bulk of the nearly 14 million pounds of food distributed by the Community Food Bank each year is distributed at no cost. And the organization has been able to keep overhead to just five cents of each dollar raised.

--Lynn Perez-Hewitt
Director of community relations and development
Community Food Bank, Inc.

Ted Downing is a True Winner

To the Editor,

Dave Devine's article ("And the Winner Is ...," April 10) on e-mails to legislators was very accurate. Apparently at the same time as The Weekly was surveying legislators, I too was researching their positions on the Tucson and Arizona film commissions.

Out of the 24 I surveyed, most eventually responded. All were Democrats, except for Rep. Pete Hershberger. When I surveyed Phil Lopes, he sent back six questions to me wanting to know who was funding my research, how the information was going to be used, what my background was and how to assure "anonymity." And here I thought legislators worked for all Arizonans.

While Lopes is caught up in his presumed power, Ted Downing is the exact opposite. I sent out my e-mails on a Wednesday at 10:45 p.m. Downing responded by 11. I sent a reply that he answered by 11:10. Downing was working in his office at 11 p.m. at night and reading e-mails from "Joe Citizens." Arizona is truly lucky to have Ted Downing working for us in Phoenix. He deserves your title of No. 1.

--Matt Welch

Yet More Love for Renée Downing

To the Editor,

Renée Downing's "In Search of Some Good Amusement" (April 17) column again illustrates her status as a prototypical über-liberal. Since the ground war in Iraq was pretty much over by the publishing deadline--thoroughly quashing her April 3 column prediction of a new Vietnam--she now wants to avoid seeing cheering Iraqis pulling down statues and vandalizing pictures of Saddam.

Surely, she could take comfort in the looting. You know, the looting the U.S. military "allowed," according to one reporter? The looting we could only stop by inflicting civilian casualties? The BBC might make her feel better, given their penchant for reporting everything in an atmosphere of gloom and doom. Certainly that would let her take heart and still keep up with current events.

But no. Instead, she'd prefer to avoid having to face reality and wallow in mindless entertainment, thus allowing herself to deny what is so obvious to the rest of us: She and her "quagmire" predictions were WRONG.

Tell me, is she an Arab? Because, except for having access to Animal Planet, the Arabs seem to be attempting to do the same thing. For that matter, so are the French.

Perhaps the pet psychic could tell us why that is.

--Kevin Baker

Please Get These Protesters Some Movers

To the Editor,

Keith McHenry is a perfect example of why I am tired and angry about anti-war protestors ("Judgment Day," April 17), and it has nothing to do with their desire to speak out about war. My complaint stems from the protestors who display hate for this country and how they try to distort information to substantiate their view. If you dislike America that much, why don't you just leave?

"It's my constitutional right" does not explain why you stay. If you live in a neighborhood you can't stand, you move; you don't stay and complain that the majority of residents are ignorant because they don't agree with your point of view.

Mr. McHenry's contempt for America is more apparent than most. While his idea that people living in Canada, Mexico, Europe, and the old Czech Republic are better off than people living in the United States of America seems absurd to me, at least he was brave enough to say it. With that said, the fact that Mr. McHenry had no audience at his protest--and that the vast majority of the population in this country now backs President Bush's decision to enter into a war with Iraq--doesn't seem to provide Mr. McHenry with the idea that this is democracy in action. Mr. McHenry believes that because the majority of Americans do not follow his viewpoint that we are "ignorant, vicious, violent thugs that have no respect for human life." He also claims that he is smarter and more well-versed in politics and history than those who fail to see his way. According to Mr. McHenry's view, America is the same as Nazi Germany, because we have a military than is capable of destroying "just about anything."

Mr. McHenry is right that we have the best military force in the world, and that helps me sleep at night. I do not have to worry about a neighboring country taking my country over by force, slaughtering thousands of my friends and neighbors. Show me another country willing to stand in harm's way to protect the lives and rights of citizens in another country thousands of miles from its own soil, and I'll show you an ally of the United States.

Mr. McHenry's anti-American views apparently have no end, as he is getting ready to protest any action the United States intends to take against Syria. While he has no idea what the United States will do, Mr. McHenry has already decided that whatever the United States does will be entirely wrong in his narrow opinion.

I had the opportunity to live overseas for several years, and while the United States is not perfect, I am proud to call this home. If Mr. McHenry and those who share his opinion believe life is so much better elsewhere, leave. In a couple of years, when you quietly move back because you're tired of waiting for that free health care and miss all those other freedoms you take for granted, I promise not to say, "I told you so."

--Wayne A. Berlin


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