September 14 - September 20, 1995


Boy, Oh Boy

To the Editor,
Regarding Margaret Regan's column on the Shannon Faulkner debacle ("Across The Fence," Tucson Weekly, August 24): Let me begin by saying that military school is probably the most elaborate cover-up for organized homosexuality ever devised in the name of God and country. For decades, schools such as The Citadel have been the last refuge of pathetic, still-virgin young boys who pretty much have given up on the idea that they will ever have the opportunity to kiss a grown woman.

In my opinion, social retardation with women, fueled by years of excessive wang-twiddling, is the reason for the tame and pitiable thought process that influences these lads to choose a life of eating, sleeping and showering with other 19- and 20-year-old boys for a period of four years or more.

Regardless of the reason for the choice, there is a mountain of scientific evidence supporting the theory that this lifestyle after a few years causes males to develop debilitating paranoia of women, as well as extreme bitterness and resentment towards them.

This phenomenon, was evidenced immediately after Shannon Faulkner left The Citadel, when hordes of young cadets pranced into the embrace and skip about like little girls in their new Sunday bonnets.

The legal system betrayed these fine young fellows by allowing a female to be admitted into their ranks. Shannon Faulkner disrupted their little piece of "boy's heaven," and paid the price for doing so.

The Citadel is not affiliated with the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard or Air Force. It is merely "pretend military." A place where teens can enter a magical kingdom of make-believe, and fulfill their boyhood dreams of playing soldier in one of those adorable little spring outfits.

Why in the name of God's green earth Ms. Faulkner wished to become a member of this cherry-boy's fraternity is beyond me.

Because of the excess baggage Shannon Faulkner was carrying around on her hips, she would have failed the physical aspects regardless of the way she was treated. However, she deserved the right to fail on the basis of her own merit--or lack of it--without the goading and taunts of zit-popping geeks who couldn't get laid in a nickel whore-house with a pocketful of hundred-dollar bills. Such was not to be her luck though.

Now, young gentlemen of The Citadel, your week-long crisis is history. You may return at once to your duties of monumental importance, such as putting that extra-special shine on your boots, folding your underwear up real nice and pretty, or making up your bunks so a coin bounces off.

Run along now, boys.
--Erling W. Hansen

Thorny Problem

To the Editor,
I welcome Jim Wright's exposé of Don Diamond's deal with the Arizona Board of Regents to exchange 400 endangered Pima pineapple cacti for yet another Diamond-backed development. ("Thorn In His Side," Tucson Weekly, August 10).

But Diamond is not the only demon in this story. When a Tucson biological consulting firm "accidentally" discovered the cacti, it looked like the multi-million dollar project was dead in the arroyo. But by another strange twist of fate, a loophole was found. For the small price of $51,124, a UA botanist was contracted to remove every last prickly inhabitant from the site under the auspices of "scientific research."

This legal flick of the developers' magic wand allowed the consulting firm to claim there were no Pima pineapple cactus on the site. Pushing the limits of legality, yes. But what's worse is that this section was the Pima pineapple's Shangri-La. Its paradise found.

These pudgy deacons of the desert are (were) not to be found in such abundance anywhere north, south, east or west of this ill-fated site. In biospeak: "prime habitat," "core area," maybe even "center of diversity." This was the heartland for pima pineapple cacti.

In the name of "science" this Shangri-La was napalmed by UA's well-paid, shovel-packing team. Now, any self-respecting desert biologist would have recognized the value of this place. But swayed by greed, both the Tucson consulting firm and the UA botanist choose to overlook the extraordinary conservation importance of the site, opting instead for profit.
--Abby Maddox

The Skinny Flunks Out

To the Editor,
I agree there is a disparity in the attendance figures between Sunnyside and Desert View High Schools but am disappointed by your writer's misinformed remarks which only serve to disparage Desert View ("Unbalancing Act," The Skinny, Tucson Weekly, August 31).

You say that Desert View "generally suffers in comparison to Sunnyside, academically, athletically and otherwise." In fact, the opposite may be true. Our art students annually gather a disproportionate number of awards in regional and statewide competitions; our drama department won the state 4A competition last year and finished fourth among all high schools in Arizona; art teacher Patty Mathes and English teacher Pam Hopkins won Teacher of the Year honors last year; we offer students nine computer labs, including one equipped with Windows 95 and state-of-the-art equipment; Michael McVey's class placed fourth in the nation in a competition of all high school Internet front pages; and 1995 graduate Julie Martin was the Sunnyside School District's first-ever AIA Student-Athlete of the Year.

Athletically, we are competitive among 4A schools, sending a majority of our teams to state playoffs last season. This year's basketball squad will be a favorite in southern Arizona competition. Agreed, Sunnyside is dominant in football and wrestling (although we have our share of state champions in that sport), but you may recall that we defeated them for the state baseball title in 1993. And our Willie Walker is the only Tucsonan starting for the Arizona football Wildcats this year.

"In danger of slipping away into 3A?" Your math is on the skinny side. With 1,550-plus students (not the "fewer than 1,400" that you state), Desert View is closer to moving to 5A than going the other direction. To qualify for 3A, a school must have less than 950 students, 5A requires 1,900. You figure it out.

As to what you term "otherwise," your writer states that "Desert View is probably best known for being the site of an on-campus shooting a couple of years back." Best-known by whom? Our annual Renaissance Faire and last year's library mural project (painted by students) received more media coverage than did the shooting. Furthermore, since that tragedy, we have worked hard to build a positive environment for our students. One of the reasons for our lower enrollment could be our strict "zero tolerance" policy regarding gang activity. Under the leadership of our principal Keith Lawson (another winner of a state award this year), the administration had been swift to react to perceived gang behavior, resulting in one of the best campus environments in Tucson. Now, that's a story!

This is the first time I've seen a school criticized for having small classroom sizes. Too bad your facts aren't correct (again). Average classrooms still run around 30 students; my classes exceed that number.

Last year, I avidly followed The Skinny's coverage of events at Catalina High School, believing you were telling the truth. Now I feel guilty -- if you could be as outrageously wrong as you are in a piece as brief as this, I'm afraid you were lying to me then, too.
--Stacy Haines

Class Struggle

To the Editor,
As a teacher at Desert View High School, I was appalled at the lack of proper reporting concerning the two high schools in the Sunnyside Unified School District ("Unbalancing Act," The Skinny, Tucson Weekly, August 31).

It is apparent that there was no investigative reporting done before the article went to press. One example would be the statement, "Conversely, Desert View has class sizes in the teens and low 20s." Perhaps one of your reporters would like to visit my sixth period English class and talk to one of the 34 students in my class.

Or, perhaps we can discuss some of our students who are now at USC, Adams State and Rensselaer Polytechnic (all on scholarships).

We can also talk about the grants that our school just received for a literary magazine of Desert View artists to be transferred onto CD-ROM and the new state of the art technology lab.

The accomplishments of our students are too numerous to name, but you can be assured that Desert View definitely, "emerged from the shadow...."

At least your article serves one purpose: I can use it in my Beginning Journalism class (which has 25 students and is still growing), as an example of poor reporting skills and slanted news.
--Bridgette Gomez

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September 14 - September 20, 1995

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