Mule Mainstay

To the Editor,

I've been a registered Democrat since 1956 and held local office as a Democrat from 1973 to 1980, so I was puzzled when Dan Huff labeled me "a generally cheerful, pro-business Mr. Republican archetype" in his "Hey, Big Box Man!" article (August 19).

We who remember the pro-jobs and pro-economy policies of Democrats from Franklin D. Roosevelt through John F. Kennedy are still Democrats. The anti-employer, anti-jobs and anti-economy folks who call themselves Democrats today don't realize how far they've wandered from the path.

-- Steve Emerine

Darth Mall

To the Editor,

The story on "big boxes" at El Con Mall ("Hey, Big Box Man!" August 19) underestimates the desperation and cynicism of the two family owners. For example, in a recent invited article in The Citizen (August 16), one of the mall owners, M. Papanikolas, maligned Wal-Mart and Home Depot, alleging that their customers are undesirable clientele. Of course, the mall owners know that is false. They compound the lie when claiming that the mall neighborhoods are "elitist" because they don't want big box superstores in their areas.

The real problem is that the neighborhoods have suffered under decades of the mall's mismanagement, watching it deteriorate into a wasteland. Now the family owners want everyone else to bear the burden of their mistakes. They can't think of anything better to do with their prime midtown acreage than install a 24-hour indoor flea market (Wal-Mart) and a noisy and dangerously overgrown hardware store (Home Depot).

Now the two families are suing the city and welching on the agreement that would have softened the impact of their long-secret plans. They want the city to accommodate their lack of vision through various zoning variances. They are spending a lot of money and forcing the city to spend a lot, just to defend normal rights. They are uncivil in the old-fashioned sense of the word.

The citizens of the mall neighborhoods comprise a cross-section of the city. The median house price in the square mile around the mall is about $160,000, close to the citywide average. The neighbors welcome every El Con customer who will help the mall recover from its incompetence. But the mall owners' insult to their own customers, to their neighbors and to the city, is a crass and transparent attempt to foster and exploit non-existent conflicts between groups of citizens. That is arrogant, irresponsible and disgusting.

The mall owners' shrill cry of "elitism" applies only to them.

-- Tom Bever

Straight Talk

To the Editor,

I'm not crazy about The Skinny's way of doing things -- mouthing off without putting your name on it is for pussies -- but you got it right with José Ibarra ("No Way, José," August 19). In my only contact with Ibarra -- researching an article for The Weekly -- he was effusive, condescending and very full of himself. He'd do well in Giuliani's brown-shirt New York, where the heart of town -- Times Square, my childhood stomping ground -- has bitten the dust in favor of Disney North. The ethos that Ibarra espouses, Kids First, turns us all into children, with words, pictures and thought cleansed for the youngest among us, whether we bred 'em or not. Ibarrra has gotten fat at the public trough (literally) and The Skinny deserves a round of applause for calling a spade a spade. Ibarra is a self-righteous prig.

-- Jim Carvalho

Gas Alert

To the Editor,

In regard to our water crisis and Radon health hazard: I feel that Mayor George Miller, the City Council and Tucson Water Director Dave Modeer should put this information on the Internet and national TV. People with a potential destination of Tucson, for whatever reason, may like to have this information. They then can make a decision to be involved or affected by this water crisis and health hazard or go someplace else.

-- George Hentz