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Another Volley in the Ghost Ranch Lodge Preservation Debate

The historic preservation officer for the City of Tucson ("Claim: Scoville's Commentary Was Divisive, Inaccurate," Mailbag, July 2) responded to my guest editorial (June 18) concerning the preservation of the 1917 addition of the Santa Rita Hotel and the Ghost Ranch Lodge. The reality is that there is no desire to see if significant historic fabric remains under the later alterations. You can always present the obviously modernized facade and get the answer you desire.

The most troubling response by Jonathan Mabry relates to his opinion about the preservation of the Ghost Ranch Lodge: "I have offered an opinion to the (State Historic Preservation Office) that the developer's originally proposed project saves the most significant historic buildings and meets the national standards for preservation, an evaluation the SHPO concurred with." What Mr. Mabry conveniently left out was that his "opinion" was rejected by the "keeper" at the Department of Interior (the true honcho for historic-preservation nominations).

The entire Ghost Ranch Lodge needs to be nominated. This is the position that I and others took throughout this entire process. Mabry's "opinion" demonstrated an incomplete understanding of the application of national standards for historic preservation.

Ken Scoville


Author: I'm Most Certainly NOT Advocating for Violence or Libertarianism

Thank you for taking the time to review my novel The Nation's Highest Honor ("Viva Violence?" Books, July 16). The reason I am writing is to assure you that the novel is not intended to advocate violence, nor is it meant to be sexist, nor is it meant to advocate a libertarian point of view. In fact, I am very much a pacifist—so much so that I've been a vegetarian for more than 25 years and literally go out of my way to avoid harming even the very smallest of creatures.

I am very much in favor of social programs (better education, universal health care, socio-economic equality, equal opportunity, etc.) and effective government regulation and management of our (extremely) violent and still-prejudiced society. In other words, I am from the truly liberal wing of the Democratic Party and, essentially, the opposite of a Libertarian. Check out my blog at www.redroom.com/author/james-gaitis.

And, yes, I suppose a fair number of my female characters have something of a Nazi quality (although I see the qualities as regrettably being rather common in the leadership of our society), but no more than the male characters. In choosing genders for my characters, I was merely not discriminating one way or the other.

I hope the above puts you at ease regarding my intentions. My satirical criticisms are intended to recommend more intellectual honesty by those who run our government and to encourage society to demand more intellectual honesty from those in control so that the world will be a fairer and more peaceful place for all of us.

Jim Gaitis


Falkenstrom: I Meant 'Stubborn White Guy' as a Compliment

Paul Gattone ("Claim: It's Offensive to Call Sensei a 'Stubborn White Guy,'" Mailbag, July 16) seems to assume that by saying "stubborn while guy," I am being disrespectful to Stanley Morgan ("A Different Beat," Performing Arts, July 2). In my experience—as a stubborn half-white gal who has managed to achieve most of what I've achieved through that stubbornness—I meant it as a compliment.

I have a picture of Mr. Morgan in 1968, the only white man among about 100 Japanese kendo masters. Morgan's grit and dedication to both kendo and taiko are things I have nothing but admiration for. In fact, it is through my efforts that Mr. Morgan's accomplishments are documented in the Japanese American National Museum's Big Drum retrospective. Why would being a stubborn white guy be a bad thing? Must I be in denial about Morgan's nature and ethnicity in order to honor him?

I have never publicly expressed anything but gratitude and respect for Mr. Morgan. He was my first taiko teacher, and for that, I am forever in his debt. I find it fascinating, in light of the recent brouhaha surrounding Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation, that someone would assume so much from three words taken out of context rather than acknowledge my eight years of dedicated work carrying on Morgan's teachings.

Two things Paul got quite wrong: He attributed the words to both me and Rome, when I am the one who said them. Also, Morgan did not teach me to build drums; he was in the hospital and then convalescing at his daughter's home during the time we started Odaiko Sonora. We learned drum-building from Tony Trapasso of Fushicho Daiko in Phoenix. Finally, Morgan did not give us any drums. This is a source of continuing heartache, because I can think of no greater way to thank Morgan for instilling such a love for the art form in me than to play one of his instruments.

But life is strangely unjust at times. As a stubborn half-white gal, among many other things, I am deeply aware of that fact ... and at peace with it.

Karen Falkenstrom


Corrections

In "Batter Up?" (Currents, June 16), we reported that a spring training tax election could be held this November. Actually, the legislation states that a vote cannot be held until at least November 2010.

In "Connected Departure" (Music, June 16), we reported that the Veils were making their first trip to Tucson; actually, they performed at Plush last year.

We apologize for the errors.

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