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Living on the Santa Cruz Ain't Glamorous

To the Editor,

The photo essay by David Burckhalter ("Homeless on the Santa Cruz River," Oct. 9) is good, but there are a lot of other things that happen on the Santa Cruz that weren't mentioned--like how the police come through waking people up early in the morning, threatening them with trespassing tickets or taking them to jail. Or how the city will have your stuff bulldozed and/or carried off. Or how kids throw rocks at you, shoot at you and vandalize your stuff. I guess they figure it's just homeless people who care. Then you have to worry about the flash flood that may come through and wipe you out.

You would think there would be better places to go, but there aren't. I have been given tickets and arrested, and I've had to go to court at least three different times.

The first time in court, it was brought out that shelters are limited, and once your time is up, you're right back out there. The second time, it was brought up how jobs are not dependable. The third time, it was brought up that I have no place else to go, and that I have a right to a place to live. The judge said, "Yes, I know you do," but still found me guilty of trespassing.

--Lonnie R. Reiger Jr.


A Reminder: Primavera's Here

To the Editor,

I would like to commend David Burckhalter for his photo essay on the homeless people who live around the Santa Cruz River. He attempts to humanize a group of citizens who are often disregarded by the community, and he portrays them, correctly, as folks just like the rest of us whose luck hasn't been as good.

I would like to remind your readers, however, that contrary to the plea made by one of Burckhalter's subjects for a day center where homeless people would feel welcome, such a place exists.

The Primavera Foundation has operated its Relief and Referral street outreach program continuously for 17 years. It serves as the entry point for an array of services, including housing and job referrals. Last year, 28,000 homeless individuals and families came through the doors of R&R.

Primavera has always been dedicated to finding solutions to the problems of homelessness and poverty, and we will continue our fight for social justice through our many programs and advocacy activities. We thank the Tucson Weekly for being a partner with us in this effort. Your first serious contribution to the subject was an excellent three-piece series by Howard Allen and Maggie Zanger in 1986 called "Tucson's Homeless Defy Categorization." They still do. We hope to see more from you on the subject!

--Nancy Bissell
Co-founder, The Primavera Foundation


Those Homeless Folks? Just Lazy Beggars

To the Editor,

There's no such thing as the homeless--these are lazy-assed bums who do nothing but beg, borrow and steal. They're leeches on society. They don't want to work or do their part by paying taxes, but are first in line for a handout. While the rest of us work hard for an honest day's pay, these bums are getting drunk or high.

I'm one of the many people who is tired of going shopping and running into a bum who wants my change--and they don't ask for it anymore; they demand it. I used to feel sorry for them and tried to help by offering to buy them a hamburger, driving them to a work site or offering the use of my shower so they could be clean for a job interview, but I got the same old song and dance--"Could I just have the money?" They clamed they wanted to do it themselves. Right.

What the city of Tucson needs to do is start busing these bums out of town.

--C.R. Breidenfeld


Throw the Poor in Jail!

To the Editor,

Regarding "Homeless on the Santa Cruz River" by David Burckhalter: Writing in the early 1800s, Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out that in America, laws apply equally to rich and poor. At that time, it was equally a crime for a rich man to trespass and live beneath a public bridge as it was for a poor man to do so.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.

--Alan B. Barley


Nice Try, but Tuttle Wasn't Funny

To the Editor,

I didn't write after Connie Tuttle's column, "Best of Gender" (Sept. 25), because I figured that she was not trying to be serious--she just wrote unsuccessful satire. Here's a tip before committing satire again: Re-read "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift, a pretty fair writer, even if he was a man.

One thing that someone should point out, however: That particular column really wasn't funny. I have a bizarre sense of humor, and I didn't get so much as a chuckle (not even the wry kind, with a gasp and a little bubble of blood at the end). Humor is subjective. Plus, as someone (Edmund Keane, I believe) said, "Dying is easy; comedy is hard." He was, of course, dying as he said this. Trust an actor to know a great exit line.

In closing, I've met women who would have high-fived after reading that column, taking her seriously. There were probably some in your audience. They, too, took her seriously--and approved of what she wrote. Ask yourself this: Which misunderstanding unsettles you more?

I know my answer: both. Thank you for your time.

--Robert Reynolds


Really Nice Try: Tuttle WAS Funny

To the Editor,

I had a great laugh at Connie Tuttle's "Best of Gender"--not just her tongue-in-cheek satire, but the self righteous, vagina-envying defensive backlash (Mailbag, Oct. 9). The nuggets of truth gleam like wet lips.

