CorrectionBecause of incorrect information from Pima County, last week's story about grading near the Tortolita Mountains ("Blade 'n' Grade") misstated the size of Tortolita Mountain Park. It is 3,400 acres.
Afghan RagTo the Editor,
I can understand Tom Danehy's exasperation with what seems like nothing being done to get rid of the terrorist threat against us ("Rapid Response," September 20). But he needs to do a little research and reflection before lunging to the word processor.
Afghanistan has already been made into a parking lot by the former Soviet Union. Its houses have been bombed, its schools, its hospitals, and all its industry, too. There's nothing left to bomb. As one writer put it, all bombs could now do would be to stir up the rubble. Its farmland is still full of land mines and can't be used.
The reason the Taliban is in power is simply that the population has absolutely no means of deposing it. The people of Afghanistan are already starving to death, and the place is overwhelmed with widows and orphans. The people would like nothing better than to be rid of the extremely oppressive Taliban and its consort of terrorist thugs. But the only ones who are assured of food, comforts, mobility and the means to exercise political and military power are the Taliban members themselves.
For us to get the Taliban out and get rid of terrorist networks would be to infiltrate them, a very dangerous undertaking. Those brave souls who agree to do that have my admiration, but no life insurance company would ever write a policy for them.
Tom's got the right idea that now is the time for action, but he needs to realize that we are working against an unconventional enemy, and we need to do things the right way.
Danehy DrivelTo the Editor,
After being away for 10 years, in a culturally and socially backward small town somewhere far northwest of Tucson (and Arizona for that matter), I moved back to the Old Pueblo. Being hungry for artistic, cultural and musical diversity, I looked to the Tucson Weekly as a guide to the diversity of culture Tucson has to offer.
The Weekly is a great source of info about events at clubs like 7 Black Cats (at the Weekly's urging, I saw Split Lip Rayfield there, and was immensely entertained), but I am terribly disappointed to see the rubbish put forth in the Weekly by Tom Danehy.
In the few Danehy articles I've read, I've seen inklings of the social intolerance and ignorance that inevitably lead to classism, racism and social separation. His column deriding people who are not married but living together ("Noetic License," September 6) is a particularly striking example of Danehy's social myopia. I support freedom of speech, but the hatefulness that lurks thinly under Danehy's drivel certainly has outlets more appropriate than the Weekly.
Are you keeping Danehy around because he's won some sports writers' award several years running? If so, let him write sports, not social commentary. He doesn't have the insight to comment on our diverse society.
Give Danehy his walking papers; he can easily find a job writing speeches for George W. and associates. Frankly, I'm thinking George W. is writing under the pen name Tom Danehy.
Local FrequencyTo the Editor,
I enjoyed this year's Best of Tucson (September 20), but one "Best of" left a bitter taste in my mouth.
In the "Best Talk Radio" section your staff talks about how they prefer KJZZ (out of Phoenix) to our own local KUAZ. Both are NPR stations and both have great NPR programming; however, your staff takes exception to the fact that we at KUAZ play jazz during the day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with hourly NPR news breaks).
We provide several of the great NPR shows that we've all come to love through the years, but we also cater to our community, which, by the way, is not the Phoenix metro area. I'll bet your staff does not know that Tucson has the largest jazz society in the nation and a significant amount of funding comes from those listeners. We provide a musical alternative during the day to all the same "pop" drivel that spews from stations throughout Tucson. While I agree that it's fun to listen to those crazy traffic reports from "Little L.A.," there's little else that can't be had right here on KUAZ. As big as Phoenix is, it has very little culture. Tucson is a mini arts Mecca and part of that is our large jazz community. Phoenix doesn't have a jazz society and the arts community is very unorganized.
For those who moved here from other places and miss certain daytime NPR programs I will tell you that I moved here from Detroit, where jazz played all day and night. I was disappointed when I learned that our jazz station stops playing music at midnight, but I also remembered that I don't live in Detroit anymore! I had to accept and adapt for this community. In the long run, I became very happy with KUAZ because I gave it a chance to win me over.
We are not Phoenix (nor should we try to be) and the last thing we need is our local free press endorsing an out-of-town station that's infiltrating our airwaves, taking listeners away from an already great NPR station in KUAZ.
Migrant HeadachesTo the Editor,
I'm a Swedish student of social science and economic politics, specializing in immigration flows, at the University of Uppsala just outside Stockholm. Of course I follow the "Mexican dilemma" with great interest, since it's one of the most (if not the most) significant and debated human streams in the industrialized world.
Joseph Bavier's excellent article on the subject ("Border Bust," September 20) sheds new light on the delicate balancing act the U.S. government finds itself in. It's a fact that illegal manpower must be considered a not insignificant part of the American labor market. Yet another consequence of the illegal immigration is, as Bavier cunningly points out, that border communities such as Douglas become dependent on the "industry" of immigration and the money that is pumped in, in the form of new consumers (border officials) and infrastructure.
What's particularly interesting about this side effect of illegal immigration flows is that it puts the towns into something like a Catch-22. Bavier writes that the decrease of arrested immigrants may result in a reduction of the funds to border patrols, which, most probably, will result in an increase of immigrants.
