Think Your Group Home's Filthy? Clean It!

"Through the Cracks" (Currents, Jan. 19) contains the story of a man who chose to stay at Rose Haven, with La Frontera paying the bill of $125 a week. The story mentions that he had an unspecified back problem. He evidently found the facilities in substandard, unacceptable condition, including grease on the stove, inoperable smoke detectors, broken furniture, mold in the bathrooms, etc.

In my situation, no one pays the rent for me, and when I find grease around the stove, mold in the bathroom or any of the other (things he complained about), I have to clean it up or fix it! No one does it for me, and if I don't do it, it just doesn't get done.

I've stayed in youth hostels around the world, paying a small fee for the lodging. But in addition, all guests are expected to do some chores around the hostel while there. I've cleaned grease off stoves, bought and installed batteries in smoke detectors, fixed furniture and cleaned the bathrooms. This is what you do when you are a guest in someone else's residence. Or when you are in your own home, for that matter.

Where does this guy get off, thinking everything should be handed to him and done for him? I'm assuming he isn't quadriplegic, and that he has no employment obligations, so therefore has time and ability to actually do something in return for what he is being given.

This man (wisely) declined to give his name, but my mother would have called him Little Lord Fauntleroy.

Andy Odell

Question: How Much Did This Letter Add to Our Publication?

I really wonder what the Jim Hightower column adds to your publication.

Each week, it is pretty much the same thing. Hightower points out that (fill in the blank) Bush, Cheney, the Republican Congress, multinational corporations, conservative commentators, Wal-Mart, etc., is (fill in the blank) corrupt, hypocritical, screwing the little guy, stupid, destroying the environment, exploiting the worker, squeezing out smaller competitors, etc.

Then, Hightower makes clever comments, but offers no solution to the problem he has pointed out. His column is so lightweight that it does not even fill the space that the Tucson Weekly dedicates to it.

Mr. Hightower himself is somewhat of a political and media has-been. He served a couple of terms as Texas agriculture commissioner--head of a bureaucracy that practically runs itself. After he was defeated for re-election, he tried talk radio and failed. Oh yeah, he has also written books that are long versions of his columns and about as substantial.

It is not that Hightower is a liberal. It is just that he offers nothing new. There are plenty other liberal columnists whose writings would be more intellectually challenging than the good-guy/bad-guy tomes that Hightower puts out.

I see little reason for carrying Hightower's column unless it is syndicated by the same company that owns the Tucson Weekly, or he is related to someone in upper management. It adds nothing to your publication.

William Hancock

OK, OK, We Concede ... There May Be Three or Four of You

I know your job in The Skinny is to keep the banter light, irreverent and sarcastic. Usually, I appreciate that, but when you dismiss Jeff Latas as a candidate in Congressional District 8, and push the voters into the hands of the Democratic party bosses (if they actually have any of those anymore) in Phoenix or Washington, D.C., you really do your readers a disservice ("Anchors Away!" The Skinny, Jan. 26, and " Scramblewatch: Ins and Outs," The Skinny, Feb. 2) . Gabby Giffords' waffling "phased and orderly withdrawal from Iraq" is the sort of mealy-mouthed, middle-of-the-road crap I would expect from Hillary Clinton.

If Giffords inherits Jim Kolbe's office the same way she inherited her dad's tire shops, then you will have a new dilettante to make fun of until she gets tired of "representing" us in D.C. On the other hand, if you would like to let the voters decide (a quaint concept), then you should get off your ass--no, strike that--sit back down and make some phone calls and fire up your browser and find out what the positions of the candidates really are, instead of parroting stuff you heard in the schoolyard. You might be surprised to find out there are more than two of us.

Robin Polt

A Modest Proposal: Use Horses to Solve Tucson's Woes

It ought to be obvious to everyone that the people of Tucson don't want a transportation solution that costs them any money ("Road Block," The Skinny, Jan. 26). And there is no way anyone is going to force the typical Tucsonan to ride a bus or a train. Thus, the latest in a long history of transportation plans will bite the dust when voters get a shot at it in May.

Could it be Tucsonans really like sitting in their cars for a half-hour waiting for traffic lights to turn green? The alternative is to spend more time with loved ones. Or working and being productive.

Tucson needs to think totally out of the box to solve its transportation issues. Here is a modest proposal: Buy 500,000 horses.

Historically, this was a horse community. Why not leap back to the 19th century and run the city's transportation system on pure unadulterated horse power?

Buy every household a horse from the proceeds of a half-cent sales tax. That would cost around $100 million. Replace Sun Tran with a Sun Stage. Force all commercial deliveries to be made by horse-drawn wagon. Tear up all the asphalt parking lots and turn them into pastures or corrals. Don't bother maintaining the streets. Let them crumble into dirt, because horses do fine on dirt. Think how much money will be saved in street maintenance alone.

The conversion of Tucson's transportation system from car dependency to horses has numerous benefits. Recycle the tons of horse poop that would be generated to grow the 7.5 million tons of hay per day needed to feed all the horses. Use Tucson's treated wastewater to grow the hay.

Blacksmithing and saddle-making could become leaders in Tucson's 19th-century industrial economy. Beats telemarketing centers. There would be no hydrocarbon-induced smog over the city. Teenagers could race horses down Speedway Boulevard at night. Drunk driving would be a memory. Even if the rider is soused, a horse always knows the way home.

Tucson would become a world-famous tourist attraction. And Tucson would never be called a "one-horse town" again.

Hugh Holub


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