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RTA Didn't Bother to Talk to Grant Road Residents

I live right on Grant Road. That makes me one of the people affected most by the possible Grant Road expansion, but strangely enough, no one from the Regional Transportation Authority has stopped by to chat with me or my neighbors ("Drive Time," April 20).

I would like to change this oversight. Chuck Huckelberry and all those involved in the RTA, I am personally inviting you to visit my house on Grant Road and spend a few minutes in one of these beautiful old homes that you may demolish for the Grant Road expansion if the sales-tax increase passes.

Come by and visit my home, and then you will understand why I am going to fight you tooth and nail to save it. This is not a mark on a map; this is my home. I bought this property with the intention of living here a very long time. I take pride in how my yard looks to the thousands passing on Grant every day, and put blood, sweat and tears into turning this land from an empty lot full of trash into a beautiful garden.

I am not willing to give it up for a plan that is not feasible. The proposed expansion won't even be completed for 20 years. By that time, those changes will not be sufficient. It seems like a waste of time and money. I would be willing to give up part of my land for a plan that made more sense and cost the taxpayers less money. Installing bus pullouts and right-turn-only lanes at intersections would go a long way to alleviate the traffic problems. Besides, this would not take 20 years and would cost a fraction.

I understand the good of the public over the good of the private, but come on. If you want to bulldoze my home, at least have the decency to see what you will be destroying, and then decide if your plan is really worth permanently wiping out a charming stretch of road in Tucson.

I encourage everyone to vote NO on Questions 1 and 2.

Lisa McAllister


RTA Didn't Bother to Talk to Affected Businesses, Either

Although most of the Weekly editorial staff wound up endorsing 1 and 2, they did include and prominently display an opposing article by Dave Devine that many appreciate ("The Dissenting Voice," April 20).

Looking from the perspective of a small-business owner, you will find that those most adversely affected by 1 and 2 are small businesses and residents. The RTA had a series of community-outreach meetings before their presentation to the mayor and council, but nothing was mailed or delivered to the businesses that would be removed for the mandatory expansion of roads. That's no accident.

If there had been a genuine effort to address the predicament of the small businesses and homes, the issues would have been addressed and communicated before the questions were placed on a ballot. They snuck it past us and assumed those affected would not have enough time to educate the public. They can be confident with the growth lobby's formidable television/media blitz. The RTA has even hired a PR firm.

What's worse than the standard advertising are the misleading statements I received when I spoke at the downtown RTA meeting last March. Concerning Broadway, they refer to a pre-existing Broadway Corridor project passed in 1985, which was essentially the same road-widening plan they are discussing in 1 and 2. Should they attempt to resurrect something like this, it would need to be reassessed and reintroduced to the public. That's essentially the task Question 1 and 2 is attempting, but to say "the plan was already passed through mayor and council in 1985" is misleading. Otherwise, they wouldn't need to put in 1 and 2.

They are also telling the public that the communities affected will be able to "shape the progress of the plan" once it passes. To do this, they will set up a citizens' committee, which would be great if there were actually some wiggle room for those businesses being displaced--but there isn't. You can't ask them to "drop a lane."

On May 16, we're supposed to be part of a silent sacrifice that will ensure more public transit, bike paths and environmental protection. Even if this promise is delivered, it is worth gutting at least three major streets of small businesses for eight-lane roads and a nice cement bike path to Wal-Mart? Unfortunately, it's too late for them to earn our trust, so they will not earn our silence.

Jack T. Waldron


Billy the Kid's Appeal: His Name, His Youth

It's a great nickname! That's my quick response to Leo W. Banks' questioning of the ongoing celebrity of Billy the Kid ("A New Billy the Kid?" April 13). Ask any politician about the value of a catchy name come Election Day.

I would also add that perhaps there is something about a scrawny delinquent being a match for older, stronger men that appeals to something that most of us have felt at one time or the other.

The Wild West was the last stage for our collective adolescence. The legend of Billy the Kid, like a dark Jack and the Beanstalk, appeals to the part of us that wants to remain the unencumbered yet potent child.

Lee Shainen


Well, Danehy Went and Lost Us ANOTHER Reader!

Since moving here from Washington last August, I have consistently lamented the state of journalism at the Tucson Weekly. It's especially disappointing since I was an avid reader of the fantastic weekly The Stranger (a Seattle "alternative" weekly). Tom Danehy's opinion piece was the last chance I will give the Tucson Weekly. Tom did not "get down" with protestors, and I hope (against my best sense) that title was intended to be sarcastic (Danehy, April 13).

I was at the federal building, having walked to join high school students with a group of students from the UA. First, yes, some of the students did not know the details of what they were protesting. However, if Danehy had chosen to talk to them about their experiences, he would have found these students have a deep sense of injustice brought on by what they and their families are subject to via the pernicious racism that pervades Arizona surrounding the immigration issue.

Second, most students were there not protesting for or against a specific provision of a specific bill, but rather the prejudice and racism that frames this debate. Most of all, they were advocating for human rights, and of this, Cesar Chavez would have been very supportive.

Danehy, instead of lecturing the students to learn their history (so very arrogant of him!), should have listened and engaged in real conversation.

Tom should research the roots of the Chicano movement, and he would find a movement supported and run in part by students who were extrapolating their personal experience to their historical oppression, and then advocating for their human rights.

Shame on the Tucson Weekly for printing such a vapid piece of "journalism." Instead of engaging in "journalism," maybe Danehy could have helped pass out water bottles to thirsty marchers. I suggest Tom work on his own apathy and lack of solution instead of interrupting those working for theirs.

Bryna Koch


'Social' Conservatives 1; Investment Dollars 0

Thank you for your article on "liberal" Tucson and Arizona in general ("Accidental Tourists," Currents, Feb. 23). I have spent about $700 on two trips to the area looking for investment property. I realize now that gay tourist money is expected by the Arizona Republican establishment at the same time that they are strategizing to take human rights away from gay Arizonans.

I have decided to tighten my belt and have moved my property search to San Diego.

Thank you for your candor and a wake-up call to an outsider.

Lawrence Dow

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