In her August 16 column "Fools on the Hill," Susan Zakin noted that an individual in her neighborhood had not obtained a grading permit for the road up the hill to his new home. That homeowner insists that under a provision of the Pima County Zoning Code, what he calls "an appurtenant access easement" was exempt from the permit requirement.

Best Corrections

In an effort as massive as Best of Tucson (September 20), a few things will inevitably go wrong. Here's what we know about so far.

Nimbus Brewing Co. has now won Best Local Brew for three years, not the two we counted in an inebriated haze.

The runner-up for Best Resale Clothing, Buffalo Exchange, is located at both 2001 and 6170 E. Speedway Blvd. If you go to the addresses we gave, you'll find instead Buffalo Plus (for big gals) and the corporate office (run by big gals in a completely different sense).

Heartfelt Praise

To the Editor,

I'm writing to tell you what a great job Cynthia Dagnal-Myron did reviewing J.T. LeRoy's The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things (August 16). I can't get enough of LeRoy's writing, and have reviewed it myself in the Bay Area, and I have to say Dagnal-Myron's review hit right on the head. I am especially glad to see a reviewer concentrate on LeRoy's incredible writing and the incredibly insane childhood that inspired it, instead of focusing more on the "celebrity" that is following him now.

It is so nice to see the Tucson Weekly truly let a reviewer delve into this work and not give it short shrift as many weekly papers protest they must. From a horrifying life has come a beautiful piece of autobiography that, in my humble opinion, should be required reading for all members of the human species.

--Beth Bachtold

To the Editor,

Cynthia M. Dagnal-Myron's review of The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things offers real insights that seem to have eluded so many other reviewers. She's absolutely right when she insists, "This has to be what it's like." So many other commentators have been so thrown by the extremity of the cruelties described in the book--or so dazzled by the author's extraordinary gifts--that they seem to forget that they're being given a very rare opportunity to hear the truth from one of the few young people lucky enough to have survived years of abuse and rape and abandonment and degradation.

That that lucky kid also happened to be gifted enough to testify is our good fortune--or at least the good fortune of everyone who has ears to hear his testimony. Dagnal-Myron sure does have ears.

--Cole Gagne

Dig It

To the Editor,

Scot Sea's "Dark Side of the Moon" (August 23) was excellent--far above the material that you usually have.

It is clear from the article that the present youth corrections system is a failure. There is no way to rehabilitate these young criminals. Maybe the best thing would be a prison in Ajo at the old copper mine. There is still copper there; they could mine it by pick and shovel. A few guards at the rim or even an infrared system would prevent escape. Even if they escaped, where would they go?

You say, "They wouldn't work." I have an old-fashioned idea: Those who do not work do not eat.

--Stuart A. Hoenig

Big Foot

To the Editor,

Thank you for your comprehensive and balanced report on the fate of the red squirrel on Mount Graham ("Mount Graham Misery," August 16). It was constructive to have several perspectives presented, and I found the comments of Robin Silver particularly cogent. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the comments of Buddy Powell.

It is misleading to state repeatedly (as he does) that Steward has impacted only eight acres. Methinks he does protest too much. Are these eight acres a self-contained island on the mountain? Not at all; an extensive infrastructure is needed to support the telescopes and the related staff. Roads are built, expanded and maintained to provide access to the observatory complex. Power lines are required to service the increasing energy needs of the telescopes. Support staff require water and food, and produce waste.

All of this must be trucked up and down the mountain, or wells and septic systems dug. With Steward staff, workers and visitors streaming up Mount Graham, it is disingenuous for Powell to portray the impact as a "very small footprint."

--Dennis Nakashian

Shakin' Zakin

To the Editor,

I knew when Wick Communications took over the Tucson Weekly that a beautifully irreverent paper was doomed to the eternal perdition of just another corporate rag disguised as an alternative voice to the propaganda we are subjected to every day in the regular press. The one bright spot was Susan Zakin. She epitomized the pre-Wick era at the Weekly. But somehow I knew that she was an anomaly. She was simply too irreverent, too gutsy and too insightful to survive the journalistic Neanderthals that now control the Weekly. Godspeed, Susan. Whenever I read the Weekly I will mourn your passing. Until I can't to read it anymore, which may come sooner than you think.

--Sherm Frey

To the Editor,

I am very disappointed (and shocked) that the Weekly has decided they can no longer afford to publish Susan Zakin's column. I look forward to reading her column every week and have especially enjoyed her series on Madagascar and have learned so much from her series on the Endangered Species Act. Tucson needs outstanding editorial writing like hers and someone not afraid to cross the line. Democracy requires constant vigilance; I strongly urge you to continue publishing her column.

