Art Attack

To the Editor,

While I appreciate the coverage the Weekly gives to the arts, I would like to respond to unfair allegations about the Tucson arts community in the January 3 article by Renée Downing, "Art Work."

The arts community in Tucson is not "a complaining, resentful bunch at best" as Downing depicted them. My 15 years experience in local arts agency leadership enabled me to "read" Tucson as a vital and diverse arts Mecca and good match for my interests and experience. I have met with over 60 arts leaders in the past few months, some individually and many in roundtable discussions about the future of the arts in Tucson and the services of the Tucson/Pima Arts Council. The meetings have been, without exception, positive, enthusiastic and filled with creative ideas, dedication and commitment. It was this spirit I detected among the people I met in April when I interviewed for the executive director position and I have not been disappointed as I have gotten to know so many of the arts and cultural workers here

The issues around the disbursement of grant dollars that Downing discusses have more to do with the need for more public dollars to support the arts in Tucson than with a flawed process. I hope that Renée Downing will become proactive in the future with her fellow arts colleagues in advocating for a bigger pie. She might also consider becoming a grants review panelist, which will help her to understand the complexities of the funding allocation process. The process is arduous, especially when there are so many more requests than dollars available to support the worthy needs.

--Mary Anne Ingenthron
Executive Director, T/PAC

Danehy's Fan Comes Out

To the Editor,

I am not usually one to write letters to the editor, but since I moved to Tucson from the east coast two years ago I have looked forward to Tom Danehy's column every week and thought someone should know. His commentary is honest, smart and hilarious. I know he gets a lot of crap from other readers, but it is just because they can't handle the truth in his column. He reminds me of people I knew back east and makes me feel a little more at home in Tucson. Keep up the great work, Tom; you have more fans than you know!

--Kristen Macellaro

Forest Murmers

To the Editor,

Re: the TEP power line through Southern Arizona and the Coronado National Forest ["Power Pack," January 17]--don't expect any resistance from the local U.S. Forest Service. Coronado Supervisor John McGee has never seen an industry-based project he didn't like.

Whether cow, chainsaw, telescope, ATV, mine, power line, road, fence, repeater tower or bulldozer, McGee is there with a federal pass. He is a yes-man for every no-thing that comes down the pike.

The Coronado is a silent, little-known tragedy of Earth-mauling cows, illegal roads, destroyed or profoundly degraded wildlife habitat, exotic weeds and erosion. Conditions worsen by the day. Is it any wonder that this national forest, out of 155 nationwide, ranks fifth in number of species listed under the Endangered Species Act?

Yet the average Tucsonan has no idea of the Coronado's sorry condition. Most unwittingly believe it is a picture of bucolic health. The Coronado National Forest is fantastically transformed from its majesty of yesteryear. Who knows? Cares?

Many local "environmiddle-ist" groups don't get it. With their middle-of-the-road agendas they sustain the status quo, validating existing conditions thus upholding outdated, damaging federal policy on our public lands. (I have ceased to call myself an environmentalist. Their standards are too damn low.)

Stopping TEP's power line through one of the Coronado's last, truly natural areas is an absolute must. Tell McGee.

--Tim Lengerich

Black to Basics

To the Editor,

What is Tom Danehy's problem? Calling Kwanzaa a bogus holiday ["Kwanzaa Quandary," January 3] shows how much of an idiot he is. Why denigrate something you don't celebrate or understand?

It doesn't matter when or who started a holiday; it's the meaning of the celebration that counts. Self-determination, cooperative economics, creativity, unity, faith, purpose and collective work and responsibility are all the meaning of Kwanzaa.

Don't over-analyze things you can't change. Write about something like world hunger. Danehy's so-called talent could be of better use in that area.

About the parting jab against O.J., he beat the rap. Get over it!

--Thomas Sanders

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