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Claim: Reporting on Financial Problems at ATC Was a 'Cheap Shot'

OK, team, as much as I enjoy the Weekly, Saxon Burns' article on the Arizona Theatre Company was bad journalism ("Bad Box Office," Currents, July 19). When did he become your arts reporter? He describes a company that actually survived a big financial hit, but the headline, photo caption and lede make it look like something terrible happened.

Has he talked to other major Tucson performing-arts organizations about their finances? Employees taking an extra week of unpaid vacation would be considered a victory at many major theaters around the country.

An arts reporter would ask about their season-ticket renewal rate, for example, which is consistently one of the best in the country. A reporter would look into other performing-arts organizations and not be satisfied with just going after the "easiest" story to get. ATC lives in the rock-and-a-hard-place world of a company that has to keep high-brow artiste types happy and, at the same time, pay the bills. They cannot be Borderlands Theater or Disney on Broadway.

You won't see journalists in Phoenix taking this cheap shot.

Howard Allen


All Hail Tucson's New Robot Overlords!

You can imagine how pleased I am to see that the rampant auto-related crime of this lawless town will finally be cleaned up by the sophisticated techno-capitalists at Tucson Police Department and their privatized, Sauron-like camera eyes ("High-Speed Scene," The Skinny, July 19).

Most appalling is the traffic ticket "quota" required to pay off the debts to American Traffic Systems (ironic name, isn't it, considering their business model is about as "American" as Josef Stalin). Yes, it's a fascist-conservative's wet dream out there on the mean streets of Tucson, and soon, we'll be reaching a threshold where any traffic crime, at any time, anywhere, will be instantly caught on camera, and the city's bank accounts billed accordingly, as we all inch closer toward a new American police state. To accuse Lt.-cum-Führer Mike Pryor's cyborg-eye scheme of being "Orwellian" would be cliché; "absurd" might be a more apt adjective.

It is clear that this is the work of a man who has no stake in public office. I think I speak for every Tucsonan when I say that while I'll begrudgingly accept a traffic ticket from an officer, I find the idea of applying the same principles to traffic law as we do to an automat to be slightly discomforting. Hopefully, there are some carbon-based policemen and women out there who fear their encroaching obsolescence.

In the meantime, I, for one, would like to be the first to welcome our new robot overlords.

Keith Spencer


Another Viewpoint: It's Hell to Believe in Such a Vengeful, Mean God

Not known for being brief, I will be here:

I'm a liberal, a heterosexual progressive who has gay and straight friends.

I believe in God--a loving, forgiving, powerful God. I probably got that belief from my mother and my Christian upbringing.

Hell is not full of homosexuals. Hell is empty. To quote my Episcopalian mother, "Hell is here on Earth. It is a state of mind." Sounds like you, Jim McElyea, are in hell ("Claim: Boegle, Burns and Other Homosexuals Are Condemned to Hell," Mailbag, July 26).

Everyone is going to heaven--a big Ocean of Souls, all together, no separation, all love. The light and love of God ever burning above the Ocean and from within the Ocean. That image is mine, not Mom's.

I read somewhere that the vast majority of Americans, 90-plus percent of them, believe in God. I believe only a third of them believe in your God, Jim. Truly, I thank God for that.

Stu Jenks


The Culture of Cheating in Sports Is Running Rampant

Tom Danehy's list of disappointments (July 26) in the world of sports ignored the most blatant of them all: the culture of cheating.

In all major sports, it appears to me the goal of the players is not to play the game to the utmost of their chemically enhanced abilities; it's to cheat as much as possible without getting caught. Both college and pro sports remind me of professional wrestling, in which, when the referee turns his back, mayhem (albeit fake mayhem) breaks loose.

These athletes know the rules; the coaches know the rules; but they don't follow the rules. How can these guys be considered role models? Granted, their lack of integrity could be considered beneficial in the world of business and politics, but it's also a window into the sickness of our culture.

All this cheating (in the name of God, no less, when the players thank Him for their win) begs the question: If the only way to win is by head-butting the quarterback, or knocking the forward on his butt with a flagrant foul, or plucking the baseball out of the grass and pretending it landed in your mitt, what would Jesus do?

(Answer: Jesus wouldn't even be there. He'd be downtown, putting up homeless shelters for those who are losing at the game of life.)

Duncan Stitt


Public Needs to Be Aware of Animal-Cruelty/Human-Violence Connection

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your excellent article "Cruel and Unusual" (Currents, July 12). As a community, we must become more vigilant about reporting and intervening in animal cruelty. By increasing public awareness of the animal-cruelty/human-violence connection, we can help identify some of the origins of violence, predict some of its patterns and prevent its escalation.

The connection between animal cruelty and human violence is well-documented. The Humane Society of the United States' First Strike Campaign raises public awareness and educates communities about this connection while providing a variety of resources to law-enforcement agencies, social-work professionals, educators, legislators and families. The HSUS offers rewards in animal-cruelty cases across the country and works to strengthen laws against animal cruelty. Visit humanesociety.org/firststrike for more information.

For more than a half-century, The Humane Society of the United States has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Although not affiliated with any local humane societies, we do work with them on a regular basis. The HSUS is the nation's largest animal protection organization--backed by 10 million Americans, or one of every 30. More than 200,000 of those supporters are right here in Arizona. As an Arizona native, I am thrilled to be working with others here to help prevent animal cruelty. Feel free to contact me if there is ever anything that I can help with.

Keep up the great work!

Kari Nienstedt
Arizona state director, The Humane Society of the United States


In Tucson, It's Raining Buddhists!

I really enjoyed the "Faces of Buddhism" article in the July 12 Weekly; thank you.

You mentioned several local Buddhist groups, and I am happy to share that there are even more!

I have the pleasure of being affiliated with two other Tibetan Buddhist groups in town: 1) Drikung Namgyal Ling: drikungkagyutucson.org and 2) FPMT Gelugpa (guided by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, www.fpmt.org).

Both offer study groups for beginners, practice sessions and opportunities to meet excellent visiting teachers who offer public talks and teachings. Everyone is welcome.

May every being, within every faith, develop a wise and kind heart for the benefit of many!

Alison Iaso Isenberg

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