--Sarah Roberts

Valiant Defense

To the Editor,

I'm writing on behalf of 40-year-old Valiants, even though mine is only 37 years old ("Drivers in a Box," August 30). Yep, it's a six-banger with a three on the tree, but the choke doesn't stick, the clutch doesn't slip and the windows roll just fine, thank you very much. Valiants steer so easily that power steering would be a frill, and it has factory A/C. Valiants have outlasted most of the cars of their era and 20 years since. If you need a car to pick on, I nominate the Chevrolet Vega--my sister-in-law had one and it was the worst.

--Don Copler

Cole Facts

To the Editor,

I appreciate your usually incisive commentary in The Skinny regarding the out-of-control, misprioritized budget of TUSD. I find you are the only local paper that is willing to dig to find out where the money is coming from and where it is going. I was also happy to read that you are not only aware, but alert to the status of the State Trust Lands and their importance to education.

With such cutting edge opinion on important issues, why pick on Roseanne Cole, Hughes Elementary principal (The Skinny, September 6)? And why take a jab at her without even talking with her? I know you don't get all your material from the Star. Do you have an ulterior motive?

Roseanne, another parent and I spent a long time talking to Star reporter Sarah Gassen. Believe me, our focus was not on toilet paper, but rather on the budget shortfall, declining support for neighborhood schools, the potential for success in schools, shared decision-making school councils and many other serious issues. But the Star quoted us about toilet paper. Why not write a better column by actually talking to the people you malign?

As you are no doubt aware, but all your readers might not be, neighborhood schools, of which Hughes is one, receive much less funding than those designated Title I, desegregation or magnet/target schools. When a neighborhood school is also a small school (fewer than 400 kids) the funding is even less. And yes, Roseanne is responsible for her own budget, but when it is already at bare bones, making mandated cuts gets more and more difficult.

I look forward to more of your coverage of TUSD and encourage you to look at the budget in more depth. But please, deal fairly with individuals who are only trying to do their best for kids, be they paid staff or parent volunteers. I also hope to read more unbiased coverage of the entire TUSD governing board, including Rosalie Lopez, who, while frequently a much needed thorn in the side, is not without faults.

--Naja E. McKenzie

Bordering Insanity

To the Editor,

The illegal-alien death toll has no doubt reached crisis proportions ("Lives on the Line," September 6). Last year's 400 plus deaths surely exceeded the number killed in the U.S. due to tire blowouts in the recent SUV-faulty tire fiasco. Yet public outcry, government debates and the industry's recall was swift and costly response compared to the deficient funding and relative inaction the illegal-alien crisis receives.

It is gravely unfortunate and entirely unacceptable that anyone should die in our deserts. But, as long as there is a Mount Everest, cheating would-be mountain climbers will perish because guides are willing to drag any paying customer to the top. Enticing someone to perish through false hope is immoral. Programs such as BORSTAR and the erection of water stations are equally at fault. And criticizing the Border Patrol strategies used to control illegal immigration demonstrates either complete ignorance or, worse, an irresponsible politically motivated jab.

We need to quit addressing the symptoms and attack the source of the problem. Properly funding the Border Patrol and other agencies so they can fully accomplish the mission of enforcing this nation's policies is the only ethical solution.

--James Eli

Road Rage

To the Editor,

The rhetoric about transportation planning in Tucson continues ("Paper Trails," August 2), but very little planning seems to be going on. In fact, it seems we can't even plan for today.

Example: At the same time, two major north-south corridors--Swan and Craycroft--are necked down to one lane due to construction. There effectively is no alternate route. And the backed-up traffic on both streets is horrendous.

Since one construction area is in the city and one is in the county, I tried calling both transportation departments. In each case, I either got shuffled from office to office (no one knows what's going on or admits responsibility) or got voice mail with no return call.

If this is the best our local governments can do for us, I suggest we dissolve both and start anew.

If work has to be done on major streets (and we know it does), why not select one location, have work crews work around the clock, and complete the job quickly? Then move the crews to the next job. Instead, portions of roads are torn up all over town, days go by without any visible sign of work and the "construction" goes on for months, all while thousands of motorists are inconvenienced and annoyed daily. Gas is wasted and our air gets browner.

Is it these government offices that are responsible for signs near bridges that today say "watch for ice"--a very useful tip for drivers in our 100-degree heat? Or the signs that announce "shoulder work ahead"--and there's not even the slightest indication of any work within miles?

Could we please have a little thoughtful planning in this town?

--Barry Austin