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One of Danehy's Most Dedicated Readers Speaks Out

I really like the Tucson Weekly. Frankly, it's the only local paper I read with any regularity or enjoyment. But my GOD! Why does some guy whose only expertise is in high school girls' basketball have the most prominent column space in the paper?

He has never, NOT ONCE, written an article that revealed some lofty reasoning, brilliant insight or enlightening commentary. It's always some self-serving crap. Flat out, egotistical, self-centered, shallow CRAP: his job, girls' basketball, girls' basketball players' BOYFRIENDS, his daughter is SO smart, his daughter is SO talented, his wife is SO ethnic, he's the greatest coach in the world, so many things peeve Mr. Danehy, oh! what a wonderful world it would be if we all took our lessons from high school girls' basketball, blah blah blah ...

I read that damn column every week, waiting for the light to go on when I finally break Tom Danehy's code, and it is revealed to me why this hack still has this job. As a smart and progressive alternative weekly, Tucson Weekly would do well to grant that space to a columnist worthy of it so that Mr. Danehy can devote himself to his true passions in the appropriate venue ... the high school newspaper.

F.I. Hickman


Nurse: Article Helpfully Spotlighted System's Problems

Thanks for "The Doctors Are Out" (Currents, March 9). Health care in Southern Arizona is struggling right now. Emergency rooms are bearing the burden of this problem. I am an ER nurse in rural Cochise County, and it's even more challenging to find specialty care for patients here. Malpractice premiums are forcing small hospitals and communities to make hard choices. Doctors and nurses aren't swimming in cash as trial lawyers would put it. Once again, thanks for highlighting the issues.

Troy Siler, RN, CEN


Lawyer: Article Let Insurance Companies Off Too Easily

"The Doctors Are Out" has many inaccuracies, not the least of which is the spin by insurance companies that medical malpractice rates are high because of so-called frivolous lawsuits rather than because of corporate greed.

If doctors really want medical malpractice insurance rates to come down, then they should be clamoring for insurance reform. We in California learned this lesson the hard way.

In 1975, at the behest of insurance carriers, lawmakers passed an arbitrary cap on "non-economic" damages of $250,000. Ten years later, doctors' rates had still gone up 400 percent. It was only when we started regulating insurance companies in 1988 under Prop 103 that rates started coming under control.

For example, when giant California carriers such as The Doctors Company, Norcal Mutual and SCPIE recently attempted to raise their rates, these increases were challenged under Prop 103. The result was that thousands of California doctors saved nearly $60 million in the last three years alone, after premium hikes were struck down by the California Department of Insurance. I should know, since I was the attorney who petitioned for the proceedings.

Arbitrary caps on damages hurt innocent families who have been wrongfully victimized by preventable medical mistakes. Caps carry no guarantee of reduced insurance premiums for doctors. If doctors want to protect their practices, they need to recognize the wolf in sheep's clothing--the insurance carriers--who increase their profits year after year at the expense of the medical profession.

Daniel Y. Zohar, attorney at law, Heimberg and Zohar LLP


Thanks for Broadway Automotive Props

This is a wonderful article ("Jimmy's Broadway Automotive Is a Breath of Fresh Air ... " Downing, March 9). I appreciate your time that you have put into this. We had to go and get our own copies when customers came in and called us today. Thank you so much for taking an interest in our building and telling people what it means to all of us here and my entire family.

David Shinkel, Jimmy's Broadway Automotive


Thanks for Autism Coverage; More, Please!

As a teacher of students with autism, I want to thank you for "Autistic in Tucson" (March 2). The awareness of this disability and what it means has not been able to keep pace with the increase in numbers of students born with autism. Consequently, these children have often been misdiagnosed. Articles like yours will do so much to educate us all on the existence and definition of autism.

I am hoping that you will continue with more articles on autism that will touch on the challenges families find once their child leaves the fifth grade, in terms of both receiving services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities and finding appropriate educational programs available in the public school systems. There is a huge gap between what is available for early intervention versus what is offered during middle and high school years and beyond. The public education you could do on the challenges these older children with autism face could do so much to begin to change this inequity.

Travis Jane Sherbourne


Write Your Senators to Protect Endangered Species!

The quote of the year ought to go to Congressman Raul Grijalva. Tim Vanderpool, in "Numbers Game" (Currents, March 9), quoted the congressman as saying, "Species extinction is not something you can politically justify."

Right on!

Though the issue isn't on the media radar, there is a huge effort afoot in the U.S. Congress to gut the Endangered Species Act. A bill passed the House of Representatives last September that would take a wrecking ball to the act, and that bill may soon be headed to the Senate. And, as Vanderpool's article pointed out, with the exception of Congressmen Grijalva and Pastor, all of Arizona's representatives voted for that bill.

Arizonans need to write Senators McCain and Kyl and tell them to oppose any endangered species legislation in the Senate. Remind them that our nation made a commitment 30 years ago to stop extinction, and we shouldn't abandon that because of politics. If anything should go extinct, it's because of the abuse of the political system by special interests and their friends in Washington. Let's keep the Endangered Species Act and the endangered plants and animals it protects strong for future generations.

Jenny Neeley, Defenders of Wildlife


All Politicians Accept Bribes, All the Time!

A riddle: What is the difference between accepting lobbyists' "contributions" and bribery?

Answer: There is no difference.

Will there ever come a time when we can all stop pretending that our representatives in Phoenix and Washington are not accepting bribes? They are all (Republican and Democrat) hip deep in money given to purchase their favors.

In all reality, while the most radical members of the environmental movement don't seem to take a very balanced view, your "Numbers Game" column is spot-on in pointing out, though somewhat tangentially, that money buys influence (i.e., bribery) and the environmentalists have little of either.

Rest assured that if anyone showed up at Sen. Kyl's door with a check (or better still, cash) for $100,000, they would get anything their heart desired. Just make sure you call it a lobbying "contribution."

Eric Maurer

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