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Clearing Up Victim Advocate Efforts

To the Editor,

Thank you for Vicki Hart's excellent article, "Rape at the UA" (Jan. 15). However, I feel it is important to clarify a few areas of misunderstanding.

We do not advise sexual assault victims to "avoid eye contact" with jurors. Making eye contact with jurors during testimony enhances their credibility. Although a victim of sexual assault (or any other crime) has the right to be present at any and all court proceedings, we make victims aware of the many reasons why it is in their best interests to limit their contact with jurors.

We do not tell them to "act demure." We advise them to be themselves and, above all else, speak the truth. We stress the importance of appropriate attire, as well as dignity and respect for the court.

Finally, rape shield laws notwithstanding, defense attorneys go to extraordinary lengths to discredit a sexual assault victim.

You're to be commended for the effort invested in this article. I hope it serves to raise community awareness of both the prevalence and gravity of sexual assault.

--Joann Scammon
Victim Advocate
Pima County Victim Witness Program


'Pillars' Should Fight Billboards

To the Editor,

As you pointed out in your Jan. 8 cover story ("Man in the Middle of the Billboard Battle"), Mark Mayer is doing a great job fighting the spread of intrusive billboards along our streets and highways.

You need to do a follow up on why the "pillars" of our community are so conspicuously absent from the fray. And when you talk with them, you might ask how an ugly city is consistent with promotion of economic development.

--Anthony Haswell


Danehy Needs to Lay Off the N-Word

To the Editor,

How nice that Tom Danehy ("Difference of Opinion," Jan. 22) finally found a context in which he could use the n-word in your publication. His effortless use of that modern politico-journalistic technique--of getting a black person to say bad things about black people and then pretending that it gives you license to do the same yourself--must be an inspiration to self-righteous white people everywhere.

But Danehy leaves forward thinkers in the dust, using the words of "social commentator" Chris Rock to further hypothesize the existence of Hispanic "n-s," while also quoting such Latino notables as "Olivia" and "Manny" for support.

It might be less noxious if Tom, being white and all, were to theorize on the subject of Caucasian "n-," though not really. Perhaps you could just ask him to stop using the word altogether on company time--maybe just use it in social contexts, like those in which blacks and Hispanics are actually in the room and free to punch his lights out if they don't agree with his sociological theorizing.

--Steve Barancik


Mobile Home Communities Like 'Brush and Bulky'

To the Editor,

I am writing this letter on behalf of the Tucson Chapter of Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona, the statewide trade association for the manufactured housing park industry. A Jan. 23 article ("The Brush Off") appears to suggest that the mobile home lobby opposed the adoption of a new "brush and bulky" fee. Quite the contrary, the Tucson Chapter of MHCA did not oppose the fee.

In fact, there were several meetings with the industry to discuss the need for and purpose of such a fee. Meetings were held with Councilmember Kathleen Dunbar and Councilmember Carol West and members of the staff to discuss the issue in depth. While the industry is generally reluctant to endorse fee increases, the members did not oppose the fee, with the belief that the city needs additional resources in order to do a better job of cleaning up our beautiful city.

Clearly, the fee increase has been put to good use. Councilmembers Dunbar and West have been very proactive in working with their respective neighborhood associations, and we, as an industry, are very pleased and appreciative.

City staff, for the first time in a long time, are able to remove some of the blight and otherwise objectionable accumulation of trash that clutters our alleys and finds its way throughout our neighborhoods. Several of our members remarked at the last meeting that they are pleased with the progress that is being made to clean up the city of Tucson.

--Scott Green
President, Tucson Chapter, Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona


Clarification

Some copies of last week's print edition included an inserted questionnaire, along with a letter of explanation. At one point, the letter said that respondents would receive a gift. It should have said that respondents would be entered into a drawing for one of the gifts, as it states in two other places on the letter. We apologize for the gaffe.

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