Zakin Recants, A Little

To the Editor,

I'd to respond to a letter printed in the March 22 issue of the Tucson Weekly. Letter writer Woody Hume is absolutely right and so is Gary Nabhan, the writer and ethnobotanist to whom he refers. Livestock grazing causes rivers to become narrow and deep. It's unfortunate that I seem to be one of those people who would have flunked out of the military because when someone shouts "right," my left foot occasionally steps forward. The description of damage to riparian areas was a misstatement on my part. As far as the correct name of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is concerned, he is quite right about this, too.

However, Hume's correction only buttresses the obvious conclusion: Livestock grazing and rivers don't mix, especially in the fragile, arid Southwest. I like to ride horses, too, and I wish it were different. But it's not.

--Susan Zakin

Look Out, Red Riding Hood

To the Editor,

It is amazing to me that James Gerety, in his diatribe against me (Mailbag, March 22), seems to speak with such insight. I've spoken to him once, for sure, upon being introduced in 1997. He needs to get out more if meeting me was so traumatic.

There is notable lack of verity with Gerety. The 1997 Casas Adobes incorporation effort was based solely on getting "shared revenues." It seemed to me a very worthy idea to explore, as originally presented. The concept was skeleton government based on $16 million, including transportation monies.

My concern was for committee people to understand strings on certain funds and not overestimate use to support overhead costs or inflate the general fund budget. I was asked to supply materials, and familiarize people with budgets and how to stretch meager dollars, and I did.

Then, at a fateful breakfast meeting, a printed, complete line-item budget appeared with $26 million revenues. The committee had declared incorporation would have a 2-percent sales tax voted immediately by the first council with voodoo-projected $10 million revenues. There were astronomical salaries for bureaucrats, including potential contracts for members of the committee. Admonish? You jest! I think I told them all, in no uncertain terms, they were deceitful, duplicitous, two-faced and totally amoral. They said they planned the sales tax all along and I should either learn to go along to get along or get out. I said I could not be involved in their chicanery, resigned and got out with my integrity still intact.

Gerety's group would throw out the Constitution, hunt dissenters down like dogs, muzzle the press, and stamp out everything but their own propaganda. But they are a unique species, elite, arrogant and howling at the moon. Voters recognize differences; discounting his silliness of sheep in wolves' clothing, they correctly identified them as wolves in wolves' skins.

--Mary Schuh

Raw Recruits

To the Editor,

Tom Danehy's diatribe against SB 1480 ("Out of Bounds," March 22) was misinformed and misguided. The bill's intent was not to open the floodgates to questionable recruiting practices by perennial high school sports powerhouses. Rather, it was to bring the Arizona Interscholastic Association's (AIA) policies in line with state law.

Since 1994, Arizona has had an open enrollment law that allows students to enroll in any Arizona public school, regardless of where they reside. If a student or his parents believe a particular school would best serve his academic needs, he need not be prohibited by attendance boundaries or district lines from attending that school. Yet, if he is also an athlete, he would be penalized for exercising academic choice by having to sit out his sport for a year. This is patently unfair to a student who wishes to excel academically without foregoing interscholastic athletic participation.

Danehy also alleges that the bill is an attempt to dodge accreditation requirements, since the AIA requires its member schools to be accredited by the North Central Association (NCA). He overlooks the fact that there are a number of reputable, nationally recognized accreditation agencies besides NCA, including some that have reciprocity agreements with NCA (which means NCA believes their accrediting standards meet NCA standards). SB 1480 merely requires AIA to recognize any school accredited by "a private, alternative or sectarian accreditation agency that is recognized by a national, regional or trans-regional organization."

Undoubtedly there have been questionable recruiting practices in the history of Arizona high school athletics, but there are other ways to police this activity than by denying deserving students the opportunity to exercise academic choice and simultaneously play high school sports.

--Laura Penny
Chief of Policy and Communications
Arizona Department of Education

Gunning for Glicksman

To the Editor,

Regarding "Check, Please" (March 22) by Elliot Glicksman, which advocates background checks for all buyers at local gun shows:

Glicksman makes the usual uninformed statements that gun owners have seen repeated in print far too many times. I will address those statements in the order in which they appeared:

1. Glicksman suggests that firearm regulations should be similar to automobile regulations. There is at least one problem with that notion: Guns are mentioned in the Bill of Rights. Cars are not. Similarly, a driver's license is a mere privilege, granted by the state.

2. Glicksman also claims that the Second Amendment has long been interpreted as being collective only, not guaranteeing the rights of individuals to own guns. This is totally false, for at least two reasons.

First, all U.S. courts recognize that the word "people" in the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments refers to both collective and individual rights. It is absurd to suggest that similar wording in the Second Amendment means only collective rights, and not individual rights as well. If our founders had wanted only a government-sanctioned army to have guns, they would have said so.

Second, and even more importantly, in the 18th century the word "militia" meant only average citizens who were not part of any government entity.

Finally, if Glicksman's theory about the Second Amendment were really true (that it was meant to be only collective in scope, and not intended to protect individual rights), then private gun ownership would have been outlawed at least 100 years ago, if not earlier.

--J. Birkby

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