Baseball Batty

To the Editor,

Regarding Tom Danehy's "Foul Ball" (May 13): Is it written in stone (pun intended) that all good things are doomed to suck someday? Tucson Sidewinders owner Martin Stone's firing of general manager Mike Feder over "philosophical differences," including Feder's having a messy desk, seems to point in that direction. What's more, Mr. Stone's comments to the Daily Star following Mr. Feder's firing are as arrogant and ill-considered as his decision to dismiss the very man who has done more than anyone for Tucson baseball over the last ten years, in spite of his cluttered desk, taking the helm of a sinking ship and getting people to come out to Hi Corbett Field.

Mailbag For Mr. Stone to stand before God and ball fans and effectively claim that it's his team and he can do what he wants with it may be true in the very strictest proprietary sense, but that doesn't keep it from being nauseatingly callous and heartless. And what has the obviously over-starched Mr. Stone done so far? Let's see, when moving the Phoenix Firebirds out of the perfectly decent Phoenix Municipal Stadium wasn't enough, he bought the Toros, moved them out of midtown's perfectly serviceable Hi Corbett Field into a sparkling new "facility" (they aren't stadiums anymore, you know) for which we'll be paying through the nose for years to come; eliminated free Monday-night tickets; changed the name from the happily alliterative Tucson Toros to the mediocre "Tucson Sidewinders"; and changed the team colors to copper and teal--a combination which will quickly date itself and which looks better on those cheesy "Las Vegas" T-shirts that grandma brings home from vacation than on ballplayers. The last two changes come in keeping with the "snake" theme of the parent club up in Phoenix, as though we had no idea who they were affiliated with.

All of the Tucson Triple-A team's worries, as well as the arrogant and wholly unfortunate firing of Feder, come as a direct result of Mr. Stone's misplaced desire to deliver a "product" (it's not a ballgame anymore--that's too uncomplicatedly good natured, and as such, un-businesslike) which is more "upscale"; the desire that the team plays in a place that can be referred to as "state of the art" (What for? It's Triple-A!); the urge to get more affluent people to come out and spend their money on a game they couldn't care less about; and the deluded urge to make Triple-A ball look like some sort of "Mini-Major Leagues" where the entire "event" has to be overcontrolled and antiseptic. It's all feeding the swift decay of Tucson professional baseball. Truly, Martin Stone is king of the sandbox now and he can indeed do whatever he wants with it, but after a little over a year, it's pretty clear that he's no Mike Feder.

--Keith Johnson

Growing Pains

To the Editor,

Regarding "A Bright And Shining Lie" (The Skinny, April 29): The Sierra Club, in its "Sprawl Costs Us All" report, defines sprawl as the "development that occurs at the urban fringes and is low-density and automobile-dependent." Although Civano has some nice concepts, and may even have acceptable density levels, the fact still remains that they chose to build at the urban fringe of Tucson, thereby contributing to wider road use and ultimately to the sprawl that is blanketing Tucson. This is not a good thing, no matter how narrow their sidewalks or how many solar heaters they own, unless they want their solar heaters to meet the solar heaters of Vail, or of Phoenix at the other end of town.

The Sierra Club has made sprawl its top environmental concern these past two years. The group is sponsoring a petition drive to get a managed growth initiative on the November 2000 ballot. Citizens for Growth Management meetings are held the last Wednesday of every month at the club. The politicians have had over 20 years to do something about this. Every day we witness the result of their not doing something about it. Oracle's recent zoning fiasco, and the San Pedro being one of this country's 10 most threatened rivers as the direct result of groundwater pumping associated with uncontrolled development are two sad examples.

Yes, Civano may be lovely, in a lovely setting, but when we go out there to see that lovely setting, we see buildings instead of desert. I don't think this is the legacy we really want to leave to future generations. Let's not love our desert to death.

--Linda Tepper

Volunteer Coordinator

Tucson Citizens for Growth Management

Problem Solving

To the Editor,

I read Chris Limberis' column with appreciation for the candor that revealed Raul Grijalva for the liberal politician that he is ("Grijalva's Gravy Train," April 29). Chris obviously did his homework in researching the background of Grijalva and other members of the Board of Supervisors.

There was, however, one error in the article which led me to believe that Chris is a product of the famous Tucson Unified School District. He makes a pronouncement that property taxes will increase with "8 cents per $100 of assessed value...." His calculation results in "$8 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home." The result is off by a factor of 10, as an examination of the mathematics involved (a simple middle school problem) illustrates. The $100,000 value of the home is divided by 100 to get the assessed value of $1,000 for the home. That amount, $1,000, is then multiplied by the tax rate of 8 cents ($.08 x $1,000) resulting in the correct increase of $80. And by the way, Ray Carrol is correct and very justified in his stance on the sales-tax issue.

--Jay K. Miller

Chris Limberis replies: Weak as my math skills are, my teachers in Oakland and in Colorado certainly taught me not to skip whole steps. Perhaps Jay uses a TUSD education to botch the property-tax calculation. Jay skipped the critical step of multiplying your assessed value by the homeowner (Class 5) ratio of 10 percent. Tax rates are then multiplied for the $100,000 home used in the example by $100. As the Grijalva story said, an 8-cent increase in the tax rate does in fact mean an $8 increase in the tax bill for a $100,000 home.

Too Many People

To the Editor,

Regarding "Pistol Grip" (May 6): Jeff Smith hit the nail on the head when he stated the world's ills are rooted in one thing and one thing alone: overpopulation.

Poverty, disease, crime and wars are its offspring, due to the cheapening of life.

What burns my ass is when that goofy pope leaves his palace in Rome and goes around Third-World countries in his bulletproof limousine exhorting the starving, barefoot peasants to have more kids. And they do!

Wouldn't we be happier if we were ignorant and realized none of this?

--Albert Vetter

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