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'Ev' Mecham Was Not a Bigot

Responding to The Skinny ("Black and Blues," May 6): I do not want to debate the merits of the case regarding the mishandling of the death of Tyrone. Johnson. I have no knowledge of the details surrounding it. However, your comments regarding Judge John Roll are completely out of order. Your implication that Roll is a bigot because he was appointed by Evan Mecham is shameful. John Roll is an honorable man! He is highly respected by his judicial colleagues as well as those who appear in his courtroom.

Ev Mecham was no BIGOT! The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was illegal at that time. Gov. Bruce Babbitt had no authority to proclaim a paid holiday for state workers as a final act of his term. The authority to do this is vested in the Legislature. Mecham's proposal to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. was a sound one: He suggested we have it on a Sunday. Sunday seems to function well to honor our mothers and fathers! Most of the people of Arizona could celebrate it in church and all would be off work to come together in celebration. Mecham thought it would give the clergy an opportunity to include it in their sermons. Imagine applying the principles of common decency, human rights and social justice to all men as a projection of the love of God! It has been more than 18 years since Ev was governor! Give him a break! Get off his back and stop blaming him for the problems in our society.

Helen Seader


Disagreement Over the Word 'Must'

I'm Ken Willingham, husband of Barbara Stahura, author of "Don't Be Selfish and Stupid: If You Must Ride a Motorcycle, Wear a Helmet" (Guest Commentary, May 20). I read the piece Barbara wrote prior to her submission to the Weekly and fully agreed with her on the content and presentation. However, adding the single word "must" to the headline makes all motorcycle riding into a bad, conscious decision.

This is not my opinion. Even Barbara agrees that there is nothing inherently bad about motorcycles or riding them; interaction on the roads with the ever-growing number of oblivious drivers is the largest problem. Even the now-famous Hurt Report on motorcycle accidents stated that the single most damaging collision problem is with cars turning left in front of motorcycles, the driver then claiming that "they" hadn't seen the bike. The majority of drivers are competent and aware of what is happening around them and cause very few problems for anyone.

I chose to stop riding because of the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) suffered in the collision, and the potential of having another car turn in left in front of me and worsening the condition. My decision had nothing to due with motorcycles being a bad thing that I "must" do.

Ken Willingham


Props for Bond Election Skinny

I really enjoyed your two articles in The Skinny, "The Best of Times" and the "The Worst of Times" (May 20). They were cleverly written and said a lot without saying much at all. It is like a "choose your own adventure" of modern times. Which version of the truth are you ready for?

Abie Morales


Bush Needs to Support Students

In response to Tom Danehy's opinion (April 22), I have only two words to say: Damn straight! My biggest concern with having Bush as president for the next four years is his handling of college funds. While George Bush gives tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, students (much like myself) are struggling to find the support they need to succeed. Today, college students face soaring tuition costs and a lifetime of debt after graduation. Our country needs a president who understands that today's students will be the engine of our new economy.

Elise Hicks


Opposition to Trust Land Proposal

The state lands proposal from the utility, urban sprawl and livestock industries, and a few so-called conservancy groups, is a bad deal that violates the public interest ("Trust Issues," Currents, May 20). While everyone wants positive state lands reform, the industry proposal would weakly conserve only 300,000 acres, mostly in the backyards of the rich, while sacrificing more than 8 million acres.

This scam would reverse the Arizona Supreme Court and amend the state Constitution to guarantee state land grazing leases for current permit holders, including House Speaker Jake Flake. Free-market competitive bidding for leases, including from other ranchers or conservationists who may pay more and better care for the land, would be eliminated. There are no meaningful requirements to manage or monitor leased lands. The proposal would severely limit future state lands conservation by requiring unlikely agreements involving more sprawl. It includes controversial land exchanges, rejected by voters five times, and would hand off utility and road right of ways at low- to no cost.

More than 40 prominent organizations are opposed to the proposal since industry leaders said "no" to requested reasonable changes to protect the public interest.

Daniel R. Patterson
Center for Biological Diversity

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