Mothers of Invention

To the Editor,

Mae Lee Sun's "Desert Mothers" [October 4] was provocative and informative. In the context of the abhorrent violence committed on September 11, we as U.S. citizens are being encouraged by governmental leaders and reaffirmed by mass media to encourage our emotions of fear and revenge. It is rare to find a journalistic piece that encourages us to break out of our simplistic and old ways of an eye for an eye and to start asking deeper, spiritual questions for our lives and our world.

Desert Mothers support us in coming to a place of healing through an acceptance of both the masculine and feminine, and being more introspective during this time to bring ourselves and the world back into balance and into an integrated harmony with the fullness and goodness of life.

Thank you and thank Mae Lee Sun for having the courage and passion to offer us insight into the wisdom of the Desert Mothers.

--Brian Klocke
National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS)

All for Eyes

To the Editor,

Many thanks for the tribute to Dr. Frank Weiss in the Skinny on October 11. For over 20 years, he was my optometrist. Never have I known a more patient and compassionate healthcare provider! As times changed and as the eyeglass business became dominated by corporate business, Dr. Weiss kept providing service the same way he always had. Other businesses left downtown, but he stayed, even relocating a few blocks away when his office was demolished to create another parking lot.

Has anyone established a way to honor the life of Dr. Weiss?

--Art Evans

Walk the Talk

To the Editor,

It is commendable that the Tucson weekly supports the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation's AIDSwalk 2001. However, I would like to point out to both readers and editors of your paper that some sponsors of this event have been actively working to prevent access to treatment to millions of the world's poorest AIDS sufferers.

At least two of the walk's sponsors, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb, have successfully lobbied the U.S. government to sue Brazil in a World Trade Organization (WTO) court. The lawsuit's aim is to prevent that country's government from issuing cheap compulsory licenses for some AIDS treatment drugs, as part of Brazil's policy of treating AIDS as a national emergency. Similar lawsuits were filed against India and South Africa, although the South African dispute was scaled down after it became clear the pharmaceutical companies' continuation of the suit would mean a public-relations disaster.

The high price of many anti-AIDS drugs, especially those making up the so-called "cocktail," is almost entirely due to patent and licensing costs. Using international treaties to bar Third World countries from developing cheaper versions of AIDS drugs effectively bars most of the world's AIDS sufferers from treatment. It also holds back the diffusion of modern science and technology in the developing world, and breaches the sovereignty of these countries in a life-and-death matter. Oxfam, perhaps the most established NGO dealing with developing world issues, has called the conduct of theses sponsors a "war on the world's poor."

I understand that the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation runs on a very limited budget, and that corporate sponsorship is essential in organizing an event of the scope of the AIDS walk. I also understand that accepting sponsorship from a corporation does not automatically mean condoning or accepting everything this corporation does. In this case, however, the sponsors' activities are directly and adversely affecting the world's poorest AIDS patients--in other words, the very people that individuals and organizations concerned about AIDS are supposed to be helping.

I commend again the Tucson Weekly in supporting the AIDS walk, and urge everyone to do the same. However, I also urge everyone to contact the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation and ask it to review its sponsorship policy, to prevent organizations that are actively making life harder for the world's poorest AIDS patients to acquire a charitable image at the price of a comparatively small donation. A sample petition and more resources on the subject are available at

--Giorgio Torrieri

Milagro Spleen Field War

To the Editor,

I am writing in response to Lynne Patrick's statement [Mailbag, October 11] glorifying the Milagro Co-housing development on Grant road. I, too, am a neighbor of this property and don't view their development with such rosy eyeballs. I wonder if Lynne has walked in the wash to the west of the development and noticed the trash blown and thrown over from the building? I wonder if she ever spent time on the land before Milagro was there and noticed the javelina beds, the burrows of desert tortoise, the tracks of coyote, deer and bobcat. That land was home to many creatures and used as a passageway by them. Those tracks are no longer there. The tortoise was probably buried alive. I wonder if she has spent time on the development property and noticed the cacti dying in their transplant garden and the surveyor tags fating saguaros with a similar demise.

Development brings people, which in return begets noise, pollution, cars, dogs, rose bushes, pools and fencing. No matter how many acres Milagro put aside for protection, they still brought certain death to all creatures and vegetation that once thrived in this vast area. Perhaps instead of destroying the desert and its inhabitants, development companies could invest in and refurbish existing structures in Tucson. Milagro's development shouldn't be praised; they should be reminded that their motto, "A community built in balance with nature," is not accurate if they're killing it.

