No Superconductor

To the Editor,

So, Enrique Lasansky believes that our fair city is "underdeveloped in classical music," does he ["Chamber of Horrors," August 16]? Perhaps Lasansky may, in fact, be the one who is underdeveloped, i.e. emotionally.

It is no small thing when the vast majority of the players of a musical ensemble is dissatisfied with its conductor's conduct. The article omits the resignation of many of the musicians, citing only those of particular board members. The writer might have done well to interview as many for Lasansky's removal, as against it.

And, were the writer to have taken a poll around town of just how other colleagues and retired Catalina Chamber Orchestra board officers from years past felt about Lasansky's tenure, he may have been surprised. Although Lasansky's musicianship and artistic sensibilities have merit, his obnoxious superiority is unwarranted. We would be hard-pressed to find any article, past or present, where Lasansky credits the many professionals--musical, administrative and otherwise--who have contributed to the CCO.

This is historically the case with Lasansky. He credits none but himself for any of the past successes of this orchestra. The condescension toward his players and patrons alike, let alone the totalitarian role he played with past puppet CCO boards of directors, is notorious. He was unwilling to relinquish any semblance of control, including administrative, over "his" orchestra.

How can an absentee conductor tie the hands of a board by expecting them to hire his choice for an executive director (Lund) who then in turn mismanages the organization (to the tune of one hefty salary, we might add) while said conductor commutes from Texas for performances (the concertmaster having led rehearsals), and have the best interest of this orchestra at heart? The only interest in Lasansky's heart is his own, and his glorification as founder and now, of course, savior of the CCO.

Lasansky's hubris would be laughable were it not so offensive. There comes a time when the baby who was birthed and nurtured can stand on its own and say goodbye to its father. Some parents refuse to let go. The mere suggestion of an autonomous board with spine enough to defy his authoritarian rule sent this founding father into determined action. He seems to have manipulated a substitute cast of pawns to lead a coup.

"They settled for (him)," indeed. False humility abounds. Lasansky got precisely what he wanted. The conducting position was held un-reassigned for two seasons until his return to power. A bit less than triumphant, perhaps, but nothing another tantrum won't fix.

--Kipp Sterling

Brain Surgery

To the Editor,

Memo to House Appropriations Chairwoman Laura Knaparek: As soon as you finish doing as much harm as you can to the economic, social and political future of Arizona, change the state motto from "God Enriches" to "Mediocrity Impoverishes." After all, by taking a meat ax to the budgets of our state's elementary/secondary schools, community colleges and universities, you are doing your best to see that Arizona remains at its present level of educational second-class citizenship ["Slash and Learn," October 11].

It is appalling to see, once again, the alleged leaders of Arizona state government break their word, if not the law, by attempting to resolve the current, self-inflicted budget crisis at the expense of the only lasting economic engine we have: our educational system. Whether or not raiding major portions of the education budget is a violation of the law--and I hope our attorney general will have the courage to address the issues forthrightly if she is asked to render a legal opinion--it is certainly a violation of the will of the people, as expressed through the passage of Proposition 301.

I realize that asking some members of the Legislature to place the morally right ahead of the legally permissible is akin to asking turkeys to tap dance, but we can only hope that those members who do, in fact, take their public-service responsibility seriously will refuse to be stampeded in the name of budgetary expediency to do what is both wrong and foolish.

To claim that education budgets should suffer the same cuts as every other component of state government is comparable to suggesting that since the patient needs some teeth pulled, we might as well remove the brain at the same time!

If Knaparek and her colleagues are so anxious to make cuts, I suggest that they use real courage, and start with the billions of dollars in sales tax exemptions that the Legislature has so generously handed out year after year to special interest after special interest. And lest I be accused of being hypocritical on this issue, if it means some level of sales tax on food, as long as those meeting public assistance and certain other economic-need criteria are protected, then so be it.

I ask all the employers and the businesses and the manufacturers of Arizona to join with me in expressing our collective outrage at this shortsighted attempt to cripple our ability to compete in a global economy. Egregiously cutting education budgets is bad economics, bad public policy and harmful to the short-, medium- and long-term futures of our state.

--Eddie Basha

Go with the Flow

To the Editor,

In his October 25 article "Road Show," Jim Nintzel mischaracterized Libertarian candidate Jonathan Hoffman with his assertion "Hoffman loves cars."

Jonathan Hoffman has utilized alternative modes of transportation for approximately 20 years. During the 1980s, Hoffman regularly commuted from his midtown Tucson home to his job at IBM via carpool and bicycle. From 1990 to 1995, Hoffman adopted a "car-free" lifestyle, and commuted 20 miles daily by bicycle to his job at DMAFB, with occasional forays on Sun Tran. A conservative estimate of his alternative transportation mileage during this five-year period alone would be 25,000 miles. I am curious as to whether any other city council candidate has as much experience as Hoffman in utilizing alternative modes of transportation in Tucson.

Hoffman currently owns a motor vehicle, but continues to bicycle commute two to three times weekly. Hoffman appreciates the benefits of reduced dependence on automobiles and supports the development of infrastructure that encourages creative modes of transportation. However, as a Libertarian, he believes that individuals should be free to choose the type of transportation that works best for them, and he believes that the majority of Tucsonans have chosen and will continue to choose the automobile as their preferred mode of transportation.

--Cathy Hoffman

Roll Over, Be Tobin

To the Editor,

I take vigorous exception to Tom Danehy's assertion that parents who name their kids Tobin are somehow remiss in doing their job ["Raising Arizona," October 25]. Hasn't he ever heard of Tobin Rote, late of the Green Bay Packers? What about Tobin Sprout, the alternative musician? Or carousel expert Tobin Fraley?

Tobin is also a great family name. Certainly Danehy must be familiar with the well-known silver-screen actress Genevieve Tobin. And what of Maurice Tobin, who became the mayor of Boston, governor of Massachusetts and an FDR administration cabinet member?

And how ridiculous is his assertion that kids named Tobin can only become lawyers? I, myself, wanted to become a doctor. The only reason that I didn't is that I couldn't stand the sight of blood--especially my own, following all those schoolyard beatings I got as a child. So I became a lawyer.

That means that there are at least two lawyers in this town named Tobin. That's an interesting coincidence, but it doesn't prove Danehy's point in the least.

Incidentally, many years ago, Tobin Sidles and I both worked in the Tucson City Prosecutor's Office at the same time. As I recall, they used to tell us apart by referring to him as the young, tall, good-looking one. I never could see how that would distinguish us, though.

--Tobin Rosen