We encourage letters to the editor. We can't publish all that we receive, but we try to get a good sampling into our Mailbag column.

This week, for example, all published letters were in response to two recent stories on the Tucson Unified School District. We don't ordinarily take up the entire Mailbag column with letters on one subject, but we made an exception because of the number of critical letters.

A common misperception is that we don't publish letters critical of us. That's not true, as anyone who has carefully followed the Mailbag column since I've been here knows. I publish critical letters, almost always without reply from a writer or editor, because I believe readers should be allowed their unfettered say.

Now, that's not to say we publish everything. First, we get more letters than we have space, so we are selective. We favor shorter letters. We favor e-mailed letters to those sent by U.S. mail (we have to re-type the latter). We only publish letters that refer to topics written about in The Weekly. (That doesn't mean we don't care about, say, animal rights; but if you're talking generally and not specifically about something that's been in our paper, it won't run).

We don't publish letters that are libelous. We don't publish letters that contain racial or other slurs.

We reserve the right to edit letters. For example, we trimmed some of those in this issue because the writers made similar points.

Those caveats aside, we want to read your rants. Send 'em to: or to Mailbag, Tucson Weekly, P.O. Box 2429, Tucson AZ 85702.