It's a complex problem that Bavier deals with and it's with great interest that I follow U.S. immigration politics in general, and more specific cases like the one of Douglas. I hope the Tucson Weekly and Bavier will keep on covering this subject.
--Ola von Holstein de Medelberg
Mean StreetsTo the Editor,
As someone who had lived in Tucson my whole life until I moved to Portland, Ore. a year and a half ago, I have given a lot of thought to the burning question of how to fix the Old Pueblo. I love Tucson, but: The traffic sucks. Getting around town sucks. All the cool little local businesses you fall in love with always go bust. Can expensive roadwork really help with these problems ("Crossroads," ongoing)?
I doubt it. As long as I can remember they've been widening roads in Tucson. And things have only gotten worse. The most exciting development that happened in my youth was the opening of the Ronstadt Center and the ensuing bubble of vitality it brought to the Downtown Arts District.
Unfortunately the kind of people who can afford art seldom get out of their air-conditioned cars.
So long as Tucson remains a town built on the automobile scale and not on the human scale, it's going to have these problems.
Of course the only thing that could realistically inspire this kind of change would be if a cataclysmic earthquake, the closure of DM and the emptying of the aquifer all happened in the same week. You're never going to change, Tucson. You're committed and doomed to ever-widening roads and ever-increasingly crappy traffic. If I could persuade you all to get out of your cars and start living as human beings, maybe things could be different.
If I believed that Tucsonans would actually use a world-class mass-transit system, maybe you'd have hope there. I don't believe you'll do it, but I encourage any local kooks with light-rail dreams whole-heartedly.
Grade separated interchanges and widened roads and freeways are only going to encourage people to drive around more. Get out of your cars and live a little.
To the Editor,
Voters approved the road bond package; if the projects aren't completed the bond money does not need to be used elsewhere. Diversion of road bond funds compels us to be haunted by the ghosts of uncompleted projects and stuck with a road system that just gets worse. The majority of the voters who approve these packages never follow up on the actual work completed, something the politicians and developers must really welcome in order to practice more of the same. Why not monitor and publish in our newspapers what projects are completed and how the money was spent? Hold the public officials accountable for these bond projects as voted; don't re-elect them if they misspend the funds.
A road improvement project underway on Pantano Road is marked by a sign stating "1994 Road Bonds at Work," a seven-year wait for a project that seems justified only because several new infill subdivisions are being built adjacent to the road improvement project (cheers from developers here).
Tucson's continued growth will only aggravate the road/transportation problems, as well as others (underfunded public schools) that contribute to our quality of life. Yet no elected city/county official seems to want to check or severely curtail growth.
I think Tucson needs a mass-transit system that meets the needs of its citizens, whether that is light rail, trolley, increased bus service or some combination. Tucson needs to stop sprawl if any mass-transit solution is to be viable, and especially for any shot at roadway improvement/maintenance.
P.S. Bond payment interest is 29.7 percent, not 42 percent, for the period 1998-2018, using the amounts given in one of your articles.
To the Editor,
After reading "Demolition Derby" (September 6), I have to agree wholeheartedly with you relative to the unsafe streets of Tucson. Unfortunately, all the streets in the United States are not safe because of the uncommon traffic that has become common in today's world. Speed and inattentiveness seem to go hand in hand in the driver's seat and no one seems to have an answer, but I believe that Albert Elias of the City's transportation department has brought up a point that should be explored a little further, and that happens to be police enforcement.
Many cities in the United States have found a solution to this traffic congestion by placing a small island in the center of dense, high-risk intersections during peak traffic hours and installing a policeman (highly visible) guiding traffic and slowing erratic drivers down. Several high-traffic areas in Chicago have become almost enjoyable to travel through because of the presence of a traffic officer. It certainly has reduced the congestion and accidents during the two to three hours spent guiding people through those dangerous intersections. Many cities like ours have been using this program for years, and it seems to work for them.
I can't imagine that the police department does not have the manpower to exercise an option like this. It would only take one officer twice a day in the top two or three worst intersections to halt these accidents by their presence or by issuing the tickets necessary to slow this traffic down. Pima County's traffic engineer, Al Letzkus, should certainly embrace this program, which I believe would certainly cost considerably less than changing the intersections and causing more traffic tie-ups with construction.
To the Editor,
You know what really bugs me? All these condescending newcomers who arrived the day before yesterday telling us how great we have it here.
"Traffic? You don't know what traffic is; I used to commute two hours every day. Housing? You don't know how lucky you are; back where I come from a studio goes for $2,000 a month. Open space? You guys have nothing but open space; what you need are more freeways, shopping malls and housing developments."
According to these new citizens who so willingly bestow their greater perspectives on us yokels, as long as there's someplace worse than Tucson, things can't be too bad here.
This at-least-we're-not-as-bad-as-Phoenix syndrome is the very reason we'll never have an enlightened urban planning policy. Every couple of years an initiative for sanity emerges to the predictable fear-mongering of the development lobby and the know-nothing acquiescence of the newly arrived who can't tell what the fuss is all about.
I, for one, can remember when Tucson was a much better place, back before all these refugees from California descended on us.