Contrary to the adulatory blurb in Best of Tucson's "Best Used Bookstore" runner-up category (September 28), the Book Stop does not draw most of its inventory from large donations and estate sales. The owners report that they receive most of their stock from over-the-counter transactions, and they do not insist that you die before you send boxloads of books their way.

Bottom Feeder

To the Editor,

I found it in very poor taste for Best of Tucson (September 28) to refer to The Folk Shop music and instrument shop as a "roach motel." For your information, this store is considered by many to be the very pulse of folk music in Southern Arizona. As a professional musician, I am unable to understand why a reporter would smear such a profound asset to our community. You have lost yet another reader due to your attempts to be cutsie and trendy at the expense of the city you pretend to serve.

--James Tanguay

Median Income

To the Editor,

In reference to the cover illustration for the October 12 issue: I was unaware Conan O'Brien was now a developer in Arizona.

On a less frivolous note, the Skinny's assessment in that issue of the pending ordinance regarding the use of medians for selling papers or begging is quite similar to the one I held several years back. Now, I believe there has to be some compromise for those people who are making ends meet selling the local rags, but I am less sympathetic toward the legion of panhandlers whose true needs are served better by any number of agencies for the homeless (some of which I have contributed to), than my tossing someone a few coins or a dollar at a stoplight.

I am not contending that all of those who profess poverty on the medians are con artists, but it is somewhat logic-defying to believe the same people continue to be in desperate need of funds for food week after week, when there are mechanisms in the social structure to get that food to the truly needy. And I don't consider the right to procure beer and wine money from passersby one we should enshrine as if we were doing the poor a favor. Every dollar given to a "down and out" panhandler on the corner would have far greater impact if given, instead, to the Food Bank, or, though I don't endorse their religious tenets, the Gospel Mission or Salvation Army.

Oh, and I know someone will say these folks are too proud to go to these handout agencies. But where is the nobility of standing in traffic with a cardboard sign? Particularly if the message on that sign is so often just so much bullshit?

--Jim Nelson

Outside Lookin' In

To the Editor,

One minor correction regarding Susan Zakin's otherwise excellent and informative column (October 5) about the incipient environmental holocaust that is George W. Bush: Zakin refers to Dubya's "unsuccessful venture into the oil business." In the Southwest, most people know the precise term is really "o'l bidness." The use of an arcane and colloquial expression like "oil business" makes me think that Zakin must not be from around here.

--Dan Hostetler

Land Lock

To the Editor,

Governor Jane Hull's Proposition 100, euphemistically referred to as Growing Smarter Plus, would return us to the corrupt back room land deals that Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles was murdered for exposing in 1976.

This constitutional amendment does very little to preserve state land. In fact, it specifically limits the amount of land that can be preserved to a mere 3 percent. If the voters or any conservation groups wish to preserve more than 3 percent, Prop 100 will prevent them from doing so. And the 3 percent selected for conservation was designated by politicians, not the Nature Conservancy.

Unfortunately, that's the least offensive part of this terrible measure. Prop 100 allows land exchanges to occur "without advertisement or auction." That means land deals will be done behind closed doors. The public will have no idea what's being traded, what the land was actually worth, or when the deal occurred. If there ever was license to steal, Prop 100 is it.

But the Governor's bill doesn't stop there. Prop 100 allows "the sale of natural products of the land in small quantities ... without advertisement or auction." However, the measure fails to identify what "small quantities" actually are. According to Arlan Colton of the State Land Department, this clause was designed to facilitate the removal of rocks along Arizona highways. In the hands of slick politicians and attorneys, this section could just as easily authorize the "thinning" of forests for lumber or the removal of "small quantities" of copper.

Sadly, the giveaways continue. Even if a conservation group wishes to lease state land and pay more for that land than ranchers, Prop 100 will give it to the cattle barons. Also, the legislature would be able to sell minerals found on state land to whomever they chose for whatever they decided. To hell with public auction or advertisement.

And if Prop 100 passes in November, politicians, not the public, are the only ones who can designate state land for conservation.

The State Land Trust was created in 1912 to fund education. However, savvy activists refer to the State Land Department as the Discount Store for Developers due to its frequent, below-market sales. Prop 100 would make a bad situation even worse and authorize full-blown raids on the land set aside to benefit education.

Don Bolles must be rolling over in his grave.

--Barry DiSimone

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