Technically, it's now conceivable (tee hee) to have an entirely female society, making babies by fusion of eggs in a test tube. Evolutionary biologists (like me!) may tell you that males are just the high-risk, high-return stocks in their mothers' portfolios. Daughters are the "steady earners" because any baby MUST be hers (except for those "hosted" in vitro).

Without a paternity test, no male could ever be sure of his reproductive success, so he compensates by screwing around like a rabbit or imprisoning, seducing or brainwashing females, denying their access to abortion and contraception--the grand historical scheme known as "patriarchy" or "moral majority," etc.

Too bad, so sad. Females can fuck like rabbits too, throwing the men into a cold sweat--whose baby is that? Trust is not an easy thing for males. These days, males are potentially irrelevant reproductively, if females can just swap and fuse their eggs to make babies.

But enough of babies. While the sexes are all about reproduction, oddly enough, GENDER is all about SEX. It's gender that might keep the boys interesting to other girls and boys and everything in between, saving them from total irrelevance.

Although a strap-on can be pretty versatile.

--Martin Taylor


Tuttle Column Shows a Double Standard

To the Editor,

I was most gratified to read the responses to Connie Tuttle's "Best of Gender" piece, particularly the ones from the gentler sex, the fairer sex, the better half.

Upon first reading Connie's column, I took it in the spirit in which she intended, just kidding, and appreciated it as gender satire, my favorite kind of humor. I noticed that it really didn't irritate me like similar rhetoric has in the past. It seemed so blatantly absurd that it lacked edge, which I assume journalists can call upon at will.

After some reflection, however, it occurred to me that that the author, her editor and I know that a similar piece, written about women, wouldn't even be considered for publication in The Weekly, nor should it. Furthermore, if it were submitted by a hapless male staff member, it would be a mortal offense; all hell would break out; the furies would be unleashed; and the poor bugger would be drummed out in the cruelest possible way.

Of course, I don't wish any such treatment for Ms. Tuttle. Her readers' responses to her piece is the appropriate reality lesson for her. She is only guilty of the arrogance of taking advantage of gender-based privilege afforded her by an editor who is preoccupied with political fashion.

While I am on my rant, I wish the editor would rein in that bore, James DiGiovanna. He is as responsible as anyone for dumbing down dah Weekly, dude.

--Bill Cox


Men Are SO Oppressed These Days!

To the Editor,

Having read Connie Tuttle's absurd article, "Best of Gender," followed by your newspaper's Mailbag introduction describing the many letters written in response to it, it is no surprise that a woman such as Tuttle feels entitled to write an article spewing hatred against men and boys.

Instead of recognizing that her article was as sickening as it actually was, and that any man (substitute woman, black or Jew, if a similar article had been written about them) would dare to actually respond to this fool's rantings with honest emotion, your writer actually subtly smears them.

Though you attempt to support and extend Tuttle's thesis with your introductory language, you actually provide disturbing evidence that in this society, it is most often men and boys, not whining feminists, who must bear the weight of stupidity and bad behavior. In the case of feminists, it's a well-organized group of bitter women whose sole focus in life is to ensure that they are perceived by everyone as the greatest of all victims, while hardly ever being required to take responsibility for anything of consequence in life.

On second thought, maybe, like one male writer responded, I will hand in my penis after all. It must be quite a life.

--Francis Carmel


The Civil War WAS About Slavery

To the Editor,

I didn't catch Tom Danehy's "Zero Tolerance" (Sept. 18) column to which Sarah Nicole Houston indignantly replies ("This Week's Obligatory Danehy Letter," Oct. 9). However, in my current copy of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report, there are pertinent articles dealing with their revisionist shtick: "Lincoln Reconstructed" and "Whitewashing the Confederacy," for example. She's obviously been indoctrinated by white-supremacist hate groups like the League of the South.

Sorry, Sarah. The civil war was ALL ABOUT SLAVERY. It's scary that people like you want to put a nicey-nice spin on it. Perhaps you think the innocuous-sounding group, the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, just want to promote their heritage. Think twice. Their "chaplain-in-chief" John Weaver wrote that many Africans "blessed the Lord for allowing them to be enslaved and sent to America." (SPLCenter.org: A War Within.)

Just because Danehy uses juvenile hyperbole to get your attention doesn't mean he's wrong. Danehy is aware that the phrase "Confederate States of America" is a racist buzz symbol in the current attempts at re-writing history.

--Christina Moodie

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