--Janay Brun

Down with the Down and Out

To the Editor,

"Nomads of a Desert City" [October 18] was the worst piece of journalism I've read in a long time. In that article you stated that there were 2,600 to 3,200 homeless people in Tucson. Yet you chose to report on only four. What about the three homeless men who robbed a co-worker of mine at an ATM? What about the drunken homeless man who urinated in my mother's Laundromat and refused to leave? Where were the stories on the homeless people who cause constant problems and violence around the city?

Your article was horribly one-sided and painted a picture of heroes who just are having a rough time. The truth is most homeless people are homeless because they are lazy or disturbed. I had a homeless man who is a constant problem at my job tell me he just didn't want to run the "rat race." Who does? But I don't smell like urine and beg people for money.

The next time you want to print an article on the homeless, you might want to include the crime statistics. You might also want to include an interview with homeless people who are homeless because they just plain deserve to be.

--Jessi Campbell

Good Riddance

To the Editor,

I can't believe what I am reading [Mailbag, September 27]. On what planet is Susan Zakin actually a good writer? 'Cause it sure as hell ain't mine.

I thought I had heard it all, but using "bright spot" and "Susan Zakin" in the same sentence was truly astounding. A note to Sherm Frey, who wrote that Susan Zakin "epitomized the pre-Wick era at the Weekly." The Wicks were the morons who hired her in the first place, Sherm, and thank God they finally had the good sense to can her.

And then came the letter that praised Susan for her series on Madagascar and the fact that she wasn't "afraid to cross the line." If you read these letters and Susan's self-serving final column you would have thought she was sacked because the Wicks couldn't handle the pressure they were getting from the Growth Lobby cabal.

I'm imagining billboard baron Karl Eller, legendary land speculator Don Diamond, auto-huckster Jim Click and Dr. Evil sitting around like villains from the Legion of Doom, saying "if we can only silence the truthful voice of Susan Zakin we will crush Pima County and these feeble drugged-out hippie environmentalists."

A call goes out to the Wick Compound probably somewhere near the badlands of Huachuca City:

"Give up Zakin or prepare to share her fate, for we will no longer differentiate between the columnists and the publishers who harbor them."

I would be willing to bet money that you would be hard-pressed to find a developer in Tucson who even knows who the hell she is. Susan, you're not even a pimple on SAHBA's ass.

Susan Zakin is a pinko environmentalist but so are Molly Ivins and Maureen Dowd. The difference? They don't suck. Translation: they don't write in a bizarre stream-of-consciousness method of stringing together unrelated bits of detritus and calling it a column (don't think we haven't noticed you, too, Tom Danehy). Which comes across a little like: "My neighbor is an asshole ... Madagascar... blah' blah' blah ... Madagascar ... Endangered Species Act ... blah, blah, blah ... and then one time at band camp ..."

And as far as Madagascar is concerned' writers at Fodor's can get away with taking a vacation and calling it work, but let's face it, Susan, you got the Fullbright, you should have cut bait and left it at that.

--Steve Framberger

Run with the Weasles

To the Editor,

Though your update on the Tucson City Council race ["Trail Mix," October 11] was very informative, it omitted an important point. Paula Aboud has abandoned her campaign pledge to "stick to issues," and instead has raised Kathy Dunbar's personal life.

When politicians engage in ad hominem attacks, it is often because the quality of their ideas falls short. Aboud's comments say far more about herself than about Dunbar.

--Tim Serey

To the Editor,

I love how these slimy weasel politicians can paint such rosy pictures of themselves! I happened to hear Fred Ronstadt waxing "concern for the neighborhoods" on Nicole Cox's interview show on KJLL. I couldn't believe my ears: He was going on about how the big-box ordinance had been slam-dunked through the Council and how he felt that the process should have been more careful and more detailed than the two-month quickie that Bob Wakeup brokered (thereby undoing two-plus years of prior work on the ordinance by the combined Council) in some more slimy backroom deals with his Growth Lobby pals.

I live in the El Montivideo neighborhood immediately to the east of El Con, so I'm not quick to forget who voted and how. I distinctly remember that the big-box vote was split right down party lines: Wakeup and his gang of Republican carpetbaggers (4) to the Democratic minority (3). If Fred was so concerned about the neighborhoods and the right way to do things, why did he go along with that steamroll?

I heartily support your endorsement of Gayle Hartmann in Ward 6. By the way, I wonder when City Council members will start being elected by their own constituents rather than by everyone and his brother in this city?

--Jay Hand