Emil Nitrate

To the Editor,

What is it going to take for The Weekly to realize how unethical it is to allow Emil Franzi to write stories about political events that he's personally involved in? You have printed several stories by Franzi about how great it is for the town of Tortolita to incorporate. But Franzi is very active in the incorporation effort and his wife is on the Tortolita Town Council.

Mailbag Many of your readers probably think that the stories are true, without realizing that they are political propaganda. What do you think The Weekly would say if one of the two dailies let Mayor Miller's wife write the political coverage of the Tucson City Council?

--Mike Cano

Editor's note: Mike, unlike the daily papers or "Inside Tucson Business" (see this week's Skinny), we've never made any pretense of objectivity in our coverage, as any moron who bothered to read this rag can easily and quickly discern. The dailies, on the other hand, claim their coverage is "fair" and "balanced." What they don't tell you about in their "news" columns is that their coverage is inherently biased in favor of establishment viewpoints and pro-growth forces. So which is worse: Telling it like you see it and letting the reader decide for himself, or pretending to be neutral and unbiased while pushing agendas set by the rich and powerful?

Frankly, we believe anyone who reads a newspaper or watches a TV newscast expecting sanitized information free of bias--whether cultural, political or philosophical--is a fool. And as for Franzi's reporting--it's pretty damn obvious where he's coming from. And that's the point.

Daily Dead Line

To the Editor,

Recently, a second newspaper vendor was killed while working an intersection in Tucson.

Most people will agree that selling newspapers at Tucson's busy intersections is extremely dangerous. Why this is allowed is a mystery to me. My guess is the amount of influence the newspapers in this town have over our inept City Council.

The bigger question is why TNI subjects these people to such danger. Obviously, TNI wants to sell papers. But, putting all these vendors in danger is way beyond reasonable. These vendors make a nickel a paper, plus tips. Because they are classified as independent contractors by TNI, they are not subject to minimum-wage laws, nor do they get any benefits. So, for a nickel a paper, they take unreasonable risks to make a dollar, with the full blessing of our daily newspapers.

TNI is the publishing arm of The Arizona Daily Star and the Tucson Citizen. I am shocked these two newspapers allow TNI to pursue paper sales in this manner. What is not surprising is TNI's part in this. TNI has always mistreated its independent contractors, which includes paper deliverers.

My son just recently quit his Tucson Citizen route. All routes in this city are now delivered by auto. I helped my son on this route, so I know first-hand how its auto delivery people are treated. And just like the people selling papers at street intersections, these deliverers are classified as independent contractors, which is, by the way, completely legal since the newspaper industry lobbied this provision into law. But, these people are completely controlled by TNI. They must deliver papers by a certain time in the manner TNI wants. They are independent in name only. The reason they are classified as independent contractors is because TNI can save on payroll taxes and other benefits most employees receive. Also, TNI can be immune from lawsuits resulting from the actions of these so-called independent contractors. So, the families of those killed on the job probably have no legal recourse.

The treatment my son received from TNI was terrible. The deliverers were required to pick up the papers by a certain time, but TNI always managed to deliver the papers late. The deliverers were reimbursed for auto expenses, usually not nearly enough to cover the actual expenses. I determined that my son was getting paid approximately $2 an hour, which was less than 50 percent of the minimum wage. He had to buy his own rubber bands and his own plastic bags. So, for all his effort, he made very little.

The two newspapers in this city are veritable cash cows. The profits are huge. There is no reason to treat these independent contractors in this manner. It is just greed, plain and simple.

--Alan Sears

Feeding Frenzy

To the Editor,

Regarding "Hunger Pains" (Tucson Weekly, January 8 ): All life has a basic need for food or nourishment to grow and be healthy. When we learn that the main reason food is produced is to end hunger, then we'll end hunger. But for right now, food is produced to make money to provide jobs and make money to buy food because it is the money you make that gives you the right to the food you need. If you don't have money to buy the food then it goes to waste or charity and may become a tax write-off.

--Lonnie R. Reiger, Jr.

To the Editor,

Regarding "Hunger Pains" (Tucson Weekly, January 8 ): I am a non-expert visitor to Tucson. It seems logical and now more than ever, compelling that the hungry should eat the least expensive, most digestible, most nutritious, highest fiber foods available. The money will simply go further and, concurrently, health will be better. This will eliminate meat, milk and cheese in most cases.

If the federal government subsidizes beans, who have no powerful dairy state senators advocating them, the way they subsidize milk and cheese, no one will ever be hungry in this country. Grains and beans feed the world--why not here?

--Florence Randolph

Hoop Skirts

To the Editor,

While we appreciate the general sentiment of Tom Danehy's column on UA basketball ("News Break-Away," Tucson Weekly, January 22 ), we feel compelled to remind him that when Coach Bonvicini arrived, one of her first moves was to call for an end to the pejorative term "Lady Wildcats." They are the Wildcats. Period.

And, on another note, while we're not fans of the likes of Jenny McCarthy, the comments about the NBC Monday night lineup smacked of misogyny and homophobia.

Tom, keep up the accolades, but, remember, as you yourself suggested, it's not about "women's basketball," but simply basketball! Thus, they are the Cats, not the Lady Cats!

--Priscilla V.H. Walker

Melissa S. Herbert

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