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Danehy Needs to Learn More About Hip-Hop

Before you dismiss hip-hop as violent, misogynistic, materialistic and unoriginal, you need to understand the history of the people who birthed it (Danehy, July 7).

Hip-hop always has and always will be a form of protest from a people who have been subjected to a systematic racism that affects every aspect of their lives. Don't you think someone who lives under these extreme conditions would be violent? Don't you think someone who has lived in subsidized housing and off of family assistance programs would want to "floss" once they moved out of abject poverty? As for the culture being uncreative and hateful towards women, understand that hip-hop culture is only a sub-culture of American society, a society that is a part of a worldwide and age-old tradition of the objectification of women and misogyny in general. One needs only to turn on the TV or flip through the ads towards the back of Tucson Weekly to realize this, yet hip-hop continues to be a scapegoat for a worldwide issue.

And as with any form of music, hip-hop has its mainstream performers and its underground artists. 50 Cent (or Dollah Sebenty-Fo' as you penned in the style of pre-emancipation-era black vernacular) is an example of the commercially successful hip-hop performer who continually raps about money, cars and women, because that's what the supporters of this industry (the majority of them being white teenage suburban males) pay to hear about. Artists like this paint a misleading portrait of hip-hop culture and fail to portray the essence of this powerful movement.

Socially-conscious artists like Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Jill Scott and Kanye West represent what hip-hop truly is: the voice of a people seeking to have their story heard. Listen to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's The Message, and you'll be at the heart of hip-hop, which I believe will continue to evolve as it has for the past 30-plus years.

Ashley Martin


California Pol: Communities' Infill Issues are Similar

"The Issue of Infill," by Dave Devine (June 30), really startled me. In my other life, when not on vacation, I am the chairman of the Board of Supervisors of San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and we had just had a fairly contentious board meeting on the same subject!

I noted the similarities in the discussions. The first was in the sidebar, "Missed Opportunity?" Since we had gone through a similar name-calling episode, it struck me that by calling people names, it moves the discussion off of where it ought to be--is the plan a good plan?

We did not pay much attention for too long to the type of housing that was being built here. What we have ended up with is a lot of "high-end" housing costing millions of dollars, and not much housing that just-folks can afford. We are now concentrating on how we can convert our urban areas into increased density and provide more affordable housing. We have had to realize that the discussion must go from urban sprawl versus infill development to how can we change our zoning and codes to induce builders to provide infill development, provide more affordable housing, and yet keep our renowned quality of life.

My own personal philosophy is: What is the greatest good for the greatest number? We have some responsible bankers and builders working with us on our problems. Our county, although compared to Tucson, is virtually lush, is constrained in its natural and built resources. We are short of water and have few through highways. So for us, the greatest good is to provide the housing in already urbanized areas, close to shopping and public transit.

We require developers to pay fees--much to their annoyance. These fees, however, by state law can only be used for capital projects, and not ongoing operation and maintenance. Thus, schools can be built, but the taxpayers must pay for the books, supplies and teacher's salaries. And even if the developer puts in the roads for the development, taxpayers must provide the funding for road maintenance after the development is in.

One of the most expensive infrastructure needs is water. Part of our difficulty is that people assume that because there are trees growing, there is plenty of water. Those of us who are native here and know how the hydrology of the area works just shrug and go back to tying to figure out how to provide the water to accommodate the growth that will probably take place, without bankrupting the county.

We wish Tucson well. We not only enjoyed visiting with family, but also visiting your lovely desert. This was the first of many visits. It will be interesting to see how Tucson fares.

Shirley Bianchi


Frieders Is Jesus' Kind of Christian

Congratulations on a good interview with Kelly Frieders in TQ&A (June 30). I applaud her courage to look at information anew. Her willingness to be appalled by the murder of Matthew Shepard is humane and honest. This led her to re-examine her thinking about gay people and understand that our government is wrong to take away peoples' rights. Surely this is the truly Christian approach that Jesus was teaching.

Diane Wilson


Look Up 'Marital' to Get Benefits Issues

I was reading Mailbag ("Bad News: Danehy Is Marginally Coherent," June 30) and was astonished to see Doug Koppinger's letter.

Mr. Koppinger claimed that Tom Danehy had no valid argument to deny unmarried couples the benefits afforded to married couples. Apparently, he neglected to take a second look at what he was arguing against.

Marital, when found in the dictionary, is defined as: 1. of or relating to marriage or the married state, and 2. of or relating to a husband and his role in marriage. Any attempt to then give unmarried couples the rights disclosed to those having gone through the actual marriage ceremony would defeat the entire meaning of the word.

Unmarried, heterosexual couples have made a distinct and definite decision to not get married, for whatever reason. It certainly is not because there is a law against it, or that it wouldn't be acknowledged. So then what is the reason for an unmarried couple to claim the privileges bestowed upon couples who do put forward at least $50 for a certificate?

Marriage is more than a commitment. It is a contract between people, recognized by the government. Unmarried couples have not entered into such a contract and cannot reap the benefits of said contract.

Andrea Taylor


Century Tower's Purpose: Blocking Views and Lining Pockets

Hey Cyrus Kirkpatrick, I will give you three reasons why the Century Tower is a bad idea: location, location, location ("Century Tower Blurb Was Mean to McMahon," Mailbag, July 7).

There are other numerous locations where a high-rise could be, but there are no locations that block out the view of the southside and replace it with a giant reflection of the Catalina Mountains. Pretty smart and sneaky, Mr. Bob "Meatman" McMahon.

How many $350,000 to $400,000 apartments can you build on that chunk of green space? Excluding the bottom two floors for retail, the top floor for the restaurant and three penthouse suites for Mr. "Meatman" and his cronies, that leaves roughly 20 floors (give or take one), with, say, an average of two apartments per floor. We are looking at 40 apartments. Wow, what a drop in the bucket towards revitalizing downtown.

I am sure if McMahon was really concerned about revitalizing downtown (and not lining his pockets), he would find a location where he could build numerous and affordable high-rise apartments. Instead, he is worried about the view and how it will affect his profits.

Christian Pedersen

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