Lock 'Em Up
To the Editor,
Vicki Hart raised a number of good questions regarding TUSD's hiring of Maurice Hill, ("Private Lessons," Tucson Weekly, March 16), however she failed to ask the most important question of all--what was Hill doing walking our streets free as a bird?
While I agree TUSD should have performed a more thorough background check on Hill, Pima County Attorney Steve Neely's office failed to protect the citizens, and more importantly our children, from a dangerous, repetitive criminal.
Why didn't the Pima County Attorney's Office prosecute Hill under the Dangerous Crimes Against Children Act? If convicted under this act, first-time offenders spend a minimum of 12 years in prison, and probation is not available. Why did the Pima County Attorney's Office only charge Hill with sexual abuse of a minor and aggravated assault of a minor?
Hart calls the March 11,1994, sentencing of Hill "your basic slap on the wrist." I agree. But why did the Pima County Attorney's office offer Hill a plea agreement with probation available? Why did Neely's office provide the opportunity for Hill to receive that "basic slap on the wrist"?
Unfortunately, this is not the first time Neely's office has reduced charges against child molesters and offered plea bargains with probation available.
I don't blame victims' parents from exploring the possibility of lawsuits against TUSD. But it's clear that the residents of Pima County have an even larger problem to contend with--a County Attorney that talks tough on crime, but appears to be soft on perverts.
To the Editor,
I have violated the CC&Rs of my homeowners association nearly every day for the six years I have lived in this house. I operate a business as a freelance writer and photographer in my home. The neighbors who know couldn't care less, because my solitary occupation generates no noise, traffic or hazardous waste. Still, the fact that the association has a restriction on the books that theoretically should regulate me says something about the petty arrogance of these neighborhood plutocracies. According to the First Amendment, Congress can't tell a journalist where he can or can't work, but a homeowners association thinks it can.
Tim Vanderpool's story on the insidious and frequently abusive power of these associations was timely and accurate ("Dictator On The Doorstep," Tucson Weekly, March 23). He didn't report some of the more outrageous incidents, such as the retirement community that wrenched a pair of grandparents out of their home because they had taken custody of their grandchildren--after the children's parents had been killed in a car accident. Most of the people in any homeowners association are cool and reasonable, but there is always at least one frustrated potentate who spends his or her days prowling the neighborhood for meaningless violations.
One other thing I'd like to add to Vanderpool's report: These associations are mandating an aesthetic conformity that I think will ultimately prove destructive, rather than constructive. Take a stroll along Third Street or Fourth Street in the Sam Hughes neighborhood and you'll be entertained by the variety in color, architecture, landscaping, expressive whimsy. Walk along Waterfield Drive or Dayview Circle in my neighborhood and, well, you'll see 70 stuccoed houses sprayed Dunn-Edwards Navajo white. When archaeologists of the distant future paw over our remnants, what might they conclude about the character of these two eras of Tucson history, just a half a century apart?
I pay $850 a year in association fees, and my only tangible benefit is use of a five-foot-deep community pool (No Diving Allowed). The rest of the money is sucked up by lawyers, insurance (in case some scofflaw Dives and Sues), and the management company. Compared to this, state and federal taxes seem like a good investment.
--Lawrence W. Cheek
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