Judge NotTo the Editor,
Regarding your Skinny item "How Lawyers Spend Public Money" (Tucson Weekly, September 5): This article unfairly maligned Judge Agrillo. First, the request to "remodel the courtroom" had nothing to do with her height. Whoever designed the bench originally made a huge error: The court clerk's work area is inaccessible to the judge. This is a problem because the judge and the clerk must frequently exchange paperwork and speak to each other while court is in session. Currently, Judge Agrillo has coped with this problem by moving the clerk to her work area. In other words, they are sharing the same desk and the clerk's desk is not being used at all.
Second, the Skinny item is hardly timely. She made this request several months ago. And she made it only after the town council asked her to do so.
Finally, "finding a larger judge" would hardly be a solution. Judge Agrillo is an excellent judge. She has common sense, she is intelligent and she is fair. The town of Oro Valley is lucky to have her. I should know--I was the town prosecutor for two years.
To the Editor,
Concerning the Skinny article "How Lawyers Spend Public Money" (Tucson Weekly, September 5): What the article failed to focus on is "How Politicians Spend Public Money." Paralleling the event cited, Mayor Cheryl Skalsky also requested $30,000 for her own slush fund, above the expenditures the town covers. Mind you, this was for her personal use at her discretion, without accountability to the public. Luckily, the Council caught on to the scheme and voted against it. Let's try to keep these activities objective, and cover all sides!
To the Editor,
Regarding "The Working Poor" (Tucson Weekly, September 12): I am really tired of hearing about the minimum wage and how you can't live on it and you can't raise a family on it. That's why it's called minimum wage. You're supposed to work your way up from it.
Just so you don't misunderstand me and think, "You just don't understand the desperate situation these people are in," I am a single parent, so I guess I would fall into your little theory of being the working poor, considering my income and the number of children in my family. I would never, never, never call myself poor or poverty stricken. We have food on the table, clothes on our backs and a home we own. I do not have "poverty" tattooed to my neck, I did not have a car to drive to school, I was a dishwasher at one time and I have one year of college, just as the young man, Pin, in your story does. I worked my way up from it! I survived the old-fashioned way, I work my ass off, and I'll keep working my ass off, come hell or high water!
My hobby is studying history. Admittedly, I do not have a formal education. However, I believe it is safe to say being a dishwasher has never been a job to sustain a family. It has always been considered an entry-level position. Society has higher standards of living today than in the past. Most homes have more than one car, television set, telephone and MTV.
I don't believe what our town or state needs is another program. Tucson already has more programs per capita than New York City. This is a fact. I believe we need more of what this town was founded on--that's guts, for all you transplants.
If I read your article correctly, anyone and everyone who is not born into money should just give up and go on the "county," as they say. Well, I say, "No, thank you." I know my taxes will go towards funding this little plan and it's really sad I'll be paying for Pin's food stamps while trying to feed my kids. I would prefer just asking him over for dinner.
To the Editor,
Sorry someone thought I was "self-aggrandizing" by saying I was taking credit for the southside TCE clinic ("Southside Shake-Up," Tucson Weekly, August 22). The reporter got it wrong.
Everyone who knows me will know the reporter must have misunderstood which question I was answering because there is no TCE clinic. There is a TCE program, but no clinic.
What I told the Tucson Weekly reporter is that as a member of the Board of Health, I made the motion to declare Tucson's southside an area where an excessive amount of people were getting sick, possibly due to exposure to TCE contamination in their drinking water. That motion passed. Prior to that motion, nothing was being done to bring government funds into the area to clean up the TCE and to care for those people affected by the contamination.
Passing the motion opened the door for the Board of Health to recommend its director contact the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Through the CDC, the Environmental Protection Agency got involved and we were then able to request funds for the clean-up. Eventually a TCE subcommittee on the Board of Health was formed that worked with many organizations and individuals on the southside to help with TCE problems.
One avenue of help was the TCE program that lead to health care for the people with health problems due to TCE exposure. These people are referred to the El Pueblo Clinic.
The Board of Health and the City Council provided funds for the program; legislators Carmen Cajero and Phil Hubbard secured additional funding from the state. I had nothing to do with that.
--Betty J. Liggins
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