Clearing the Water

To the Editor,

In the long saga of Tucson and CAP water, I am always surprised that the news media ignore the University of Arizona. UA's hydrology department and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have eminent, well-informed people who could clear up a great deal of misinformation that has enshrouded CAP water. The media instead interview people with vested interests and personal agendas and continue the misinformation.

The Tucson Weekly's "Sand Trap" (June 7) contained some errors. "Particulate" means visible particles--mud and sediment. The article also used "particulate" for invisible, dissolved salts--mostly sodium, calcium, chloride, sulfate and bicarbonate ions--that are in all natural waters including CAP water, and that are needed in moderate amounts by the human body.

In a second error, as the concentration of dissolved salts increases, water "quality" decreases but the decrease is inconsequential until the dissolved salt content is far above the CAP content. To argue about the different qualities of ground water and CAP water is nitpicking.

A third error is that sand filtration, groundwater recharge and Tucson Water's treatment process all remove particulates but do not improve water "quality," because none remove dissolved salts. Groundwater recharge and sand filtration are no better than the other processes. The chemicals of concern (aluminum and iron ions) in Tucson Water's treatment remove themselves from the water before they leave the plant.

To improve water quality means removing dissolved salts, a very energy-intensive and expensive process. Evaporation and reverse osmosis remove dissolved salts, but to what end? The water is no more healthful and doesn't taste better. Tucson's ground water and CAP water are both already good quality.

--Hinrich Bohn

UA professor emeritus

Elite Cheat

To the Editor,

I enjoyed "Charter Chatter" (June 7), but I feel you were a bit soft on southern Arizona's WTO: the Southern Arizona (Economic) Leadership Council.

You included plenty of negative material about SALC, but your attempt to spotlight favored charter changes left the impression that maybe SALC had some pretty good ideas after all. This also left me with the impression that maybe Jane Amari of the Star--or perhaps someone from SALC's board of directors--got to the Weekly.

Perhaps my smeller is off, but your article carries the odor of compromise, which is a no-no for an alternative paper that many of us rely on for uncompromising coverage of Tucson business and politics.

We all know the Southern Arizona Leadership Council is driven by self-interest--that is, by business interests, not community interests. In defining itself, SALC says this:

"The Southern Arizona Leadership Council is a pro-business organization committed to bringing together resources and leadership to create ways to enhance the quality of life in our community and to attract and retain high quality, high wage jobs."

The last time I checked, the word "community" referred to "a group of people living in the same locality and under the same government" (American Heritage Dictionary). The term "community," in SALC's self-definition, must imply the Tucson community as a whole, including the poor. In other words, SALC implies that it intends to "enhance the quality of life" of Tucson's poor, in addition to the business segment of Tucson.

What is meant by "enhance," in relation to the poor, is anybody's guess, but my guess is that it means opening up more low-wage jobs for those so desperate for work that they will be willing to work at anything for practically nothing in return.

And that part about attracting and retaining "high quality, high wage jobs" assuredly does not apply to the better than 20 percent of Tucsonans who don't have as much as a GED certificate. My guess is that it applies to UA high-tech graduates, compliments of Peter Likins (UA president and member of SALC's board of directors).

Yes, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council is up to no good regarding its bypass of the petition process in order to get its charter changes on the ballot. When a local group of elites bypasses the people in a democracy, the people have been reduced to fodder for the machine.

It's time to protest. A massive demonstration at City Hall is a good place to start, or perhaps at the Southern Arizona Leadership Council's office on Broadway.

--Denny Banks

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